Can RB Jones make the switch to cornerback?

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Can RB Jones make the switch to cornerback?

One of the Raiders' many Achilles' heels all season has been the poor play in the secondary in general, at cornerback in particular.

Forgotten running back Taiwan Jones, who has seemingly not only had trouble holding onto the ball but retaining the playbook, is open to making a switch to the other side of the ball. The speedy Jones, after all, played cornerback in high school.

"That’s what I got my scholarship for in college, was to play corner," Jones, who played at Eastern Washington, said last week.

"I played my first year at corner and I didn’t switch until we had four senior running backs graduating, that’s when they asked me change over. Coming into the Combine, I actually thought I was gonna get looked at more at corner than running back but the majority liked what I can do at running back. Due to my foot injury I was only limited to work at one position and running back was what I came out as, obviously."

The Raiders used a fourth-round draft pick on him in 2011 and, while he was the second-string running back for much of training camp behind Darren McFadden and ahead of Mike Goodson, Jones has dealt with injury and lack of productivity to fall to fourth on the depth chart, behind undrafted rookie Jeremy Stewart.

He averaged 4.6 yards on 16 carries as a rookie but has just 21 yards on six carries this season.

Jones' work as a gunner on special teams has been a revelation, though. Enough to have him thinking about making a switch.

"Yeah, I’ve thought about it a lot," Jones said. "Really, I just love playing football. If they need me to play defense, I think I’d be pretty happy with that.

"I really don’t know until that happens. Just going out there at 'jammer,' and I feel pretty comfortable, it’s hard sometimes but that’s with any position. Until that time comes, I can’t really answer that question."

But does Jones think he could make the transition at this level?

"Yeah," he said, "most definitely."

Raiders DE Khalil Mack named PFWA defensive player of the year

Raiders DE Khalil Mack named PFWA defensive player of the year

Khalil Mack had 15 sacks in 2015. The Raiders edge rusher had four fewer a year later but, still had his best season yet.

As head coach Jack Del Rio likes to say, pass rushers aren’t judged on sacks alone.

That number was still high at 11, but Mack was dominant against the run. He created turnovers and consistently pressured the quarterback despite a steady dose of chip blocks and double teams. A third man was occasionally assigned, as one was late against Carolina.

Mack fought through a triple team and strip sacked Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. He recovered his own fumble and secured a Raiders victory. Then he did something similar the following week against Buffalo.

It was that type of clutch performance, in addition to all the standard metrics, that made Mack the NFL’s most dominant defensive player.

The Pro Football Writers of America agrees. The association named him the NFL’s defensive player of the year for the 2016 season by vote of their membership.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan was named the PWFA’s MVP and offensive player of the year.

Mack’s award could be a preview of a big moment early next month. The NFL will honor its best at awards banquet the evening prior to the Super Bowl, and Mack could be named defensive player of the year there.

That would honor a player with excellent numbers this season. Mack had 73 tackles, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, four passes defensed and an interception he returned for a touchdown. He also had 16 tackles for loss (one off the NFL lead) and had 96 total quarterback pressures.

Oakland police credit Raiders QB Derek Carr for helping find missing child

Oakland police credit Raiders QB Derek Carr for helping find missing child

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has 247,000 Twitter followers and, given his popularity in the Bay Area, it’s assumed a significant portion stems from this region.

Carr put that megaphone to good use.

Oakland Police sent out an Amber Alert on Saturday hoping to find a young boy gone missing, and Carr retweeted that call for public assistance.

The boy was quickly found after a citizen replied on Twitter and provided information that led to the rescue.

That led an Oakland police officer to credit Carr for helping find the boy.

Carr responded to the news on social media, happy police were able to find a missing child.