No NFL regular starting quarterback has been sacked fewer times than Derek Carr. Latavius Murray has 11 touchdowns in as many games, with steady production running between the tackles.
These Raiders aren’t dumb. Carr and Murray know their success comes in large part from the big boys up front.
They acknowledged that with an early holiday gift. Carr and Murray bought five offensive linemen courtside seats to Monday’s game between the Warriors and Indiana Pacers.
Donald Penn, Gabe Jackson, Menelik Watson, Rodney Hudson and Austin Howard all attended that game and enjoyed watching Klay Thompson put up 60 points in a blowout Warriors win.
Afterward the Raiders had a shootaround on the Oracle Arena floor, without much success. Howard missed a dunk, an effort he says was complicated by wearing slacks and dress shoes. Murray missed a layup. “I was fouled,” he said with a smile. Donald Penn missed a free throw, though “my shoulder hurt.”
Then Carr stepped up and buried a 3-pointer much to the remaining crowd’s delight.
Taking care of offensive linemen is common in these parts. Last year Carr bought his line flatscreen televisions. Amari Cooper gave everyone Beats headphones. Warriors tickets were on the docket this year, in addition to a dinner at Carr’s house last week.
The Raiders were able to have a little fun after Monday’s practice as they prepare for a road game at Kansas City on Thursday night.
ALAMEDA – The Raiders are taking in easy in practice prior to Thursday night’s game against Kansas City. They conducted a walk-through on Monday and Tuesday, the only day to increase intensity during this compacted work week, they practiced without helmets.
A lightened load is designed to help the Raiders be as physically ready for the rival Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday in a battle for control of the AFC West.
“I think you do the best you can to recover as we begin our preparations,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “That’s just part of it. I know late in my career, if you played on a Thursday, you’re going to take some soreness into the game, typically. The older guys for sure. Some of the younger guys even.”
The Raiders don’t need many repetitions at this stage, and can prep largely through mental work.
It’s also a bit easier because the division rivals know each other well, especially after meeting in Week 6. That should ease some burden of playing a huge game on a short week.
“I think both teams, from that standpoint, it helps a little bit,” Del Rio said. “You’re not scrambling to get to know somebody. I think both teams experience that.”
The short week takes a physical toll on healthy and hurt players alike. There isn’t enough recovery time for either. Those healthy are sore. Those hurt likely won’t have time to make it back.
That seems to be the case for rookie strong safety Karl Joseph. His injured toe has kept him out two light practices, making it tough to see how he could be ready to go on Thursday.
Defensive tackles Darius Latham and Stacy McGee were also out, along with edge rusher Shilique Calhoun.
Raiders participation report
Did not practice: LB Shilique Calhoun (knee), S Karl Joseph (toe), DT Darius Latham (ankle), DT Stacy McGee (ankle)
Limited participation: LB Cory James (shoulder), LG Kelechi Osemele (knee)
Chiefs participation report
Limited participation: OLB Tamba Hali (knee)
Full participation: WR Jeremy Maclin (groin), NT Dontari Poe (back), DE Kendall Reyes (knee), CB Phillip Gaines (knee)