Raiders

Raiders waive Bruce Irvin; captain had team-leading three sacks

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Raiders waive Bruce Irvin; captain had team-leading three sacks

The Raiders have waived edge rusher and team captain Bruce Irvin, the team announced Saturday.

"We would like to thank Bruce Irvin for his years of service to the Oakland Raiders and we wish him the best," Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said in a statement.

The team’s only established pass rusher had seen his role diminish in recent weeks, to the point that he played just nine defensive snaps Thursday night against the 49ers.

The Raiders weren’t using him, and Irvin wasn’t happy. The Silver and Black tried to move him before last week’s NFL trade deadline and got some nibbles, but they couldn’t complete a deal.

Irvin was halfway though an $8 million salary, and a team would’ve assumed that pay rate had it acquired him in trade. The Raiders now are on the hook for the whole thing, unless a team claims him on waivers. His 2019 salary was not guaranteed and now is null and void.

In a statement posted to his Twitter account, Irvin said he will "always cherish" his time in Oakland. 

The Athletic was first to report the news that Irvin had been cut.

Irvin must clear waivers before becoming a free agent. He could be claimed by a pass-rusher-starved team, or sign with one shortly after.

A reunion with Ken Norton Jr. and the Seattle Seahawks, the team that originally drafted him, seems like an obvious landing spot, though there will be competition for his services.

The Raiders have generated an NFL-worst (by a long shot) 59 quarterback pressures this season, but they still chose to use Irvin less and less. This coaching staff moved him from strongside linebacker to defensive end in more of a traditional 4-3 base alignment, but his role was reduced to sub packages during the season despite him being regarded as a solid edge run defender and adept at forcing fumbles.

He has a team-leading three sacks on the season.

Irvin was impacted most by the Sept. 1 Khalil Mack trade. He was an excellent secondary edge rusher, capitalizing on attention paid to Mack across the line.

Irvin and Mack also were great friends, and losing his partner on the field made life far tougher on him to generate quarterback pressure. Irvin isn’t a solid scheme fit either, which led to a downturn in his production when he was on the field.

The Raiders will use the same combination of defensive ends as they have been, with Frostee Rucker, Arden Key and Shilique Calhoun, and Clinton McDonald playing out of position on the outside.

This is yet another move that doesn’t help the 2018 Raiders’ on-field product, much like the Mack and Amari Cooper trades. Rucker is the leader up front, with fellow team captain Reggie Nelson fronting the secondary.

The Raiders are off through the weekend, and will return to practice Monday.

Antonio Brown misses Raiders practice, GM Mike Mayock shows frustration

Antonio Brown misses Raiders practice, GM Mike Mayock shows frustration

NAPA -- The Raiders have clearly reached a breaking point with Antonio Brown. 

General manager Mike Mayock made that point clear during Sunday's final training camp practice, which their superstar receiver did not attend over his longstanding helmet issue. 

His quest to use a preferred Schutt Air Advantage helmet hit a snag on Saturday -- it failed an NFL test, per Pro Football Talk -- and he left camp in frustration. 

The Raiders, and Mayock in particular, have been supportive of Brown's helmet preference. Going AWOL at this point, when he's healthy enough to practice fully for only the second time since dealing with frostbitten feet, is a point of contention for his employer. 

"Antonio Brown is not here today, and here's the bottom line: he's upset about the helmet issue," Mayock said in a statement to reporters on hand Sunday in Napa. "We have supported that. We appreciate that. We have, at this point, exhausted all avenues of relief. From our perspective, it's time for him to be all-in or all-out.

"We're hoping he is back soon. We have 89 guys busting their tails. We are really excited about where this franchise is going, and we hope AB is going to be a big part of it starting Week 1 against Denver. End of story. No questions."

Brown’s helmet saga has gone on for months, because the Schutt Air Advantage helmet he has used in some form or another since high school was no longer permitted for use in NFL games. Only helmets certified by an independent safety body (NOCSAE) are eligible for use, and helmets over 10 years old are not eligible for certification.

According to an epic Twitter thread by NFL Network’s Mike Silver, Brown has been so frustrated by an inability to use his preferred helmet, that he resorted to repainting a Schutt Air Advantage helmet brought in from outside the team when the Raiders wouldn’t give him one.

Brown filed a grievance with the NFL and NFLPA to wear his preferred helmet, and an independent arbitrator formally ruled against him on Aug. 12.

Drew Rosenhaus, Brown’s agent, said the following day that he believed a resolution was close thanks to a loophole in the certification rules. If Brown’s camp could find a Schutt Air Advantage helmet less than 10 years old, they could re-condition it and get it re-certified.

Brown’s camp crowd sourced the effort and acquired a few such models, though the NFL and NFLPA told Brown’s representation that a newer version would have to be submitted to an independent lab for testing. Per a source, the helmet failed the test.

Brown’s representatives were informed of the failed test on Saturday. After failing the test, the source said, the Schutt Air Advantage has now been placed on the list of helmets prohibited by the NFL.

Brown voiced his displeasure with that decision on social media, using language that will not be repeated here.

He left Raiders camp for a second time after receiving bad news about his helmet.

He came back Tuesday from his first absence, a 10-day stint in Florida, where Rosenhaus said he was gone only to receive treatment for frostbitten feet.

His private treatment ended before his Aug. 13 return to Napa, and Brown was healthy enough to run full speed in pre-game warm-ups before Thursday’s exhibition in Arizona and participate fully in Saturday’s walk-through practices.

He was supposed to practice fully on Sunday, for the first time since July 30, but left camp instead over this helmet news.

Brown’s decision to leave amplified the Raiders’ simmering frustration and prompted Mayock’s statement, which drew a line in the sand.

The Raiders traded third- and fifth-round picks to Pittsburgh for Brown, and subsequently reworked his contract to pay out $50 million over three seasons, including $30 million guaranteed.

Brown spoke after Thursday’s preseason game and refuted a report that he would retire over this helmet issue.

“Why would I retire, man?” Brown said. “I have a beautiful career. I’m healthy. I love to play the game. Obviously, I inspire people with the way I play the game. I’m grateful to play the game. I’m excited to put it all on display, not only for my family but for these guys and our shared goals and everybody in the community who believes in me.”

Brown said that before Saturday’s news that his preferred helmet was prohibited. He and Rosenhaus have stated that they are willing to work within the system to find a helmet suitable for Brown to wear and feel safe playing in.

Brown has to decide his next course of action, whether or not to return to a team that has grown frustrated with his decision to leave the team over this issue, when there are plenty of certified helmets to choose from.

Mike Glennon, Nate Peterman giving Raiders solid play behind Derek Carr

Mike Glennon, Nate Peterman giving Raiders solid play behind Derek Carr

NAPA – The Raiders' quarterbacks were collectively awesome Thursday against Arizona.

Derek Carr scored an efficient touchdown in his only series. Mike Glennon turned in a perfect passer rating over five drives. Nathan Peterman played the entire second half without throwing an incomplete pass.

That’s a positive heading toward the 2019 season. Carr has been as good as ever in this training camp, and his training-camp backups have been far better than recent seasons.

It’s hard to call the backup quarterback spot a position battle anymore, with Glennon running away with it. Peterman has been good, but Glennon is slinging it all over the field with confidence and zip.

He threw two interceptions in the preseason opener against the L.A. Rams but was solid outside that. He was near perfect against the Cardinals, showing the kind of firm command coaches love from backup quarterbacks.

Peterman entered and ran a ton of read option, showing athleticism and wise, albeit conservative decision making during his time behind center.

There’s no sense in comparing the two, because they were asked to do different things. Both guys are doing their job well to this stage.

“We’ve have been happy,” Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Sunday. “Things have been really clean in terms of mechanics getting in and out of the huddle and runs things at the line of scrimmage.

“They’ve done what they’ve been asked to do. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there have been different game plans between Glennon and Peterman, and they’ve both handled their responsibilities really well. They have produced and prepared well. We have been happy with their development.”

Raiders fans will see plenty of both guys in Thursday’s preseason game in Winnipeg, with Carr expected to sit out against the Packers.

They’ll try to cement roles or show their ability on tape for other prospective employers. It seems likely the Raiders will keep just two quarterbacks, with other positions needing extra bodies. Carr and Glennon seem to be that pair, though Peterman would be a third guy or someone with practice squad eligibility if he can clear waivers.

[RELATED: Raiders appreciate Jon Gruden's coaching style]

Peterman’s viewed as a punch line at times for some rough starts made for Buffalo, but he has been solid in this training camp and has gotten some confidence back. He’s still just 25 with a strong, accurate arm.

“We have two veteran backup quarterbacks who have started in this league,” head coach Jon Gruden said. “I think they are both good enough to play in the NFL, but we’re not done yet.”