Raiders

Texans to start Brock Osweiler in wild-card game vs Raiders

Texans to start Brock Osweiler in wild-card game vs Raiders

HOUSTON -- Brock Osweiler will start at quarterback for the Houston Texans on Saturday in their wild-card game against the Oakland Raiders.

Coach Bill O'Brien announced the decision on Tuesday with Tom Savage, who had started the past two games, still recovering from a concussion he suffered on Sunday.

Osweiler started the first 14 games this season before being benched on Dec. 18 against Jacksonville after throwing interceptions on consecutive drives in the second quarter.

But Osweiler got another chance after Savage got a concussion early in the second quarter of a loss to Tennessee on Sunday .

Osweiler had struggled with inconsistency and turnovers before being benched, but was better on Sunday when he threw for 253 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score.

"I thought Brock did some really good things on Sunday with his teammates and almost brought us all the way back," O'Brien said.

"Did a nice job and we have a lot of confidence in him that he's going to go out there and play well on Saturday."

Veteran left tackle Duane Brown was also impressed with Osweiler's work on Sunday.

"I thought he played loose," Brown said. "I thought he communicated well recognizing the front, getting us into the right plays, made some good throws. Had the touchdown run there, so I thought he played tough."

Savage remains in the concussion protocol and O'Brien said if he is cleared he will be the backup on Saturday. If not, Brandon Weeden, who hasn't played since last season, will back up Osweiler.

This game will be an opportunity for Osweiler to redeem himself after failing to live up to expectations in his first season in Houston after signing a $72 million contract in the offseason.

O'Brien thinks Osweiler benefited from taking a step back to observe things after he was benched and said he played more "freely" than he had in the past on Sunday.

"I'm sure that in some ways it's painful to go through that, but in some ways the backup position may have helped him," he said.

Osweiler has thrown for 2,957 yards with 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions this season. This will be his first postseason start after he was benched in favor of Peyton Manning before the playoffs last season with the Denver Broncos.

Savage played well when he took over for Osweiler against Jacksonville, throwing for 260 yards to help Houston rally for the win.

But he failed to move the offense consistently last week against Cincinnati and couldn't do much on Sunday before he was injured. He had just 25 yards passing.

While Houston has decided on its starter, the Raiders are still dealing with questions at quarterback after Matt McGloin left with a shoulder injury in his first start since Derek Carr broke his leg the previous week.

Rookie Connor Cook took over and could have to make his first NFL start on Saturday if McGloin can't go.

This will be the second time the Texans have played the Raiders this season after Oakland got a 27-20 win in Mexico City on Nov. 21.

The Texans will need Osweiler to improve this week if they hope to win a playoff game for the first time since the 2012 season.

Houston's offense has often been ineffective this season with him at the helm and the team's passing game ranks 29th in the NFL by averaging just 198.5 yards a game.

O'Brien likes what he's seen from Osweiler since his benching and is eager to see what he can do on Saturday.

"He's done a good job. He's been a pro," O'Brien said. "He really hasn't changed his routine at all. He's been in here studying like he's the starter. He's in here this morning getting ready ... he feels good and I think he's ready to go."

NFL free agency: Raiders sign QB Mike Glennon to back up Derek Carr

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USATSI

NFL free agency: Raiders sign QB Mike Glennon to back up Derek Carr

The Raiders wanted an experienced backup quarterback behind Derek Carr, and got one Friday by signing Mike Glennon.

Now they hope he never plays. It’s still a vital role in meeting rooms and on-the-field, should an emergency arise on game day. Young bucks can get caught in the headlights. Veterans won’t be as good as the starter, but can generally function better being inserted into a game without many practice reps.

He has hopped into action during five seasons and has 22 starts, meaning he can handle short-relief or a stretch as the starter.

That calms some fan's nerves after the Raiders released AJ McCarron, who has already signed with the Houston Texans, leaving Nathan Peterman as the only non-Carr quarterback on the roster.

Glennon steps into the No. 2 slot having completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 5,107 yards and 35 touchdowns with 20 interceptions over five seasons.

Peterman is still with the Raiders on a futures contract, and is the No. 3 guy at the moment.

Many will look at the signing and wonder if it impacts the possibility of drafting a quarterback next month. It’s hard to rule anything out, but the disciplined choice would be to address the pass rush early and often in the 2019 NFL Draft, though a quarterback could get taken later in the selection process.

But…having Glennon on the roster won’t prohibit the Raiders from taking Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins. Would the Raiders eliminate the prospect of taking Quinnen Williams because interior pass rushers P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst were drafted last year? Absolutely not.

A edge rusher is the team’s most pressing need and must be addressed with quality and quantity before the season starts.

The Raiders don’t have to take a quarterback now in the draft, and adding Glennon takes the pressure off the demand to get another one down the line. Glennon should be viewed as a reliable backup who can step into service if Carr isn’t available.

Curtis Riley signs with Raiders to boost short-handed secondary

Curtis Riley signs with Raiders to boost short-handed secondary

The Raiders continued fleshing out their secondary on Friday agreeing on terms of a contract with safety Curtis Riley, the team announced Friday. The former New York Giant visited the team’s Alameda facility on Thursday and left without a deal, but he ended up taking the Raiders offer despite interest from other teams.

Riley hinted at a pact on Twitter on Friday, saying he was coming to the Bay Area. He’ll exchange coasts after starting all 16 games at free safety with last year’s Giants. He had 75 tackles, four interceptions and five pass breakups for that squad.

He’ll have an opportunity to play significant snaps in the Raiders secondary. High-priced free-agent signing Lamarcus Joyner is also a free safety, but is expected to play slot cornerback regularly in 2019, likely shuttling back and forth between positions.

Riley could step in as the free safety in sub packages that defenses spend significant time in nowadays. Erik Harris will compete for that role opposite strong safety Karl Joseph.

The Raiders have options in the secondary now, with the aforementioned safeties and depth at cornerback. Gareon Conley’s a virtual lock to start at one outside cornerback spot. Daryl Worley’s expected to return on a second-round free-agent tender, through Thursday’s signing Nevin Lawson will compete for time there as well. Last year’s fourth-round pick Nick Nelson will have to fight for time with this new defensive back depth chart.

The Raiders could well draft another defensive back as well, especially if a good one slips and becomes a great value pick.

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News of Riley’s agreement should excite quarterback Derek Carr. Riley’s a fellow Fresno State alum. and was teammates with Carr in 2013.

The Raiders also had interest in George Iloka, who played with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther in Cincinnati. Iloka visited the Raiders complex Thursday, but left without a deal and scheduled other visits.