Raiders key matchup No. 2: Adams vs. McCluster

adams_phillip_mccluster_dexter_split.jpg

Raiders key matchup No. 2: Adams vs. McCluster

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Chiefs matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m. (CBS), at the O.co Coliseum

Raiders CB Phillip Adams vs. Chiefs WR Dexter McCluster

Tale of the tape
Adams (28): 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, third season, South Carolina State
McCluster (22): 5-foot-8, 170 pounds, third season, Mississippi

ALAMEDA -- Wait, isn't the diminutive Dexter McCluster more of a hybrd slot receiver/running back than a wideout? And isn't Phillip Adams more of a punt returner than a cornerback?

Well…

Injuries being what they are, McCluster is second on the depth chart to the physical specimen that is Dwayne Bowe--out with an injury to the ribs--and Adams has proven himself so valuable at corner that Oakland cut Ron Bartell this week. So here we are, even if Joselio Hanson is the Raiders' nickel defensive back and McCluster primarily lines up in the slot. Sure, Adams might see more of Terrance Cooper or Jon Baldwin, but the if-and-when matchup between Adams and McCluster is the most intriguing.

"I’m excited that I get to compete every day," Adams said this week. "I take great pleasure coming out here to play football.  It’s a game we all love. I just plan to keep on competing and being there for my teammates and everybody in the organization."

Adams, with his fourth organization since 2010, has two interceptions for the Raiders, one in each of his last two games. He suffered a concussion on the first one, against Cleveland's Brandon Weeden, and was knocked out of that game. He kept the ball as a keepsake after picking off Denver's Peyton Manning on Dec. 6.

"He competes very well in the pass game," said Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. "He needs to wrap up and tackle with his eyes up a little bit better. That’s where he can improve. But he’s competing in the pass game and continuing to finish. He’s made plays on the ball. Of course he caught one and knocked himself out. We’d prefer if he doesn’t knock himself out, but it was a heck of a catch.

"But he competes in the pass game and that’s the key.”

If and when he faces McCluster, Adams will have lots of competition.

Far from a deep threat, but speedy nonetheless, McCluster has 41 receptions for a career-high 358 yards, and also 11 rushing attempts for 60 yards in 13 games with five starts. In the Raiders' 26-16 victory at Arrowhead Stadium on Oct. 28, McCluster caught a career-high tying six passes for 54 yards and his lone touchdown of the season.

Adams, meanwhile, may have found a home in Oakland after stops across the Bay as a seventh-round draft choice of the 49ers, in New England and in Seattle. His confidence is growing as well.

"I think I just have more experience (now)," Adams said. "Repetition is the father of learning. If you get enough reps and you get that much experience, you gain that much confidence. I’m starting to gain that much confidence and feel like I can be an impact on my team."

Report: Former Raiders RB arrested for domestic violence

richardson-trent-raiders-pensive.jpg
AP

Report: Former Raiders RB arrested for domestic violence

Trent Richardson is reportedly in some trouble.

Richardson was arrested on Thursday night for domestic violence, according to TMZ Sports.

The former running back was taken into custody on a third degree charge, the report states, with bail being set for $1,000.

The arrest was made in Hoover, Alabama.

The Browns selected Richardson with the third overall pick in the 2012 draft.

He was traded to the Colts in 2013 and played for Indianapolis in 2014.

He signed with the Raiders in 2015 and appeared in three exhibition games, but did not make the team.

The 26-year old was cut by the Ravens last August.

Downing: Carr will have increased influence on Raiders game plan

Downing: Carr will have increased influence on Raiders game plan

Derek Carr and Todd Downing are tight. A strong friendship was forged between the Raiders’ franchise quarterback and his position coach these past two seasons, one that should help the Raiders now that Downing will call plays.

The Raiders new offensive coordinator will use his young signal caller as a resource formulating a game plan. Carr has a bright offensive mind – he called his own plays in high school and in college at times – and Downing plans to use it to put his quarterback in positions to succeed.

Carr’s influence in preparation will expand over previous seasons under coordinator Bill Musgrave.

“Where I see him needing a little bit more command is just being able to share his thoughts of game plans,” Downing said Wednesday in a conference call. “Being a student of the game, as he already is, but vocalize what he likes and doesn’t like. I think my relationship with him is something that’s going to give him the opportunity to voice his opinions. I look forward to him really taking charge of expressing his thoughts on the offense.”

Carr has always had freedom to adjust at the line of scrimmage, but that could increase with Downing in charge. Derek Carr’s brother Davis Carr told 95.7 The Game as much a few weeks ago, a topic Downing addressed on Wednesday.

“There’s been a lot made about his command at the line of scrimmage,” Downing said. “There’s certainly going to be opportunities for Derek to do that. That’s not something I feel we’ll even have to get into until we’re much further into this offseason and into training camp.”

Downing had opportunities to interview with other teams this offseason, but head coach Jack Del Rio wanted to pair Downing and Carr together. The young duo have similar personalities and a strong working relationship based on a love of the game.

“My relationship with Derek starts there,” Downing said in Wednesday interview on 95.7-FM. “We both love coming to work each day and respect the heck out of each other. When you have that kind of relationship with any coach, you’re taking a step in the right direction. Derek’s the leader of our franchise. In my opinion, he’s the best young quarterback in football. We’re fortunate to have him. Why wouldn’t I be in a good mood every time I am around him?”

Carr made great progress working with Downing the past two years, and was an MVP candidate in 2016. Downing sees continued room for growth and refinement as next season approaches.

“I think Derek made big strides in 2016, just in terms of his command of the offense, being the field general, being able to get through progressions more efficiently,” Downing said. “His footwork took big strides. I certainly want him to remain focused on all of those attributes. You don’t want to feel like you’ve arrived in a certain area of your game and then have it go backwards when the next season starts. Certainly, I want him focused on all of those.”