Breaking down 'inadvertent whistle'


Breaking down 'inadvertent whistle'

CINCINNATI -- To be sure, the "inadvertent whistle" did not cost the Raiders the game. Not when the final score was 34-10 in favor of the host Cincinnati Bengals.But the flashpoint of when the referees lost control of this contest did not help matters much. And if the Raiders are able to play it right, they can use the circumstances that surrounded it as a springboard, of sorts, for the rest of what many already see as another lost season.Here's what happened, with 7:31 remaining in the game: Cincinnati faced a 3rd and 6 at their own 20-yard line when Andy Dalton found Mohamed Sanu near the left sideline at the 25-yard line. Joselio Hanson hit Sanu immediately and stripped the ball free, and before it went out of bounds, a hustling Hanson tapped the ball to keep it in play. Tyvon Branch scooped it up and ran it in for a touchdown that, with a made extra-point, would have gotten the Raiders to within 27-17.ExceptPaul G's Instant Replay: Bengals 34, Raiders 10
The referees huddled and tried to figure out what exactly had happened. After several minutes, the ruling was that an inadvertent whistle had blown the play dead and by rule, the Bengals could either A) take possession of the ball where the play was ruled dead, which would have made it 4th and 1, or B) play the down over.Of course the Bengals chose the latter, and drove down for a touchdown.
"I was unaware that a ruling of an inadvertent whistle would give them the opportunity to choose what they wanted to do," said Raiders rookie coach Dennis Allen. "It was unfortunate."Asked if he could give an "honest assessment" of the play without getting in trouble with the league, Allen shook his head."Probably not," he said.Hanson said the inadvertent whistle call was also a first for him."Never in my life," he said. "I thought it was a bad call. At least it's (supposed) to be fourth down. You don't give a team another chance to get the first down."I felt that if we would have gotten that touchdown, then anything can happen."But it did not, obviously."I didn't see the play, so I don't know what happened," said Bengals coach Marvin Lewis. "All I saw was the ball on the ground and them picking it up. So in my opinion, it was a big break to get the opportunity to go back at it again and them not having the ball there, or a touchdown. There were still seven minutes to go in the game."A review of the film showed that line judge Julian Mapp was standing over the play and a whistle blew just as the ball was about to go out of bounds, but before Hanson actually slapped it to keep it from going out. Perhaps the ref blew the whistle early and in anticipation of the ball going out?The ref's mistake in blowing an inadvertent whistle did not reward the defense.In any event, former NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira Tweeted "that play should have been ruled incomplete pass in the first place," which would have made it 4th and 6.But then the melee that ensued probably would not have happened.

Injury report: CB Sean Smith questionable; Washington TE Reed's status uncertain


Injury report: CB Sean Smith questionable; Washington TE Reed's status uncertain

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Raiders are remarkably healthy heading into Sunday night’s game against the Washington football club.

The entire 53-man roster practiced fully on Friday, before heading to the nation’s capital.

That includes veteran cornerback Sean Smith, who missed the previous game with a neck injury. A shoulder ailment cropped up during the week, which prompted the Raiders to label him questionable heading into Week 3. Smith’s the only Raider on the injury report, and even he’s in decent shape.

“I mean we put it on there because there’s still a little bit of a question,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “You don’t have probable’s anymore. Given the choices, I just left him that way.”

That means the Raiders are going to have some healthy scratches a week after Smith was the only injured player sitting out.

Washington has some impact players on the mend. That included tight end Jordan Reed, who is questionable with a rib/sternum injury. He stands 6-foot-2, 246 pounds and is the type of receiving tight end that gives the Raiders fits. He has 1,638 yards 17 touchdowns the last two seasons, using good hands and a large frame to create mismatches in the secondary.

It’ll be key for the Raiders to defend him well if he’s active, with Nicholas Morrow as a primary coverage option.

“We’re prepared to face him,” Del Rio said. “We think he’s a good player. We’ll approach it that way and adjust if he doesn’t go.”

Washington also lists starting inside linebacker Mason Foster and running back Rob Kelley as questionable.

Raiders Injury Report
CB Sean Smith (neck/shoulder)

Washington Injury Report

TE Jordan Reed (rib/sternum), LB Mason Foster (shoulder), RB Rob Kelley (rib), S Monate Nicholson (shoulder), CB Josh Norman (shoulder)

Karl Joseph living up to first-round billing with early impact for Raiders

Karl Joseph living up to first-round billing with early impact for Raiders

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Raiders safety Karl Joseph notched his first career forced fumble in Week 2’s blowout victory over the New York Jets. It came on his first sack, where he bent around a tackle into the pocket and devoured his pray.

Joseph recovered the ball, and the Raiders quickly scored a touchdown. The second-year pro enjoyed that moment, but left the game with regrets.

"I should have definitely had more sacks than I did,” Joseph said. “I feel like I should have had three.”

Joseph had quarterback Josh McCown in the crosshairs three times, and feels like he should’ve finished each one. The game plan provided opportunity. Joseph blitzed six times – fellow safety Reggie Nelson attacked thrice – and pressured the quarterback four times.

It was a relatively new responsibility, considering he blitzed nine times all last year. Joseph will be first to say he was a different player then. He was less explosive, more tentative and a smidge less confident, lingering effects from an ACL tear during his final college season. Joseph was cleared to play as a rookie but wasn’t all the way back, doubly hampered by missing an offseason program where rookies grow quick.

"I wasn’t completely myself,” Joseph said in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports California. “I feel a lot more like myself this year. I obviously feel better physically, and the year of experience in the system has definitely helped. So has adjusting to the NFL life. That’s been an easier transition for me.”

Joseph is playing more like his highlight reel from West Virginia, where he proved a heavy hitter and a solid cover man worthy of last year’s No. 14 overall draft pick. The Jets game isn’t the only evidence of that.

Joseph had an excellent training camp, flashing an aggressive style and solid timing making plays in practice. That translated to the regular-season opener at Tennessee, when he saved a touchdown on consecutive plays. The first came on an open-field tackle. The second was a leaping pass breakup in the end zone, proof positive that Joseph was ready to make a big impact.

"He’s really good close to the line of scrimmage,” defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said. "He’s a really good tackler in the open field. He also plays well on the back end. I think his development is right on time right now.”

The Raiders recognize that, and are using him like a queen on the chessboard. He can move back or forward, as an attacker or the last line of defense. He’s a rover at times, with an ability to create havoc at all levels of the defense.

Joseph is an excellent fit for the defensive scheme, bring a tone-setting physicality to the secondary. He is learning, as part of his development, that the nuclear option isn’t always best. There are times when it is, and Joseph enters those scenarios without fear.

"You can’t play worried about getting hurt. That’s not the way I play,” Joseph said. “It’s about being smart. I had to adjust my game coming into the NFL. Every hit can’t be a big hit. Sometimes you have to be smart and just wrap people up, but you can’t ever play scared.”

He isn’t afraid to take risks or attack when asked, and is already making a major impact on this year’s defense. That isn’t a surprise. It’s expected of first-round picks.

"That’s what he’s supposed to do. He’s supposed to make plays,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He’s a guy we selected because we thought he’d be a guy that could come in and impact on our defense. In the first two games of this year he’s played well. There are still things, like I tell you all the time, that have cleaning up to do, work to do, things to improve on, but he’s off to a good start and obviously it follows up from a good offseason. Healthy, a lot of good work and confidence that he’s gaining as we go.”