Can RB Jones make the switch to cornerback?

jones_taiwan_raiders.jpg

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 LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”

Del Rio’s anxiety level up with trio of Raiders going extreme in New Zealand

osemele-jones-trawick.jpg
Twitter/@KOseven0

Del Rio’s anxiety level up with trio of Raiders going extreme in New Zealand

Raiders Pro Bowl left guard Kelechi Osemele, running back Taiwan Jones and safety Brynden Trawick are currently enjoying their offseason in New Zealand. 

But a few videos they posted going white-water rafting and bungee jumping left head coach Jack Del Rio a bit anxious. 

"Anxiety level went up a bit thinking of my BIG pro bowl LG on the rapids!!" Del Rio tweeted Monday. "Can't leave out Brynden or Taiwan either ... have fun and be safe"

Osemele has posted a handful of photos and videos from the trip, including one of a raft capsizing with the caption: "It got real out there!!! Category 4 Rapids #NewZealand." Another showed the 6-foot-5, 333-pounder doing a backflip off a bungee platform with the caption: "Just did a backflip off the highest swing in the WORLD!!!!!!! Crazy!!! #LivingLife"