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

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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.”

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907

Raiders QB Derek Carr learning how to say no

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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.

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26

Raiders vs. Bills final score predictions?

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ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: Head coach Rex Ryan of the Buffalo Bills and Asst. Head Coach/Defense Rob Ryan make their way onto the field through the tunnel before the start of NFL game action against the Jacksonville Jaguars at New Era Field on November 27, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

ORCHARD PARK, NY – NOVEMBER 27: Head coach Rex Ryan of the Buffalo Bills and Asst. Head Coach/Defense Rob Ryan make their way onto the field through the tunnel before the start of NFL game action against the Jacksonville Jaguars at New Era Field on November 27, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

While the Raiders (9-2) appear certain to snap their 13-year playoff drought, the Buffalo Bills (6-5) are looking to snap their NFL-worst streak of 16 consecutive years without making the postseason.

Upsetting the Raiders at the Coliseum on Sunday would go a long way toward giving the Bills a postseason shot. But can Rex Ryan and his brother Rob march into Oakland and figure out a way to derail the Raiders?

They won’t, according to our Jerry McDonald, who is predicting a 28-20 Raiders win on Sunday.

McDonald feels as though the combination of the Raiders’ offensive line and Derek Carr will be enough to trump anything the Bills bring to the Coliseum.

What’s your prediction for Sunday’s game?

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1,928

Del Rio: Standing during national anthem is assumed

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Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said it's "understood" that his players stand during the national anthem. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said it’s “understood” that his players stand during the national anthem. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

ALAMEDA – Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said Monday he’s never had any issues with players not standing during the national anthem but considers it an organizational expectation.

“It’s never come to a point where I’ve had to address it, it’s always been understood,” Del Rio said. “You stand attention. You pay respect to our flag, our country. That’s always been kind of an assumed thing.”

The national anthem debate has swarmed the NFL since Friday when 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick detailed his reasons for sitting during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner,” which he’s done for all three preseason games this year. Continue Reading

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1,027

Raiders vs. Titans: Keys to the game

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Raiders WR Seth Roberts had two touchdowns, including the game-winner, in last year's meeting in Tennessee. (AP Photo/James Kenney)

Raiders WR Seth Roberts had two touchdowns, including the game-winner, in last year’s meeting in Tennessee. (AP Photo/James Kenney)

RAIDERS (1-1) VS. TITANS (1-1)

5 p.m., Saturday, Oakland Coliseum

TV: CBS (Greg Gumbel, Dan Fouts, Tracy Wolfson)

Radio: 98.5/102.1 (Greg Papa, Tom Flores, Lincoln Kennedy)

LINE

Raiders by 3 1/2
Continue Reading

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2,911

Five Raiders to watch against Tennessee Titans

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Jalen Richard will get his first chance to shine Saturday night. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Jalen Richard is one of five Raiders to watch Saturday against the Titans. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

OAKLAND — On a roster that entered training camp fairly settled, the Raiders’ Saturday night tilt with the Tennessee Titans is the last chance for some players to make an impression.

Rosters will get cut from 90 players to 75 on Tuesday, a precursor to the more difficult drop to the 53-man roster following the final preseason game.

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said he plans to play the starters at least for the first half and possibly into the third quarter against Tennessee, so those roster battles will take place mostly in the fourth quarter.  Continue Reading

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435

Raiders’ Seth Roberts ‘being pushed’ after solid 2015 season

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Oakland Raiders receiver Seth Roberts is "being pushed," according to coach Jack Del Rio. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

Oakland Raiders receiver Seth Roberts is “being pushed,” according to coach Jack Del Rio. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

The Raiders have more than a handful of receivers trying to get noticed and fight their way onto the team’s 53-man roster.

Seth Roberts knows the feeling. He was in their shoes last year.

Roberts, a practice squad player in 2014, completed the journey from undrafted to the NFL when he cracked the opening day roster last season.

He turned that roster spot into a role as the No. 3 wide receiver, catching 32 passes for 480 yards and five touchdowns. Continue Reading

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56

Three Raiders who helped themselves against Packers

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Oakland Raiders linebacker Shilique Calhoun had his first NFL sack. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

Oakland Raiders linebacker Shilique Calhoun had his first NFL sack. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)

Shilique Calhoun

 The third-round pick from Michigan State will get his fill of playing time this year and started showing some of his natural ability in this game.

He did a solid job setting the edge a couple of times and in the fourth quarter got in to the backfield for his first NFL sack. On the play, he rushed free off the left side, changed directions along with Packers quarterback Marquise Williams and wrapped his paws around him for the sack. Continue Reading

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855

Raiders vs. Packers: Keys to the game

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Amari Cooper and the Oakland Raiders face the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.  (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)

Amari Cooper and the Oakland Raiders face the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group)

RAIDERS (1-0) VS. PACKERS (1-0)

5 p.m., Thursday, Lambeau Field

TV: KTVU (Beth Mowins, Matt Millen, Nicole Zaloumis, John Tournour)

Radio: 95.7 (Greg Papa, Tom Flores, Lincoln Kennedy)

LINE

Packers by 3
Continue Reading

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1,649

Connor Cook locked in during solid Raiders’ debut

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Connor Cook was solid during his NFL debut for the Raiders on Friday night. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Connor Cook was solid during his NFL debut for the Raiders on Friday night. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Connor Cook was locked onto his task.

The Raiders’ third-string quarterback made his NFL debut in Friday’s 31-10 exhibition win over the Arizona Cardinals. Oakland’s fourth-round pick, Cook completed 7 of 11 passes for 71 yards, numbers that would’ve been even better if an offensive pass interference call hadn’t wiped out a long completion to K.J. Brent. Continue Reading

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