Oct 17, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) scrambles with the ball in the first half against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders set sights on road-happy Eagles

The Las Vegas Raiders are off to a good start in the post-Jon Gruden era.

Meanwhile, the only success the Philadelphia Eagles have enjoyed this season has come on the road.

Looking to head into their bye week with a second straight win, the Raiders host the Eagles on Sunday.

Poised to move on from the departure of their embattled former coach, Las Vegas (4-2) built up a 21-point, third-quarter lead, then held on for a 34-24 win at reeling Denver last Sunday. Derek Carr bounced back from a rough outing in a loss the week before by throwing for 341 yards with two touchdowns and snapped a stretch of three consecutive games with an interception.

“To go on the road and play an AFC rival like the Denver Broncos in their place and to come out with a win was exciting for all of us, and just helps us move forward on to Philadelphia,” interim Raiders coach Rich Bisaccia said.

“We’re looking forward. … How we respond to anything is how we forge our identity.”

With its bye week coming up, Las Vegas looks to win back-to-back games for the first time since opening 3-0. Carr remains one of the NFL’s top passers, ranking second with 1,946 yards. He’s thrown 10 touchdowns and four interceptions.

However, the Raiders need to wake up a run game that ranks 30th (79.8 yards per game) in the league. Josh Jacobs, a 1,000-yard rusher in each of his first two NFL seasons, has totaled just 175 on 54 carries in four games.

Perhaps that revival happens this weekend against the Eagles (2-4), who are 28th in the league, allowing 135.3 rushing yards per game.

The Eagles rallied from a 28-7 second-half hole to make things interesting versus Tampa Bay at home on Oct. 14. However, they fell 28-22, despite a touchdown pass and two scores on the ground from Jalen Hurts.

Philadelphia has lost all three of its home games, but is 2-1 on the road — winning at Atlanta and Carolina. Hurts has thrown five of his eight touchdowns this season on the road, where he’s completing 66.7 percent of his passes. At home, Hurts is completing just 57.7 percent of his attempts.

Still, the focus for first-year Eagles coach Nick Sirianni isn’t about where his team plays well, but that it’s able to do so on a consistent basis.

“We all want to win. We all want to win right now,” Sirianni said.

“I can’t let myself ride the highs and lows. If I ride the highs and lows, then the rest of the team will ride the highs and lows. I have to stay steady. … If you continue to get better every single day it will put you in position to go 1-0 every week.”

Philadelphia goes into this contest for the first time without three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz, who was traded to Arizona a day after the loss to the Buccaneers. The Eagles do have three-time Pro Bowl tackle Lane Johnson back with the team following a two-week absence due to mental health issues, however, it’s unlikely he’ll be available this weekend after missing the past three games.

Raiders starting defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (hip) returned to practice after sitting out last week. Las Vegas also signed veteran cornerback Desmond Trufant this week.

–Field Level Media

Sep 13, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden watches game action against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders owner on Gruden emails: “We don’t stand for it”

Four days after offering a snarky “no comment” in response to the Jon Gruden email scandal, Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis changed his tune on Sunday.

“Listen,” Davis said outside the Raiders’ locker room, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The Raiders stand for diversity, inclusion and social justice. We always have and we always will. The emails that came out are not what we stand for. So, Jon Gruden is no longer head coach of the Raiders.

“There’s not much more I can say. All the talking heads are making up all sorts of stuff. That’s all it is. We don’t stand for it.”

Gruden resigned Monday after leaked emails revealed that he had made derogatory, misogynistic and homophobic comments before becoming Raiders head coach.

Asked about Gruden’s resignation on Wednesday, Davis said “I have no comment. Ask the NFL. They have all the answers.”

The Raiders improved to 4-2 on Sunday by defeating the Broncos 34-24 in Denver in their first game under interim head coach Rich Bisaccia.

“It was one of the best games I have seen us play in a long time,” Davis said. “I thought it was fantastic. All three phases of the game. My emotions are that I’m excited that we looked good and are moving towards the future.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 17, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Las Vegas Raiders running back Kenyan Drake (23) leaps past Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson (22) to score a touchdown in the second quarter at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders defeat Broncos to begin post-Gruden era

Derek Carr was 18-for-27 passing for 341 yards and two touchdowns, Kenyan Drake had a touchdown run and catch, and the visiting Las Vegas Raiders beat the Denver Broncos 34-24 on Sunday.

Henry Ruggs III had three catches for 97 yards and a touchdown and Josh Jacobs ran for another for Las Vegas (4-2).

Terry Bridgewater was 35-for-49 passing for 334 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions, Noah Fant had nine catches for 97 yards and a score. Courtland Sutton had eight receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown for Denver (3-3).

The Raiders were playing their first game since Jon Gruden resigned as head coach after offensive emails were made public last week. Rich Bisaccia was elevated to interim head coach.

Las Vegas went ahead 7-0 just 3:06 into the game on Carr’s 48-yard TD pass to Ruggs. The Broncos answered on the ensuing drive with Bridgewater’s 23-yard touchdown strike to Tim Patrick.

Daniel Carlson’s 50-yard field goal gave Las Vegas a 10-7 lead but he missed from 43 yards after Bridgewater threw an interception.

After five punts, the Raiders struck just before halftime. They got the ball at their own 18-yard line with 1:01 left, and after two short completions Carr hit Darren Waller for 36 yards. That set up a 31-yard TD pass to Drake with 30 seconds left.

Denver managed just one yard on its first possession of the second half and Las Vegas answered with another score. The Raiders got the ball on their 44 and needed just four plays to score, with Drake running the final 18 yards to make it 24-7.

The Broncos responded with a 32-yard field goal by Brandon McManus to cut the lead to two touchdowns but Jacobs scored on a 3-yard run to make it 31-10 at the end of the third quarter.

Denver cut it to 31-17 when Sutton caught a 12-yard TD pass with 11:16 left but Carlson hit a 30-yard field goal to extend the lead to 17 with 7:57 to play.

Bridgewater made it a 10-point game with a 4-yard TD pass to Fant.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Las Vegas won 26-17.  Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Raiders, Jon Gruden expected to reach contract settlement

The Las Vegas Raiders and former head coach Jon Gruden are expected to work out a financial settlement following his resignation last week, NFL Network reported.

Gruden signed a 10-year, $100 million contract in 2018 to return to coaching. He had been ESPN’s analyst on “Monday Night Football.”

He resigned Monday after leaked emails revealed derogatory comments he made about commissioner Roger Goodell, players union chief DeMaurice Smith and various team owners as well as statements categorized as misogynistic and homophobic.

Per the NFL Network report, Gruden, 58, has about $40 million unpaid on his deal.

Gruden had a 22-31 record over the past three-plus seasons in his second stint with the Raiders, including 3-2 this season. He coached the Raiders from 1998-2001, then moved on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2002-08. Overall, he has a 117-112 NFL coaching record and led Tampa Bay to its first Super Bowl win in 2002.

–Field Level Media

Sep 13, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) is tackled by Baltimore Ravens defensive back DeShon Elliott (32) and cornerback Marlon Humphrey (44) during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders reinstate QB Marcus Mariota (quad) from IR

The Las Vegas Raiders activated backup quarterback Marcus Mariota off the injured reserve list on Saturday.

Mariota sustained a quadriceps injury in the season opener against the Baltimore Ravens while breaking loose on a 31-yard run.

Mariota missed the past four games due to the injury as Nathan Peterman served as Derek Carr’s backup.

The 27-year-old Mariota is in his second season with the Raiders after spending his first five NFL campaigns with the Tennessee Titans.

Mariota, the No. 2 overall pick in 2015, has passed for 13,433 yards, 77 touchdowns and 45 interceptions in 65 games (61 starts). He also has 12 career rushing scores.

Mariota was a college star at Oregon and won the 2014 Heisman Trophy.

The Raiders (3-2) visit the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib (94) wears airpods before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders DE Carl Nassib back at practice after personal day

After being granted a personal day Wednesday and missing practice in the wake of the Jon Gruden controversy, which included past emails that revealed several anti-gay slurs, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib returned and was a full participant at team workouts Thursday.

Nassib, who became the first openly gay active NFL player when he made the announcement in June, was given the day off Wednesday, with Raiders general manager Mike Mayock telling reporters that Nassib “said he’s got a lot to process” amid the scandal that led to Gruden’s resignation Monday.

Among the email messages the Wall Street Journal and New York Times published over the past week was a reference to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that included an anti-gay slur. Gruden used a different slur while writing about Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team. Sam was selected by the then-St. Louis Rams in the seventh round in 2014 but never played a regular-season game in the league.

“He’s pretty much a lone wolf when it comes to that,” Raiders tight end Darren Waller said of Nassib Wednesday. “Nobody should be able to tell him how to feel. Nobody should be able to tell him how to grieve. He deserves to take time for himself because that’s a lot to process.”

Among other Raiders Thursday, running back Josh Jacobs did not practice because of an undisclosed illness. Defensive tackles Johnathan Hankins (hip) and Quinton Jefferson (back) also spent the day on the sidelines. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (rest, knee) and safety Johnathan Abram (shoulder, calf) were among those who practiced on a limited basis.

The 3-2 Raiders visit the 3-2 Denver Broncos on Sunday, with both teams entering on two-game losing streaks.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon (25) is tackled in the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Uncertainty follows Raiders into rivalry game with Broncos

Raiders Week in Denver is normally a time to sneer at the AFC West rivals and call them names. But with the upheaval within the Las Vegas organization, the vitriol has been largely muted ahead of Sunday’s game between the Raiders and Broncos.

The uncovering of Jon Gruden’s offensive emails from a decade ago led to his sudden resignation Monday night as the head coach of Las Vegas, putting the team in turmoil that goes beyond a two-game losing streak.

The Raiders (3-2) visit Denver (3-2) with plenty of uncertainty on and off the field.

Special teams coach Rich Bisaccia was elevated to interim head coach with the task of bringing Las Vegas out of its funk. But while he tries to bring a sense of normalcy to the players, a dark cloud hangs over the team.

Owner Mark Davis, who called Gruden a “dream” hire when he brought him on in 2017, has been mostly silent on the situation, punting when asked about the controversy by ESPN.

“I have no comment. Ask the NFL. They have all the answers,” he said Wednesday.

The Raiders are searching for answers on the field as well. Quarterback Derek Carr’s fast start has faded with two subpar performances. He has passed for a total of 402 yards in the last two weeks, 33 yards fewer than he had in the season opener.

Las Vegas has struggled to find a running game as well. The Raiders are averaging 78.6 rushing yards per game, but take away backup quarterback Marcus Mariota’s 31-yard run in the first game and it drops to 72.4 yards.

The Broncos are in a similar slide after starting the year with three wins. They, too, have struggled to find consistency on offense, particularly on third downs where they have gone 5-for-26 over the past two games.

Part of the problem has been injuries to the receiving corps.

Jerry Jeudy went down in the first game and KJ Hamler was lost in Week 3. Denver tried to shore up the depth this week by signing veteran wideout John Brown to the practice squad. He was with the team Wednesday, but it wasn’t known if he would be activated for Sunday.

“Offensively, we have had too many third-and-longs,” head coach Vic Fangio said. “You have to convert some of those. Lately we haven’t been able to do that. We did that in the first weeks. The last few weeks, I don’t know if we have gotten any. We have to get in more manageable third downs and no matter what third down we are in, we have to convert.”

The defense will get a boost this week with the return of cornerback Ronald Darby from a hamstring injury. Fellow cornerback Mike Ford will be out with a knee injury suffered in last week’s loss at Pittsburgh.

Safety Kareem Jackson (back) and running back Melvin Gordon III (hip) did not practice Wednesday, but their status for Sunday hasn’t been determined.

For Las Vegas, only defensive tackle Johnathan Hawkins (hip) did not practice Wednesday due to injury.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) with head coach Jon Gruden against the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Carr confesses gamut of emotions since Jon Gruden resignation

Derek Carr continues to compute the emotional toll of the past week as the Las Vegas Raiders prepare to play the Denver Broncos in a meaningful AFC West game on Sunday.

After a post-mortem of his performance in a loss to the Chicago Bears with Jon Gruden on Monday, Carr learned hours later that the team was without a head coach. Gruden resigned in a meeting with owner Mark Davis as a series of inflammatory emails in which Gruden disparaged individuals with racist and anti-gay rhetoric became public.

Carr said he felt anger, empathy and sick to his stomach over the past week.

“A lot of emotions obviously,” Carr said. “Didn’t see all of this coming. Caught us all by surprise. There will be a day for those feelings. But from an emotional standpoint, I’ve got a job to do.”

No player on the Raiders’ roster spent more time with Gruden.

General manager Mike Mayock said Wednesday Rich Bisaccia was elevated to interim head coach because he’s “the best leader of men” Mayock has been around.

“I feel it’s important to acknowledge the significance of this moment,” Bisaccia said on Wednesday. “Coach Gruden gave me a chance to coach in the National Football League and I’ll always be appreciative of that. That being said, we all have a responsibility here. We have to be accountable to our words and our actions. No one person is bigger than the Raiders shield. The Raiders have always stood for diversity, inclusion and social justice. It’s important to live those ideals and carry them into the future. We can’t change the past, but we can do more to maybe make tomorrow better.”

Carr will be playing for a fifth head coach in his NFL career since entering the NFL in 2014 while still coming to terms with the brutal realities of the messages unearthed from Gruden.

“Are conversations still happening? Absolutely. Another part of being a leader is making sure guys are OK,” Carr said. “This is the biggest story in sports right now and … you turn the TV on and it’s what’s on. I’m sad for our organization, I’m sad for our fans.”

Carr wondered aloud if Gruden was the only NFL coach or general manager with skeletons on his hard drive.

“I love the man — but hate the sin,” a reflective and tense Carr said Wednesday of Gruden. “If we started opening up everyone’s private emails and texts, people would start sweating a little bit. But maybe that’s what they should do for all coaches, GMs and owners from now on. You have to open up everything, see what happens.”

Bisaccia said the Raiders, 3-2, are a good team and there is a lot of season remaining with goals “still alive.” Bisaccia said he still considers Gruden a friend, but they haven’t had dialogue since Monday.

“No one wants to be a head coach in this particular situation. No one wants to be put in front of this in these particular circumstances,” he said. “But it’s an incredible opportunity. … We’re looking forward to the opportunity to play ball again.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib (94) reacts on the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Las Vegas won 26-17.  Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders grant Carl Nassib personal day to deal with Jon Gruden fallout

Defensive end Carl Nassib was granted his request for a personal day, Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said Wednesday.

Mayock said he had multiple conversations with Nassib, with whom he has met three times, since the email history of the team’s shamed head coach Jon Gruden came to light last week.

“He requested a personal day today,” Mayock said of Nassib. “He just said he’s got a lot to process, there’s a lot that’s been going on the last few days, and of course we support that request.”

Nassib became the first openly gay active NFL player when he made the announcement in June.

Among the controversial email messages the Wall Street Journal and New York Times published was a reference to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that included an anti-gay slur.

Gruden used a different anti-gay slur while writing about Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team. Sam was selected by the then-St. Louis Rams in the seventh round in 2014 but never played a regular-season game in the league.

–Field Level Media

August 14, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders next coach odds: Eric Bieniemy early favorite

The Las Vegas Raiders are expected to go on the offensive with their replacement for Jon Gruden, who resigned Monday following the disclosure of a string of inappropriate emails.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has been installed as the +600 favorite to be the Raiders’ next head coach by SportsBetting.ag. Bieniemy’s name comes as no surprise as he has been a finalist for several NFL openings over the past few years.

Gruden was hired to a 10-year contract largely for his reputation as an innovative offensive mind, and the top five candidates on SportsBetting.ag’s list are all current offensive coordinators in the NFL. Following Bieniemy are Buffalo’s Brian Daboll (+650), Carolina’s Joe Brady (+750), Dallas’ Kellen Moore (+750) and Tampa Bay’s Byron Leftwich (+900).

Also being offered at +900 is Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell and Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who is the top candidate on the list with previous NFL head coaching experience (Jets, 2015-18).

The sportsbook also included a few more entertaining options, including analysts Howie Long (+7500), Charles Woodson (+10000) and Tony Romo (+15000) along with former Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski (+50000).

Gruden served as a commentator for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” beginning in 2009 before returning to the sideline with the Raiders in 2018. It will likely be difficult for him to return to the television booth in the wake of the offensive emails revealed to have been sent over a seven-year period while with ESPN.

SportsBetting.ag is offering a prop market on Gruden’s next job.
–Podcast host (-150)
–Work for Fox News (+300)
–NCAA TV analyst (+500)
–NFL TV analyst (+500)
–High school football coach (+1200)
–Member of NCAA coaching staff (+1200)
–Member of NFL coaching staff (+2500)
–TV game show host (+3300)

With Gruden technically resigning, the NFL has yet to see a coach get fired this season. However, Jacksonville’s Urban Meyer is the clear favorite to be the first one to be let go following his own off-field controversy over the past few weeks.

First coach fired odds:
–Urban Meyer, Jaguars (+100)
–Matt Nagy, Bears (+250)
–Joe Judge, Giants (+400)
–Vic Fangio, Broncos (+900)
–Mike Zimmer, Vikings (+1200)
–Brian Flores, Dolphins (+1800)
–Dan Campbell, Lions (+2500)
–Frank Reich, Colts (+2800)
–Ron Rivera, WFT (+2800)
–Zac Taylor, Bengals (+3300)
–Robert Saleh, Jets (+4000)
–David Culley, Texans (+5000)
–Mike Tomlin, Steelers (+5000)

–Field Level Media