3 reasons why Raider Nation should not panic

Raider Nation, Sunday night was very tough to watch. It was the first time Oakland Raiders’ fans got to see their team on Sunday Night Football on the road since October 15, 2006, when they lost to the Denver Broncos 13-3.

This time around against the Washington Redskins, the team came out flat looking like the Raiders of the last decade, the pre-Derek Carr Raiders.

However, fans should stay away from the panic button. A loss next Sunday might be worrisome, but here are three reasons why everyone in Oakland should stay calm for the time being.

Trump, then the Republican nominee, tours the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, Sept. 14, 2016. (Photo via Reuters)

Trump made the Raiders bad again

This week might have been one of the most emotional weeks in recent NFL memory.

It was the first time the country could see how good the Silver and Black have become. Obviously, Oakland had been looking forward to this game in the nation’s capital for quite some time.

Moreover, it was a hectic week as soon as president Trump released his latest comments surrounding the NFL protests and players. It created a lot of controversies and encouraged the teams to protest the President’s words.

The Raiders should have and had every right to protest, however, it definitely took time away from focusing on the game and could have been mentally draining.

As such, the team played without a spark for the entire night.

Oakland usually plays with a certain edge, especially with running back Marshawn Lynch on the roster, making this game an anomaly as there will not be this much off the field emotion surrounding a game for a long time.

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Raiders safety Karl Joseph (Photo via Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

The defense played admirably

Yes, the defense gave up 27 points on Sunday night, but it could have been much worse.

If one said the Raiders were going to be outgained by 344 yards, have three turnovers and wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper would have just two receptions combined, one would think the team would have lost by over 30 points.

Instead, the defense held Washington to just 3.4 yards per carry in a game in which the unit was on the field for over 38 minutes and was constantly in a poor position.  So giving up 27 points is not bad.

The performance wasn’t great, but it showed that the defense is continuing to improve and is miles better than the defense from 2016, who would have given up at least 40 points if they were in a similar situation as Sunday night.

Cornerback Sean Smith still looked horrible covering tight end Vernon Davis. Once safety Obi Melifonwu returns from injury, Smith’s snaps will be very much limited as Melifonwu will be able to guard the tight ends and therefore improve the pass defense.

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Raiders QB Derek Carr vs. Washington on Sunday Night (Photo via AP Photo/Mark Tenally)

It was just an off night for Derek Carr

The game did confirm one thing that we should have already known, Oakland can’t win if quarterback Derek Carr has an off night.

Fortunately, Carr’s off nights come few and far between.

Also, bad nights happen to everyone. Even the unbeatable New England Patriots and QB Tom Brady stunk it up in front of a national stage on opening night against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Carr still needs to improve on the national stage as the terrible performance against the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football from 2016 might be fresh in everyone’s mind. But until Carr and Co. put up another stinker, there is no reason to worry.

Remember, one time is an outlier. If it continues and becomes a trend, like a loss on Sunday to the Broncos, then it is time to get out the panic button. Maybe not press it, but at least have it around.


Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

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Final Raiders 53-man roster projection before training camp

As NFL training camps begin to ramp up and with the Oakland Raiders’ less than one week away, 90 players become 53 in one fell swoop in 2017.

While it’s likely that Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie still has a couple more moves up his sleeve before this roster is fully fleshed out, a final 53-man roster projection before camp seemed in order.

Photo via USA Sports Images

QB (3): Derek Carr, EJ Manuel, Connor Cook

Here come’s the spoiler alert — Derek Carr is going to be the starting quarterback for Oakland in 2017.


Read more on Raiders Wire!

11 most important Oakland Raiders defensive players in 2017

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


The Oakland Raiders won 12 games last season, but it was not thanks to their No. 26 ranked defense. They took the bend don’t break mantra seriously often waiting for Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack to save the day by forcing a turnover.

However, they will need to improve mightily on defense this season if they want to build on last year’s success.

Here are the 11 most important Raiders on defense for 2017.

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Photo via Steve Cheng

No. 11 – DT Eddie Vanderdoes

Oakland struggled last season getting any interior pressure on opposing quarterbacks as they racked up just three sacks from the defensive tackle position.

Now, the two players who had those three sacks, former Raiders defensive tackles Dan Williams and Stacy McGee, are now gone.

With that being said, Raiders defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, who has shown to have an inside push, will need to be effective to help improve upon last year’s weakness in the middle.

No. 10 – CB Sean Smith

Raiders cornerback Sean Smith was often torched last season for chunk plays, but still, put up an impressive Pro Football Focus player grade of 83.4.

One must not look at the PFF grade and think the position is under lock, however, Smith was not as bad as people thought last season.

As long as Oakland can find a productive nickel corner to matchup with the smaller and quicker players, then Smith will be just fine serving a significant role in the defense.

 

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Photo via USA Today Sports Images

 

No. 9 – DE Mario Edwards Jr.

Without Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith, Oakland doesn’t have an elite pass rusher to compliment Mack. Raiders linebacker Bruce Irvin is solid, but he isn’t a dominant pass rushing force.

Therefore, Oakland would benefit mightily if Raiders defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. has a bounceback season. He can help stop the run early, but, most importantly, can assist the pass rush by sliding inside to free the outside up for Mack and Irvin.

No. 8 – S Reggie Nelson

Raiders safety Reggie Nelson had another impressive season hauling in five interceptions.

With Oakland’s defense expected to be improved, but not elite, Nelson’s presence will tell me very important. They will need him to continue to force turnovers and also be a veteran presence with a large number of defensive rookies coming into the fold in 2017.

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Photo via Eric Risberg / AP Photo

No. 7 – LB Bruce Irvin

Currently, Irvin is the second best pass rusher on the team behind Mack and is vital to the team’s success.

The more pressure he creates, the harder it is for teams to double and triple-team Mack. The less double teams Mack has to face, the easier it will be for Mack to wreak havoc.

No. 6 – S Karl Joseph

Oakland’s defense struggled against the run last year ranking No. 23 in the NFL.

With no middle linebacker replacement in sight, there could be a lot of free running backs hitting the second level in 2017. Therefore, it is essential for Raiders safety Karl Joseph to be the hard hitting and sure-tackling safety that he is known to be.

If he isn’t, then a lot of running backs will be taken their second-level runs to the end zone.

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Raiders’ Karl Joseph: ‘Night and day. . . from now to last year’

Photo via Silver and Black Pride

The article can also be found on the Raiders Wire!


Oakland Raiders safety Karl Joseph came into his 2016 rookie season recovering from an ACL injury and missed the entire offseason program. Now, he has a full NFL season of experience and a full offseason program behind him.

Joseph thinks it is now “night and day” different “from now to last year,” via the Raiders’ media session today.

In addition, Joseph thinks the most important aspect of being healthy is the opportunity to “bond with the guys” instead of the “football part of it.”

He still thinks he will be “more comfortable” on the field this year as he felt like he was just “thrown out there and learning the defense” in 2016 whereas now he knows “what to expect.”

Everyone knows how special Joseph can be, for he was taken No. 14 overall in the 2016 NFL draft. Now that he is healthy and comfortable mentally, he should be able to ascend and become one of the best safeties in the league.

Raiders 53-man roster projection 1.0: Defense

The article can be found on the Raiders Wire!


With the bulk of NFL free agency over and the Oakland Raiders already putting their rookie NFL draft selections to work the 2017, the time for depth chart evaluation is already in full swing.

Here is a look at the first 53-man roster projection of the offseason for the Raiders.

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Photo via KYLE TERADA-USA TODAY SPORTS

Interior Defenders (8)

Defensive tackles: Justin Ellis, Eddie Vanderdoes, Treyvon Hester, Darius Latham

Defensive ends: Mario Edwards Jr., Jihad Ward, Denico Autry, Branden Jackson

The Raiders have a young defensive line that should yield many interesting training camp battles this offseason.

Raiders defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. will be returning after missing the majority of last season due to a hip injury, and is expected to make a major impact stopping the run and also freeing up holes for Oakland pass rushers to roam free.

Meanwhile, fellow Raiders defensive end Jihad Ward bulked up this offseason, Justin Ellis and Denico Autry should both see some decent run in 2017 on the interior and edges respectively.

Raiders rookie defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes should find himself competing for snaps against Ellis, fellow rookie DT Treyvon Hester and Darius Latham this season — with each making the roster out of training camp.

(edge defenders)