Dallas Cowboys

Raiders trade 2016 second-round DL Jihad Ward to Dallas

Raiders trade 2016 second-round DL Jihad Ward to Dallas

ALAMEDA – Raiders defensive lineman Jihad Ward played a ton as a rookie, mostly out of necessity. The 2016 second-round pick moved way down on the depth chart the following year, with other options healthy and playing far better.

The Illinois product was a healthy scratch most of the season, and didn’t impressed a new Raiders coaching staff led by Jon Gruden this season.

He didn’t stand much of a chance to make the 53-man roster, especially after the Raiders selected defensive tackles P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst in this year’s NFL Draft.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said Dallas called about Ward, and that he was expendable due to the draft additions along the defensive line.

Ward was traded to Dallas for receiver Ryan Switzer on Saturday afternoon, shortly after the Raiders made their last scheduled pick. The Cowboys first announced the transaction.

It's hard to imagine Ward had even a short-term future in Oakland -- he was behind three incumbent defensive tackles, with two draft picks coming in -- so getting anything for him was a coup. 

“When they called, it kind of opened doors," McKenzie said on Saturday. "Bottom line is we drafted two interior guys and that kind of opened the door, and I was willing to listen. They had a player that they were willing to let go and we want some competition as a returner. He’s a slot receiver, so it made it easy for me with that decision and thought it was a good way to upgrade our football team.”

Switzer was Dallas’ fourth-round pick last year, and didn’t establish himself as an offensive player. He was a solid return man, averaging 8.8 yards per punt return, which includes an 83-yard touchdown.

Switzer became expendable after Dallas traded for receiver/return man Tavon Austin earlier on Saturday.

Ward had 32 tackles and a sack in two years with the Raiders.

49ers open exhibition season vs Cowboys at Levi's Stadium


49ers open exhibition season vs Cowboys at Levi's Stadium

The 49ers will open their exhibition season against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium, the NFL announced Wednesday.

The dates and times for the team’s four exhibition games will be announced at a later date, but the first game will take place from Aug. 9 to Aug. 13.

Here is the 49ers’ complete exhibition schedule:
Week 1 (Aug. 9-13): vs. Dallas Cowboys
Week 2 (Aug. 16-20): at Houston Texans
Week 3 (Aug. 23-27): at Indianapolis Colts
Week 4: vs. LA Chargers (Aug. 30): vs. L.A. Chargers

The 49ers and Chargers have played in the exhibition season 32 consecutive years. This will be the 16th time in 17 years the club have faced each other in the final tuneup game.

Still pissed: Del Rio bothered by index card, referee’s smirk on 4th down play


Still pissed: Del Rio bothered by index card, referee’s smirk on 4th down play

ALAMEDA – The NFL might call Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio to explain what happened on that wacky, ultimately pivotal fourth-down call in Sunday’s 20-17 loss to Dallas.

Del Rio will listen, but “I’m doing to disagree with it. I know what I saw. I saw it myself from the sideline.”

Del Rio’s vantage showed space between football and first down marker following a Dak Prescott’s quarterback sneak with roughly five minutes left. That was enough for an easy decision.

“Just stretch the chain and if it’s inside, if there’s space, it goes the other way,” Del Rio said during his Monday afternoon press conference. “I thought everything was in place to get an accurate call and I saw space and in my opinion, it should have gone the other way and a turnover on downs.”

Referee Gene Steratore didn’t agree. He gave Dallas a first down that sparked Dan Bailey’s decisive 19-yard field goal.

Del Rio knew about that. He hadn’t heard about the folded index card used to aid Steratore’s decision until after.

“I didn’t see any index card last night. I saw it only on social media,” Del Rio said. “I did not see that process happen. I saw the chain. Like I said, I saw space and I was like, ‘Alright, they just made a big error going for it right there and this is a turning point.’ It’s four (minutes) and change in the game and we’ve got the ball on the 40 going the other way. That was pretty ballsy and it really didn’t work, except they got the fortuitous reaction from the crew.”

Del Rio didn’t agree with the call, one he considered crystal clear in person and using Sunday Night Football’s invasive cameras. He certainly didn’t appreciate Steratore’s reaction to the first down call. Not one bit.

“The guy ran out there with the camera and put the camera right down on it, so the whole world got to see what it was,” Del Rio said. “It’s not like we’re making something up. The guy with the camera was right there. So how you can look at that and then get up with a smirk… I don’t know, that’s hard to take.”

Del Rio also found it hard to stomach three touchdowns getting taken off the board. He agreed that Sean Smith’s pick should’ve been brought back. He was touched before returning it 22 yards to the end zone. He agreed a holding call helped spring Cordarrelle Patterson’s kickoff return touchdown.

Having Jared Cook’s touchdown called back for offensive pass interference late in the second quarter was tough to take. Cook made aggressive contact with Dallas linebacker Sean Lee, boxed him out and caught an easy touchdown. The officials thought the act was illegal. Del Rio disagrees.

“I thought we had a touchdown. I think it should’ve been a touchdown,” Del Rio said. “It was not ruled a defensive hold, which it was. Instead it was ruled as offensive pass interference and they took it off the board. That was disappointing. I think the tape verifies that. It was disappointing. Then we missed the field goal. So, we missed an opportunity there.”