34

Jack Del Rio moving on, Derek Carr eyeing Super Bowl, Menelik Watson regains starting job

Share

ALAMEDA — Raiders coach Jack Del Rio was in the business of moving on Monday, declining to discuss any additional details on the status of quarterback Derek Carr’s broken fibula.

“I’m not really going to shed any more light on it,” Del Rio said at his weekly news conference. “I think at some point there may be more details that follow, but I don’t have any for you today.”

Carr, according to an ESPN report, will have surgery on Tuesday in Los Angeles. But Del Rio claimed to not be aware.

“I don’t know the details,” Del Rio replied when asked specifically when Carr’s surgery would occur.

Carr’s brother, NFL Network analyst David Carr, did however confirm on air that Carr’s surgery will take place Tuesday in Los Angeles. He also said Derek is eyeing a return if the Raiders can reach the Super Bowl.

“I’m there and they say six to eight weeks,” David Carr said on NFL Network of the initial recovery diagnosis, “and he quickly does the math in his head and he’s like, ‘That’s the Super Bowl.’

“Me as a fan, I’m like, ‘Do the Raiders have a chance without him?’ I’m thinking that way. But for him, he feels so much love for this team and this team is such a good football team, he really thinks that they can go out and do that.”

Carr’s injury occurred exactly six weeks and a day before Super Bowl LI in Houston and Tuesday’s surgery would leave him just under six weeks to recover in order to play in that game. That’s obviously taking the absolute most optimistic approach.

For Del Rio though, Monday was all about looking forward to Sunday’s game on the road against the Denver Broncos, where the Raiders (12-3) have a chance to clinch the AFC West with a win or a Kansas City Chiefs loss to the San Diego Chargers.

They’ll do so with Matt McGloin under center ,as the former undrafted free agent will make his first start since 2013. He’s 1-5 all-time as a starter.

“Really competitive guy,” Del Rio said of McGloin. “Really attacks his preparation. A little bit fearless. I think he’s got a little bit of a chip on his shoulder, I’d say.”

McGloin showed some of that fearlessness in Saturday’s 33-25 win over the Indianapolis Colts with his throw to a double-covered Amari Cooper on third-and-8 that allowed the Raiders to run out the clock.

“We expect our guys when they step in and play, to play well, and we expect to win with them,” Del Rio said. “He made a couple of nice throws at the end there.”

— The Raiders weren’t the only ones shaken by Carr’s injury.

Colts linebacker Trent Cole, whose fourth-quarter sack of Carr led to the injury, was initially unaware of the extent.

“Things happen, and it sucks that it happened,” Colts said, according to the Indianapolis Star. “He loves to play football just like I love to play football. I hope he’s OK, man. I really do.”

Later a reporter told him the diagnosis. Cole quickly looked away.

“There was no intent,” Cole said, a phrase he repeated several times, even as reporters left his locker.

— It took more than three months, but Menelik Watson did enough to reclaim his starting job at right tackle.

Watson, with little fanfare, was the surprise starter in place of Austin Howard Saturday in the Raiders’ win over the Colts.

Health permitting, it will stay that way, as Del Rio gave Watson a thumbs up for his performance.

Health has been a constant issue since Watson was a second-round draft pick out of Florida State in 2014. He was winning the starting job over Howard last season before a torn Achilles ended his year.

This season, Watson opened as the starter but didn’t finish the opener, leaving with a groin injury. He missed Week 2 against Atlanta, came back to face Tennessee in Week 3, but departed with a calf injury.

Inactive for five weeks, Watson was gradually worked into a role as an extra tight end.

Line coach Mike Tice likes Watson’s athletic ability and nasty attitude. Del Rio left it up to Tice to re-insert Watson into the lineup.

“I trust coach Tice on that,” Del Rio said. “He’s been grading out pretty well. He’s been working very yard. We felt it was justified that he earned his way back into the starting lineup. We didn’t give it to him. We just played the guy that was playing well and gave us the best chance to win.”

Howard was designated as inactive because rookie Vadal Alexander has more experience in the role of being a blocking tight end.

Watson’s original four-year contract expires at the end of the season, making him eligible for unrestricted free agency.

— Defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. played 18 snaps in his first action since being activated off injured reserve after a preseason hip injury.

“It was really good to get him back,” Del Rio said. “We wanted to cap it 20, 30 (reps), somewhere in there. It was a solid first outing and I know he had a big smile on his face. He was just happy to be back in the action and to have a chance to play again.”

— Wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who has been dealing with a finger injury in recent weeks, missed time in Saturday’s game but Del Rio seemed to indicate he’s fine.

“He’s been banged a little bit, but he’s been making his way to the ball games, so I don’t have anything to add to that right now,” Del Rio said.

Share

Jimmy Durkin

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