Raiders vow to finish stronger after latest fourth-quarter collapse

Raiders vow to finish stronger after latest fourth-quarter collapse

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The Raiders can’t finish. Plain and simple.

It’s a problem that could well be fixed in time. But right now, it’s costing them victories.

The Silver and Black have been outscored 37-3 in the fourth quarter, leaving no doubt the Raiders struggle mightily down the stretch.

Gruden stood before the media Sunday following a 28-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins and vowed to right those wrongs.

“That’s my responsibility to fix it,” he said.

The Raiders haven’t been able to finish games or drives. They’re leaving far too many points uncollected thanks to issues converting in the red zone. They were 2-for-5 from inside the Dolphins’ 20-yard line, and couldn’t score often enough.

“We could have finished with so many more touchdowns,” Carr said. “We were moving the ball again ... [It’s the] third week where we’re moving the ball. We had a good plan, and we had some good routes and good things going on and good runs and all of that kind of stuff, but when we got down to the red zone, I think that will be a point of emphasis for us just to finish those drives.”

Scoring late must be a point of emphasis after the Raiders blew three halftime leads in three games this season.

The Raiders used to perform well in the clutch. They were comeback kids in 2016, compiling a 12-4 record thanks in large part to late-game heroics. These guys, as individuals, know how to win. They just haven’t put it together here in 2018.

“It’s a mentality more than anything,” left guard Kelechi Osemele said. “I think we do have that mentality. When we’re in the huddle and you look everybody in the eyes, they want it. It’s not a matter of will. It’s just not coming together. We have to watch film, work out problems and keep grinding.

"There’s no quit in this group. The desire is there. The mentality is there. It will fall our way. We’re just a couple plays away from making it happen.”

It needs to happen fast. The Raiders are 0-3, and they must quickly rebound to avoid sending the season into the tank. The Silver and Black weren’t expected to be great, but their level of talent belies their winless record.

They’ve fallen far below expectations to this point, despite starting fast, compiling yards and making tough stops. Early in games, anyway.

The fourth quarter has been a different story -- one that has tragic ends.

“It's not what I expected at all,” Carr said. “I feel terrible but not down. Trust me, I know how to deal with adversity, and you don't do it by going in the dumps and stop working hard and give up. That's what I think soft people do, and that's not what this team is. And that's not the way I was raised.

“When things get hard, when life gets hard, you put your head down and you grind, and you make sure whatever you can do, you do better. And that's all. That's it.

"Like I said, I think we can finish better, obviously. But whatever we can do, you’ve got to stay up. You don't feel good because, again, we don't work this hard to lose games. But you keep your head up, and you keep going.”


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Andy Isabella has memorable first encounter with Jon Gruden at Senior Bowl


Andy Isabella has memorable first encounter with Jon Gruden at Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. -- Raiders coach Jon Gruden leaves a strong impression on most people, and Andy Isabella’s first run-in with his Senior Bowl coach is something he will never forget. 

“He’s a funny guy,” Isabella said of Gruden. “The first time I met him I was taking the elevator down to practice. It stops, and he walks in. So it’s just me and him in the elevator. So, I was like ‘Oh crap.’ That was the first time I met him.” 

Isabella, a 5-foot-8 wide receiver from University of Massachusetts was pleasantly surprised. He wasn’t expecting Gruden to know who he was. 

“It was cool,” Isabella said. “He knew exactly who I was, and I knew who he was, obviously, so it was kind of cool just getting to meet him. Just working with him is awesome. Fun guy, lots of energy, always positive. He gets you going for sure.” 

Isabella’s college stats are impressive to say the least. He recorded 102 receptions for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns in his senior season. In the team’s final game against Georgia, Isabella caught 15 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns. 

Isabella broke the 1,000-yard mark in his junior season as well, recording 65 receptions for 1,020 yards and 10 touchdowns. 

The Raiders are overhauling their wide receiver group and could use a player like Isabella on the roster. Jordy Nelson is the lone notable receiver on the roster headed into 2019. 

[RELATED: Mayock's relationships, past can strengthen NFL draft]

Isabella has versatility. He played in the slot in his sophomore year, and then more on the outside in his final two seasons. He did report that Gruden and his staff put him primarily in the slot for the first two days of practice. 

The only thing going against Isabella is his size. At 5-foot-8, he is probably limited to being a slot receiver, even though he has the speed to run outside. He claimed at Senior Bowl media day to have run a 4.26 hand-timed 40-yard dash. He is also known as a very skilled route runner. 

Isabella is projected to go in the latter part of the draft between rounds 4-6.

Derek Carr rips First Take hosts in Twitter rant, challenges them to fight

Derek Carr rips First Take hosts in Twitter rant, challenges them to fight

Derek Carr has been busy on Twitter the last few days, and he turned his attention to the hosts of ESPN's First Take on Wednesday afternoon.

We'll let Carr's tweets speak for themselves. Here are a series of tweets directed at hosts Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman:

Yes, that is Carr tweeting at UFC owner Dana White asking him to set up a fight in an octagon.

Where did this outburst come from? It stems from Kellerman's comments regarding Jon Gruden's praise of NFL draft prospect Kyler Murray.

Kellerman had this to say when addressing what Gruden said:

"You can see where quarterbacks don't want it, and Carr didn't want it. And I think Gruden knows they have to move on. The question is, can they get anything for him? Is he a placeholder until they find the next guy? How long will it take to develop the next guy? And Kyler Murray, if you can grab him in the draft, hell yeah."

So you can see why Carr is so angry. Kellerman is questioning Carr's desire.

This isn't the first time Kellerman has taken a shot at Carr. Back in October, after a report surfaced that Carr had lost the support of his teammates because of how he reacts to injuries, Kellerman said he had lost confidence in Carr.

"Under pressure, he doesn't perform well," Kellerman said.

Anyway, we'd pay good money to see Carr get into the octagon with Kellerman. Let's hope White can set that up.