Raiders

Snap count: Injuries leave Raiders razor thin at several spots

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AP

Snap count: Injuries leave Raiders razor thin at several spots

OAKLAND – Raiders personnel packages don’t vary much at this stage of the season. The same players man the same packages, with the depth chart largely set after some early-season experimentation.

Injury, however, has chipped away a predictable patterns. That’s especially true on defense, where the Raiders were forced make do with healthy bodies available.

The Raiders knew they’d work without cornerbacks David Amerson and Gareon Conley. Those guys were ruled inactive before kickoff.

They had to adjust on the fly at linebacker during Sunday’s 30-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Starters Cory James (knee) and Marquel Lee (ankle) were lost in the second half, and there’s no guarantee either will return to play next week.

That forced Tyrell Adams into action. He finished with 36 defensive snaps after only playing special teams in the two previous games. Nicholas Morrow played significant reps next to him, especially when Lee was lost late.

The Raiders have two healthy inside linebackers right now. They only had three healthy cornerbacks during the game, after Antonio Hamilton hurt his knee on the opening kickoff.

A thin secondary kept veteran Sean Smith on the field, which hurt the defensive effort. He allowed three receptions for 114 yards on three targets, including two deep strikes to Mike Wallace.

The Raiders finished with just two healthy running backs. DeAndre Washington was inactive with a hamstring injury and fullback Jamize Olawale was concussed, leaving Marshawn Lynch and Jalen Richard to man the backfield.

That pair fared well, with versatility to handle every situation. Lynch finished with 43 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Richard had 37 yards on nine carries.

OFFENSE
Quarterback –EJ Manuel 56
Running back – Marshawn Lynch 23, Jamize Olawale 17, DeAndre Washington 6, Jalen Richard 6, Jamize Olawale
Wide receiver – Amari Cooper 55, Seth Roberts 50, Michael Crabtree 36, Cordarelle Patterson 19, Johnny Holton 4
Tight end – Jared Cook 34, live Walford 13, Lee Smith 12
Offensive line –Kelechi Osemele 56, Rodney Hudson 56, Donald Penn 56, Marshall Newhouse 56, Jon Feliciano 56, Vadal Alexander 1

DEFENSE
Defensive line – Khalil Mack 57, Justin Ellis 43, Mario Edwards 42, Denico Autry 37, Eddie Vanderdoes 31, Treyvon Hester 19, Darius Latham 15, James Cowser 14
Linebacker – Bruce Irvin 49, Tyrell Adams 36, Cory James 34, Nicholas Morrow 33, Marquel Lee 31
Cornerback – TJ Carrie 62, Sean Smith 62, Dexter McDonald 25
Safety – Reggie Nelson 66, Karl Joseph 62, Keith McGill 6, Shalom Luani 2

SPECIAL TEAMS
Tyrell Adams 24, James Cowser 24, Keith McGill 24, Shalom Luani 20, Erik Harris 17, Johnny Holton 12, Jamize Olawale 12, TJ Carrie 11, Cordarrelle Patterson 11, Jalen Richard 9, Lee Smith 9, Dexter McDonald 9, Nicholas Morrow 8, Marquel Lee 8, Darius Latham, Xavier Woodson-Luster 8, Khalil Mack 7, Mario Edwards 7, Eddie Vanderdoes, Treyvon Hester 7, Jon Condo, Giorgio Tavecchio 7, Marquette King 7, Denico Autry 6, Clive Walford 4, Karl Joseph 4, Kelechi Osemele 3, Marshall Newhouse 3, Rodney Hudson 3, Jon Feliciano 3, Vadal Alexander 3, Justin Ellis 3, Jared Cook 1, Antonio Hamilton 1.

INACTIVE
CB Gareon Conley, QB Derek Carr, OT Jylan Ware, RB DeAndre Washington, CB David Amerson, RG Gabe Jackson, DL Jihad Ward

Raiders confirm Greg Papa out as team's radio voice after two decades

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AP

Raiders confirm Greg Papa out as team's radio voice after two decades

The Raiders made it official Thursday. Legendary broadcaster Greg Papa, who also serves as an analyst for NBC Sports Bay Area, no longer will be the radio voice of the team.

[RAY RATTO: Raiders' exit feels much more imminent after reported broadcaster swap]

Raiders owner Mark Davis made the following statement Thursday: 

The Raiders organization would like to thank Greg Papa for his two decades of service to the Silver and Black.. He wasn’t just given the job.. He earned it.. With intense preparation Greg was always ready for the call.. Just as my generation remembers Bill King and “Holy Toledo”.. The Raider Nation will remember Greg Papa and “Touchdown Raiders”.. We wish Greg and his family the best in whatever the future brings..
-Mark Davis-

Brent Musburger reportedly will replace Papa in the booth. That hasn't been made official, however. 

Five new Raiders with something to prove in 2018 season

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USATSI

Five new Raiders with something to prove in 2018 season

The Raiders are taking some time off during the dead period of the NFL offseason. Even early bird Jon Gruden is slapping the snooze button these days, spending some quality time with family before training camp cranks up later this month.

Coaches and players are still finding time for work, sometimes while they’re on vacation. The Raiders want to hit the ground running this preseason, with many motivated to show well in silver and black. That’s especially true for a large class of new Raiders, many of whom hope to silence detractors.

Here are five newcomers with plenty to prove in 2018:

5. CB Rashaan Melvin

Lists like this are normally reserved for guys coming off injuries or down years. Melvin doesn’t fit that mold. The 28-year old had his best year in 2017, often shutting down top receivers as Indy’s top cornerback. He allowed a paltry 60.3 passer rating when targeted, with three picks, 10 passes defensed and just two touchdowns allowed.

Those stats didn’t produce a robust free-agent market. Melvin ended up signing a one-year, $5.5 million deal with Oakland, and is now working to show he’s not a one-year wonder and can stay healthy for 16 games. An ovation-worthy encore would surely earn a long-term, bigger-money deal.

Melvin made his motivation clear on Twitter a few weeks back.

4. WR Jordy Nelson

Nelson had a down year in 2017. It started well, with six touchdowns in the first four games he played. Then all-world Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down, and things hit the skids. He averaged just 9.1 yards per reception, and didn’t score after that early flurry.

That led some to say Nelson lost a step at age 32 he would not recover. The Packers asked him to take a massive pay cut, and ended up releasing him in March. The Raiders swooped in quickly with a two-year deal and plenty of guaranteed money.

Nelson has been praised for his attention to detail and position-group leadership, and will fit into the starting lineup with Amari Cooper and Martavis Bryant. He had four straight 1,000-yard seasons prior to last year. His worth won’t be defined by a monster statistical year. Reliability, leadership and red-zone performance will show if Nelson’s still got it.

3. RB Doug Martin

The veteran rusher has had an uneven career. Excellent production has come in spurts, with dominance in 2012 and 2015. The last 1,400-plus yard season was followed by two seasons of 2.9 yards per carry, which led Tampa Bay to cut his this winter.

He met Gruden for lunch at a Florida golf course, and the exchange convinced Gruden the 29-year old was ready to work and prove he had plenty left in the tank. His work was praised during the offseason program, though practice in pads and preseason play will offer stronger evidence of 2018 effectiveness. Showing well in camp could lead to an increased role behind starter Marshawn Lynch. Gruden likes using multiple backs in his offense, and could make steady contributions in the run game.

2. MLB Derrick Johnson

The longtime Kansas City Chief was let go by the team that drafted him in 2005, but it was not the end of his NFL journey. Some thought he’d call it a career at age 35, especially after suffering an Achilles’ tendon tear in Dec. 2016, but he found a new home in Oakland and a strong bond with Gruden. The Raiders need stability in the middle, and Johnson will provide on-field leadership. There’s no doubt about that.

Johnson must prove capable of being a three-down linebacker effective against the run and pass. Marquel Lee is available should the Raiders require a platoon, but Johnson doesn’t want that. The Raiders need his expertise inside at all times.

1. Head coach Jon Gruden

Gruden isn’t a newcomer, but it’s been nearly two decades since he roamed the silver and black sidelines. He hasn’t coached since 2008, but returned to the Raiders in January after nine years in the broadcast booth.

Gruden has said several times he has something to prove to his critics. That might be a self-motivational tool. There aren’t many in the East Bay, where the fan base as rallied behind him and players have loved the intensity and passion he brings to practice and meetings.

Some assume his old school tendencies and his “bringing it back to 1998” comment this offseason implies he is resistant to change or offensive innovation. That’s not the case, not by a long shot. We’ll see lots modern offense Gruden studied as an ESPN broadcaster and in his downtime at his Tampa offices, with new wrinkles unveiled as game plans dictate.

Gruden has made a solid impression in his return to coaching but, as it always is in his line of work, effectiveness will be determined by wins and losses. He won’t be graded off one-year alone, especially without solid roster depth, but Gruden wants to start fast and re-establish Raiders winning ways.