When will Raiders QB Derek Carr take snap from center? Mum’s the word



Staff photo

Derek Carr hasn’t taken a snap from iunder center in 231 snaps

ALAMEDA — When we last saw Raiders quarterback Derek Carr under center on Nov. 27, he exited with his right pinkie finger bent in different directions after an exchange with Rodney Hudson.

Since Carr’s return that day, he has taken 231 snaps from center — every one of them in either the shotgun or pistol formations, when the snap travels at least four yards through the air and with limited force on the hands of the quarterback.

Whether the Raiders return to plays run from under center against Indianapolis Saturday at the Coliseum remains to be seen, and certainly won’t be advertised by the coaching staff in advance.

In a 19-16 win over San Diego, Carr actually lined up under center late in the first quarter long enough to draw Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa offsides for a penalty. The ball was never snapped.

The rest of the game was strictly shotgun and pistol. Carr is playing with the finger taped, his brother David telling NFL Media at the time of the injury it was dislocated in two places.

While Carr directed the Raiders to a wins over Carolina and Buffalo, the offense has struggled in the last two games against division opponents Kansas City and San Diego with two touchdowns in 10 red zone possessions.

The Raiders haven’t run plays from under center in either short yardage or goal line, which usually calls for those formations, and even ran five snaps in kneel-down formations against Carolina and San Diego out of shotgun.

All of which suggests Carr’s pinkie is limiting the Raiders to some extent offensively, although neither coach Jack Del Rio nor Carr were conceding that point Monday.

“I wouldn’t draw any conclusions from that,” Del Rio said at his weekly press conference. “I think we’re doing what we think is right for us and it’s not that we can’t or we haven’t, it’s just that we’re choosing to proceed the way we are.”

Asked when he might be lining up under center on his weekly radio appearance on 95.7 The Game, Carr said, “I haven’t been limited at all. I’m taking snaps from center (in warm-ups). I did it before the game, for those that saw that. There’s no limitations so I’m just going to do what the coaches call.”

Since the injury, Carr has completed 53.3 percent of his passes (65 of 122) for 721 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, a passer rating of 75.2. A passer rating that was 101.2 at the time of the injury has dropped to 95.2.

On Nov. 6, the Raiders had their best rushing performance of the season, with 43 attempts for 218 yards against the Denver Broncos. They ran the ball from under center on 34 of those 43 carries.

It defies logic to suggest Del Rio and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave have made a conscious decision to abandon an entire section of the playbook and that it has nothing to do with the health of their quarterback.

In the postgame locker room after the Chargers win, Del Rio said using the shotgun in the red zone: was “an issue we’re working through . . . at some point (when) we feel better about going under center, we will.”

— Del Rio, while ecstatic for a fan base which hasn’t seen the playoffs since 2002, was getting on with the business of preparing to face the Colts.

“There’s been a drought here. We got here two years ago and talked about winning the division and being in the playoffs. The being in the playoffs part is there. The winning the division (part) is yet to be determined. We need to continue to work on that.”

— When Del Rio won a challenge which re-spotted a scramble gain by Carr for a first down, it was his third win in five challenges. The Raiders got a huge ruling in their favor when Michael Crabtree’s 13-yard catch was ruled a touchdown after originally being ruled out of bounds.

“I believe in getting it right when you can,” Del Rio said. “I’d like to see it expanded to any call you think is important enough for your  team. I’ve got a bunch of good people to help with that decision making. We’ve been fortunate to be on the right side of a bunch of those.”

— Wide receiver Amari Cooper caught one pass for 28 yards and has 12 catches for 138 yards in his last four games.

“It’d be nice to get him a few more balls, but I think at the end of the day, we want to stack up wins,” Del Rio said. “I think that’s the most important thing, but I think getting your premiere players involved is usually a good thing.”


Raiders notes: Secondary welcomes Philip Rivers throwing deep again, Darius Latham ready to return vs. Chargers


ALAMEDA — San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers offered his frank and honest assessment after his team’s first matchup with the Raiders this season.

“We didn’t think they could run with us on the back end,” Rivers said after a game in which he completed three passes of 50-plus yards.

“Well, evidently he was right,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said this week. “I mean, they got a couple behind us, so we’ll see if we can run a little faster this week.”

Rivers threw for 359 yards and four touchdowns in that game, averaging a whopping 17.1 yards per completion — the 10th-highest single-game average of his 13-year career.

Rivers’ longest connection was a 59-yard pass to tight end Hunter Henry and he also had a 54-yarder to Travis Benjamin. Both of those were of the shorter variety as the Raiders’ secondary struggled to make tackles. Continue Reading


Raiders notes: Carr looks to get bad taste of loss out of his mouth, Mario Edwards Jr.’s iffy status vs. Chargers, no timetable for Aldon Smith


ALAMEDA — The Raiders haven’t had to shake off many losses this season, so it was a welcome site Wednesday when they finally got back to the practice field to prepare for Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers.

There were plenty of benefits to the long weekend after losing last week on Thursday night, but the lingering taste of a bitter defeat wasn’t one of them.

“I’d rather play Friday night,” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “You never like to have that taste in your mouth of a loss.”

Carr and the offense had an uncharacteristically poor night in their 21-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. The third-year quarterback continually refuses to blame the conditions or his still injured right pinkie finger.

“It was just execution,” Carr said after evaluating the tape from his 17 of 41 for 117 yard performance. “There was literally inches. There’s a whole bunch of plays that I think about that we always hit and for whatever reason, sometimes it was good feet and the route was good, and we just missed by an inch. Sometimes that happens in practice and you never want it to happen in the game. To be honest with you, it was just execution.”

Did any camera wires have anything to do with those mere inches in which the Raiders were off? Carr said he has no idea. Continue Reading


Raiders notes: Osemele missed game due to kidney stone, Raiders rested after mini-bye

Raiders guard Kelechi Osemele (70) missed the Chiefs game with a kidney stone but said he is good to go against San Diego. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Raiders guard Kelechi Osemele (70) missed the Chiefs game with a kidney stone but said he is good to go against San Diego. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

By Jerry McDonald

ALAMEDA — The Raiders returned to work Tuesday rested and ready.

And in the case of left guard Kelechi Osemele, relieved.

It turns out the “illness” which caused Osemele to be a late scratch from last Thursday’s 21-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs was a kidney stone, something he revealed to reporters following practice in excruciating detail.

“It’s frustrating, but you really don’t have control over the things that happen with your health,” Osemele said. “I’m just fortunate.”

Osemele indicated to Raiders fans on Twitter Monday “Great workout and it’s safe to say I’ve made a full recovery.” He is expected to be back in the starting lineup when the Raiders visit the San Diego Chargers Sunday.

As tough as it was to lose a lineman who has gone a long way toward making the Raiders one of the top lines in the NFL, rookie seventh-round pick Vadal Alexander filled in admirably.

“I didn’t know I was playing until I was warming up at the stadium,” Alexander said. “You’ve got to approach every week like you’re the starter, whether you are or not, because anything can happen. Each week can be a whole different situation.”

Alexander knows of what he speaks, for it’s been a roller coaster ride of a rookie season. First, he made the team as a seventh-round pick, then was forced into a starting role at right tackle in Weeks 4 and 5 against Baltimore and San Diego because of injuries to Austin Howard and Menelik Watson.

In four of the ensuing five games, Alexander was inactive, in part because of an ankle injury. Against the Chiefs, Alexander alternated with Jon Feliciano for three series at left guard, then played the remainder of the game, getting 66 of 75 total snaps.

Despite being without their most powerful run blocker, the Raiders rushed for 135 yards, including 102 on 23 carries by Latavius Murray. Quarterback Derek Carr was sacked only once.

“He did pretty well,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “We ran the ball well. We gave up one sack. That’s a good front. Overall, I thought he was part of a pretty solid effort up front.”

— The flip side of getting short rest following a Thursday game is the mini-bye that ensues afterward. The Raiders had a light practice Tuesday, their first since playing against the Chiefs.

“It was a quick turnaround, but they had to face the same thing, so no excuses there,” Murray said. “Now, being able to have a few days off, have the weekend off, feels really good. I think everyone feels good about that. That’s a positive going forward heading into this week in San Diego.”

Fullback Jamize Olawale said he wants to get the bad taste out of his mouth following the loss but conceded “it is necessary to rest your body as much as you can during the season. This was a good opportunity for me to get off my feet, spend time with the family.”

— The Raiders seemed to be following Del Rio’s lead with regard to how to react after seeing their six-game losing streak come to an end.

“I tell our guys, `We’re to going to lay around and bathe in the adulation of a win,’ ” Del Rio said. “We’re also not going to sit around and wallow in misery when we lose.”

In terms of playoff seeding, the Raiders went from No. 1 to No. 5, and Olawale figures if a that can happen in one week, it’s equally possible to have it go the other way in the next three games.

“Every week our objective is to win and it’s our only focus, really,” Olawale said. “I’m not really concerned about what seed we are. It can change in the matter of a week. We dropped four places. Every week that can change.”

Of more tangible interest is the fact that the Raiders can clinch a post-season berth against the Chargers with a win.

— Murray wanted no part of second-guessing the third-and-1 call that resulted in an incomplete pass from the Kansas City 14-yard line. Carr’s pass to Andre Holmes was incomplete, followed by a false start and another incomplete pass to end the game.

Even Del Rio said Monday he wished the Raiders would have run it.

“I know everybody wants to talk about what we should have did and maybe it’s one of those things we could have done differently,” Murray said. “But I trust in every call that comes in. If it had worked, we wouldn’t be talking about what we should have done. That’s just how the game goes.”


Raiders notes: Del Rio offers new theory on pass vs. Chiefs; second-guesses third-and-1 call

The Raiders are convinced that something funky happened on this deep pass from Derek Carr to Amari Cooper in their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

The Raiders are convinced that something funky happened on this deep pass from Derek Carr to Amari Cooper in their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

ALAMEDA — Raiders coach Jack Del Rio offered a new theory as to what may have affected a deep Derek Carr pass that fluttered off course to Amari Cooper in the team’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

“The angel in the outfield,” Del Rio said Monday at his weekly news conference, his first time speaking since postgame after the Raiders’ 21-13 loss on Thursday in Kansas City.

“I mean, it moved. You know?,” Del Rio said. “I don’t know if it hit a wire or an angel in the outfield moved it, a gust of wind. I don’t know. It moved.”

The angel in the outfield would be a reference to the 1951 movie “Angels in the Outfield” and a 1994 remake in which angels provide some heavenly assistance on the baseball field. Continue Reading


Plan to keep Raiders in Oakland draws mixed reaction from Nevada politicians


By Jason Green, Bay Area News Group

LAS VEGAS — An emerging effort to keep the Raiders in Oakland is drawing mixed reaction from elected officials in Las Vegas, where owner Mark Davis has committed to moving the football team and lawmakers have agreed to chip in $750 million for a new stadium.

[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-tag”]Announced Friday, the plan calls for a $1.25 billion, 55,000-seat stadium at the Coliseum site, as well as a possible new ballpark for the A’s and a large commercial development.

Steve Sisolak, chairman of the Clark County Commission in Nevada, said he was not worried about Davis changing his mind. Sisolak served on the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, which backed the proposal to pluck the Raiders from Oakland.

“I’ve been dealing with both (team president) Marc Badain and Mark Davis regularly over the past almost two years now,” said Sisolak, who strongly supports the Raiders moving to Las Vegas. “I’ve found them both to be men of great integrity. They’ve committed that their plan is to move the team to Las Vegas as long as we could build a stadium.”

But fellow Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said a competing bid to keep the team in Oakland is exactly what she expected.

“The reality was that Oakland was never going to let the Raiders go,” said Giunchigliani, a harsh critic of the Nevada Legislature’s approval of a hotel room tax hike that would provide a large chunk of the funding needed to build a 65,000-seat stadium in Las Vegas.

Giunchigliani said it isn’t sports she has a problem with.

“I don’t believe in public financing for these kinds of things,” she said. “It just is irresponsible and it doesn’t ever pencil out for the constituents, and that’s who my concern is with.”

A source familiar with funding for the plan announced Friday said $200 million would come from the NFL and $300 million from the Raiders. The rest is from an investment group headed by Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott and money-management firm Fortress Investment Group.

Ultimately, any plan to move the team to Las Vegas would have to be approved by three-quarters of NFL owners

If the Raiders end up staying in Oakland, the Clark County Stadium Authority would need to cast a two-thirds vote to disband, but Giunchigliani doesn’t see that happening.

Steve Hill, chairman of the authority and director of the Nevada Governor’s Office on Economic Development, declined to comment for this story.

Sisolak said he understood why Alameda County and Oakland want to retain the Raiders, but there is a “huge appetite for NFL football” in Las Vegas.

“I don’t blame Oakland for not wanting to lose the Raiders,” he said. “They’ve got a strong fan base in Oakland but they’ve developed a very strong fan base in Nevada very quickly.”

The authority held its first meeting Monday and is weighing two possible locations, Sisolak said.

“The state of Nevada and Clark County have taken significant steps to make it possible to build a stadium and have the Raiders come,” Sisolak said, “and I think that’s the path we’re still on.”


Raiders QB Derek Carr learning how to say no

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) is finding more demands on his time.. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) is finding more demands on his time.. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

ALAMEDA — Derek Carr is learning the art of avoidance.

Carr was bestowed early with the gift of gab, a trait that dates back to his days as a youth when his mother was aghast that young Derek would strike up conversations people he’d never seen before in the grocery store.

“I used to have to tell him, `You can’t just talk to strangers like that,’ ” his mother Sheryl Carr said in 2015. “He just loved talking to people — he’s still that way.”

Now that Carr is a legitimate Most Valuable Player candidate on a 10-2 team that is creating a national buzz, the “strangers” bring recorders and cameras and want to hear his story.

Which has led to a few talks on the subject of time management by coach Jack Del Rio.

“We talk about how to protect his time from guys like you that come in here,” Del Rio said good-naturedly to a national writer in town to write about the Raiders success. “When the game is bigger and there’s more people around, you’ve got to protect your time, your preparation time, your time with your family.”

Carr concedes it hasn’t always been easy.

“Sometimes it’s been had for me, to be honest, because I try to be nice to everybody and a lot of people try to take advantage of it. That’s just the truth. I’m trying to learn as we go through it, how to say no, because everyone wants a piece of what’s going on. They didn’t much want a piece of it when we were 3-13.”

That’s about as close to an edge as you’ll get from Carr, who dutifully answered questions for nearly 12 minutes Monday, pleasantly revisiting stories about his brother’s David’s influence he’s told dozens of times.

Carr has a weekly radio spot on the Raiders flagship on Mondays, his usual time with the local reporters is Wednesday and he occasionally does conference calls with media from the Raiders opponent that week. National opportunities are screened mostly through the Raiders, as well as Carr’s representation.

Because the Raiders play Thursday night, Carr talked Monday and other than pleasantries in the locker room, will be unavailable until post-game questioning. A meticulous planner, Carr goes into media sessions with talking points and deftly avoids anything of a controversial manner.

It’s much appreciated by Del Rio, who never finds himself dealing with issues because of something controversial his quarterback told reporters.

“As a young player, he’s maturing and that’s probably the thing I’m most pleased with,” Del Rio said. “Obviously the productivity is awesome. But the way he’s conducted himself, continuing to heap praise on his teammates, to make it more about us, not about anything he’s doing individually. And I think that’s really healthy for us.”

Carr, along with running back Latavius Murray, treated the offensive line to choice seats at the Warriors game Monday night. He extolled the virtues of the team in an interview with CSN Bay-Area.


“We have a great group of guys, honestly. We have guys with character,” Carr said.

— Safety Nate Allen played just 12 snaps on defense in 10 games (missing two with a quadriceps injury) before playing 40 snaps against Buffalo. He got an interception on the play Khalil Mack hit Tyrod Taylor in the end zone.

Allen was playing in place of Karl Joseph, who left with a toe injury.

“You can’t sit around and mope,” Allen said. “You’ve got to be ready when your number is called.”

Del Rio said, “Nate really has been a pro. It’s good to have that kind of depth we can go to. He’s had an impact for us on special teams and he showed up big (against Buffalo).

Allen is the likely starter at strong safety against Kansas City, with Joseph hobbling and unlikely to play against Kansas City.

— Defensive tackle Darius Latham, defensive tackle Stacy McGee and linebacker Shilique Calhoun did not practice. Guard Kelchi Osemele and linebacker Cory James were limited.


Raiders notes: Mario Edwards Jr. returns to practice


Note: Blog crashed yesterday as I was posting this so apologies for the delay.

ALAMEDA — The Raiders designated Mario Edwards Jr. to return from injured reserve and the defensive end practiced Monday for the first time since training camp.

“It felt good just to get back out there with those guys,” Edwards said afterwards. “Even if it is a practice, just to get back out there, the camaraderie and things like that definitely felt good.”

The Raiders held only a light walk-through as they recover from Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills and prepare on the short week to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday.

Edwards, out since an Aug. 12 with a hip injury suffered in the first exhibition game, now has a 21-day window in which he can practice. The Raiders can activate him to the roster at any time during the window, but he said there’s no formal target date for when he’ll play in a game.

“I’m a little different so I don’t really know,” Edwards said. “We don’t really have a date on it. It’s just more so how I’m feeling and how it’s healing.” Continue Reading