Four questions facing Raiders: How will Jacoby Ford bounce back?


Four questions facing Raiders: How will Jacoby Ford bounce back?

Programming note: Chat with Raiders Insider Paul Gutierrez tonight at 6:30 p.m. leading up to tonight's preseason game in Arizona!GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Raiders are still searching for their first points of the new era after being shut out, 3-0, by Dallas on Monday so yeah, you could say there are questions heading into Friday night's second exhibition, against the Arizona Cardinals. Will they be answered in the 7 p.m. game, broadcast live on KTVU Channel 2 and KICU Channel 36?
Possibly, but as the Raiders continue their drive to the season opener, the fun, really, is in process and watching it all unfold. Four questions, then, in the form of downs, facing fans and the Raiders heading into their exhibition game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Each question will be published at staggered times leading up to kickoff...First down
How will Jacoby Ford bounce back?
He's as explosive as he is diminutive and Ford had an exhibition opener to forget on Monday against Dallas. He was absolutely crushed on the opening kickoff, did not fight hard enough on an interception thrown his way, dropped a pair of passes across the middle and muffed a punt. "It's definitely not the way I wanted to come out and put anything on film like that," Ford told reporters this week. "But games like that happen and that's why you've got to have a short-term memory and put it behind you. Good thing is, it's preseason so you kind of just put that behind you now and go into the next game, work on improvements the next time." With Denarius Moore still out with that strained hamstring, Ford figures to start again at a wide receiver position, opposite Darius Heyward-Bey. Much had been made about a better chemistry between Ford and quarterback Carson Palmer, who took full responsibility for the pick, but it was seemingly nowhere to be found in the opener. Might they rekindle it in the Arizona desert?

Cooper or Crabtree? Raiders dare opponents to pick their poison

Cooper or Crabtree? Raiders dare opponents to pick their poison

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars tried to take Raiders receiver Amari Cooper out of Sunday’s game. Sticky corner Jalen Ramsey shadowed the second-year pro, and was effective making quarterback Derek Carr look the other way.

It wasn’t that Ramsey dominated every play. Carr simply had more favorable options available.

Michael Crabtree was the best one. He turned the Jaguars game on its ear with a touchdown catch, a third-down conversion and a massive bomb caught over his shoulder for 56 yards.

Carr targeted Crabtree 11 times in Jacksonville, with eight completions for 96 yards and a touchdown.

Teams scheming against Cooper operate at their own peril this season, because that typically leaves Crabtree in a juicy matchup.

That was the case in Week 7, but it doesn’t always work that way.

Opponents also fear Crabtree, and for good reason. He has been clutch in the season’s first half, likely playing the best football of his career.

The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t want Crabtree to have a big day in Week 6, and put top-flight cornerback Marcus Peters – who can’t keep up with Cooper’s speed – on his trail. Crabtree was largely negated in that effort, though Cooper dominated to the tune of 10 receptions for 129 yards on 13 targets. Crabtree, by far Carr’s most frequent receiver, was only thrown to four times.

Carr’s message to future opponents from those two games: pick your poison.

“You have to always be ready for everything, and I think that our staff does an amazing job of giving me a lot of options for those instances,” Carr said at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, before Wednesday's practice. “If they’re going to take away (Cooper) this game, we have to get the other guys going. If they’re going to take ‘Crab’ away, we have to get the other guys going.

“What’s great about that (position group) is they’re all good with it. We just want to win. That’s what it comes down to, how can we push the ball down the field… I think our staff does an amazing job of filling that kind of stuff out if they’re trying to take one or the other away.”

Fluctuating target counts can be frustrating for receivers, who are often considered divas demanding the football at all times. The Raiders don’t have those personalities, a luxury quarterbacks dream about.

“We’re together, man,” Crabtree said. “We’re trying to win by any means. We know what’s at stake and I feel like we’re doing everything it takes to win.”

Sometimes, that means being unselfish. Ignoring stats can be tough for wideouts, but that isn’t an issue with two top receivers under contract an extended stretch.

Cooper and Crabtree have different playing styles and personality types, yet yin and yang in this Raiders offense without issue.

“We complement each other well,” Cooper said. “Having multiple options is really great to have, especially guys that threaten defenses.”

Fan dies after falling while leaving Broncos game

Fan dies after falling while leaving Broncos game

DENVER -- Authorities say a fan has died after falling 60 feet at the Denver Broncos' stadium after a game on Monday night.

Stadium Management Co., which operates Sports Authority Field at Mile High, said the fan fell over a railing.

The medical examiner's office said Tuesday the man was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead. He was identified as 36-year-old Jason Coy.

Denver police say he was sitting on a railing when he fell. Witnesses and emergency responders immediately tried to help.

The incident occurred near the north end of the stadium following the Broncos' game against the Houston Texans.

In a statement, the Broncos said the team is "reviewing this tragic incident and will continue to maintain all necessary safety measures for our fans."