Josh Jackson

Josh Jacobs, Trent Brown could possibly return to Raiders this season

Josh Jacobs, Trent Brown could possibly return to Raiders this season

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders aren’t playing for the playoffs anymore. Postseason dreams were essentially dashed by Sunday’s 42-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

The Raiders have a snowball’s chance in a well-stoked campfire of making the postseason, but that doesn’t mean coach Jon Gruden’s going to shut everything down and go into evaluation mode. That won’t be the case after three blowout loss, especially with the last game in Oakland coming up Sunday against Jacksonville.

That’s why he won’t rule out a possible return for injured stars Josh Jacobs (fractured shoulder) and Trent Brown (pectoral strain). Shutting them down would eliminate the prospect of injury aggravation, but Gruden kept the possibility of a return starting against the Jaguars.

“We’re going to try to win this game. Absolutely,” Gruden said. “We’re never going to put a guy out there that can’t play, but we’re going into the last game in the history of the Oakland Raiders and it’s an emotional time. We’re going to try to win the game. We’re not eliminated from the playoffs and we’re going to try to win every single time we strap it on.”

Jacobs and Brown are the team’s best offensive players regardless of position -- Rodney Hudson might be in that group as well -- and certainly increase the odds of winning an emotional game that will close out the Raiders’ playing days at Oakland Coliseum. They relocate to Las Vegas before the 2020 season.

Jacobs made an impassioned plea to play the Titans. He even took a painkilling injection to prepare for play, but the Raiders ruled him out nonetheless.

“He sat in my coach’s office. He wanted to play, and he got really emotional about not playing,” Gruden said. “He doesn’t want to let his teammates down. I don’t know where he’s going to be this week, but if he’s ready to go and he’s cleared to play, he’ll play. He’s a great back and a great centerpiece for our team moving forward.”

Brown has been playing through one injury or another most of the year, but this latest ailment prevented him from going against the Titans. Repairing a torn pectoral muscle can involve extensive rehab he and the Raiders would certainly like to avoid.

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Brandon Parker, one of last year’s third-round draft picks, stepped in for Brown and was okay save an ill-timed holding call. He wasn’t a dead weight up front, which might help the team continue if Brown remains unavailable.

“He did good,” Gruden said. “I was really pleased with the line. I mean our offensive line played a good game yesterday. Parker had a holding call, a costly one, on third down that nullified a potential first down, but other than that he played good football.”

Chris Simms explains how sensational Raiders' rookie class has been

Chris Simms explains how sensational Raiders' rookie class has been

The Raiders have surprised most of the football world with their 6-4 start, and a huge part of their success is due to their terrific rookie class. NBC Sports football analyst Chris Simms certainly agrees.

"You gotta give Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden a lot of credit for what they did in this past draft," Simms told NBC Sports California on Thursday.

"They've got guys that are contributing right now that are main staples of their football team let alone are going to contribute for a number of years down the line."

Simms talked about how special rookie running back Josh Jacobs is and how this is only the beginning for the young star.

This season, Jacobs has posted 1,067 total yards from scrimmage with seven touchdowns so far and as Simms mentioned, we haven't seen anything yet. Just wait until he's used in the passing game more.

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Maxx Crosby was mentioned as well. The Raiders defensive end earned recent AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors after recording four sacks and a forced fumble against the Bengals on Sunday.

The team's next matchup will be an east coast-er against the New York Jets in what should be another winnable one for coach Jon Gruden's club. Simms details what to expect out of that clash in the video above.

Why NFC executive thinks Jon Gruden, Raiders could shock people in 2019

Why NFC executive thinks Jon Gruden, Raiders could shock people in 2019

After a 4-12 season a year ago, not a lot is expected from the Raiders in the upcoming NFL season.

Head coach Jon Gruden orchestrated a tear down in what effectively was Year 0, and now he has rebuilt the roster into his image of a winning football team. He traded for star wide receiver Antonio Brown, signed Tyrell Williams, offensive tackle Trent Brown and do-it-all defensive back Lamarcus Joyner. The Raiders also built through the draft, stockpiling young talent by selecting defensive end Clelin Ferrell, running back Josh Jacobs, safety Johnathan Abram, cornerback Trayvon Mullen and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. 

While the public and most prognosticators expect another down year for the Silver and Black, one thing is clear: This Raiders team has a lot more talent than it did a season ago.

With talent comes potential, and one NFC team executive is quite bullish on the Raiders ahead of the start of the 2019 season.

"They win 10 or 11 games and [head coach] Jon Gruden will be seen as a Coach of the Year candidate," the executive told Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman. "He'll have [quarterback Derek] Carr playing at a really high level. That running game [with Josh Jacobs] will shock people. He could get 1,000 yards easy this year."

The Raiders' offense, for sure, could be absolutely lethal.

For the first time in his career, Carr has a bonafide star receiver to get the ball to, Williams is an underrated No. 2 and Renfrow looks as if he could be immediately effective in the slot. If the offensive line can keep Carr upright, the Fresno State product very well could put up massive numbers in Year 2 of Gruden's system.  In their only series during the preseason, the Raiders' first-team offense -- minus Brown -- diced through the Arizona Cardinals like a hot knife through butter.

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Of course, the Raiders racking up the W's likely will come down to the other side of the ball.

Last season, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther's unit racked up only 13 sacks and struggled to generate takeaways. The secondary looks to be solid, but the defensive line likely is at least a year away from being the disruptive force you need to win in the NFL.

The Silver and Black could win a lot of games 38-35. They also could lose a few in that range. Ten wins very well could be possible if everything goes according to plan.

We get our first look at Gruden's Raiders on Monday night when the Denver Broncos come to the Coliseum to open the year.