Oakland Raiders podcast with Joe Hawkes Beamon: Conley to face old teammates this Sunday; Can Edebali get to the quarterbacks for Raiders?

Photo credit: reviewjournal.com

On the podcast with Joe Hawkes:

#1 Former Oakland Raider Gareon Conley will be facing his former team this Sunday as Gareon was dealt to the Houston Texans on Monday. What will it mean for Conley to face his old teammates this Sunday?

#2 Conley represents the third first round draft pick to be dealt by the Raiders in the last 14 months, which included former Raiders Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. Will Conley be a void much like Mack and Cooper were?

#3 The Raiders filled Conley’s spot with defensive end Kasim Edebali. Edebali (30) has eight sacks and 54 tackles with the New Orleans Saints between 2014-2016. In 2017, he had played the season without a sack and has played for the Broncos, Lions, Rams, Saints and Bengals during that time. Can he keep a roster spot with the Raiders?

#4 Taking a look at last week’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, there was little doubt the Raiders defense were almost nonexistent against Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers who had plenty of time to throw the football last Sunday.

#5 The Raiders complete their long six weeks and five games away from Oakland this Sunday against the Texans in Houston. Taking a look at the trip, how did the Raiders fare considering the grueling trip, which included a stop in London?

Catch the Oakland Raiders podcast each Friday with Joe Hawkes at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Fantasy Football Doctors Week 14: Welcome to the Playoffs!!!


your hosts: Dr. Vasu Vaddiparty & Dr. Charlie O

  • Is Phillip Rivers the QB start of the week?

  • Should you count on Jameis Winston vs the Saints?

  • What about Andrew Luck? Should you start him?

  • Would you dare start a Browns QB on a playoff weekend?

  • Why “Big Ben” is a must start!

  • The Pats Sony Michel could be a game changer

  • Jaylen Samuels of the Steelers could be a starter at RB or TE

  • The 49ers Jeff Wilson could be a point producer on Sunday

  • Amari Cooper is coming alive as a WR for the Cowboys

  • Chris Godwin could be a good play versus New Orleans

  • With a new head coach, will Jimmy Graham have a bigger role in Green Bay?

The Fantasy Football Doctors have the answers to these questions and many more in this week’s podcast. Spend a few minutes with the doctors and win your playoff game!

Raiders return home to host Colts in Week 8 following Bye Week

Photo credit: @Raiders

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND — Returning from their Bye Week, the Raiders return to action in Week 8 as they will welcome the visiting Indianapolis Colts to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Sunday. Kickoff for the game is at 1:05 p.m. PT. It will be the first true home game for the Silver and Black since their Week 4 win over the Cleveland Browns 45-42 in overtime on Sept. 30.

The Raiders (1-5) are looking for back-to-back wins over the Colts after defeating Indianapolis 33-25 in Oakland on Christmas Eve in 2016. That was also the game where quarterback Derek Carr broke his fibula and was lost for the rest of the season in which Oakland, who were 12-3 at the time and heading into the playoffs for the first time since their Super Bowl season of 2002, prior to Carr’s injury.

Oakland (1-5) entered their Bye Week after losing to the Seattle Seahawks 27-3 in London, England in Week 6. Carr completed 23-of-31 passes for just 142 yards, but was sacked six times in the game. Oakland’s offense managed just 185 yards total and was just 4-of-12 on third downs.

Defensively, rookie defense end Arden Key made his first start of his career and recorded his first sack, but Oakland’s defense was gashed for 369 yards of total offense by Seattle.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 222 yards and three touchdowns (one interception by Raiders cornerback Daryl Worley, who was making his first start of the season for Oakland).

But the week off for Oakland would be an eventful one, as the team unexpectedly traded wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday. News of the trade was first reported by ESPN’s Josina Anderson. Dallas is sending Oakland a first-round pick in 2019 for the wideout, who has just 22 catches for 280 yards and one touchdown this season in six games.

The former first-round pick by Oakland in 2015 was in the NFL’s concussion protocol after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit against the Seahawks. In his first two seasons in the NFL out of Alabama, Cooper had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and was named to the Pro Bowl after each season.

With the team already dealing away star defensive end Khalil Mack to Chicago a week before the season for a 2019 first-round pick, and including their own (which could be in the top-five if the season continues to spiral downward), Oakland has three first-round picks in 2019.

You add the fact the team placed running back Marshawn Lynch on injured reserve with a groin injury, the Raiders will feature Doug Martin and Jalen Richard in the backfield the rest of the way. Richard’s career-high 31 receptions rank sixth among all running backs in 2018.

Indianapolis (2-5) drubbed the Buffalo Bills 37-5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 7.

Quarterback Andrew Luck completed 17-of-23 passes for 156 yards and four touchdowns. Luck has been hot in his last four games, throwing 15 touchdowns over that stretch. The Colts dominated the time of possession, controlling the game for 33:19 to Buffalo’s 26:41 and was nearly unstoppable on third downs, converting 7-of-13 chances (53 percent).

Second-year Marlon Mack rumbled over Buffalo’s defense, rushing the ball 19 times for 126 of the Colts’ 220 yards, the most rushing yards in a game for Indianapolis since 2007 per the Elias Sports Bureau.

Rookie linebacker Darrius Leonard was all over the field against the Bills, racking up 17 combined tackles (12 solo, 5 assisted). In six games this season for the Colts, the second-round pick in 2018 has recorded double-digit tackles in four of them including a career-high 19 combined tackles (15 solo, 4 assisted) in a 21-9 win over Washington back in Week 2.

Indianapolis’ defense sacked Bills quarterback Derek Anderson twice and intercepted him three times. The Colts limited Buffalo on third downs (2-of-9 for 22 percent).

Following Sunday’s game, the Raiders will travel to Santa Clara to take on their Bay Area rival, the San Francisco 49ers for Thursday Night Football, while the Colts will head home to host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday in an AFC South battle.

Amari Cooper traded to Cowboys

Photo credit: @theScore

By Jeremy Kahn

If you thought the Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears was big, but just wait and hold on to your hats.

The Oakland Raiders have traded wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys for a 2019 first-round draft pick.

With the trades of Mack and Cooper, the Raiders will now have three first-round draft picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Cooper, who was the fourth pick of the Raiders out of Alabama in the 2015 NFL Draft caught 22 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown in six games for the 1-5 Raiders this season.

The wide receiver, who was in the same draft as current Raiders quarterback Derek Carr began his career with back-to-back 1,000 yard plus seasons under former head coach Jack Del Rio and also made two Pro Bowls.

Cooper, who is just 24 years old is set to make around $13.9 million during the 2019 season, under the fifth-year option.

Presently, Cooper is in the NFL’s concussion protocol after being injured in the Raiders 27-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on October 14 at Wembley Stadium in London.

Report: Raiders trade WR Amari Cooper to the Cowboys for 1st-round pick

Photo credit: @NFL

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Jon Gruden and the Raiders are showing another young talent the door out of Oakland.

The Silver and Black have agreed to ship wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys, a source told ESPN’s Josina Anderson on Monday. The Raiders will receive a first-round draft pick in exchange, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Raiders now own three first-round picks in 2019. In addition to owning their first-round pick, Oakland also owns Chicago’s first-round pick next season after trading star defensive end Khalil Mack to the Bears a week before the start of the season.

Mack has been on a tear in the Windy City, recording 20 tackles (16 solo and 4 assisted), five sacks, four forced fumbles (1 recovery) and one interception this season. As a team, the Raiders have seven sacks combined, three by linebacker Bruce Irvin.

Cooper is off to a slow start in 2018, catching just 22 passes for 280 yards and one touchdown through the team’s first six games this season. Last season, Cooper had a down year, registering just 48 receptions for 680 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games played.

In his first two seasons in the league after being drafted fourth overall by Oakland in 2015, Cooper was a Pro Bowler and amassed 1,000 yards in each season.

Cooper is currently in the NFL’s concussion protocol after being diagnosed with a concussion in Oakland’s 27-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in London on Oct. 14.

The Raiders (1-5) are coming off a bye week and will host the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 28 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Indianapolis (2-5) defeated the Buffalo Bills 37-5 on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Raiders Three-Point Stance: Three takeaways from Raiders’ ugly 27-3 loss to the Seahawks in London

Photo credit: @Raiders

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

Russell Wilson threw three touchdowns and the Seahawks held a depleted Raiders team to just 185 yards of total offense in Seattle’s 27-3 victory on Sunday in front of announced London-record crowd of 84,922 at Wembley Stadium, many being pro-Seahawks as Seattle’s “12th Man” traveled across ‘The Pond’ cheering on their team — even though the Raiders were designated as the home team.

Now at 1-5 and heading into the a much needed bye week, its clear that the Raiders have plenty of work to do.

Check out my three takeways from the Silver and Black’s ugly loss to the Seahawks (3-3) in Week 6:

Oakland’s offense was held together with gum and duct tape
With injuries along the offensive line with guard John Feliciano leaving the game with injured ribs and being already without veteran tackle Donald Penn (on injured reserve with a groin injury) and guard Kelechi Osemele, rookie tackles Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker were devoured by an intense Seattle pass rush for most of the day, which didn’t bode well for Derek Carr.

The Raiders’ franchise signal-caller did complete 23-of-31 passes for just 142 yards, but was under siege the entire game as he was sacked six times. Whenever he dropped back to pass, Carr was almost immediately met by a Seattle defender.

Carr left the game with 8:52 left in the fourth quarter after apparently injuring his left arm on the last of the six sacks by defense tackle Jarran Reed on third down. Carr immediately grabbed his upper left arm after sitting up before being medically evaluated by the training staff.

Even if Carr had time to throw, Carr didn’t have his best wide receiver in the game in Amari Cooper, who was lost for the game after suffering a concussion on a nasty hit from Seahawks strong safety  Bradley McDougald in the second quarter.

Cooper ran a drag route over the middle of the field and attempted to catch a loss pass from Carr, before McDougald led with his shoulder resulting in the hit, that also showed the players made helmet-to-helmet contact was made.

No penalty was called.

Reserve wide receiver Seth Roberts, who replaced Cooper, left the game too with a concussion and didn’t return.

Roberts finished with five catches for 31 yards.

Backup running back Jalen Richard led the team with seven catches (on 8 targets) for 48 yards, largely due to Carr having to get the football out quick and relying on check-downs to running backs.

Early in the game for Oakland, it appeared that the Raiders wanted to get starting running back Marshawn Lynch more involved in the game, touching the football four times on Oakland’s first drive of the game (three runs and one pass), but the former Seahawk only managed one yard.

Lynch finished the game with 17 touches for 59 yards of total offense (13 carries for 45 yards and 3 catches for 14 yards) against his former team. Oakland only managed just 79 yards rushing in the game.

Oakland’s offense lacked fluidity and explosion in mustering just three points on Sunday. In the last two games, the Raiders have scored just 13 points combined after rolling up 45 points against the Cleveland Browns in Week 4.

Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense made life difficult for Raiders’ defense
The former Super Bowl MVP engineered a 14-play, 82-yard drive that culminated in a 5-yard touchdown thrown from Wilson to wide receiver Jaron Brown that staked Seattle to a 7-0 lead on the Seahawks’ first drive of the game in the first quarter.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was the first time that the Seahawks scored on their first offensive possession in a game since Week 3 of the 2016 season against the San Francisco 49ers, spanning 34 games. It was the NFL’s longest scoring drought for any team without a scoring touchdown on its opening possession.

Wilson completed 17-of-23 passes for 222 yards with three touchdowns and one interception to Raiders’ cornerback Daryl Worley after trying to force a pass to wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who was double-covered.

On top of his touchdown throw to Brown, Wilson  threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver David Moore in the second quarter, and a 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyler Lockett that gave Seattle a commanding 27-0 lead in the fourth quarter.

Seattle was nearly flawless on third down, converting 9-of-13 opportunities. By the same measure, the Raiders only converted 4-of-12 third downs.

Running back Chris Carson rushed for 59 yards on 14 carries for Seattle, while rookie running back Rashaad Penny added 43 yards for Seattle who racked up 369 yards of total offense on the day. Seattle held the edge in time of possession, holding onto to the football for 31:26 to Oakland’s 28:34.

If it weren’t for head-scratching penalties by Seattle (8 for 64 yards) to Oakland’s (5 for 38 yards), the Seahawks could’ve really embarrassed Oakland in the United Kingdom.

Rookie Arden Key recorded his first-career sack in the game and linebacker Tahir Whitehead led the Raiders in tackles with six total (4 solo).

Key along with linebacker Bruce Irvin seems to be taking the loss, well per their comments to the media postgame.

“We lost, but I got a beautiful wife I get to go home to… I’m going to try to make some babies man,” Irvin said to reporters after the game.

“I mean, we came in and we got our ass whooped,” Key said. “Like there’s no way around it. We got our ass whooped from the first whistle to the last whistle.  So we just gotta remember that and come out fire next week and continue to come out with fire.”

Sebastian Janikowski scores nine points against former team
Janikowski, who joined the Seahawks in the offseason after 17 years with the Raiders, did his part in defeating his former team Sunday, knocking down both of his field goals — from 44 and 26 yards — and all three of his extra points.


Seattle faces the Detroit Lions on Oct. 28 on the road after a bye week, while the Raiders will host the visiting Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 28, also after a bye week.


Raiders three-point stance: Three takeaways from Raiders’ loss to Chargers in SoCal

Photo credit: @Raiders

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

CARSON, Calif — One week after exploding for 45 points to earn their first win of the season over the visiting Cleveland Browns, the Raiders struggled to find any offensive continuity Sunday losing to the Los Angeles Chargers 26-10.

Here are my takeaways from the Raiders (1-4) loss to their AFC West rival the Chargers (3-2):

Derek Carr and the offense didn’t show up
For an offense that ranks second in the NFL in total yardage coming into Week 5 averaging 441.8 yards per game, the Chargers’ defense held Oakland to 289 yards total for the game. The Silver and Black were pedestrian on third down, converting just 4-of-11 and were just 1-of-3 in the red zone.

Carr, who threw for 437 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions last week, took a step back against Los Angeles, completing 24-of-33 passes for  268 yards one touchdown. But it was the kiss-of-death interception in the end zone that Carr threw in the third quarter with Oakland trailing 20-3 that really stung Oakland.

After Chargers safety Derwin James was called for defensive pass interference in the end zone while defending Raiders tight end Jared Cook, setting up Oakland with first-and-goal at the Chargers’ 1-yard-line, Carr didn’t see Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram drop back into the end zone and threw the ball right to him.

It was Carr’s league-leading eighth interception of the year, one of two turnovers for Oakland on the day.  Carr was also sacked three times.

Running back Marshawn Lynch, who at the age of 32 (when running backs are expected to be passed their primes) should be carrying the football 20 times a game, had just nine carries for 31 yards after his 20-carry, 130-yard rushing performance last week.


Amari Cooper is a week-to-week wide receiver
I’ve noticed a glowing pattern in Amari Cooper’s games this season that is alarming. Whenever Cooper has a tremendous game one week, the very next week he follows it up with a dud:

  • Week 1 against the Rams: 1 catch for 9 yards 3 targets.
  • Week 2 against the Broncos: 10 catches for 116 yards on 16 targets.
  • Week 3 against the Dolphins: 2 catches for 17 yards on 5 targets.
  • Week 4 against the Browns: 8 catches for 128 yards and one touchdown on 12 targets.

Can you guess what he did against the Chargers today? 1 catch for 10 yards on one target.

There’s no question that Cooper has special talent with game-changing ability, but what gives? How can anyone say that Cooper is a No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL if he has the knack for missing in games?

Backup running back Jalen Richard led Oakland with six catches for

But good news for Raider Nation heading into Week 6.

Next week, Cooper should have a big day against the Seattle Seahawks when the Raiders travel to London for a “home” game.

Philip Rivers and the Chargers’ offense sliced up the Raiders’ defense
Rivers carved up the Raiders on Sunday, throwing for 339 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions on 22-of-27 passing. The 15-year veteran from North Carolina State was sacked just once by Raiders linebacker Bruce Irvin, but had time to find his receivers for most of the game.

Wide receiver Keenan Allen was the main beneficiary of Rivers’ passes, hauling in eight passes (on 9 targets) for 90 yards. Backup rookie running back Austin Ekeler (44-yard touchdown) and backup tight end Virgil Green (13-yard touchdown), caught both of Rivers’ touchdowns.

Rivers has now thrown 43 touchdowns against the Silver and Black, the most Rivers has thrown against one team.

Starting running back Melvin Gordon was all over the field Sunday rushing and catching the football for Los Angeles. Gordon finished with 120 all-purpose yards against Oakland (19 carries for 58 yards and one touchdown; 4 catches for 62 yards on 4 targets).

Los Angeles piled up 412 total yards offensively on Oakland and controlled the time of possession, holding onto the football for 34:40 minutes to the Raiders’ 25:20.

Linebacker Tahir Whitehead had a game-high nine tackles (6 solo) for Oakland.

Winless Raiders to host Baker Mayfield and the Browns in Week 4

Photo credit: @Raiders

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND — With the first quarter of the season drawing to a close, the Oakland Raiders are in dire need of their first win…and they hope it’ll be versus the Cleveland Browns.

After playing two of their first three games of the season on the road, the Raiders return home to play two of their next three games beginning this Sunday when they will host the Browns and rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum.

Week 4’s matchup will mark only the second time since the Browns have traveled to the Black Hole and their most recent game, in 2015 at Cleveland, the Raiders defeated the Browns 27-20 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m. PT. The Browns are 12-10 all-time versus the Raiders in the regular season.

Last week, Oakland (0-3) lost to the first-place AFC East Miami Dolphins 28-20 in South Florida. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson had the biggest day for the Raiders, hauling in six catches for 173 yards (28.8 yards per catch) and a touchdown. In his last two meeting with the Dolphins, Nelson has destroyed Miami catching 15 passes for 280 yards (18.8 yards per catch) and two touchdowns.

Nelson became just the third Raider pass-catcher this season to top 100 yards in a game, joining tight end Jared Cook (180 yards against the Rams in Week 1), and fellow wide receiver Amari Cooper (116 yards against AFC West rival Denver in Week 2), making Oakland one of two teams to accomplish the feat.

Quarterback Derek Carr threw for 345 yards on 27-of-39 attempts with one touchdown and two interceptions. It was Carr’s second 300-yard passing day of the season (Carr threw for 303 yards against the Rams in Week 1). Through the first three games of the season, Carr is sixth in the NFL in passing yards per game (302) and second in completion percentage (76.6).

Oakland held a 17-7 lead midway through the third quarter before the Dolphins scored 21 unanswered points in the second-half to overtake the Raiders. Before kicker Mike Nugent booted a 52-yard field goal, the Raiders didn’t score a single point in the fourth quarter in their previous two games.

Speaking of Nugent, the Raiders placed Nugent on injured reserve with a hip injury and signed kicker Matt McCrane. McCrane is in his first year in the NFL after signing as an undrafted free agent with Arizona at the conclusion of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Strangely, the Raiders have led after three quarters in each of their previous three games but have yet to notch a win this season.

The Browns (1-1-1) are coming off 21-17 victory over the New York Jets in Cleveland on Thursday Night Football. Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson is just 2-32-1 as he enters his third season at the helm. Jackson, who spent 2010 as the Raiders’ offensive coordinator, was promoted to head coach in 2011 where he led the club to an 8-8 finish, but wasn’t retained as the team hired Dennis Allen heading into the 2012 season.

Allen finished 8-28 in his two-plus seasons in Oakland before being fired four games into the 2014 season as the team got off to a 1-10 start.

For Cleveland, quarterback Baker Mayfield will make his first-career NFL start when he leads the Browns into the Black Hole. Mayfield was selected first overall by the Browns in this year’s NFL Draft, but the Browns opted to start the season with Taylor under center and wanted Mayfield to watch and learn.

With Cleveland trailing 14-3 shortly before halftime, the rookie replaced veteran Tyrod Taylor, who was already playing poorly completing just 4-of-14 passes for 19 yards, when Taylor suffered his third concussion in the past 13 months.

In the second half, Mayfield energize that team and the home crowd, helping the Browns outscore the Jets 18-3. Mayfield threw for 201 yards on 17-of-23 attempts and even caught a two-point conversion from wide receiver Jarvis Landry that tied the game 14-14 in the third quarter.

Landry caught a game-high eight catches for 103 yards against the Jets, and leads the Browns with 20 catches for 278 yards. Rookie wide receiver Antonio Callaway has the Browns’ lone touchdown catch this season.

Running back Carlos Hyde rushed for 98 yards on 22 attempts and scored two touchdowns last week and given the Raiders inability to stop the run, (Oakland surrenders 116.3 yards on the ground per game, which ranks 22nd in the NFL), there could be some opportunities for Hyde to have another big game.

Defensively, Cleveland has some good, young players on that side of the ball that new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams can mold into a formidable group.

Second-year defensive end Myles Garrett has become one of the more feared pass rushers in the NFL. Garrett’s four sacks this season are tied for the most in the NFL with New Orleans defensive end Cameron Jordan, Chicago defensive end Khalil Mack (sorry Raider Nation), and Von Miller.

Garrett also has two forced fumbles.

Fellow defensive lineman in second-year defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi is quickly making a name for himself too, pacing second on the Browns with three sacks.

Rookie cornerback Denzel Ward, who the Browns selected fourth in the same draft as Mayfield, has played great for Cleveland so far this season. In his first pro game, Ward intercepted Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger twice.

Ward leads the team with two interceptions and along with fellow cornerback Terrance Mitchell, has solidified Cleveland’s pass defense.

Following Sunday’s game, the Raiders heads south to Los Angeles for a tough matchup in the AFC West against the Chargers in Week 5 before flying to London to take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6, while Cleveland will head home to prepare for back-to-back visits from AFC North rival the Baltimore Ravens and Chargers.

Raiders will head to Miami for Week 3 tilt with Dolphins

Photo credit: nj.com

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND, Calif — If one road game wasn’t enough, how about a double-dip?

The Raiders are hitting the road once again this time, they are heading to South Beach where they will take on a surprisingly undefeated Dolphins team in a key Week 3 matchup for Oakland this Sunday.

Kickoff is at 1:00 p.m. ET, which means 10:00 a.m. PT for West Coasters.

Last season, the two teams faced each other in Week 9 with the Raiders defeating the Dolphins, 27-24, behind a three-yard touchdown run by running back Marshawn Lynch late in the fourth quarter.

Oakland (0-2) lost a heart-breaker last week in Denver, 20-19, wasting an awesome performance by starting quarterback Derek Carr.

Carr was sharp all game, completing 29-of-32 passes for 288 yards and one touchdown. He’s the only quarterback in NFL history to complete 90 percent of his passes with more than 30 attempts, per ESPN. It was nice to see Carr bounce back from an ugly game in Week 1, where he threw three interceptions in Oakland’s 33-13 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Rams.

Out of those 29 completions, 10 were to wide receiver Amari Cooper, who also rebounded from a bad first game of the season where he posted just one catch for nine yards on three targets.

Against the Broncos, Cooper was targeted 10 times (catching each one) for 116 yards. It was a welcoming sign for Oakland, albeit in a loss.

Oakland held a 19-7 lead into the third quarter before the Broncos rallied with 13 unanswered points, including kicker Brandon McManus’s game-winning 36-yard field goal with six seconds remaining in the game.

Without stud defensive end/outside linebacker Khalil Mack, who was traded to Chicago prior to the start of the regular season because the Silver and Black were hesitant to reward Mack with a new contract extension, Oakland’s defense has been a no show through the first two games of the season.

The Raiders have had a tough time generating any kind of pass rush this season. Only linebacker Bruce Irvin and rookie defensive tackle Maurice Hurst have recorded a quarterback sack, but that could change against Miami. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been sacked five times this season, which ranks 13th in the NFL. Tannehill has also been hit nine times in the pocket.

Miami (2-0) defeated the Jets, 20-12, in New York at MetLife Stadium behind Tannehill and the NFL’s fourth-ranked scoring defense.

Tannehill completed 17-of-23 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Dolphins a 20-0 lead before halftime. Through two games this season, Tannehill has completed 31-of-57 passes for 398 yards with four touchdowns, two interceptions and a 104.9 passer rating.

Running back Kenyan Drake had 11 carries for 53 yards and one touchdown against the Jets. Drake leads the Dolphins with 25 carries for 101 yards this season.

Backup running back Frank Gore finished with just nine carries for 25 yards, but those yards were all he needed to pass Hall of Famer Curtis Martin (14,101) for fourth place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list with 14,103 yards. Gore, who is in his 14th season, signed a 1-year deal with his hometown Dolphins in the offseason.

Electric wide receiver Jarvis Landry was traded to Cleveland in the offseason, leaving the Dolphins with question marks at the position. Holdover Kenny Stills leads the Dolphins in receiving yards (123) and touchdowns (2) through two games, while free agent addition Danny Amendola leads the team in catches (8).

Amendola, who won two Super Bowl rings in four seasons with the New England Patriots, signed with the Dolphins this past offseason to give Tannehill another reliable target.

Middle linebacker Kiko Alonso and safety Reshad Jones are two of Miami’s prime defenders that Oakland must be aware at all times.

Jones is arguably the Dolphins most reliable playmaker, as he leads Miami with two interceptions this season. Last season, Jones led Miami in tackles with 122.

The two-time Pro Bowler will likely be following Raiders tight end Jared Cook, who has been explosive the first two weeks of the season. In 2017, Cook led all Raiders receivers with 688 yards and this season, he leads Oakland with 229 yards, which includes his franchise record-setting 180-yard performance in Week 1.

After posting back-to-back seasons of 115 tackles, Alonso is a major focal point for the Dolphins defense. Last week against the Jets, Alonso recorded a 13 tackles and two forced fumbles, coming up huge for Miami many times in that contest.

Sunday’s game in Miami is a must-win for Oakland. There’s no way to sugarcoat it.

Falling to 0-3 with a loss before coming home to take on a puzzling Cleveland Browns team in Week 4 at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum would be catastrophic.

Despite doubts, Jon Gruden is the right mechanic to fix Derek Carr and the Raiders

Photo credit: @BleacherReport

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND — For those who thought it was a cold-blooded move by Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis to fire former head coach Jack Del Rio 20 minutes after a 30-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers to close out a disappointing 2017 at 6-10, let me just put you at ease:

It was rightfully timed, but honestly, it could’ve came earlier in the year.

In fact, Davis’ frustration can be traced back to Week 4. After starting the season 2-0 with impressive wins against the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets, the Raiders would go on to lose their next four straight games, bringing their record to 2-4.

Following a 2-2 stretch in late November and early December that pulled the Raiders into a three-way tie in the AFC West at 6-6, the Raiders never looked like the team that finished 12-4 in 2016 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Davis didn’t talk to reporters after Oakland’s fourth straight loss to end the season, but those close to the owner have said that Davis has grown frustrated with the team’s lackluster performance, most notably on the offensive side of the football, after committing big money contracts to quarterback Derek Carr and offensive linemen Gabe Jackson, Donald Penn and Kelechi Osemele in recent seasons.

Davis wanted to turn the page quickly to 2018 and handing the keys to the franchise over to former Raiders head coach and current ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden was supposedly the way to do it.

According to multiple reports, Gruden is expected to be named the next head coach of the Oakland Raiders, which also includes an ownership stake in the team. No deal is official, but the deal is “imminent” according to the reports.

In his first stint with Oakland, Gruden compiled a 64-38 regular season record, including a 4-2 postseason record. Gruden also led the Raiders to the AFC Championship Game in 2000, but was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for draft picks following the 2001 season after a contract dispute with Mark’s father, Al.

Gruden would lead the Buccaneers to a 48-21 victory over the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII following the 2002 season. During his seven years in West Florida, he was 112-57 in the regular season, including a 3-2 postseason record.

The reunion between the Raiders and Gruden makes sense. Gruden is beloved by Raider Nation in Oakland. He never wanted to leave the Silver and Black and had the team on the verge of a Super Bowl championship, and Davis desperately wants to win a Super Bowl for the City of Oakland before the team moves to Las Vegas in 2020.

Gruden’s eventual hiring will do wonders for the Raiders, but most notably for quarterback Derek Carr, who regressed a bit in 2017. Carr did suffer a broken bone in his back, where he missed just one game but didn’t look healthy or confident all year.

After back-to-back seasons of averaging 3,900 yards and 25 touchdowns for a 93.9 quarterback rating, Carr took a step back in 2017, throwing for just 3,496 yards and 22 touchdowns for a quarterback rating of 86.4.

In 2017, Carr threw 13 interceptions after throwing just six in 2016.

Carr’s top wide receivers, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, didn’t scare many teams this season. After an 89-catch, 1,003-yard receiving season in 2016, Crabtree finished with the season as the team’s leader in catches (58) and touchdowns (8) to go along with 618 yards in 14 games played after missing two games.

But Cooper’s 2017 season was just harder to figure out. Cooper was on his way of becoming one of the more electrifying wide receivers in the NFL with back-to-back 1,000-yards seasons, finished with just 680 yards receiving on 48 catches with seven touchdowns.

Tight end Jared Cook led Oakland in receiving yards with 688 on 54 catches for two touchdowns in his first season in Oakland.

But Carr is the the driver of the offense and Gruden will be tasked to repair a broken offense that finished 23rd in the NFL in scoring offense at 18.8 points per game in 2017 under first-time offensive coordinator Todd Downing after finishing fifth in scoring offense at 26.0 points per game in 2016 under then-offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.

Whispers around the organization suggest that Carr had a hand in the shakeup at offensive coordinator, switching from the demanding Musgrave to the laid back Downing.

Simply put, Carr and Downing were best buddies and Musgrave was the third wheel. Carr and Downing hated having Musgrave’s hands in the offensive popcorn bucket and had to go.

Musgrave’s contract wasn’t renewed after the 2016 concluded.

If/when Gruden is named head coach of the Raiders, Downing won’t be retained which will put Carr on notice immediately with the new coaching staff. Gruden, along with former franchise quarterback Rich Gannon who is rumored to join Gruden’s staff as the quarterback coach, will make it their personal goal to get every ounce of talent out of Carr.

From footwork to calling the plays in the huddle, Carr will be broken down and rebuilt by Gruden and Gannon.

In the end, the play of the the Raiders’ $125 million quarterback will determine the team’s success, but Gruden will be responsible for delivering the organization’s elusive fourth Super Bowl title it thirsts for.