Ryan Lipton’s Raiders-Patriots weekly round-up

Photo via Getty Images

Here are some of Ryan Lipton’s articles from the last two weeks to get Raider Nation ready for the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots matchup this NFL Sunday in Mexico City.

One reason Raiders have better chance to beat the Patriots than you might think

Todd Downing to ‘take a new focus’ with Raiders after bye week

Patriots-Raiders fantasy football preview: Who to start, sit

Raiders’ fantasy forecast for season second half

Why Raiders need to pursue Ex-Colts CB Vontae Davis

Raiders midseason fantasy football grades

Obi Melifonwu could be the missing piece to save the Raiders’ season


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

Ryan Lipton’s NFL Week 9 Oakland Raider round-up

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Here is the Oakland Raiders Week 9 NFL round-up from Ryan Lipton, The JR Report and Silver and Black Pride involving Derek Carr, Jack Del Rio, Marshawn Lynch and Todd Downing.

Jack Del Rio wants Raiders to ‘let it rip’ on both sides of the ball, but is it too late?

Bills, Raiders Fantasy football preview: Who to sit, start

What’s the one trade Raiders should make before the trade deadline?

Bay Area radio host Damon Bruce rips Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch and he’s right

Todd Downing on Raiders offensive struggles: ‘We’re so close’

Should Jack Del Rio be on the hot seat in Oakland?


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

Should Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie target Browns CB Jason McCourty?

With the Oakland Raiders 2-4 start to the 2017 NFL regular season, a trade might not be realistic as the defense seems to lack talent on the field and from the coaching staff. So there might not be just one fix for this calendar year.

However, if there is one acquisition general Reggie McKenzie can make to help the secondary and to resurrect Oakland’s season, here it is.

The Cleveland Browns are still 0-6 and have shown interest in stockpiling draft selections. Browns cornerback Jason McCourty is having one of the best seasons of his NFL career, 92 Pro Football Focus player grade in 2017, but is 30 years old making it unlikely he is in Cleveland’s future plans.

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CLEVELAND, OH – OCTOBER 08: Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets attempts to move past Jason McCourty #30 of the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

As such, the Raiders could go after McCourty and have a sure-fire No. 1 starting caliber cornerback for the first time since Nnamdi Asomugha left for the Philadelphia Eagles. Since McCourty is in his thirties, he wouldn’t be a long-term fix but would immediately improve the defense.

To convince McKenzie, McCourty would be due less than $1 million for the remainder of the season and would only have a cap hit of $3.625 million in 2018, via Spotrac.

It is hard to predict how much the Browns would want in return for McCourty, but a third-round pick and an extra late-round pick would seem reasonable. Unfortunately, McKenzie would be hesitant to part ways with a high selection.

Honestly, a second-round pick might even be worth it considering McKenzie’s selections of Jihad Ward, Shilique Calhoun, Menelik Watson, Sio Moore and Obi Melifonwu, who has yet to play a game. Aside from 2014, McKenzie’s second and third round selections have been sub-par.

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May 30, 2017; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie wears a hoddie and sunglasses at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In the last five drafts, McKenzie has only taken a starter in the third round twice, guard Gabe Jackson and defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes (and he’s up for debate). There is no guarantee that a future third round pick or even second would do anything for the organization immediately or down the line. Therefore, parting ways with a future draft pick for the opportunity to get a guy who can be a great starter for the next few seasons seems like a no-brainer.

Oakland has a ton of talent in place now, especially on the offensive side. But at a certain point everyone is going to have to be paid. Defensive end Khalil Mack, wide receiver Amari Cooper, safety Karl Joseph and defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. will all be getting new contracts in the coming years. As such, the window for the Raiders won’t be open forever. It is time, maybe not now but at least this offseason, to go all in on improving this defense.

Calling the Browns and enquiring about a trade for McCourty could be that answer in the secondary to help move the Oakland defense in the right direction.

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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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JR Report Podcast: Should Raiders follow Warriors path, fire Jack Del Rio after season?

Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio (Photo via Getty Images)

The JR Report Podcast, hosted by Ryan Lipton, dives into the Oakland Raiders 2-3 start to the 2017 NFL regular season and why it might be smart for the Raiders to move on from coach Jack Del Rio after the 2017 season.

Now isn’t the time to move on. If Oakland misses the playoffs owner Mark Davis should look hard at moving on from Jack Del Rio.

Del Rio prides himself on defense and attitude, yet the defense has been horrible and the team can’t show up and be competitive in must-win games. (Last year’s losses to the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans and this year’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos).

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

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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JR Report Podcast: Despite what NFL media think, Raiders not going anywhere

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (Photo via AP Images)

The Oakland Raiders have been disrespected by the NFL media as of recently.

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco has the Raiders outside the Top 10 of his NFL power rankings and Colin Cowherd doesn’t think Oakland is any threat to the New England Patriots.

Here is why the Raiders disrespect is ridiculous.

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JR Report picks against the spread

The 2017 NFL regular season kicks off in less than 24 hours!

As such, here are The JR Report and Ryan Lipton’s top 5 picks against the spread for Week 1 of the NFL season.

Remember, The JR Report hit on 63% (34/54) of its picks during last year’s regular season.


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

NFL predictions: Raiders improve despite decline in 2017 win/loss record

With the Oakland Raiders’ 2017 preseason wrapping up, it is time to start looking forward to the 2017 NFL regular season.

As such, here are The JR Report’s win-loss projections for the 2017 Raiders.

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Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) scrambles away from Tennessee Titans nose tackle Al Woods (96) in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Week 1: at Tennessee Titans

Starting the regular season off on the road against an up and coming team in the Tennessee Titans would be tough for any team to overcome.

Running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry and even quarterback Marcus Mariota could cause many issues on the Oakland defense. With so many weapons on the Tennessee offense, the Raiders’ poor defensive communication could be exposed.

With that being said, the Oakland defense will get gashed often, but the Raiders have an MVP caliber quarterback on the other side who will lead Oakland to a nail-biter victory in Week 1 carrying over the common theme from 2016.

Until the defense learns to communicate and gets defensive backs Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu up to speed, they will look a lot like the 2016 Raiders, just with fewer victories.

Raiders 34 Titans 30

Week 2: vs. New York Jets

This game will be the first home opener in Oakland since the organization announced their move to Las Vegas.

A blow out victory against the New York Jets should do well in pleasing the fans and keeping the Oakland Coliseum hospitable with the relocation on everyone’s mind.

Raiders 27 Jets 10

Week 3: at Washington Redskins (SNF)

The Raiders are a better team than the Washington Redskins and, despite what the salaries might say in the future, Carr has a major advantage over quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Nonetheless, it is still early in the season and the Oakland defense will be vulnerable. Cousins will have a monster game and Carr’s late magic will not be enough to carry his team on the road against a possible playoff team on Sunday Night Football.

Redskins 27 Raiders 24

Week 4: at Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos just do not have the star-power at quarterback to compete with a talent like Carr.

The Raiders, like last year’s home win, will use running back Marshawn Lynch to run over the defense and open the play action passing game for Carr to complete a few game-changing strikes.

The Broncos might not admit it, but they are about to enter a rebuilding phase as they need to find their quarterback of the future. Also, placing safety TJ Ward on the trading block does suggest a possible rebuilding period.

Raiders 23 Broncos 17

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BALTIMORE, MD – OCTOBER 2: Michael Crabtree #15 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

Week 5: vs. Baltimore Ravens

Oakland has defeated the Baltimore Ravens two seasons in a row. Moreover, quarterback Joe Flacco might not even be ready or healthy for this game in Oakland.

As a result, the outcome will be no different from the last two meetings.

Raiders 20 Ravens 13

Week 6: vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Upset alert!

Quarterback Philip Rivers is going to have a field day against the porous Raiders secondary. The Los Angeles Chargers are a much-improved team, maybe the most in the NFL, and will sneak up on Oakland a few days before they have to play the Kansas City Chiefs on national television.

Chargers 31 Raiders 27

Week 7: vs. Kansas City Chiefs (TNF)

A game under the lights at home will help Carr turn around his poor history against the Chiefs (lost five straight games to KC) since there is no team Carr and company will want to beat more than Kansas City.

The game also becomes a must-win after the previous week’s loss to the Chargers.

Lynch has a beast quake type game as the Coliseum erupts on Thursday Night Football during the team’s first victory over the Chiefs since Carr’s first NFL win.

Raiders 27 Chiefs 20

Week 8: at Buffalo Bills

As long as Tyrod Taylor is the quarterback of the Buffalo Bills, they won’t stand any chance against Carr and the Raiders.

Oakland would need a major off-day to lose to Buffalo, especially as the Bills subtly begin their rebuild, which they should until Tom Brady exits the division.

Raiders 24 Bills 13

For second half of season click here


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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3 takeaways after Raiders’ preseason loss to Cowboys

Photo via USA Today Sports Images

The Oakland Raiders lost Saturday night’s preseason game to the Dallas Cowboys 24-20.

Like many of Raider Nation would assume, there were many positives on offense, however, major concerns still remain on the defensive side of the football.

Here are The JR Report’s 3 takeaways from Week 3 of the Raiders’ preseason.

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Photo via Getty Images

Derek Carr…MVP

Oakland quarterback Derek Carr threw for 144 yards and two touchdowns in just under a half of play against a Super Bowl contender. His first half included two magnificent pinpoint strikes to Raiders wide receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Amari Cooper. His incredible play was honestly sub-par for Carr as he started the game out of sync often over throwing his targets.

The former Bulldog had a nearly flawless game against the Rams adding two more touchdowns and 100 yards passing to his preseason statistics.

It seems that Carr hasn’t lost a step since his fibula injury and looks better than he was in 2016. Oakland offensive coordinator Todd Downing has decided to give Carr even greater control of the offense at the line of scrimmage and it looks like it will pay massive dividends.

The new additions of running back Marshawn Lynch and Jared Cook provide a running back with elite vision and a big tight end target for Carr. Two things he has not had his entire NFL career.

As a result, the recent additions could help Oakland’s offense ascend to the top in the league. Honestly, it isn’t too far-fetched especially with New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman out for the year and the Atlanta Falcons subject to a Super Bowl hangover.

All in all, Carr is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and has shown everyone throughout the preseason why the Raiders missed him so much during Week 17 and the Wild Card playoffs last season.

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Photo via AP Photo/Mark Zaleski

Run defense a pleasant surprise

Going into the third preseason game, it was paramount to see how the Oakland defense could handle Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot and their high-powered offensive line.

It would be Oakland’s first big test for the young linebackers on the ground until the regular season kicks off. To Raider Nation’s surprise, the Raiders linebackers held Elliot to just 18 yards on six carries.

It is possible the story would have been different if the teams played a full game. Maybe Elliot would have worn down the Oakland defense and broken a few runs late, but the Raiders held him in check during the short opportunity.

It is still the preseason, so everything will be taken with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, the Oakland defense showed that they could and have the potential to stop the run. They just need to figure out how to communicate and fill gaps on a consistent basis.

Remember, the Raiders defense was trending in the right direction before Carr got hurt. If they keep that trend the same, then the Oakland defense will be a completely different story in 2017.

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Aug 26, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) on the field before the game against the Oakland Raiders at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback, tight ends continue to wreak havoc

While it was good to see the Raiders stop the run with their first team, they still struggled mightily to cover the tight end and stop Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.

Prescott looked almost unstoppable at times going 11/14 for 113 yards and one touchdown. Moreover, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten had six catches for 74 yards and one score, all in less than a half of play.

Every season Oakland is letting tight ends slip down the seam for big gains. It was no different last night and will not be any different this season unless Raiders safety Obi Melifonwu has a splendid rookie season. He looked good in his limited time on Saturday, but a preseason game is much different from any live regular season action.

Also, it is hard to forget the Oakland defense made Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff look like an All-Pro, which is hard to do, for the former Cal Bear threw for 160 yards and one touchdown against the Raiders in limited time.

Hopefully, the return of Melifonwu and cornerback Gareon Conley will help suffocate tight ends and move cornerback Sean Smith into a smaller role with Conley taking more reps.

If both rookies can’t stay healthy, Oakland’s pass defense could be worrisome, especially against tight ends.


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

What to do with Raiders CB Sean Smith

Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith has the fourth highest cap hit on the Raiders’ roster in 2017, yet he is obviously not the fourth best player on the team and comes nowhere close to cracking the top 10.

Smith’s $9.5 million cap hit, per Spotrac, lands him in dangerous waters. He is due No. 1 cornerback money, but will probably be the No. 3 or No. 4 cornerback on the team this fall. Moreover, Oakland ranked just No. 24 against the pass in 2016, so being third or fourth on the depth chart is nothing to get excited about.

The Raiders will be moving on from Smith at some point. Whether it is this year or next year, we do not know.

If Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie wants to see Smith in a new uniform in 2017, here are McKenzie’s options.

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Sep 25, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith (21) celebrates after defeating the Tennessee Titans 17-10 at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Cut Raiders CB Sean Smith

Many of Raider Nation might clamor for Smith to be cut, however, that would make zero sense for the football team.

If McKenzie chooses to cut him, he would only save the franchise $250,000 since $9.25 million would still count against the cap as dead money, via Spotrac. Therefore, there is absolutely no benefit to seeing Smith cut this season.

Oakland would also not be able to find an equally talented replacement for $250,000. In addition, Smith has performed poorly, for his price tag, but is still a decent starting cornerback in the NFL as long as the team plays around his weaknesses.

If no cap space is to be gained from his departure, it is safe to say he will be on the roster come Week 1 of the NFL regular season unless McKenzie surprises the NFL by making a trade.

Lastly, the Raiders can cut Smith in 2018 without penalty since there would be no dead money by releasing him then.

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Photo via Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Trade Raiders CB Sean Smith

A trade scenario is extremely unlikely since McKenzie has never been eager to make trades and no team would want to take on Smith’s contract without getting something in return.

Regardless, here is a hypothetical trade scenario that would help out two teams and send Smith out of Oakland.

First and foremost, the Raiders must find a team that is not expecting to win this season and has cap space to spare.

Luckily, the three teams with the most cap space, the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars, are not expected to be a winning team in 2017.

Proposed trade: Raiders’ Sean Smith and 2018 6th round pick to San Francisco

Currently, the 49ers’ two starting cornerbacks, Dontae Johnson and Rashard Robinson, have Pro Football Focus player grades of 65.8 and 50.4 respectively.

If Smith came in, he would immediately become a starter Day 1 and could give valuable leadership to the young pieces in San Francisco. After Smith’s one year with the Niners, the organization could release him without any penalty and would have accrued an extra sixth round selection to help build the team for the future.

In regards to Oakland, McKenzie would be extremely hesitant to part ways with a sixth round draft pick, but he would save the team $5.25 million, via Spotrac.

With Carr and Jackson’s recent contracts and Mack’s future contract, $5.25 million could go a long way in helping keep the Raiders’ young core together. In essence, the $5.25 million could be more valuable than having one sixth round pick in 2018.

Maybe, that $5.25 million will help bring Raiders tackle Donald Penn to training camp.

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Photo via Getty Images

What McKenzie should do

Personally, parting ways with any assets is not the smartest move for the Raiders.

Oakland should keep Smith on the 53 man roster and cut him the following season. Then, they can have his services for 2017, not lose any draft picks and move on from him in 2018 when they can do so without hurting the team’s cap space.


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

Raiders CB Sean Smith continues to move around defense

Photo via AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith is continuing to bounce around on defense during his time in training camp in Napa.

During Thursday’s practice, Smith was seen lining up at outside cornerback as well as at hybrid linebacker in sub-packages, according to Las Vegas Review Journal’s Michael Gehlken.

The former Utes’ move to the outside comes after defending tight ends throughout the entirety of Wednesday’s practice on the first, second and third teams. That practice left many perplexed given that the Raiders are paying Smith $9.5 million this season.


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