Dissecting Raiders' blown coverage on winning play


Dissecting Raiders' blown coverage on winning play

ALAMEDA -- The film is getting the Zapruder Treatment, so to speak.Which Raiders defensive player blew the coverage on Buffalo's game-winning touchdown, on which receiver David Nelson found himself more open than 711 in the middle of the end zone on 4th and 1 from the Oakland 6-yard line? Heck, Ricky, Ozzie, Harriet and the whole mop-haired Nelson band would have been open in the end zone on the blown coverage.The Raiders were in a somewhat unusual 5-2 defensive alignment, with John Henderson joining Lamarr Houston, Tommy Kelly, Richard Seymour and Matt Shaughnessy on the defensive line and linebackers Rolando McClain and Kamerion Wimbley filling in behind. Plus, Michael Huff was not on the field, instead replaced by Matt Giordano, who joined Tyvon Branch and cornerbacks Chris Johnson and Stanford Routt in the secondary.

The Bills had no timeouts remaining and there were 18 seconds left in the game. So by being in a 5-2 defense, did the Raiders expect the Bills to run for the first down and then spike the ball?"You never know," offered Raiders rookie coach Hue Jackson. "We wanted to make sure we were covering every base. Whether they ran it, we felt like we were going to be in a great position to stop the run, or whether they threw it, we felt we were in a good enough coverage to get that stop. We didn't get it done."Not to pick the scab off the game-winning play, Raiders fans, but it went down like this:Going right to left from the offensive side of the ball, Routt was on the receiver at the top of the field, cheating on Stevie Johnson, who was in the slot and covered by Branch. Giordano was the deep safety ready to help Branch. So that basically has the Raiders with three players on Johnson.On the other side of the ball, Wimbley, was on the tight end. McClain was manning the middle and Johnson was following Nelson, who went into motion toward the center.But after the ball was hiked to Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was in the shotgun, Johnson left Nelson to go with running back C.J. Spiller into the left flat. So too did McClain, leaving the middle of the field wide open."It was," Johnson said, "an easy pitch and catch."Still, Henderson nearly tipped the pass from the line of scrimmage.So, who, exactly, blew their assignment again?"Coach Jackson left the guy wide open," Jackson said, attempting to take the bullet. "That's it. I mean, guys, look, look. Like I told you before: we're going to win as a team, lose as a team. I'm not putting that on (one) player."I'm the head coach of this football team and we lost. End of story, OK? I'm not pinning anything on one player because it starts with me. I left the guy wide open, in the end zone and we lost. Fourth down, end of discussion. They won the game, that's it. We move on from there."Jackson, a college quarterback at Pacific, did however acknowledge that the Raiders were in a man-to-man defense, not zone. Meaning Nelson was Johnsons man. Unless the Raiders were in a man-scheme that passed the coverage off. Which would mean Nelson was McClains man.So the mystery is solved. Unless its not.

Raiders offensive lineman next in line for extension with Carr's deal done

Raiders offensive lineman next in line for extension with Carr's deal done

The Raiders locked up Derek Carr last week, signing their franchise quarterback to a five-year, $125 million contract extension.

He isn’t the only member of the 2014 draft class worthy of a raise. Edge rusher Khalil Mack will get a big one, likely at some point next offseason. The Raiders have some time with Mack after exercising a fifth-year contract option available for first-round picks.

General manager Reggie McKenzie didn’t have that luxury with Carr, and his 2014 second-round pick cashed in before formally entering a contract year.

Right guard Gabe Jackson could do the exact same thing. McKenzie prefers to draft, develop and reward homegrown talent, and the 2014 third-round pick should be next in line to do so.

McKenzie has said back in March that he’d like to extend Jackson’s contract, though there isn’t a deadline to do so.

“There’s no timetable,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “But, I alluded to earlier in the offseason that Gabe is one of the guys I want to get locked up.”

That could happen later this offseason, or further into training camp. Despite paying Carr an NFL-record $25 million in 2017, his contract is structured in such a way that there’s room for another offseason extension. That was important for Carr, that the Raiders can sign other members of this young core.

“We figured out a way to do it,” Carr said, “so that we have the opportunity to sign the other guys that I think are important to this organization.”

The Raiders have roughly $18 million in salary cap space after the Carr deal. Some of that is earmarked for the team’s top three draft picks, which remain unsigned to this point. A large sum could go to Jackson as incentive to sign up early, well before he’s eligible to hit the unrestricted free agency.

The offensive guard market is booming, with bigger deals going to a position group generally lower than other spots on the offensive line. The Raiders contributed to that inflation in 2016, signing left guard Kelechi Osemele to a five-year, $58.5 deal with $25.4 million in guarantees.

Osemele is one of eight guards with contracts worth $40 million or more, a list that includes two right guards. Jackson played left guard – the more valued position – until Osemele showed up. He moved to the right without complaint.

Jackson thrived there as well. He didn’t allow a sack in 2016, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus, with 27 quarterback pressures in 735 pass-blocking snaps. Jackson has been a strong run blocker as a pro, where he has started 44 games in three NFL seasons.

Finding proper value to entice Jackson to sign while remaining on budget is McKenzie’s next task, trying to keep a valuable offensive lineman in place for years to come.

Carr plans to spread new wealth after Raiders contract extension

Carr plans to spread new wealth after Raiders contract extension

ALAMEDA – Derek Carr isn’t one for extravagance. The low-key Raiders quarterback already has some nice cars, a house and some luxury items to his name, but signing a $125 million contract extension Friday morning won't prompt a spending spree.

Cornerback Sean Smith suggested he get a Bugatti. That’s a $1 million car.

“Yeah,” Carr said with a smirk. “That’s not going to happen.”

That isn’t the 26-year old’s style. Carr had a his own plan after signing on the dotted line.

“I’ve been eating clean,” Carr said. “I’ll probably get Chick-fil-A.”

That makes sense. This is a guy who celebrated his first NFL victory with a trip through a Carl’s Jr. drive-in.

There will be other purchases. His wife Heather will get something nice in the near future. His family, especially Heather and sons Dallas and Deker, will be taken care of for life.

After all that, Carr plans to spread the wealth.

“The exciting thing for me moneywise, honestly, is this money is going to help a lot of people,” Carr said. “I’m very thankful to have it, that it’s in our hands because it’s going to help people. Not only in this country, but in a lot of countries around the world. That’s what’s exciting to me.”

Carr and former Raiders running back Latavius Murray took a missionary trip to Haiti, an impoverished nation had a profound impact on the star quarterback.

“I’ve been down to Haiti and I’ve seen some of those struggles that they have and the kids there, and my heart just… I cry sometimes thinking about it,” Carr said. “So, just knowing that we can go down there and make a difference and help, those are the kind of things that the money makes me kind of like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Because now we can really do some things to help a lot of people.”

He plans to support those in that area, in addition to global and domestic charities he has been involved with over the years. Don’t expect a press release accompanying every donation. Carr would rather keep those decisions private.

“I’m going to do my best to make sure no one knows what we do with it,” Carr said. “I’ll just say this, I can assure you that it’s going to help a lot of people. I’m not stingy. My business manager will probably be on me saying, ‘Hey man, that’s enough.’ I won’t get into when, how or why. It’s not all about that for me. It’s about making a difference. That’s what’s exciting for me is that we’ll be able to do that.”