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Raiders notebook: Smith benched, Carr’s somersault, musical chairs on the line

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Derek Carr celebrates after somersaulting his way to a first down.

Derek Carr celebrates after somersaulting his way to a first down.

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NEW ORLEANS — The Raiders signed Sean Smith to be a shutdown corner. He spent the final quarter and a half of his debut Sunday watching from the sidelines.

Smith was benched after giving up a 98-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Cooks in the third quarter of Oakland’s 35-34 comeback win over the New Orleans Saints.

The man who signed a four-year contract worth nearly $40 million this offseason watched as his replacement DJ Hayden got called for two fourth-quarter pass interference penalties. It was a fairly stunning move for one of the Raiders prizes in free agency.

Coach Jack Del Rio didn’t hold back after the game, bluntly acknowledging that Smith was yanked for giving up that big score.

“He had a rough day,” Del Rio said of Smith. “He’s going to play good football for us. He’s a good player, but he had a rough day so yeah, we took him out. He’ll be back and he’s going to play well for us, but he didn’t play well today.

Getting burned by Cooks wasn’t the only play Smith gave up on a afternoon the Raiders allowed 507 yards, including 423 passing yards to Saints quarterback Drew Brees. But it was the most glaring.

Smith, at 6-foot-3, 220-pounds, has length and size to press receivers and win physical matchups. On the Cooks touchdown — the longest passing play and the longest scoring play in the Saints’ 50-year history, he never laid a hand as Cooks got to the outside and up the left sideline.

Once he got a step on Smith, the only issue was the pass from Brees. That hit Cooks in stride and it was smooth sailing for the touchdown.

Defensive end Khalil Mack said he talked to Smith on the sidelines.

“I let him know, ‘Let that go. Let those bad plays go’,” Mack said.

Like Del Rio, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said he has plenty of faith that Smith will bounce back from his rough first showing.

“I told Sean, ‘Hey man, you are one of the best corners I’ve ever played in my life’,” Carr said. “Anyone who wants to challenge that, we can go back and watch the film and see that he is a shutdown-type corner, he really is. Some days it’s going to be like that.

“It’s going to hurt. It’s going to sting. It’s going to be hard to sleep tonight. But I know him. He’s going to come back and be the same dominant guy that he his and he will be for us. … I’m not worried about him and I don’t think our fans should be either.”

* Derek Carr went flying to pick up a first down, then was promptly told to never do that again.

In the second quarter, with the Raiders facing a third-and-9 in a tie game, Carr went scrambling toward the left sideline. He knew exactly where he needed to get to and when De’Vante Harris came up to try to tackle him, Carr went airborne.

Carr somersaulted over Harris and picked up the first down. He immediately leapt back to his feet to signal the first down right along the Saints sideline.

He also immediately knew what he was going to here on the sideline.

“All the coaches, all my teammates, all the doctors, Mr. Davis, if he was down there, they said, ‘Man, that was so cool and awesome but don’t ever do that again’,” Carr said.

* The Raiders play with only seven active linemen and they needed every one of them.

Starting right tackle Menelik Watson left the game with a groin injury late in the second quarter. Then his replacement Matt McCants was carted off the sidelines in the third quarter with a knee injury. Neither returned.

This all went down while Austin Howard, the presumed top backup tackle and a 13-game starter last year, was out after suffering an ankle injury 10 days earlier in the exhibition finale.

The Raiders had to get creative and Donald Penn moved over and played his first NFL snaps at right tackle. Kelechi Osemele shifted from left guard to left tackle and Jon Feliciano entered the game at left guard.

Penn said after the McCants injury he asked Osemele which tackle spot he wanted to play.

“I was hoping KO was going to go to right, but he picked left so I had to go to right,” Penn said, smiling. “Hopefully it’s not too serious and we get those guys back because I’m not trying to play right again. But if I do, I’ll whatever it takes to win. They know I’ll do whatever they tell me to do.”

* This was the Raiders first season opening win since 2011. They became the fourth team to ever score the game-winning points on a two-point conversion in the final minute and the first to do it in an opener.

* When he stepped on the field for the opening kickoff, Sebastian Janikowski set a franchise record for seasons played with the Raiders at 17, breaking a tie with Tim Brown.

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Jimmy Durkin

Sports writer for the Bay Area News Group, covering the Raiders.

  • Raider O

    I have no idea. They posted new articles during and after our week 1 victory.

  • Raider O

    IBA said that?

  • MEX_GHOST

    Is there a link from a special section of that blog??

  • inonewordraider

    Jerry and durk emailed bloggers back that theyd be focusing on merc news, that they dont know if any more posts

  • RaidingTexas

    Read the “Note” at the beginning of this post.

    Someone posted an email reply from Durkin a couple days ago. he said it’s just easier to post new stories at Merc news.

  • inonewordraider

    Is east bay disqus?

  • Raider O

    Ok thx bud. You have my info, if I get lost in the exodus, please send me a msg. Lol

  • inonewordraider

    Shoot me another email bro excellencere@yahoo.com, def hit me up for sd tailgate if you dont have plans

  • ForHundred8

    No, today will not be the ‘one where Vegas gets an NFL team’…. owners still have to vote.

  • inonewordraider

    The iraq…such as

  • The owners vote will go similar to this.
    Tons of posturing, some ironing out to do, but ultimately a near unanimous vote in favor.

  • RaidingTexas

    Wow.

  • ForHundred8

    We shall see.

  • easyant13

    Damn, what’s the new location?

  • Clark County Commish @Giunchigliani – “There’s so much in the details that have not been vetted.” #SNTIC

    ^^^^^^^^
    She sounds like me, took her long enough

  • willy91137

    There is I guess the Mercury news is different from East Bay they both have blogs

    there used to be the Oakland Tribune and they were all put into one paper Dublin and Livermore I thought San Jose was in that two but I guess it wasn’t I guess we have to find out which one were going to invade

  • inonewordraider

    Bloggers are divided, already some posting at mercurynews, check top of this post the links in red

  • RaidingTexas

    Yep. Articles are exactly the same as Merc. But the comment sections – while both Disqus – appear to be independent.

  • Guest123
  • willy91137

    I think they both are

  • inonewordraider

    And the 750 m?

  • willy91137

    No

  • She lost the 2011 mayoral election to Mayor Goodman and is just bitter about it all.

  • City of Oakland overplayed their hand, and are now getting bleed on the turn and the river.

  • RaidingTexas
  • MEX_GHOST

    I dont see the diference, exactly the same news, format and Disquss in borh sites.

  • SB3

    That much “public contribution” will be really hard for the owners to turn down.

  • easyant13

    Prolly Won’t Get That Till MEJ comes back

  • willy91137

    I don’t think it makes any difference but we won’t all be together like we are now

    you go to the article and you read it and then you can make comments on what you read
    yesterday I was on the Mercury and most everybody was on their

    today I go over there know there’s only five or six comments on each story

  • SB3

    Heeney isn’t the guy at MLB. We could use a massive upgrade at that position imo
    https://twitter.com/sfchronicle/status/776481265692266496

  • willy91137

    But which story is everybody on

  • inonewordraider

    Malcolm aint any better

  • inonewordraider

    Yea but getting a yes vote on 750 m gna be tough

  • willy91137

    God I hope you are wrong

  • Raiders21

    Ways away, but Jarrad Davis LB Florida

  • Joe Arrigo ‏@joearrigo 23s23 seconds ago

    A 7-member stadium board proposal with no city representation, passes 10-1, @mayoroflasvegas only no vote. #SNTIC

    ******************************************
    Damn, mayor Goodman got the shaft on that one.

  • inonewordraider

    So ur saying comments get erased?

  • inonewordraider

    Wow

  • RaidingTexas

    I thought she was pro-stadium?

  • ForHundred8

    DA?

    ““He’s improved on his assignments and he still flies around and makes the plays he needs to make.””

  • MEX_GHOST

    She wants to win votes.

  • Next up, cap on 39% public subsidy

  • I think that gets shot down but we will see

  • RaidingTexas

    So you’re saying the city is largely against the stadium?

  • willy91137

    No comments do not get erased say there is a story about the defense and you go down to the bottom and make some comments there is another story on the offense other people or over there

  • She is, she wanted to be on the committee board but everyone else didn’t want her on it apparently.

  • MEX_GHOST

    No, she wants the stadium but didnt say it, to win votes, acting like she is supporting the taxpayers.

  • SB3

    New post!! Not kidding. It’s coming to an end.

  • SB3

    Both are sub-par