Raiders

Raiders unleash grand plans for 'real weapon' Cordarrelle Patterson

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USATSI

Raiders unleash grand plans for 'real weapon' Cordarrelle Patterson

The Raiders offense set up with three receivers bunched right, one wide left and a tight end on the line. Quarterback Derek Carr was alone in the backfield, at least until he invited a friend.

Cordarrelle Patterson motioned alongside him. It wasn’t to protect Carr. The fifth-year receiver’s number got called … as a running back.

The New York Jets weren’t flat-footed on this change of pace late in Sunday’s third quarter. They had linebackers standing ready to choke off the interior. Rodney Hudson and Kelechi Osemele blazed a trail anyway.

Patterson followed that lead, made a safety miss and hit warp speed. Nobody can catch Patterson at that pace. He slowed down near the goal line, needing one final burst and Seth Roberts to hold a block to secure the 43-yard score.

Patterson didn’t stop there. He headed straight for the Black Hole to celebrate with hardcore fans.

“I jumped up in the crowd, but they tried to steal the football from me,” Patterson said after a 45-20 victory at Oakland Coliseum. “I held on tight, and focused on ball security so they wouldn’t take it. I brought it back with me, and have it right here in my locker.”

Patterson wants a souvenir collection. That’s the main reason he signed with Oakland this offseason. Everyone wants an All-Pro kick returner. 

Patterson wanted to be more than that. The Raiders promised more offensive involvement. 

“We sold him on some of the things we’d be excited about doing,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “Showed him specific examples of plays being run that we’d utilize him in, ideas we had to utilize him with. When he got here we started working on it.”

Getting involved in unorthodox ways meant Patterson really had to hit the books. He learned most every receiver position, in case he had to step in for Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree or even slot man Seth Roberts. Then there were gadget plays and rushing opportunities to be mastered.

That touchdown run was an example of extensive practice paying off. The Raiders believed a touchdown could come from an empty backfield formation leading to a run behind excellent blockers. Executing it right was key.

That will be important for new wrinkles featuring Patterson thrown in to game plans throughout the season.

“We’ve got some things that we’re going to do with him. We’re excited,” Del Rio said. “We think he’s a real weapon, we think he’s a strong, physical, fast guy. We look to get him involved. I think it’s gone beautifully the way it’s developed. He’s had to work at it. There’s a lot of learning on his part, to understand how to be in different positions, how to line up, how to get the play call, how to know what the responsibility is. He’s involved in all phases, touching the ball a bunch of different ways, blocking a lot of different ways, running routes a lot of different ways, so a lot of responsibility on his part as well. For us to develop him, for him to embrace and grow in those areas and he’s done a great job of it. I credit him and I credit the staff working hard with him.”

Patterson is comfortable as a Swiss Army Knife, a gadget player, or whatever you want to call him. He remains a receiver by trade, despite finishing Sunday’s win with three carries for 57 yards and a touchdown, with but just a six-yard catch to his name.

Rushing certainly works for the 6-foot-2, 220-pound track star. He has five touchdowns in 35 career rushes with an 11.3-yard average. He might not be a conventional back but he’ll burn you from time to time.

Patterson, for his part, doesn’t care how he gains possession.

“I want the ball in my hands. It makes no difference how I get it,” he said. “I always think I’m going to score. It’s no different if I catch it, return it or it gets handed to me. I believe I’m going to make something happen.”

Raiders-Dolphins injury report: P.J. Hall expected to miss another game

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AP

Raiders-Dolphins injury report: P.J. Hall expected to miss another game

ALAMEDA – The Raiders will likely play another game without P.J. Hall. The second-round defensive tackle sprained an ankle early in the regular-season opener and hasn’t practiced since.

Head coach Jon Gruden doesn’t expect Hall to be available for Sunday against the host Miami Dolphins.

“I doubt it,” he said Monday. “I don’t think so. Keeping my fingers crossed.”

That’s a blow to a Raiders defensive line that needs help rushing the passer. He’s tough to block up front, with a knack for pushing the pocket back on the interior.

The Raiders will go with Maurice Hurst and recent signings Clinton McDonald and Johnathn Hankins on the inside. Brian Price was waived on Tuesday morning.

The Raiders should get Dwayne Harris back in the mix returning punts and kickoff. He missed the Broncos game with a foot injury. He was a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, and made an acrobatic catch during a portion open to the media.

Also, the Raiders signed defensive tackle Gabe Wright to their practice squad. There was an open spot after Shilique Calhoun was promoted to the 53-man roster.

 

Thursday’s Injury Report

RAIDERS
Did not practice

DT P.J. Hall (ankle)
OT Brandon Parker (ankle)

Limited practice
CB Leon Hall (illness)
C Rodney Hudson (ankle)
RG Gabe Jackson (pectoral)
RB Marshawn Lynch (shoulder)

Full participation
WR Dwayne Harris (foot)

DOLPHINS
Did not practice

WR Danny Amendola (not injury related)
S Reshad Jones (shoulder)

Limited practice
LS John Denney (shoulder)
DT Jordan Phillips (knee)

Full participation
RB Kenyan Drake (abdomen)
DE William Hayes (finger)
WR DeVante Parker (finger)
QB Ryan Tannehill (knee/ankle)

Jon Gruden, who traded Khalil Mack, calls great pass rushers 'hard to find'

Jon Gruden, who traded Khalil Mack, calls great pass rushers 'hard to find'

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders' pass rush has been lacking this season, and trading Khalil Mack for future draft compensation certainly hurt that effort. An inability to reach the quarterback has directly contributed to the team’s 0-2 start.

The Raiders have two sacks on the season and just 17 total pressures over two games. That certainly won’t cut it, which is why coach Jon Gruden keeps getting asked about it.

That happened again Wednesday, when he was asked how hard it is to find guys who can get after the quarterback.

“It’s hard to find a great one,” Gruden said. “It’s hard to find a good one. It’s hard to find one; you just said it. With college football, they aren’t dropping back to pass and throwing anymore. They’re throwing laterals and bubble screens and running read options. You have to train these guys, and it takes a little time to learn how to rush the passer. We have some guys who are in that process right now (with Arden Key, P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst).”

That certainly will raise some eyebrows, less than a month after the Mack trade. The Raiders found a great one, maybe the best in the NFL, and shipped him to the Bears because they were unwilling to pay Mack’s market value.

Gruden could’ve said it’s hard to find one and keep him and a franchise quarterback and stay in good salary cap standing. That’s dead right, and went into his thinking when executing the blockbuster trade.

Gruden said Monday that he didn’t regret trading Mack -- what else is he supposed to say? -- and that it’s now part of executing a long-term vision. It doesn’t help the 2018 Raiders a lick, though, and is hindering their ability to win games this season.

The coach has suggested the Raiders might blitz more, though they did so more Sunday against the Broncos than is customary in Paul Guenther’s defense. He brought extra rushers 13 times on just 37 drop backs, per analytics site Pro Football Focus, and generated 12 pressures.

“You do what you have to do, with the personnel you have to win the game,” Gruden said. “There were years in Cincinnati when Mike Zimmer was there where they blitzed more than they did in other seasons. ….When you have Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, you don’t have to blitz. Having the quarterback thinking you’re blitzing when you’re not can also be good. We were able to get Denver in seven-man protections and three-man routes. We just have to do a better job collectively getting off the field.”