Category Archives: Derek Carr

Raiders Team Grades: Raiders Fall To Patriots In Mexico

By Shawn Lealos

The Oakland Raiders have struggled throughout the 2017 NFL season. After starting off the year as favorites to make the playoffs and one of the top AFC teams when it came to Super Bowl odds, injuries decimated the Raiders secondary, and the offense has struggled to meet the heights that they reached last season.

After beating the Miami Dolphins last week, the Raiders needed a rebound game this week in Mexico City, but their opponents were the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. The Raiders were unable to keep up their momentum and fell to the Patriots, 33-8. Here is a look at the Raiders’ team grades after their loss to the Patriots.

Offense: C-

If the stat line is all fans look at, the Raiders were not horrible on offense. They lost the yardage battle to the Patriots, 420-344, but the problem is that the Raiders didn’t put any points on the board until the fourth quarter. Derek Carr completed 57 percent of his passes, but threw only one touchdown to go with one interception. The offensive line just gave up one sack as well. However, Carr only averaged 8.4 yards per completion and wasn’t moving the team down the field.

It also hurt the Raiders that they had 15 third downs in the game, and converted on less than half of them, with seven conversions. They even went for it on fourth down four times, with a 50 percent conversion rate. With a 4.8 yard-per-play average, there wasn’t much of a chance for the Raiders to sustain their drives.

The running game didn’t help much, either. Marshawn Lynch had his longest run of the season with a 25-yard scamper and averaged 4.2 yards-per-carry the rest of the game. Jalen Richard added 19 yards, and Jamize Olawale returned from injury to add 16 yards as well. As for the receivers, Michael Crabtree and Cordarrelle Patterson combined for 10 receptions and 96 yards, but it was Amari Cooper who scored the only touchdown reception on three catches for 28 yards in the game.

Defense: F

The Raiders released one of their injured cornerbacks and put a second on Injured Reserve since their last game, and they still don’t have the weapons needed to stop elite quarterbacks. Tom Brady completed 30 of 37 pass attempts for 339 yards and three touchdowns. Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks led the team in yards with 149 and a score while Danny Amendola led New England in receptions (8) and scored a touchdown to boot.

The Raiders defense also didn’t do much to stop Dion Lewis, who had a great game as well. The New England running back ran for 60 yards on 10 carries and caught four passes for 28 yards and a touchdown. The Raiders couldn’t stop the Patriots offense, although not many teams can. However, this is a recurring theme this season. Oakland won’t win against elite teams until they can start to stop opposing quarterbacks.

Special Teams: C

When it comes to the Raiders’ quality special teams, they had almost nothing to do against the Patriots this week. Oakland converted a two-point conversion, so the Raiders kicker did nothing this week. There were no field goal or extra point attempts in the game. New England only had to punt the ball twice, and Oakland never had a chance to return one. The Raiders also had just one kick return, which was for 16 yards. Finally, punter Marquette King was below average with three punts, only one inside the 20, and averaged just 45.6 yards per attempt.

Coaching: D

The Raiders needed to find a way to stop the Patriots, and couldn’t seem to pull it off in this game. The Raiders were down by 30 points before they even scored their first touchdown. Tom Brady completed his first nine passes, and the Raiders defense still can’t seem to stop anyone. If the Raiders don’t improve quickly, their season might spiral out of control.

Up Next: The Raiders (4-6) might have a slight break over the next two weeks. While they lost to the Denver Broncos (3-7) the last time the two teams played, Denver has lost six games in a row and have fallen hard in the AFC West. If the Raiders can win that game, they should be able to keep the momentum going when they face the New York Giants (2-8) the week after that. If the Kansas City Chiefs drop one of their next two games and Oakland wins against NY and Denver, the Raiders could play for the AFC West lead in three weeks when they travel to play the Chiefs. There is still a chance for Oakland to turn things around, and the next two weeks are pivotal in that opportunity.

Oakland Raiders Week 11 Injury Report: Raiders’ Cornerback Woes Continue

By Shawn Lealos

The Oakland Raiders got a break with their bye week just when they needed it. After having a large number of injuries on their secondary, the Raiders seem to finally be healing up. Oakland got a big win right before their bye to improve their record to 4-5, but they have to get healthy and start winning more games. The Raiders moved to second place in the AFC West, but are two games back from the Kansas City Chiefs and have a losing record, which hurts their Wild Card chances.

This week, the Raiders play the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, so they need all the bodies they can get on the field. Here is a look at the Oakland Raiders injury report for their Week 11 game.

Raiders Secondary Starting To Come Into Focus

For most of the season, the Oakland Raiders have had two or more cornerbacks listed on the injury report. Before the Raiders’ bye week, David Amerson, Gareon Conley and Demetrius McCray were all ruled out while safety Karl Joseph was listed as questionable. Coming off the bye, Amerson is still out, but no other Raiders player is listed on the injury report in the secondary.

The bad news is that it isn’t as great as it looks. Conley was moved from the injury report to Injured Reserve and the rookie won’t play at all this season. Head coach Jack Del Rio said that it was time to look to next season for his contributions to the team. 

As for Demetrius McCray, the Raiders realized he wasn’t returning as well. They ended up waiving him and coming to an injury settlement back on Nov. 9.

Of the three cornerbacks that suffered through the season injured, only Amerson remains, and he was upgraded from out to doubtful this week. However, things are getting better.

The Raiders only had three cornerbacks active to play against the Miami Dolphins before the bye week. They are compensating for their injury losses by switching to a cover-2 more often, something that Sean Smith specializes in. First-round pick Karl Joseph is also ready to start at free safety and second-round pick Obi Melifonwu returned before the break from Injured Reserve and is ready to take on a huge role.

Raiders Getting Healthy

The best news is that the Oakland Raiders’ injury report is shrinking. The only other two major injuries are to Cory James, who should play despite his knee injury; and offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse, who was also listed as questionable. The injury to Newhouse is more worrisome as the Raiders need him in the lineup to protect Derek Carr. Newhouse has a hip and quad injury and if he can’t play, Vadal Alexander will start in his place.

Oakland Raiders Injury Report


  • Gabe Jackson (G) – foot – limited practice
  • Cory James (LB) – knee – limited practice
  • Marshall Newhouse (OL) – knee – limited practice
  • Jamize Olawale (FB/RB) – hamstring – limited practice


  • David Amerson (CB) – foot – did not practice


Derek Carr On Monday’s Las Vegas Stadium Ceremony: ‘I Didn’t Know It Was Happening’

Oakland and soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders fans were excited for the groundbreaking ceremony on Monday for the new Las Vegas stadium.

However, one key figure apparently didn’t get the memo.

According to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr apparently didn’t know what was going on.

“To be honest, I didn’t know it was happening until I saw it pop up on the phone, and I was like, ‘Oh sick, they did it.’ I was not paying attention,” Carr said to Gehlken.

The Raiders plan to continue playing in Oakland through at least 2018, pending the completion of the new stadium in Las Vegas.

Raiders Team Headlines: Oakland Faces Off-Field Distractions Heading Into Week 10 Bye

By Shawn Lealos

The Oakland Raiders opened the 2017 NFL season as one of the favorites to make the Super Bowl for the AFC, behind only the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers. However, it’s now their bye week and they have a losing record (4-5). The Raiders sit in second place in the AFC West, where only the Kansas City Chiefs have a winning record. However, coming off a win three weeks ago over the Chiefs and an impressive win against the Miami Dolphins right before their bye, the Raiders are hoping to have a successful final stretch of the season to reach the NFL playoffs, where everyone starts over again.

Can Obi Melifonwu Save The Raiders Defense?

The biggest problem with the Oakland Raiders this season has been the struggles of the defensive secondary. They have injuries riddling their entire secondary, and even have their star linebacker struggling as well. Luckily, there might be a savior coming in the second half of the NFL season. The Raiders drafted Obi Melifonwu in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Connecticut. However injuries kept him out of action until the Dolphins game this past week. This is because the Raiders put the rookie on their IR following knee surgery and the Dolphins game was the first they could activate him.

In that game, the safety recorded three total tackles in the first NFL action of his career. Melifonwu can step right in and replace the slower Reggie Nelson in the Raiders defense. He can also work at the cornerback position if needed. He is fast and explosive, and as long as his knee injury is behind him, Melifonwu can finally provide the Raiders with the star defensive back they have lacked this season.

Did The Raiders’ Offensive Line Allow Derek Carr’s Injury?

A huge news brief broke out this week concerning the Raiders and the chemistry of the football team. Derek Carr was hurt earlier this season when he took a hard hit to his back against the Broncos. A strange source—Miko Grimes, the wife of Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes—said that the Raiders offensive line refused to protect Carr on that play because they were seeking revenge against him after a locker room fight. Grimes made the comments on “The Breakfast Club,” where she said that Carr told his teammates to stand during the National Anthem and they refused. The injury allegedly came as revenge for Carr’s stand.

However, Grimes said the fight came before a Monday Night Football game, which the Raiders have not played in yet this season. The offensive linemen all sat during the National Anthem in Week 3 and the injury occurred in Week 4. Left tackle Donald Penn took to Twitter and said that “people will make up lies” to get attention. Raiders cornerback Antonio Hamilton also came out to defend his quarterback, saying that the only thing that Grimes said that was true was that Carr was a “man of God,” while everything else was a lie. Grimes later said that her source was a guest on her own podcast.

Mexico City Game Against Patriots Coming Up Next

As soon as the Raiders come off their bye week, they head down to Mexico City to face off with the Patriots. The Patriots are 6-2 and in first place in the AFC East, although the Buffalo Bills are only one game back. The Raiders are 4-5 and are in second place in the AFC West, but could be three games out of first if the Chiefs handle the New York Giants. That makes this a must-win game for the Raiders if they want to catch the Chiefs this season.

This game is already a competitive disadvantage for the Raiders since it is the third time in four seasons that they lose a home game to play in another country. With one less home game than most other teams in the NFL, they need all the wins they can get away from their home turf.

Oakland Raiders Week 9 Team Grades: Raiders Pick Up Big Rebound Win Over Dolphins

By Shawn Lealos

The Oakland Raiders took on the Miami Dolphins on Sunday Night Football in a game that both teams needed to win. The Raiders had fallen into last place in the AFC West, but were a win away from climbing back into that race. The Miami Dolphins were fighting to win and catch up to the Buffalo Bills in what is turning out to be a surprisingly tight AFC East race. When the game was over, it was the Raiders that finally bounced back from a tough streak in which they lost five of their past six games. Oakland not only climbed out of last place, but also jumped over the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos to move into second place in their division. Here is a look at the Oakland Raiders team grades after this big win.

Offense: B+

One of the primary reasons the Oakland Raiders offense has struggled in recent weeks is due to the injury suffered by quarterback Derek Carr and his subpar play since returning early from that injury. However, there was no sign of his struggles in the win over the Miami Dolphins, as Carr threw for 300 yards for the third game in a row but completed 70 percent of his pass attempts with only one interception in the game. The Raiders are 4-1 this season when Carr throws one interception or less in a game, and are 0-3 in games with multiple picks. Carr did fumble the ball twice, but the Raiders didn’t lose either drop.

Carr’s top target in this game was his tight end, Jared Cook. who had season-high numbers in targets (9), receptions (8) and yards (126). It was the second time this season that Cook had over 100 receiving yards. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree combined to catch seven balls for 98 yards. However, the biggest pass play of the game was a 44-yard touchdown strike from Carr to second-year receiver Johnny Holton in the second quarter.

Marshawn Lynch has not given the Raiders the weapon many fans dreamed of yet this season, but after serving a one-game suspension from running off the bench during a fight and shoving a referee, Lynch scored two touchdowns in this game, which was the difference maker between winning and losing to the Dolphins. Lynch only had 14 carries for 57 yards, but did run for the two touchdowns, including a long run of 22 yards.

Defense: C-

The Oakland Raiders defense has caused every loss this season due to their injury-riddled secondary and their inability to stop big plays. With Jay Cutler returning to the Miami offense, there were worries that these struggles would continue. Cutler had a great game, throwing for 311 yards and three touchdowns and completing 80 percent of his pass attempts. He even brought the Dolphins to within three with 22 seconds left on a five-play, 83-yard touchdown drive. The Raiders defense almost blew the lead again, but the ensuing onside kick went their way.

At the end of the game, the Raiders gave up 309 passing yards and 86 rushing yards despite the Dolphins trying to find a new lead back in Kenyan Drake. Oakland did record one sack and TJ Carrie recovered a Drake fumble.

Special Teams: A

After the Miami Dolphins scored on their long touchdown drive at the end of the game, the Oakland Raiders special teams had to cover an onside kick, and did so to hold on to win the game. This was a huge play that the Raiders hope will allow them to turn their season around. In the kicking game, Giorgio Tavecchio was perfect on the day, with two field goals, including a long of 53 yards and three PATs. Marquette King punted the ball three times, pinning two of them inside the 20.

Coaching: C-

The Oakland Raiders were winning the game 27-16 in the fourth quarter. They needed to run the clock out to pick up the much-needed win. With the Raiders on the 49, they tried to run the ball twice, but gained no yards. There were just over two minutes left and the Raiders needed to run more time off the clock and then punt the ball if they didn’t pick up the first down. Instead, the Raiders called a long pass play and Derek Carr threw the ball deep down the field on a play that resulted in an interception. The Dolphins then had time to score another touchdown and put the game within three.

All season, the Raiders have been throwing the ball when they should be running it and calling plays that make little sense when they do have the lead. It almost cost them another loss in this game.

Up Next

However, the Oakland Raiders won and moved into second place in the AFC West with a 4-5 record. This is because the Denver Broncos lost in a blowout to the Philadelphia Eagles and the Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) were on a bye week. It also helps that the Kansas City Chiefs fell to the Dallas Cowboys and the one team that the Raiders have the tiebreaker over is only two games up in the AFC West with plenty of time remaining this season. The Raiders now head into their bye week after a big win and have a chance to try to get healthy in their secondary before they return for their toughest game of the season, a home contest with the New England Patriots on Nov. 19.

Raiders Team Grades: Raiders Fall To Bills In Turnover-Plagued Game

By Shawn Lealos

The Oakland Raiders beat the AFC West division-leading Kansas City Chiefs in their last game, giving the Chiefs only their second loss of the season. However, the Raiders couldn’t follow up their big win this week when they turned the ball over four times and lost to the Buffalo Bills, 34-14, on Sunday. Following a game full of mistakes, here is a look at the Raiders’ team grades for their Week 8 loss.

Offense: C-

The Raiders offense has struggled to get anything going this season. That is even more distressing since the team was without Marshawn Lynch for this game due to a suspension. As a result of their struggles, the Raiders finished with four turnovers that cost them the game. Derek Carr, who returned early from an injury a few weeks weeks ago, threw two interceptions compared to just one touchdown toss. He did throw for 313 yards one week after throwing for more than 400 against the Chiefs. However since returning from his injury, in a span of three games, he has tossed four interceptions and only five touchdowns.

Lynch hasn’t been the lynchpin that the Raiders hoped when they signed him and let Latavius Murray leave for the Minnesota Vikings. Lynch has only eclipsed 50 yards twice this season. Murray hasn’t been much better in Minnesota, but the Raiders continued to struggle in the running game, even without Lynch. DeAndre Washington led the way with only 26 yards on six carries, while Jalen Richard chipped in with 21 yards on five carries.

When it came to the passing game, the receivers had a decent outing. Michael Crabtree grabbed five balls for 83 yards while Amari Cooper caught five for 48 yards. Even Lee Smith and Cordarrelle Patterson caught some balls. However, it was Washington who led the way with eight catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. At the end of the day, Carr had nice numbers that were spoiled by the turnovers and lack of touchdowns.

Defense: D

The Raiders defense can’t stop anyone when suffering through their numerous injuries. With players out of action in the secondary and in the linebackers corps, the Bills exploited the remaining players. LeSean McCoy had his best game of the season, running for 151 yards and a touchdown, allowing the Bills to run the clock and control the game.

Tyrod Taylor wasn’t asked to do nearly as much as the Raiders threw onto Carr’s shoulders. Taylor threw 27 passes, completing 20 of them, but only averaged 8.25 yards per completion. He was efficient, throwing one touchdown and no picks, while also running for a touchdown. Because Buffalo threw the ball 27 times and ran it 37 times, they completely controlled the game with a 35:37-24:23 time of possession advantage. The Raiders couldn’t stop the Bills in this game and lost as a result.

Special Teams: C+

Giorgio Tavecchio didn’t attempt a field goal in the rainy conditions on Sunday and kicked two extra points. Despite being questionable on the injury report, punter Marques King played and his injury clearly held him down. Averaging over 50 yards a punt this season, he averaged only 38.25 yards per punt in this game, and when considering one of the punts went 51 yards, it was even worse.
Coaching: D

Despite trailing by only two scores until the fourth quarter, the Raiders only ran 14 running plays in the game and threw the ball 49 times. With all the turnovers, it seemed that Jack Del Rio was less interested in safe play than he was in trying to hit a home run—something that never happened. The Raiders are now 3-5 on the season, and are losing the goodwill they built up last year; a lot of the blame has to go on the play calling and coaching staff.

Up Next

Next week, the Oakland Raiders travel to Florida to battle the Miami Dolphins. This is a huge game because the Raiders are sitting in last place in the AFC West and have a losing record in the conference as well. With the season halfway over for Oakland, they are running out of time to turn things around, and they play the New England Patriots the week after Miami.

Raiders Team Grades: Carr Returns, But Raiders Lose In Last Second To Chargers

By Shawn Lealos

The Oakland Raiders knew that they needed a spark to stop their skid, as the team had lost three games after starting the season with a 2-0 record. Oakland brought back quarterback Derek Carr—who could have missed up to six weeks with a fracture in his back—after missing only one game, hoping he could lead the team to a victory. However, things did not go as planned; the Chargers shut down the Raiders offense in the second half and ended up winning the game with a field goal as time expired, 17-16. Here is a look at the Oakland Raiders team grades following their fourth consecutive loss of the season.

Offense: C

For at least the first quarter, it looked like things were right again with the Raiders offense. Despite an interception on his first pass attempt of the football game, Carr turned things around on the Raiders’ second possession and led them on an 11-play touchdown drive. On those first two possessions of the game, Marshawn Lynch gained 33 yards rushing, and Carr rebounded from the interception to complete 4-of-4 passes for 45 yards, including a nice touchdown strike to Michael Crabtree.

However, the Raiders did not reach the end zone again until Cordarrelle Patterson ran for a 47-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Carr finished with two interceptions in his first game back from the injury, while completing 70 percent of his passes for 171 yards. He was only sacked once, which was a small positive.

Marshawn Lynch, who has struggled to live up to his reputation since signing with the Raiders, had his best game since the season opener. He carried the ball 13 times for 63 yards with a season-high 4.8 yard-per-carry average. Michael Crabtree had six receptions for 52 yards and scored his second touchdown in two games since he returned from his injury stint.

By the end of the game, the numbers might have looked good, but the Oakland Raiders failed to score enough points to win and fell into last place in the AFC West as a result.

Defense: D

Just like the offense, the Raiders defense looked good at times, but fell apart when the team needed them to step up. After limiting the Chargers to just seven points in the first three-quarters of play, they gave up a touchdown in the fourth quarter and then allowed Philip Rivers to lead the Chargers on a game-winning drive to win the game with a last-second field goal.

When it came to stopping the run, the Raiders did their job, limiting the Chargers to 80 rushing yards and star running back Melvin Gordon to only 83 yards. However Rivers threw for 268 yards and a touchdown, was just sacked once, and did not throw an interception in the game. The damage came in the fourth quarter. Rivers led his Chargers on a 10-play, 59-yard drive, completing 5-of-7 passes, including a six-yard touchdown strike to Gordon to take the lead. After the Raiders retook the lead on their next drive, Rivers had one more chance with four minutes to play. The Chargers QB completed a 34-yard pass to Hunter Henry and then a 23-yard pass to Henry, and that was all it took to kick the field goal and win the game.

The Raiders used up all their timeouts on this drive, but their defensive line couldn’t stop Gordon from moving the chains and letting the time tick down. The fact that the Raiders couldn’t stop the Chargers when they needed to cost them the game.

Special Teams: D

The Raiders have been pleasantly surprised by kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, who stepped in for the injured Sebastian Janikowski and has been spotless this entire season. After starting the season off a perfect 8-for-8 on field goals and 12-for-12 on extra points, he had his first big miss of the season and is a big part of the reason the Raiders had no chance to win this game. After the Raiders scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to retake the lead, Tavecchio missed the extra point. What should have been a three-point lead was now a two-point lead, and the Chargers kicked the game-winning field goal to win by one point.

On the positive side, Cordarrelle Patterson and Jalen Richard combined to average 22 yards on kick returns, and punter Marquette King put all four of his punts inside the 20.

Coaching: D

The Raiders have now lost four straight games. Bringing back Derek Carr early wasn’t enough to get this team back on track. The Raiders can’t seem to run the ball regularly to control the clock, and their defense has holes in it that makes it almost impossible to stop teams from scoring on them. The fact that the Raiders had timeouts to spare at the end meant nothing when their defense couldn’t stop the Chargers from running the ball when it counted. This team has major problems right now, which is surprising after how well they played last season.

The Raiders are now 2-4 and in last place in the AFC West thanks to the tiebreaker loss to the Chargers. The worst news is that they only have four days until they retake the field and face the division-leading Kansas City Chiefs, who just suffered their first loss of the season to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Chiefs will want to rebound with a big win, and the Raiders have to figure out how to turn their season around before it is too late.

Raiders up 20-6 at halftime, thanks to Michael Crabtree

The Raiders look perfectly at home on the road. Especially when Michael Crabtree is involved. Oakland’s up 20-6 at Jacksonville, going for what would be a fourth straight road win this season. Of course, the Raiders are only 1-2 at home, which takes some of the shine off things, but they’re cruising today. Derek Carr…

Derek Carr will be careful throwing in Marcus Peters’ direction

Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters leads the NFL with four interceptions. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr knows that well. Carr said today that as he prepares to face Peters on Sunday, he’s doing it with the knowledge that Peters is as good as some receivers at going up, getting his hands on the ball and coming down…

Raiders take lead back as part of wild sequence vs. Chargers

A Melvin Gordon fumble opened the door, and now the Raiders lead the Chargers, 27-24, at the start of the fourth quarter. It was 10-9, Chargers at halftime, so it’s a bit of an understatement to say the third quarter was wild. Michael Crabtree made an acrobatic touchdown catch to give the Raiders the lead…

Chargers throwing, scoring at will in Oakland

The Chargers-Raiders game is starting to turn the shootout many thought it would be. After Melvin Gordon turned a short pass into a touchdown early in the third quarter, the Raiders needed just five plays to answer. Then the Chargers came right back, needing just three plays of their own before Hunter Henry caught a…

Raiders struggling to finish drives with touchdowns

The Raiders keep missing opportunities and failing to finish drives. They trail the Chargers, 7-6, midway through the second quarter. They’ve twice settled for field goals after first and goal situations and also missed a 50-yard field goal after a Sean Smith interception. The Chargers capped a 60-yard drive early in the second quarter with…

Turnovers the early story in Chargers-Raiders

The Chargers and Raiders are off to a frenetic start. There just aren’t many points to show for it. The Raiders hold a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter. The teams traded turnovers to start the game, then a Sean Smith interception late in the quarter set up the Raiders with great starting position…

Raiders expected to place Lee Smith, Ben Heeney on injured reserve

The Oakland Raiders came out of Sunday’s win over the Baltimore Ravens with a pair of players with significant injuries. According to Michael Wagaman of the Associated Press, Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said Monday that tight end Lee Smith and linebacker Ben Heeney are both likely to be placed on injured reserve after…

Raiders hail Michael Crabtree as “great leader,” “game-changer”

The Raiders have a supremely talented young receiver in Amari Cooper. And while Michael Crabtree used to be the guy who got described that way, he’s now becoming known as something more important — clutch. The veteran wide receiver’s third touchdown reception yesterday was the game-winner against the Ravens, following his game-winning two-point conversion in…