Routt wins early battle, Raiders win the war

926751.jpg

Routt wins early battle, Raiders win the war

BOX SCORE

KANSAS CITY -- They tried to say the politically correct things."I don't care," said Darrius Heyward-Bey. "It's about the Raiders and the Chiefs.""It's not about Stanford Routt," barked Brandon Myers."It wasn't anything deeper than what you all are trying to make it out to be," said the man himself, Stanford Routt.Except, the subplot of Routt, a Raiders cornerback for the first seven years of his NFL career, playing against his first team for the first time since it cut him in a cost-cutting move was the most delicious of the day. Especially after Carson Palmer went after him on the first play of the game with a bomb down the left sideline, and Routt picked it off -- after his twice pushing off Darrius Heyward-Bey was not called by the officials.Yes, Routt won that battle, but the Raiders won the game, 26-16, before a silenced and stunned Arrowhead Stadium crowd.INSTANT REPLAY: Raiders 26, Chiefs 16
Palmer, though, was not into much subterfuge on this day."We tried to set the tone early," Palmer said, "let him know what kind of day it was going to be."We were going to come in and attack him. Later, they did a good job clouding his side and double-covering with the safety on some plays. We had a specific game plan and stuck to it."And there it is. Palmer was not being boastful, mind you, merely taking off the PC filter and breaking it down. Because after Routt's initial interception, the Raiders went right back at him. And went at him some more.Both of the Raiders' touchdowns occurred with Routt in the vicinity, if not outright covering the play.The first time, Palmer threaded the needle between Routt and Brandon Flowers and hit Denarius Moore in the back of the end zone with 49 seconds remaining in the first half to give the Raiders a 13-6 lead.The second time, Palmer hit Heyward-Bey on an out pattern on the left sideline. Heyward-Bey easily shook Routt, who attempted to tackle him by the feet, and was gone for a 32-yard touchdown catch and run that put the Raiders up 23-9 with 5:40 to play in the third quarter."I figured they'd try me," said Routt, who also picked up an illegal contact penalty on 3rd and 7 late in the first quarter to give the Raiders a first down."But you think about that with every quarterback and every team you go against as a corner."Earlier in the week, Raiders safety Mike Mitchell joked that he wanted Palmer to go after Routt, to make him earn his money after Routt had told him he'd be getting paid by half the AFC West this year.Two offseasons ago, Routt was re-signed by Al Davis to a three-year, 31.5-million deal, with 20 million guaranteed, before re-structuring to a five-year, 54.5-million contract in 2011 training camp with the same 20 million guaranteed. Due a 5 million base salary for 2012 new Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie cut Routt, on Feb. 9, the day before a 5 million "signing bonus" was to kick in.Perhaps this was one of the "out-of-whack" contracts of which McKenzie spoke?Eleven days later, Routt with the Chiefs a reported three-year, 20-million deal with 4 million guaranteed.Yes, Mitchell had a point.So, honestly, were the Raiders targeting Routt specifically, or was it all just one big coincidence?"I mean it was just part of how the game played out," insisted Raiders coach Dennis Allen. "We wanted to be able to take a couple of shots over there. But I think the game just dictated, based on what they were playing, the ball went over there a little more often."It was the right thing to say, even if it wasn't completely forthcoming.

Injury report: Raiders interior D-line ailing; Amerson says he's ready

Injury report: Raiders interior D-line ailing; Amerson says he's ready

ALAMEDA – The Raiders interior defensive line is ailing, with tackles Darius Latham and Stacy McGee ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.

They were formally designated unavailable Friday on the team’s official injury report.

The timing isn’t great from a Raiders perspective. They’re facing the NFL’s best rushing attack, and will need others to play more snaps and stop Buffalo’s run game effectively.

Dan Williams and Justin Ellis are effective run stoppers and must carry an increased workload. Jihad Ward and Denico Autry will also work extensively in the middle.

While a significant hamstring injury will forced the Raiders to place DJ Hayden on injured reserve, David Amerson expects to be back after missing last game with a knee injury.

He was limited in practice all week and is considered questionable, but feels good enough to go.

“I feel good, man,” Amerson said. “I'm ready to get back out there and compete.”

They’ll need him and Sean Smith to anchor on the outside, with TJ Carrie now stepping into the slot role.

The Raiders will also be without reserve edge rusher Shilique Calhoun, out a second game after having a procedure on his knee.

Starting interior linebackers Perry Riley and Malcolm Smith are considered questionable with hamstring strains.

Quarterback Derek Carr was a full participant every practice this week and was taken off the injury report. He threw a second straight day without a glove.

Bills head coach Rex Ryan said receiver Sammy Watkins will play on Sunday against the Raiders despite a broken foot. Local reporters have suggested his snap count may be down.

Buffalo will miss cornerback Ronald Darby and receivers Percy Harvin and Robert Woods, who were ruled out with injury.

Bills Injury Report
Out

WR Robert Woods (knee), CB Ronald Darby (concussion), WR Percy Harvin (illness)
Questionable
OLB Lorenzo Alexander (ankle), OT Cordy Glenn (back), S James Ihedigbo (ankle), WR Sammy Watkins (foot), TE Charles Clay (knee), G Richie Incognito (neck), DT Marcell Dareus (abdominal), RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring), S Sergio Brown (wrist), G John Miller (shoulder), WR Marquise Goodwin (wrist)

Raiders Injury Report
Out
LB Shilique Calhoun (knee), DT Stacy McGee (ankle), DT Darius Latham (ankle)
Questionable
CB David Amerson (knee), WR Michael Crabtree (ankle), C Rodney Hudson (knee), RB Latavius Murray (ankle), OL Kelechi Osemele (knee), LB Perry Riley Jr. (hamstring), LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring)

Raiders to place DJ Hayden on injured reserve: 'A big blow'

Raiders to place DJ Hayden on injured reserve: 'A big blow'

ALAMEDA – Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden was a productive member of the Raiders secondary this season. He found a role in the slot and filled it well, playing with aggressiveness and confidence as the team’s third corner.

This was a positive step after injuries and effectiveness plagued the 2013 first round pick early in his NFL tenure. During Sunday’s victory over Carolina, his career took another cruel twist.

He got tangled up with receiver Kelvin Benjamin early in the fourth quarter, landed awkwardly and suffered a hamstring injury that ended his season early.

The Raiders will place Hayden on injured reserve before their home game against Buffalo, head coach Jack Del Rio announced on Friday afternoon.

"He has a substantial hamstring injury, and won’t be returning this year for us,” Del Rio said. “That was a big blow. It’s unfortunate. He was playing well.”

Hayden has played his last down of the season. He might’ve played his last down as a Raider as well. He was not offered a fifth-year team option afforded to first-round picks, and is set to be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

The Raiders locked up David Amerson and Sean Smith to long-term contracts this offseason.

If Hayden walks, it would mark a disappointing end for Reggie McKenzie’s initial first-round pick. Hayden battled with injuries early in his career. He was drafted No. 12 overall despite having a heart issue stemming from a practice incident at the University of Houston. He played eight games as a rookie and landed on IR with a groin strain.

Hayden missed the first six games of 2016 with a foot issue, but rebounded well and played 37 consecutive games before hurting his hamstring against Carolina.

“It's tough,” Amerson said. “It's the way the league goes, man. It sucks individually for DJ and for us as a DB unit because he was an important piece.”

TJ Carrie will become the Raiders’ slot cornerback, a position he held as a rookie. He started 14 games last season, but has taken a backseat with Amerson and Smith established on the outside.

“He’s been a pro all year,” Del Rio said. “He’s really been good for us. He played a lot bigger role last year, and has been prepared at all times to go in. We have a lot of confidence in TJ.”

Carrie has stepped in a lot lately, with Smith and Amerson missing time with injury in November. Rookie Antonio Hamilton now sits behind him as the No. 4 cornerback.