ALAMEDA -- As a predominantly power-blocking team last season, the Raiders were the No. 7-ranked rushing team in the NFL, averaging 131.9 yards per game on the ground.Through four games of the 2012 season utilizing the zone-blocking scheme, the Raiders are 32nd in the 32-team NFL -- last -- in averaging 60.8 rushing yards per game.Still think the switch should have been seamless, and that the ZBS is similar to what the Raiders ran last year?"It's very different in the run game," center Stefen Wisniewski told CSNCalifornia.com following the Raiders' final pre-bye week practice on Wednesday. "Yeah, it really is."How, exactly?Wisniewski's eyes rolled and he smiled."Well, I mean, I'd get technical on you," he said with a laugh. "Yeah, it's, I mean, the footwork, the aiming points, just everything is. The whole goal's different -- you're trying to get people to run sideways and make a cut, instead of trying to move people, drive them off the ball. So, the whole broad scheme is different and then all the little details are different, with all the footwork and everything and the combinations."But we're getting more comfortable at them and the more reps we get, we're just going to keep getting better and the more reps the (running) backs get, they're going to keep getting better because it's different for them, too. The reads are all very different."Keep in mind, the Raiders' offensive line is still rounding into form, what with Wisniewski making the transition from left guard to center after missing all on-field work this offseason recovering from shoulder surgery before a calf injury sidelined him in the exhibition season. And Willie Smith is replacing the injured Khalif Barnes at right tackle. Plus, it's not like Oakland can practice the cut-blocking in practice against teammates."It's definitely close and we really feel we're continuing to get better at it," Wisniewski said. "You know, it's not an easy thing to pick up right away. It takes time, it takes practice and it takes game practice, too. It's a different look than practice (when) you can't really cut guys. It's a whole different deal."It's a things that's going to take time and we're definitely moving in the right direction and we're definitely close to where we want to be."And therein lies the frustration."It's tough," Wisniewski said, "and we certainly want to be seeing results right now but coaches have been good and encouraging, encouraging us to be patient, keep working, keep getting better and just trust that it's going to work and we believe it is going to work."
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had pass rushers all around, but evaded them just long enough for Amari Cooper to do his thing.
He put an extra move on Marcus Peters and came free over the top. Carr saw his favorite target wide open, stepped up amid the chaos and let it fly. His volley went skyward, and Cooper veered right, tracking it as gravity brought the ball back. The pass ended up falling left, too far for Cooper to catch it.
“That’s a play we typically make,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said Thursday. “We didn’t make it tonight.”
The Raiders were down 21-13 in the fourth quarter when that opportunity came about. Neither team scored again, and that result moved Kansas City over the Raiders and atop the AFC West.
There were other chances to score, including a long drive that stalled at the Kansas City 19-yard line with two minutes remaining. The deep incompletion came on 3rd-and-7 on the Raiders’ penultimate series, and a missed connection proved costly in their comeback efforts.
The whole exchange was uncharacteristic. Cooper doesn’t believe he misread the pass or took a false step to his right. He said it altered course at the worst time.
“I didn’t stumble,” Cooper said. “The ball, as it was coming down, moved at the last minute. That’s why it looked like I might have stumbled. I was running in the right direction and it kind of moved inside at the last minute, and I didn’t have time to get it.”
That has led many on social media to claim Carr’s pass hit a cable supporting a Skycam, a mobile camera that gets aerial shots during a game. The technology uses a series of cables to give the camera free motion over the field.
There is no conclusive video to show whether a ball hit the cable. Carr’s pass leaves the frame and doesn’t come back into view until it’s already off course.
NBC is certain the camera didn’t play a role in one of many missed opportunities to complete a comeback and beat the Chiefs.
“The camera is always behind the play and cables are really high over the surface,” NBC executive producer Fred Gaudelli said in an email to Deadspin. “Look at the replay we showed from sky cam - if anything hits the wire it would effect a bump in the camera and you would see that on the air.”
Punts have hit camera cables before, and NFL rules mandate a down be replayed if interference occurs.
The NFL mandates the camera always be behind the play. On the third down in question, the camera was in the Raiders backfield as it should’ve been.
There’s no solid evidence that the ball hit a cable, it’s entirely possible Carr’s pass simply went awry. The typically accurate quarterback struggled with touch all night, and never found the passing rhythm characteristic of his MVP-caliber season.
Arrowhead Stadium often has unpredictable wind gusts that could’ve changed trajectory upon descent. No Raiders or official questioned the play at the time, which fell harmlessly incomplete when the Raiders needed a big play.
To see the replay in slow motion, click here.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Marquette King had a bad day at work. The Raiders punter rarely does, and celebrates his exploits with dances catered to each opponent. He has become a social media maven in recent weeks, by far the NFL’s most interesting punter.
On Thursday night, the opposition fought back. King mishit a punt that gave lightning quick Tyreek Hill an opportunity to return a punt 78 yards for a touchdown.
He also couldn’t get a slightly-off-target snap down in time for Sebastian Janikowski to kick a makable field goal.
All told, King punted eight times, and didn’t land a single one inside the 20-yard line. His 31.1-yard net average was 10 yards below his season average.
King’s no-good-very-bad day took a strange turn on the punt return touchdown, when Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce approached King and did a bronco riding dance King debuted in Week 9 against Denver. Kelce did his dance and then barked at the Raiders young punter, which was followed by a terse exchange.
"He told me I didn't have any rhythm," Kelce said on NFL Network. "I told him, 'Trust me, wait until I get until the end zone.'"
King took to Twitter after the game:
I told him I don't need a reality show to find a girl lol... https://t.co/O54A8nCA0b— Marquette King (@MarquetteKing) December 9, 2016
King also found Hill in the end zone and said unkind things that ultimately got him flagged for taunting.
That was the end of a bad sequence where King didn’t hit the punt right. His coverage was angled left, and he hit it straight.
“We kicked it right to a dangerous guy,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “We didn’t want to kick it in the middle of the field. We wanted to get it to the sideline or out of bounds, but we just missed. He’s too dangerous a guy to give that type of opportunity to.”
Osemele taken to hospital: Raiders left guard Kelechi Osemele was taken to a Kansas City hospital on Thursday morning with an undisclosed illness.
He wasn’t ready to play on Thursday night, and was a late scratch. Vadal Alexander and Jon Feliciano played left guard in Osemele’s stead, but the Raiders missed their emotional leader along the line.
Del Rio said Osemele should be fine with a few days rest, and should be ready to practice when the Raiders resume football activity early next week.
“It was significant enough that we wanted to make sure he got the proper care,” Del Rio said.
Osemele was able to travel home on the team charter.
Another strong day for Murray: The Raiders passing game couldn’t get much going against Kansas City. The same can’t be said for the run game. The Silver and Black totaled 135 yards on 31 carries, an effort led by Latavius Murray’s fine day. He had 103 yards on 22 carries, the second straight game he has exceeded 100 yards total offense.
Murray kept the offense afloat while the air attack struggled, including several key runs on a late comeback push that was ultimately unsuccessful. Murray also scored his 12th rushing touchdown of the season, matching the highest total since Marcus Allen had a dozen touchdowns in 1990.
This ‘n that: Raiders receiver Amari Cooper exceeded 1,000 receiving yards for the second straight year, becoming the first Raider to reach four digits in the first two years of his career. He is the third player in NFL history with at least 70 catches and 1,000 yards in his first two pro seasons. …Khalil Mack had a strip sack for the third straight game, which extends a marvelous run of defensive play. Mack has a sack in eight straight games, and has eight sacks, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in the last six games. …The Chiefs have won four straight games against the Raiders, and sit atop the AFC West with three games to play.