Raiders

Tyrell Williams shines as Raiders' new No. 1 receiver after Antonio Brown exit

Tyrell Williams shines as Raiders' new No. 1 receiver after Antonio Brown exit

OAKLAND -- Before Antonio Brown put on a Raiders cap and introduced himself to the NFL as the Silver and Black's newest star. Before the drama-filled summer, the frostbitten feet, the YouTube video and everything else the narcissistic wide receiver brought upon the Raiders during his offseason stopover on his way to New England, there was Tyrell Williams. 

The Raiders signed Williams with visions of him being quarterback Derek Carr's new No. 1 target. Then, they acquired Brown, and Williams slid into the No. 2 spot, forming what most assumed would be one of the bes receiving duos in the NFL. 

You know what happened next. Brown launched himself off the reservation, and the Raiders -- at their wit's end with how to handle a diva who couldn't be coddled or reprimanded -- cut him loose and went back to Plan A. 

On Monday night, Williams showed Plan A is a damn good one, as he grabbed six passes for 105 yards and one touchdown in his Raiders debut at the Coliseum, helping lift the Silver and Black to a 24-16 win over the Denver Broncos. 

Being a No. 1 receiver is what Williams has been working toward, so he was ready for the responsibility that comes with being "the man." 

"It's definitely an opportunity I've been excited for," Williams said on being the No. 1 target."My second year in the league when [Chargers wide receiver] Keenan Allen got hurt, I was kind of the No. 1 receiver that year, but I just kind of went unnoticed I guess.

"But getting this opportunity and being able to showcase it, especially on a prime-time game, is exciting, but it's better to see other guys like [Darren] Waller have a crazy game, and Josh [Jacobs] have his first crazy game, and the tackles -- like [Von Miller] wasn't a factor at all -- so the whole team win was an awesome feeling to me."

With the specter of Brown's meltdown hanging over the game, the Raiders' offense went right to business, with Carr hitting Wiliams for an 8-yard touchdown on the opening drive. The Raiders made it clear they had put Brown, and all of his nonsense, out of their mind. 

"Obviously, it was a big distraction," Williams said of Brown's sideshow. "It was on a lot of people's minds going into this week, but I think we did a great job of not letting that be a distraction, letting that be what it was and just keep working. We were going to play regardless, so just let it be what it was and come out here and do what we want to do."

[RELATED: Jacobs' strong debut shows he's key Raiders weapon after AB exit]

Brown caused innumerable headaches for the Raiders in a short period of time. Coach Jon Gruden likened the constant insanity to being hit in the temple over and over again.

With the budding YouTube star now preparing to take a crash course in the Patriot Way, many wondered how the Raiders would fill Brown's shoes. 

As it turns out, they had that person all along. He was their first choice.

Raiders should exercise (some) restraint pursuing Jalen Ramsey

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AP

Raiders should exercise (some) restraint pursuing Jalen Ramsey

Jalen Ramsey played possibly his last game as a Jacksonville Jaguar on Thursday night, an action that involved some risk. The All-Pro cornerback was on the trading block after asking to be dealt, and an injury against the Tennessee Titans could’ve ruined a prospective deal. Ramsey going down would’ve hurt the Jaguars as well, but Ramsey played anyway.

And he played hard. Ramsey was his usual, awesome self for the Jaguars, helping his teammates earn their first win of the season. He had nine tackles and forced a fumble. He was targeted seven times by Tennessee, but allowed four catches for 74 yards.

Ramsey played without reservation for his teammates, knowing he it’s likely won’t be with them much longer. As a note, it’s reportedly possible the Jaguars simply keep Ramsey.

He could be traded as soon as Friday, per reports, and is expected to have a new team by next week.

There’s also a big-time payday coming sometime between the expected trade and next season. That didn’t matter Thursday night. He just helped the Jaguars get a win.

Jon Gruden must’ve liked that. The Raiders are among a long line of teams hoping to acquire Ramsey in trade, sources said. The Raiders head coach didn’t need convincing – the cornerback is amazing -- but Thursday night’s relatively selfless act didn’t hurt Ramsey’s stock.

The Raiders have the draft capital to make this deal, which could reportedly cost a first-round pick plus more draft picks and/or a player. Ramsey’s new team will also have to pay up despite him still having a year left on his rookie deal, plus a fifth-year option in 2020 and franchise tags after that.

A team could play contractual hardball, but keeping him happy seems the way to go.

Gruden could and would make this deal, dwindling his draft cache and future salary cap space for a truly dynamic player. Let’s not forget: they have a cushion after breaking free of the Antonio Brown deal without paying a dime.

This isn’t another column about whether the Raiders should trade for Jalen Ramsey. Esteemed colleague Josh Schrock did that already and did it well. I agreed with his stance, and believe Gruden should try to make this deal.

Not, however, at any cost. Some restraint is required in moments like this.

There will be competition for Ramsey’s rights, but it’s unwise to get into a bidding war. The Raiders are interested and it’s believed the have inquired about Ramsey, but it’s uncertain what they’d be willing to give up.

They shouldn’t get into a bidding war with other teams. The Raiders should stick to their valuation, make an attractive offer if one hasn’t already been made and then keep fingers crossed.

Emotionally competing with others, especially if a rival’s involved, could hinder a roster rebuild with significant work left to be done.

The Raiders need another wide receiver, a top-flight edge rusher, a young linebacker and maybe another safety, and it’s only September. Those deficiencies won’t change if Ramsey comes aboard.

GM Mike Mayock has exerted some influence and discipline in recent acquisitions, including the Brown trade – it didn’t work out but it was thought to be a good deal at the time, with third and fifth round picks certainly worth the opportunity to acquire a great player – and a few instances in the NFL draft.

If the Raiders get Ramsey at a price Mayock and Gruden consider afford both financially and through trade compensation without setting an overall rebuild back, they’ll celebrate. If they have to re-up, sacrifice and spend beyond their means, it could slow things down for a Raiders roster that still needs significant upgrades.

The Raiders can’t lose sight of the big picture while pushing to acquire a truly elite talent. Lots of good cornerbacks have played on bad defenses. The Raiders need a talented depth chart, and have several moves left to complete it.

New Raiders receiver Trevor Davis working hard to be ready vs. Vikings

New Raiders receiver Trevor Davis working hard to be ready vs. Vikings

ALAMEDA – Trevor Davis went to Cal and is from Martinez, but hasn’t spent time at home since the Raiders traded for him Wednesday afternoon.

He went straight from Green Bay to the Silver and Black’s training complex, immediately immersing himself in the Raiders' schemes.

He doesn’t have much time, after all, to get ready for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. That’s why this trade isn’t a homecoming quite yet.

“I’m locked in at the hotel, in my playbook the whole time,” Davis said. “Going back and forth [to Martinez] is too far for me.”

The Raiders need Davis to get adjusted quickly, with return man/reserve receiver Dwayne Harris likely out a stretch with an ankle injury. He could take on Harris’ role on the team right away.

Harris is a return man first. While getting up to speed offensively by Sunday may be tough, it’s realistic to think Davis could return right away.

“It’s much more simplistic when comparing special teams to offense, so it’s easier to plug yourself into that,” Davis said. “That’s why I might be more ready to hop in there on special teams. Hopefully I’m involved in both soon, but I’m preparing to be ready for anything.”

Return help is a given for Davis, but the Raiders need receiving depth pretty badly. Ryan Grant hasn’t produced early on, J.J. Nelson has dealt with an ankle injury and Keelan Doss is a work in progress.

Davis can certainly help stretch the field with pure speed, something sorely needed in the pattern. He’s trying to use each moment to overcome the challenges of integrating to a new team during the season, including enlisting former Packer and current Raiders backup quarterback DeShone Kizer to tutor him in this scheme.

[RELATED: Ramsey could do great things for Raiders, Simms believes]

Davis admitted he never saw the move coming, but hopes to make the most of his time back home.

“You have to come in and be ready for anything,” Davis said. “The NFL is like that. Everything can change in a blink of an eye. I was all the way across the country 24 hours ago. Now I’m here, and I need to put my best foot forward and show these coaches what I can do.”