Trevor Davis

Raiders waive wide receiver Trevor Davis after rough game vs. Chiefs

Raiders waive wide receiver Trevor Davis after rough game vs. Chiefs

ALAMEDA – Trevor Davis had a rough game Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.

The East Bay native fumbled on a kickoff return early in a 40-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Then the Raiders wide receiver failed to convert on fourth-down and short on a sweep that was his only offensive snap. There was a cutback lane that easily could’ve helped him convert, but he pushed outside for no gain and a turnover on downs.

The Raiders had Jalen Richard return kicks after Davis’ fumble, leaving the receiver/return man without a role on this team.

It also foreshadowed what happened on Monday, when Davis was waived to make room for Marquel Lee, who was activated off injured reserve.

The Raiders gave Green Bay a 2020 sixth-round pick for Davis on Sept. 18, when they were in desperate need of receiver speed. Davis has plenty of that and made some early contributions while involved in the offensive mix.

That ended after his first four games with the Raiders, working almost exclusively on special teams the last five games. He played one offensive snaps in two of those games, and never saw the field as a receiver in two others.

Head coach Jon Gruden said the Raiders planned to shake some things up and give other opportunities to provide a spark after two blowout losses. This could be a move made with that in mind.

[RELATED: Raiders' playoff hopes not lost]

Lee’s return makes him the team’s seventh linebacker and puts him in line to play his first game since suffering an ankle injury in Week 3. He’s capable of playing middle linebacker, and has the size required to handle massive Titans running back Derrick Henry on Sunday at Oakland Coliseum.

Raiders receivers finally finding stability after substantial changes

Raiders receivers finally finding stability after substantial changes

ALAMEDA -- Hunter Renfrow made the Raiders' initial 53-man roster with five other receivers. Only two of them remain.

Tyrell Williams and Dwayne Harris, primarily a return man, have been with the Clemson product this whole season, but have missed a combined six games dealing with injuries.

Renfrow is the only Raiders receiver who has played every game this season, seeing his position group turn over significantly. The primary slot receiver has lined with myriad combinations flanking him as the Raiders have cycled through options.

The Raiders cut Antonio Brown for insubordination, Ryan Grant for ineffectiveness and J.J. Nelson for unavailability. They re-signed Keelan Doss and promoted Marcell Ateman from the practice squad to account for injuries and transactional losses. They then traded for Trevor Davis and Zay Jones in an attempt to remodel the position in-season.

The receivers have found some stability after all that chaos. Williams is healthy again, Davis and Jones are generally up to speed and Renfrow is growing into a reliable target.

“There has been so much turnover, starting with all the AB here and all the stuff that transpired with that,” Renfrow said earlier this week. “We had a whole different receiver room this offseason. For me, it has been cool because I have been able to learn from so many different people. I try to take a little bit from everybody.

“But I’m excited about this group. We may not all be well known, but I think we have a great chance to go prove ourselves and show that we can be steadily productive. I love that type of challenge. I expect us to rise to the occasion.”

Renfrow’s right. The group is unheralded but can be effective with a diversity of talent all looking for something to prove.

Williams is the big body wanting to show he’s a true No. 1. Jones is shifty, wanting to prove efficient and reliable. Davis is the track star trying to show he's worthy of steady play and increased targets. Renfrow’s the possession guy, showing he’s more than just a college-level star.

There’s drive within the group. Time will tell if it’s good enough to complete an offense that is solid up front, with excellent tight ends and a star running back.

At this point, there is competition among the receivers as everyone battles to make an impact. The Raiders were trotting out a skeleton crew during the transition to this group. Now, it’s deep enough where guys must earn their role.

“Every day we’re fighting,” Davis said. “We have a lot of guys here who have played and contributed in games. Every week we’re competing to get those reps and those game-day opportunities. That just makes our team better.”

Receivers coach Edgar Bennett deserves some credit for getting this group back on its feet. While head coach Jon Gruden and offensive coordinator Greg Olson play a role getting new receivers ready, Bennett and quality control coach Nick Holz spent countless hours getting Davis and Jones prepared to play within the Raiders' scheme.

Davis was the first to go through the crash course, regularly showing up in pre-dawn hours for individual tutoring sessions before the team reported for the day’s work.

“He’s keen on details,” Davis said of Bennett. “Right when I got here, he was right there with me before the sun came up, teaching me all the details of this playbook. That’s how he is. If I ever want to come in early, he’ll be there. 6 a.m. or 6 p.m., it doesn’t matter. He has been instrumental to getting us through this period with new guys coming in.”

The Raiders have moved the ball well despite receiver turnover, with Carr often throwing to guys he had barely met or rarely targeted to before a given game. That reached a head last week against the Green Bay Packers when Davis and Renfrow were primary targets and Doss and Ateman were called into the action.

Williams’ return to health and the Jones trade has raised the talent level and brought stability to the group that should remain intact -- the Raiders passed on the chance to claim Josh Gordon off waivers Friday -- as they traverse the season’s second half.

[RELATED: Incognito among Raiders to watch, no matter where he plays]

Being strapped can be viewed as a positive now, with greater experience and depth to weather future storms should they come.

“It was good for us as a team and the receiver group especially,” Renfrow said. “It’s not like we didn’t have enough bodies. We were just running out young, unproven guys. That experience helps with depth so, if somebody goes down later in the year, we’re ready and have no dropoff.”

Raiders need help from new receivers Trevor Davis, Zay Jones vs. Packers

trevordavisusa.jpg
USATSI

Raiders need help from new receivers Trevor Davis, Zay Jones vs. Packers

ALAMEDA -- Trevor Davis hasn’t been a Raider long. The fourth-year veteran was traded from Green Bay during Week 3, immediately getting a crash course in Raiders football.

It wasn’t realistic for him to play Minnesota just days after the trade, but he integrated quickly and has played both games since. Honestly, he had no choice. Ryan Grant got cut and J.J. Nelson couldn’t get right enough to play in Week 4 or 5, making the Raiders reliant on the lightning-quick Cal alum right away.

He introduced himself to Raider Nation with a 60-yard touchdown run against Indianapolis, and then caught four passes for 42 yards on as many targets against Chicago in London. He made a major mistake in that one, getting the ball punched out at the goal line in the second half of a tight Bears game.

It was at that moment, oddly enough, his lowest as a Raider, that he truly felt accepted on his new team.

“It’s a tight-knit group. It was clear when I got here, especially when I made a bad play in the Chicago game,” Davis said Friday. “They all rallied around me even though some of the guys barely even know who I am. They backed me up, and that was big for me and my confidence here.”

The Raiders picked him up that day, knowing full well that they’d need him to produce all season long. That’s especially true heading into Sunday’s game against his old team.

Tyrell Williams has been ruled out against the Packers with plantar fasciitis. Nelson’s on the street, leaving Davis as the receiver corps’ primary target. As crazy as it sounds, Hunter Renfrow’s the only receiver to have played every game this season.

Davis is finally comfortable working with quarterback Derek Carr and within Jon Gruden’s offensive system heading into this important showdown at Lambeau Field.

“I have most of the offense down at this point, which is a good place to be after coming to a team during the season,” Davis said. “Your head can spin coming in from a different offense. There are similar concepts with completely different names. You have to have trigger something in your mind to the concept is associated with something different. The transition is hard, but you have to have to delete everything you knew and focus on what you’re learning now.”

Davis certainly empathizes with Jones, who is in the in-season integration process’ early stages. Jones was added in a trade from Buffalo nearly two weeks ago now and admits his head is spinning a bit trying to get everything down. He spent the bye week in the classroom with Gruden and extra time with receivers and offensive coordinator Greg Olson after each practice.

“He’s a very quick study, quick learner,” Olson said. “We had him in last week early in the week. Very intelligent football player and that jumped out at us right away and then we got a chance to see him on the practice field here early in the week running full speed. He’s got tremendous speed and quickness. It’s early right now, but we like what we see.”

Jones obviously doesn’t know the entire offense, and it seems unlikely he even all the plays in Sunday’s game plan down. There will be ways for him to contribute right away and to get the talented young receiver involved quickly.

The Raiders will need Davis and Jones to step up and help diversify a passing game that’s more focused on tight ends and running backs in recent weeks.

“Can’t say enough about the job Trevor [Davis] has done, as our returner, as our flanker,” Gruden said. “And to get Zay for what we feel like we gave up is a risk worth taking and we’ll see if it pays any dividends, but he’s a good young player. He’s got some size and speed and was a very, very productive receiver, so we’re happy to have him.”

Davis was in Green Bay for three-plus seasons and tried to help the defense out with some Packers' offensive tendencies. Grant is a Packer now and is certainly doing the same thing with his Raiders experience.

[RELATED: Raiders must take advantage with Patrick Mahomes out]

Davis knows a return trip to Green Bay will be meaningful, but he’s trying to tone down the emotions and treat this like any other game. While getting traded away from the team that employed him so long is difficult, he appreciates learning from some excellent veterans while there that gave him a step up heading into this new venture.

“I learned a lot there,” Davis said. “Playing with Aaron and with Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, those guys taught me a lot about the game. I’ve learned a lot that I’m able to apply here with the Raiders. It was nice to come in and feel like I knew nuances of the position joining this offense, and that came thanks to the veterans I have played with.”