Injuries, lack of speedy playmakers the problem for Raiders


Injuries, lack of speedy playmakers the problem for Raiders

MIAMI -- Are you buying what the Raiders are selling when they say Rolando McClain's legal escapades this week did not distract them against Miami?Even after the Dolphins thoroughly embarrassed the Raiders, 34-14, in a game that wasn't even that close?"No," huffed coach Hue Jackson. "That has nothing to do with getting beat like we just got beat."Added free safety Michael Huff: "No, this is football. Once we line up between the white lines, all the distractions are gone. It's man on man and they just outplayed us today."And this from Raiders defensive tacklepoet laureate Tommy Kelly: "That didn't have nothing to do with it. Whatever happened with Ro, it didn't have nothing to do with what went on out there today. Everybody knew what it was, so it wasn't no distraction. He probably got himself in trouble, and it's something he is going to have to handle, and something he is going to have to clean up, but that didn't have nothing to do with what happened today."Thing is, I believe them. Whole heartedly.In this corner, the Raiders falling to a lousy 6-25 on the East Coast since December of 2002 had more to do with their injuries finally catching up to them than any off-the-field shenanigans provided by their middle linebacker.Or, who was not on the field for Oakland, rather than who was on the field.Explosive offensive playmakers Darren McFadden (who has not played since Oct. 23), Jacoby Ford (Nov. 10) and Denarius Moore (Nov. 20) and even rookie speedster Taiwan Jones (also Nov. 20) all being inactive for the second straight game was simply too much to overcome.Against Chicago last week, the Raiders slugged it out and prevailed.Against a nastier, more physical Dolphins defense? Not so much.The Raiders could not establish their running game. Simple as that. And by the time they started making any noise offensively, it was already 34-0."We got behind and got away from the run," said Michael Bush, who was held to 18 yards on 10 carries. "We just got our butts kicked today."Earlier this week, I questioned whether Bush was starting to wear down from his increased workload in the absence of McFadden. Now, I wonder if it's actually the offensive line that's hit a wall.For the second week in a row, Oakland's grunts up front have had it handed to them."We just got killed," offered rookie left guard Stefen Wisniewski."Our offense is only going to work when we run the ball. We're a run-first team and last couple of weeks haven't been running it like we should have been, and that's why we're not performing at our highest."See, both lines getting dominated has nothing to do with McClain's arrest and the wake of negative attention."They didn't show us anything we weren't ready for; they just beat us," Wisniewski said. "They were more physical than we were."And getting bullied by the Dolphins for the second year in a row -- Miami allowed the Raiders only 46 yards on the ground on 14 carries Sunday after giving up just 16 yards on 12 carries in a 33-17 Miami on Nov. 28, 2010 -- might be a more damning indictment than being distracted."Umm, I'm going to choose my words carefully," said usually verbose safety Mike Mitchell. "Miami played very well. They played very physically. We didn't play very well, and we, I don't know if we matched their physicality in the run game."That's an extremely tough pill to swallow because we had done so good stopping the run for three weeks and we came out here knowing what they were going to do. Today really feels like an ass-whupping more than a loss, because they didn't run anything we didn't know they were going to run. I think we just more got beat physically than tricked, so to speak."The Raiders' playmakers bring more than speed; they also bring trick plays that supplement Oakland's mauling style. At least when it works.Sunday, nothing worked for the Raiders.And as far as McClain was concerned, he had a game-high eight tackles, despite missing several snaps due to missed practice time this week, and not because of any punitive measures.Distraction? McClain was approached by a veteran teammate in the hours after he met the team in South Florida."I done got a DUI and you don't want that," Kelly said. "I told Ro that himself, 'You don't want that type of attention on yourself. You don't want people to remember you as that. You get a label in this league, it's hard to wipe it off.'"I told him, 'Dog, that ain't you. I work with you everyday and I know that ain't you. You're not that guy. You made a mistake, learn from it. That's the big thing.' As long as he learns from it, he'll be alright."Are you buying it?

Week after signing with Vikings, ex-Raiders RB Murray undergoes surgery

Week after signing with Vikings, ex-Raiders RB Murray undergoes surgery

A week after signing a deal with the Vikings, former Raiders running back Latavius Murray has undergone ankle surgery.

The Vikings made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

Minnesota issued the following statement regarding the surgery:

"Vikings RB Latavius Murray had successful ankle surgery today. The surgery was performed by Dr. Bob Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were aware of the required surgery prior to signing Latavius on March 16. Latavius is expected to fully recover and be available for training camp."

Murray's deal with the Vikings is reported worth $15 million over three years, but can reportedly be voied after the first year.

Drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Murray became the Raiders' primary running back midway through the 2015 season. In his three years in Oakland, Murray carried the ball 543 times for 2,278 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015.

Ex-Raiders tight end signs deal with Jaguars

Ex-Raiders tight end signs deal with Jaguars

After four seasons with the Raiders, tight end Mychal Rivera is on the move.

The 2013 sixth-round pick has signed a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team announced.

News of an agreement between the two sides was first reported by ESPN. Terms of the deal were not immediately known.

After playing a prominent role in Oakland his first two seasons, Rivera saw his numbers decrease in 2015 and 2016. This past season, he caught just 18 passes for 192 yards and one touchdown.

In his time with the Raiders, the Tennessee alum caught a total of 146 passes for 1,413 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Raiders signed free agent tight end Jared Cook last week to go with incumbents Clive Walford and Lee Smith.

Shortly after the deal was announced, Rivera took to Instagram to thank Raiders fans.

"Thank You #RaiderNation. It was an honor to wear silver and black for the first 4 years of my NFL career. A kid from LA was drafted to the Bay...and God made a way! Wins, Losses, Blood, Sweat, & Tears made me the player I am today. Better than ever. The values that embody what it is to be a Raider will stick with me for life," Rivera wrote.