Mon Sep 17 6:45pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, in Denver. The Broncos won 20-19. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Coach Jon Gruden was in no mood to rehash Denver's final drive that handed the Oakland Raiders a second straight defeat to open his tenure as coach.
Case Keenum and the Broncos were able to move the ball down the field with little pressure in the heat and altitude of Denver and get a 36-yard field goal from Brandon McManus in the closing seconds of a 20-19 victory Sunday.
A second straight game with no consistent pass rush raised an obvious question for Gruden about whether the decision to trade edge rusher Khalil Mack, who was holding out, to Chicago for a package of draft picks was a wise move.
''It doesn't make me regret,'' Gruden said Monday ''We made the trade. We made the trade. There has got to be hindsight, 50-50, all that stuff. We would have loved to have him here and I'm not going to keep rehashing this. I would have loved to (have) coached him, loved to have him here, but he's not here. Somebody's got to step up.''
That hasn't happened through two games so far this season as Oakland has just two sacks combined in losses to the Los Angeles Rams and Broncos in the opening two weeks.
Bruce Irvin, who used to be nicknamed Robin to Mack's Batman, has been unable to deliver with the bigger responsibility of being the top pass rusher. He had one sack in the opener against the Rams but didn't provide much this past week.
He committed a personal foul that extended a touchdown drive for the Broncos after Oakland had appeared to make a third-down stop and looked gassed on the final drive when Keenum moved the ball from his 10 to the Oakland 18 with under two minutes remaining.
''Well obviously we need to get more out of our captain,'' Gruden said. ''He's put in some tough spots, certainly. He's a good player. He's had some really good snaps. We need more and more from him. I know he's giving us everything he has and it's tough on him, certainly, because we do have a lot of new guys around him upfront. We're happy he's here.''
The Raiders also hoped to get a boost from three rookie draft picks in end Arden Key and tackles P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst. Key excelled in the preseason but has looked overmatched at times now that the regular season has started.
Hurst had the team's only sack Sunday and Hall played on an injured ankle for much of the opener before missing the game against the Broncos and likely a little more time.
The lack of a pass rush has played a role in Oakland struggling in the second half the first two weeks. The Raiders led both games at halftime but have been outscored 43-7 in the final two quarters for the worst second-half scoring margin in the league.
They had chances to close out the Broncos even before the defense allowed the game-winning drive. Early in the fourth quarter, fullback Keith Smith dropped a pass from Derek Carr on fourth-and-1 from the Denver 33.
Instead of the Raiders going in for another score to extend a 19-10 lead, the Broncos took over and drove for a touchdown.
Oakland got the ball back with less than six minutes to go and a chance to ice the game. The Raiders got two first downs but a double pass interference call against Denver's Bradley Roby and Oakland's Amari Cooper wiped out a 29-yard gain to Cooper.
Then a false start on second-and-4 by tight end Jared Cook helped stall the drive and led to a punt that set up Denver's winning drive.
''This is the National Football League. You have to be able to finish the game,'' Raiders cornerback Rashaan Melvin said. ''That's something we haven't done as a team and we really need to focus on doing.''
New England Patriots right tackle Marcus Cannon (concussion) did not practice all week and has been ruled out for Week 7 against the Bears. Quarterback Tom Brady's protection won't be as good as usual against a strong Chicago pass rush, although All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack (ankle) is questionable and was slowed by his injury last week. Still, it's something to keep an eye on for this Sunday. If New England's offensive line is struggling, expect the Patriots to get the ball out quickly, which would favor receiver Julian Edelman and running back James White.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brice Butler (groin) practiced in full all week and is no longer on the Week 7 injury report against the Redskins after sitting out in Week 6. While Butler could see a role against Washington, he has yet to catch a pass in 2018 and would be behind Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, rookie Michael Gallup and Deonte Thompson in one of the worst passing offenses in football, so you can continue ignoring him.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (shoulder) will play again this season, but his long-term future is in doubt. Tannehill continues to battle injuries and has not lived up to expectations in the first seven weeks of the season. Before the knee injury that kept him out for all of 2017 he had a quarterback rating of 93.5 and completed 67.1 percent of his passes in 2016. His QB rating through five games this year is at 92.9 with a completion percentage of 65.9. Tannehill is scheduled to cost $26.6 million against the salary cap next year, while releasing him after the year take $13.2 million off the cap. It all likely depends on whether Tannehill can improve in the second half of the season when he returns from his right shoulder injury. Until then, Brock Osweiler will fill in under center. Tannehill will probably be dropped in shallow leagues with him likely to miss at least the next two games.
Detroit Lions RB Ameer Abdullah could see some action in passing situations with RB Theo Riddick (knee) ruled out against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8.
New Orleans Saints WR Tre'Quan Smith is expected to see a larger role after WR Ted Ginn Jr. (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list, and Smith said he is 'ready for the opportunity.'
Fantasy Spin: Smith was able to show that he can be a threat down the field when he caught three passes for 111 and two touchdowns against the Washington Redskins in Week 5. He will be a boom-or-bust flex option against the Ravens in Week 7.
New Orleans Saints WR Ted Ginn Jr. (knee) has a 'realistic' chance to return when he is eligible to come off the Reserve/Injured list in eight weeks, according to head coach Sean Payton.
Jacksonville Jaguars RB Carlos Hyde won't overtake RB T.J. Yeldon for the lead back role against the Houston Texans in Week 7, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com.
Fantasy Spin: The Jaguars backfield could become quite crowded if Leonard Fournette is ever healthy, but until Hyde's role becomes clear, you should hang on to him in all formats. That being said, you won't want to start him in Week 7.
Jacksonville Jaguars RB T.J. Yeldon will remain the 'main back' for the Week 7 game against the Houston Texans, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com.
Fantasy Spin: The Jaguars just acquired Carlos Hyde, but until he has a full week of practice with the team under his belt, it makes sense that Yeldon would shoulder most of the load. Yeldon can be a RB2 in most leagues.
Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans is always a start given his elite status but he will have a tough matchup this weekend against rookie cornerback Denzel Ward. Evans massive height gives him a natural advantage over the undersized Ward but he will have a difficult time getting separation. Back-to-back duds by Evans shouldn't discourage his owners from starting him this weekend since he's still Mike Evans. Just don't expect much more than low-end WR1 numbers against Cleveland.
Arizona Cardinals QB Josh Rosen (toe) is dealing with a sprained left toe but should be available for the Week 8 game, according to head coach Steve Wilks.
Fantasy Spin: Rosen has struggled since taking over as the starting quarterback but will be working with a new offensive coordinator next week. Rosen should not be a starting option in any fantasy leagues, but owners may want to keep an eye on him to see if he improves over the next few weeks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Vita Vea will start at defensive tackle in the Week 7 game with DT Gerald McCoy (calf) sidelined, according to head coach Dirk Koetter.
Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee (hamstring) is expected to play in the Week 7 game but will be on a snap count, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones.
Dallas Cowboys WR Tavon Austin (groin) will not undergo groin surgery at this time but is expected to be sidelined for several weeks.
Denver Broncos CB Adam Jones (thigh) likely will be able to play in the Week 8 game, according to head coach Vance Joseph.
Denver Broncos OT Jared Veldheer (knee) and LB Shane Ray (ankle, wrist) may have a chance to play in the Week 8 game, according to head coach Vance Joseph.
Los Angeles Rams PK Greg Zuerlein (groin) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 19, and is not on the injury report for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Zuerlein is one of the top kickers in the NFL and is a must-start option in all leagues when he is healthy.
Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 19, and has been ruled out for Week 7. DT Michael Brockers (shoulder), LB Matt Longacre (back), WR Josh Reynolds (hand), OG Rodger Saffold (knee), C John Sullivan (non-injury) and OT Andrew Whitworth (non-injury) fully participated in practice and are not on the injury report.
Free-agent WR Auden Tate was signed to the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad Friday, Oct. 19.
Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (quadriceps) said he will be available for the Week 7 game but is not sure how much playing time he will be able to handle because of the injury.
Fantasy Spin: Parker has been limited to only two games because of injuries and has posted only 40 yards in those games. Owners probably should avoid him even if he is active for the game.
Oakland Raiders RB Jalen Richard is expected to see a bump in workload with RB Marshawn Lynch (groin) sidelined. Richard has just three touches when the team is leading, and 39 touches when tied or trailing, but that is expected to change with just RB Doug Martin standing in the way.
Fantasy Spin: Richard will likely see plenty of targets out of the backfield, as he has shown good hands in the past. Doug Martin is currently projected to be the lead back heading out of the bye in Week 8, but many expect Richard to be the biggest winner in terms of fantasy value in the Oakland backfield.