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Friday Injury Report: Trent Brown ruled out for Sunday, Brandon Parker will start at RTby Cyril Penn on December 6, 2019 at 8:31 pm
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports Trent Brown has officially been ruled out for Sunday’s contest against the Tennessee Titans with a pectoral injury and will be replaced at the right tackle spot by second-year pro Brandon Parker. That will be a major blow to the Raiders offense line and especially their pass protection as they enter an all-important AFC showdown. Per Football Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz, the Raiders have a 25 percent chance of making the playoffs with a win, and just a 1 percent chance of making it with a loss on Sunday. Parker struggled immensely during his rookie season in Oakland, so confidence in him isnt exactly high. However, Kolton Miller has improved tremendously over the last season under the tutelage of offensive line coach Tom Cable, so perhaps Parker’s game has grown as well. Parker has worked as the power-tackle in jumbo packages over the past few weeks and even ran a drag route on Oakland’s final offensive play against the Chiefs when Derek Carrier snagged his first touchdown of the year. In other injury-related news, Josh Jacobs is officially questionable for Sunday’s game due to the lingering affects of a fractured shoulder he’s been battling for weeks. He was very limited at practice and may not be equipped to handle his usual workload on Sunday. Hunter Renfrow is dealing with a rib injury and has been ruled out as expected. Meanwhile, core special teamer Kyle Wilber is out with an ankle injury suffered last Sunday and the Marquel Lee is questionable with a toe issue. We will update this story with the full injury report once it is provided by the Raiders’ public relations team.
A plea for more Jalen Richard snaps in the slotby Cyril Penn on December 6, 2019 at 7:03 pm
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports The Raiders desperately need to revitalize their passing attack and getting Jalen Richard more involved as a receiver just might do the trick With Hunter Renfrow out with a broken rib and punctured lung suffered against the Jets, the Raiders offense has become bogged down and predictable. Depending on the personnel on the field and the formation called, defenders are tipped off to Oakland’s tendencies. The receiving trio of Tyrell Williams, Zay Jones and Keelan Doss looked utterly uninspiring on Sunday against the Chiefs, combining for four catches for 34 yards on eight targets. To mix things up, the Raiders should get Jalen Richard involved in the pass offense more often. Last Sunday, Richard only had three snaps at receiver, playing two in the slot and one out wide. On those snaps, he blocked for a screen, went in motion for a jet sweep fake and ran a curl from an empty shotgun set, with Derek Carr not looking his way. Richard is a plus-pass catcher at running back with the type of elusiveness and speed to separate from linebackers in coverage. Putting him in the slot more frequently while keeping Josh Jacobs in the backfield could make the offense more unpredictable. The Chargers have experimented with this idea with two-back sets with Austin Ekeler in the slot and Melvin Gordon in the backfield. Similarly, the Cowboys have found success with Tony Pollard in the slot and Ezekiel Elliot in the backfield. And that’s without even mentioning James White, whom the Patriots create mismatches with on a weekly basis against opposing linebackers. Bringing Richard across the formation with jet sweep action more often could open up off-tackle power runs and cutback lanes by forcing opposing defenders to keep backside contain. If the defense doesn’t respect the jet sweep action and fails to account for it, the Raiders could actually hand it off and gash them. Thus far this season, Richard has been ineffective as a runner, gaining only 75 yards on 23 carries. He and DeAndre Washington have been primarily asked to spell Jacobs on short yardage situations. Problem is, neither of them are particularly good as power runners and the Raiders are simply taking Jacobs off the field to limit the damage to his fractured right shoulder. Meanwhile, as a receiver, Richard has been productive with 26 grabs on 31 targets for 223 yards. At certain points, Richard has looked like lightning as a receiving threat. He played a pivotal part in a Week 9 victory over the Lions, taking Oakland from their own 25-yard line to the Lions 9-yard line after four consecutive touches on a game-winning drive. Two of those touches were 20-plus yard receptions. In a matchup-based league where creating an advantage is of utmost importance, Richard is a better option on many pass plays than Doss, who was only able to create a modicum of separation on a small handful of his routes against Kansas City. The Raiders will likely be getting Renfrow back in the fold by Week 16 if his injury rehab goes according to plan, but in the meantime they have two all-important games against the Titans and Jaguars that could come to define the season. A loss in this Sunday’s game against Tennessee could spell the end of the Raiders fading playoff hopes. They need to pull out all the stops to try to get a sputtering offense back on track, and giving Richard a hefty helping of snaps in the slot could invigorate the passing attack.
Raiders versus Titans Viewing Guide: Game time, TV schedule, announcers and moreby Cyril Penn on December 6, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports Over the past two weeks, Raiders fan confidence has taken the biggest hit of any fanbase in the league. While 91 percent of fans were confident in the direction of the team after the Raiders moved to 6-4, that number has been cut in half, sitting at just 45 percent following back-to-back blowout losses. That’s the second-lowest mark of the entire season, behind only the lowly 25 percent mark heading into Week 4 after a 34-14 drubbing at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings. Luckily for the Raiders, they return home for RingCentral Coliseum for a crucial bout with the Tennessee Titans, where they’re 4-1 on the season. The Titans have been red-hot as of late, winning five of their last six games since Marcus Mariota was benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill. They sit 7-5 and are currently fighting for a playoff spot on the outside looking in, placing at No. 7 in the AFC playoff picture. Game Details Location: RingCentral Coliseum, Oakland, California Game time: Sunday, Dec. 8, 1:25 pm Pacific (4:25 pm ET) TV channel: CBS (Do I get the game?) Online streaming: Fubo streaming service Radio: Bay Area KCBS-740 AM, select games on 95.7 The Game and 106.9 KFRC-FM. Las Vegas 102.7 The Coyote, 720 AM (Brent Musburger, Lincoln Kennedy) | Full listings Odds: Titans are 2.5-point favorites, Over/Under is 47.5 Match-up history: Raiders lead all-time series 30-20-0 Announcers: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green Enemy blog: Music City Miracles Twitter: @SilverBlakPride
Raider Film Review: Checking in on Kolton Miller’s developmentby BD Williams on December 6, 2019 at 2:00 pm
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports Last time we checked on Kolton Miller we looked at how he compared to Trent Brown through the first 5 weeks of the schedule going up against elite pass rushers. In that piece it was evident that while Miller had taken strides from his 2018 form, he still was a work in progress and clearly Oakland’s second best tackle. Over the past several weeks, Miller has continued to grow and is showing glimpses of living up to his draft status as a first round pick. Miller has the size and athleticism to be a dominant tackle in the NFL, that much has never been in question. It’s the technique and mental aspect of the game that seemed to elude him in 2018. And although he may not be an All-Pro just yet, his trajectory as a player is something Raiders fans should be happy about. Pass protection progress An NFL tackle needs multiple tools at his disposal in order to deal with the beastly pass rushers who come their way. Miller used the cut block at times last year with middling success. This year he is saving it as a true change-up and the success is evident when it works on a walking Hall of Fame caliber player in JJ Watt. All offensive linemen need to be able to diagnose and pick up stunts. Miller struggled with this at times last season and it wasn’t so much mentally being able to recognize the twisting pass rushers as putting himself in a position to lower his center of gravity and block a defensive tackle. This year it looks like he’s picked up some tips from Richie Incognito as he buries this poor defensive tackle. Kolton, that man has a family. Gruden likes to give both his tackles a little help in the pass protection game plan. Whether with quick passes, play action, or keeping TEs and RBs in to block. There will always be times when this just isn’t possible and Miller will be on an island against a defensive end like Joey Bosa. This rep shows Miller isn’t backing down from that challenge. Bosa lands a long-arm on Miller, but the second year tackle bats the arm down, throwing the rusher off balance. Blitz pick up is a crucial mental test for offensive linemen. Last year there was an example of Miller getting very confused against a similar look during a game against Denver. Fast forward to this season and Miller seems to have cleaned that part of his game up. Against this blitz from the Jets defense, Miller has three potential threats coming off the edge. Instead of blocking any of them, he recognizes that he needs to slant towards the right and pick up the rusher who has the quickest line to the QB. This ins’t a physically remarkable, play but it highlights Miller’s ability to recognize blitzes and play within the scheme. My favorite rep from Miller in the past few weeks is shown above against Frank Clark. You might remember Clark beating Miller like a red headed step-child when they first met in 2018. Now that Miller is healthy and a season more of experience under his belt, he made this battle more equal. Watch closely while Miller is taking his vertical set, he makes a subtle flinch as if he’s going to land a strike on Clark. Clark goes to counter a move that wasn’t even coming and it throws off his rush plan. This type of chess match is something that elite tackles execute on a week-to-week basis. One rep doesn’t make a season, but if Miller can incorporate this into his game with consistency, he will be a tough tackle to beat.
Gruden and the Raiders are ready for one final home stand in Oaklandby Evan Groat on December 6, 2019 at 2:00 am
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports It’s been a season of two tales for the Raiders. A bit of Jekyll and Hyde if you will. The struggles have come on the road, where the Raiders are 1-5, have given up 33.5 points per game and have a minus-six turnover differential. Playing in the friendly confines of the Coliseum has been a different story. At home, the Raiders are 5-1 (including the home game in London) with a plus-four turnover differential. The travel itinerary in 2019 has been legendary, with five consecutive weeks on the road that included trips to Minnesota, Indianapolis, London, Green Bay, and Houston. However, with the opportunity to make the postseason still within in reach, the Raiders are coming back home for the next two weeks and will not leave the state of California for the next three before the season finale in Denver. Jon Gruden was asked about the importance of defending home field during his weekly Wednesday press conference: “We feel like we’ve played pretty good football all year,” Gruden said. “We’ve had some ups and downs, obviously, especially the last couple of weeks. But we are 6-6. It’s nothing to really brag about, but we’re excited about progress and we do like playing at home like everybody else. We’ve been on the road more than anyone in the history of the world now. 45,000 miles of travel is a joke.” Based on the data, it’s hard to argue the road hasn’t been tough on this young team, despite the struggles away from Oakland the teams playoff hopes still have a pulse. It all starts this Sunday with a key AFC matchup with the Tennessee Titans that could have major implications on the playoffs. The Titans are currently the seventh seed, one spot ahead of the Raiders. Derek Carr has found some success against the Titans in recent years. He has a 3-0 record with a 6:1 touchdown to interception ratio. If the Raiders can defend their home turf in the next two weeks, they will head to Los Angeles to face the Chargers in Week 16, which might feel more like a home game for the Raiders based on past years. Coming out of those three games at 9-6 should keep them in the mix heading into Week 17 with an all important road game in Denver. Sure, the Raiders need a lot of things to go right in this scenario, but we’ve seen crazier things happen in this league.