Raiders will interview Patriots ILB coach Jerod Mayo for head coach vacancy

Raiders will interview Patriots ILB coach Jerod Mayo for head coach vacancy

Now that the Raiders are officially entering the 2022 offseason, the search for a head coach is now on in Las Vegas. The expectation is that the Raiders are going to use the next few weeks to interview candidates, but will likely hire a new general manager first.

So who are the possible candidates to be the head coach for the Raiders in 2022 and beyond? We know that Rich Bisaccia is going to interview for the job, but who else might be on their radar?

One candidate who will interview for the job is Jerod Mayo of the New England Patriots. That news was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday evening.

Mayo is a former All-Pro linebacker who just got into coaching in 2019. He’s worked with the Patriots as their inside linebackers coach for the last three seasons and has helped call the defense with Bill and Steve Belichick.

Mayo probably isn’t the leading candidate for the job, but he could be a defensive coordinator option depending on who takes the head coaching gig. But if Mayo impresses during the interview process, there is a chance he could go from inside linebacker coach to NFL head coach this offseason.

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Mike Mayock out as Raiders General Manager

Breaking: Mike Mayock out as Raiders GM

Minutes after reports came out that the Raiders had requested several interviews with General Manager candidates, it was followed by somewhat expected announcment; that Mike Mayock will not be returning as Raiders GM.

The team said in a statement:

“We have relieved Mike Mayock of his duties as General Manager of the Las Vegas Raiders. We thank Mike for his contributions over the last three years in helping to form the foundation for the franchise to build upon in its future.”

Mayock spent the past three years as Raiders GM, presiding over the 2019, 20, and 21 drafts.

The former longtime NFL Network resident draft guru was a celebrated hire to team up with then head coach Jon Gruden heading into his second season on the job.

Gruden was forced to resign following the leak of several offensive emails. Questions surrounded whether Mayock would stay on as GM. That question was answered just two days following the team’s Wild Card playoff exit.

Debacles like the Antonio Brown trade and first round picks such as DE Clelin Ferrell, WR Henry Ruggs III, DB Damon Arnette, and OL Alex Leatherwood.

He is credited, however, with late round finds like DE Maxx Crosby, WR Hunter Renfrow, and CB Nate Hobbs.

Raiders sign 12 to reserve/future contracts

Raiders first order of business: Sign 12 to reserve/future contracts

It’s the Monday after the Raiders offseason began and therefore it’s time to take care of some business. One of the first orders of business is reserve/future deals. The Raiders announced the addition of 12 players on reserve/future deals today.

S Jordan Brown
G Lester Cotton Sr
DB Kavon Frazier
OL Hroniss Grasu
DE Gerri Green
C Brett Heggie
DL PJ Johnson
LB Justin March-Lillard
OL Jeremia Poutasi
RB Trey Ragas
WR Dillon Stoner
WR DJ Turner

Most of these deals are guys from the practice squad the Raiders want to bring back onto the offseason roster. Some are street free agents as well.

Original Raiders include Lester Cotton Sr, Trey Ragas, Dillon Stoner, and DJ Turner. All are former undrafted free agents.

Jordan Brown, Gerri Green, and Jeremiah Poutasi all spent last offseason with the Raiders as well.

The veterans of the group are Justin March-Lillard, Hroniss Grasu, and Kayvon Frazier who each have at least six years NFL experience.

Raiders interviewing potential General Manager candidates

Could Mike Mayock be on his way out? Raiders interviewing potential GM candidates suggests he could be

There could be some major turnover in the Raiders organization this offseason very soon. The immediate discussion has been with regard to whether the Raiders will bring back Interim Head Coach Rich Bisaccia or hire someone from outside the organization. But it may not stop at head coach.

While the team is interviewing head coach candidates, they are also seeking interviews with General Manager candidates as well according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The current GM in Las Vegas is Mike Mayock. He was brought in three years ago as former head coach Jon Gruden’s choice for the job.

The draft guru’s tenure has been known for poor selections in the top two rounds, but some great finds in the later rounds.

Among those high pick duds have included fourth overall pick DE Clelin Ferrell and CB Damon Arnette. Top pick Henry Ruggs III is in jail awaiting trial for a fatal DUI crash and last year’s first round pick Alex Leatherwood had a rough rookie season as well.

Those duds have been offset somewhat by finds like CB Nate Hobbs (Round five), WR Hunter Renfrow (Round five), and DE Maxx Crosby (Round four).

Then again a GM’s job is about a lot more than just he draft. The Raiders will get a look at these GM candidates to see if they have the requisite experience for the job.

Raiders DE Maxx Crosby has another huge performance vs. Bengals

Raiders DE Maxx Crosby recorded seven pressures and five hurries vs. Bengals

The Raiders couldn’t quite complete the comeback in Round 1 of the playoffs, but they did get another stellar performance by Maxx Crosby. The Pro Bowl defensive end stood out once again as he was around Joe Burrow throughout the afternoon.

According to Pro Football Focus, Crosby recorded seven pressures and five hurries against the Bengals in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. It was his 11th game this season in which he recorded at least five pressures.

The Raiders have a lot of building they have to do this offseason, but it helps that they have a bonafide star at defensive end in Crosby. Considering how much he has improved in each season, the Raiders would be wise to give him a contract extension this offseason.

Crosby has now played in 49 regular-season games as a rookie and has recorded 25 sacks, 43 tackles for a loss and 57 quarterback hits. Needless to say, he’s developed into one of the league’s best pass rushers at just the age of 24.

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2022 NFL Mock Draft: See which wide receiver the Raiders select in Round 1

2022 NFL Mock Draft: See which wide receiver the Raiders select in Round 1

The Raiders enter the 2022 offseason with a lot of questions. Who will be their head coach? How do they fix their offensive line? And how will the Raiders find a replacement for Henry Ruggs III?

The easiest problem to solve is at wide receiver as there are several suitable options in free agency and the draft. And with the emergence of Hunter Renfrow, they just need an outside receiver who can stretch the field and make a few big plays a game.

In a recent mock draft by Austin Gayle of Pro Football Focus, he has the Raiders addressing their wide receiver need in Round 1 with Ohio State’s Chris Olave. Here is why Gayle and PFF believe this would be a perfect fit for the Raiders at pick No. 22:

“Ohio State’s Chris Olave is a former high school track star with solid straight-line speed and smooth route-running ability. He averaged more than 3.00 yards per route run in his 2019 and 2020 campaigns before a crowded 2021 Buckeye receiver room drove his target share down.”

Olave isn’t the flashiest of receivers in the 2022 NFL draft, but he is among the most polished. He does seem like a receiver that would mesh well with Derek Carr as he can create separation with ease.

It will be fascinating to see if the Raiders opt for a “safer” pick at receiver like Olave versus someone with more upside like Treylon Burks or Jameson Williams. Or, do they not even go receiver in Round 1 and use that pick to upgrade their offensive line?

We are still several months away from the 2022 NFL draft, but this is shaping up to be a very important one for the Raiders if they want to take the next step as a franchise.

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Raiders will pick at No. 22 in 2022 NFL Draft

Where will the Raiders pick in the 2022 NFL Draft?

The 2021-2022 season is over for the Raiders. It was a successful season in a lot of ways for Las Vegas as they made the playoffs and won 10 games for the first time since the 2016 season.

However, it’s time for this team to take the next step and become a legitimate contender in the AFC. How do they accomplish that? By nailing the draft and finding multiple starters on both sides of the ball, like they did last season.

Here is the full list of picks the Raiders will have (subject to change) in the 2022 NFL Draft, according to Tankathon:

No. 22
No. 53
No. 86
No. 121
No. 149 (from Patriots)
No. 224

The Raiders do not have a sixth-round pick after trading it for Denzel Perryman last offseason. This is by far the least amount of draft capital the Raiders have had over the last several drafts.

But with two picks inside of the top-55 selections, they should and need to find two instant starters. There are still three months before the 2022 NFL Draft kicks off but we will be here the entire way getting ready for that big weekend.

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Raiders young wide receivers ‘forced to grow’ amid adversity, put up career years

Losing their number one receiver and then top target forced Raiders receivers to grow up fast.

Of all the difficulties the Raiders faced this season, the Henry Ruggs III DUI crash was by far the worst. The crash resulted in the death of a woman and her dog and landed Ruggs in jail on charges that could put him away for a very long time. 

First and foremost, that took its toll on the Raiders team emotionally. It dwarfed the Jon Gruden resignation in that regard. And from an on-field standpoint, the Raiders actually seemed to play better following Gruden’s exit. But the loss of Ruggs was much harder to overcome.

It was clear quickly that the Raiders’ offense was not the same without their number one receiver. And they summarily lost three in a row.

They would pull out of their tailspin with a win a big overtime win in Dallas. But the win would come at a cost – Darren Waller.

The Pro Bowl tight end left with knee and back injuries and would not return for five weeks. 

In the midst of the loss of their deep threat in Ruggs and their best receiver in Waller, several other Raiders receivers stepped up. The new outside starters were Zay Jones and Bryan Edwards, while slot receiver Hunter Renfrow saw his targets go way up.

“It was a really good test for us as a unit,” said Edwards. “We had to pick up the slack of the guys that we were missing and I feel like it was a constant rotation with all the adversity we were facing. But I feel like we did the best with what we had and I feel like everybody in the room was forced to grow, especially me and especially Hunter and you just see the kind of results that came from it. It was one heck of a year to sum it up.”

Renfrow in particular landed in the Raiders record books. His 103 catches finished third in Raiders franchise history and second among wide receivers, just one behind Tim Brown’s record (104). He also surpassed 1000 yards (1038) and added nine touchdowns. Renfrow credits his quarterback for his and his fellow receivers’ performances.

“I can’t say enough good things about Derek [Carr],” said Renfrow. “How it didn’t matter who was out there. And really he’s done that his whole career. He’s a special player, and no matter who’s out there, he’s going to find them the ball and get us opportunities. And so as a receiver group, we just got more and more confident as the year went along.”

Edwards tripled his rookie totals in all areas. He went from 11 catches for 193 yards and one touchdown as a rookie to 34 catches for 571 yards and three touchdowns this season. None stood out for Edwards more than the win over the Browns.

“Playing in Cleveland and getting that touchdown I felt like that was kind of for me seeing all my hard work coming to fruition and like that moment where you kind of see the light and you’re like ‘man, I’m coming along’,” said Edwards who had the Raiders’ only touchdown in the team’s 16-14 win.

That game started the team’s late-season four-game win streak. And no receiver stepped up more than Zay Jones in those four games, putting up 25 catches for 254 yards. He finished fourth on the team in receptions (47) and yards (546). He then went on to catch five more passes for 62 yards and a touchdown in the playoff loss to the Bengals.

Just making it to the playoffs at all was a huge accomplishment. The way they stepped up and the way Derek Carr adjusted to keep the team afloat without their best receivers was admirable.

“I think it just shows the resilience of this team and the guys, the foundation it’s built on,” Edwards continued. “Throughout the season things just kept coming up and when it went down we kept responding and when it went up we kept responding. And we just tried to do the best we could to win games and we made a playoff run and we did some things that haven’t done here in a long time. So we have a lot to be proud of.”

Edwards and Renfrow will certainly be all the better for having fought through this so early in their careers. It won’t keep the Raiders from the need to bring in a deep threat to replace Ruggs, but that’s to be expected.

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Raiders 2022 opponents home and away, strength of schedule, future opponents

Here are Raiders 2022 opponents and beyond both home and away and strength of schedule

The Raiders offseason officially started today which means prep for next season begins immediately. While we won’t know the Raiders’ exact schedule for a few months, we do know which team they will be playing and where (barring any trips for an international game, of course).

Here are the Raiders’ 2022 opponents:

Home

Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Cardinals, Texans, Colts, Patriots, 49ers

Away

Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Jaguars, Rams, Saints, Steelers, Titans, Seahawks

Strength of schedule: .528 (7th)

How this breaks down:

Along with facing each division team twice, the Raiders face all teams in the AFC South and NFC West. They also face the teams in the AFC East, AFC North, and NFC South that finished second in their respective division as the Raiders did (Patriots, Steelers, Saints).

They have nine away games in 2022 because they had nine home games in 2021.

The strength of schedule is based on opponent records for the 2021 regular season. Raiders 2022 opponents had a collective 2021 regular-season record of 152-136-1. That’s tied with the Saints for the 7th strongest schedule and just behind the Chiefs (.533). See how they stack up here.

Future opponents:

2023

Home: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Patriots, Jets, Packers, Vikings, AFC North team TBD, NFC East team TBD

Away: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Bears, Lions, Dolphins, Bills, AFC South team TBD

2024

Home: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Browns, Steelers, Falcons, Panthers, AFC South TBD

Away: Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, Ravens, Bengals, Saints, Buccaneers, AFC East team TBD, NFC West team TBD

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5 things that tripped up Raiders in Wild Card loss to Bengals

Red zone issues cap list of mishaps for Raiders in their Wild Card loss to Bengals

It was nice for Raiders fans to have their season go a week longer than usual. Well, actually it was two weeks considering the extra regular season game this year. But after most NFL teams’ seasons were done, they were still playing. Something they haven’t experienced but one time in the previous 19 years.

That extra time is up, though. They exited the playoffs without a win, falling to the high-powered Bengals.

Even with the Bengals playing as well as they have lately, the Raiders have been playing well above what anyone expected as well. And they kept it close most of the game. But they knew they couldn’t afford for a lot to go wrong in order to win. But a lot did go wrong.

Here are the five issues the Raiders had that kept them from pulling this one out.

1. Red zone woes

Let’s just start with this stat:

That’s right. A zero passer rating in goal-to-go situations. But equally problematic is that he was passing the ball seven times in the first place. The Raiders didn’t stick with the run as they should have. Josh Jacobs carries it just 13 times.

The first time they moved into the red zone was in the second quarter, off two huge runs by Jacobs that went for a combined 49 yards. They ran it with Jacobs one first down from the 12 for two yards. Then two Carr incompletions – the second being a Desean Jackson drop – and they were kicking the field goal.

Late in the third quarter, they were back in the red zone in first and goal at the nine. From there Carr went one for three and they settled for a field goal. That was his lone completion and it came on third and 19.

With under seven minutes left, the Raiders needed two scores. In the best case scenario, they score a touchdown right away and then if they had another shot they could drive for a field goal to tie or a touchdown to win. The first drive got to first down at the 17-yard-line. A seven-yard pass to Zay Jones was followed by two incompletions and they were lining up for a field goal.

The defense stopped the Bengals with a three-and-out to give the offense another shot. They drove down to first and goal at the nine. Three incompletions, including one that was nearly picked when Carr threw into the traffic for Zay Jones, brought up fourth and goal for the game.

He again threw for Jones who was double covered and this time it was picked. And it wouldn’t have mattered if Jones had caught it because he was outside the end zone and would’ve been tackled right away. That’s a losing throw any way you look at it.

The Raiders would make four trips to the red zone and came away with one touchdown.

Josh Jacobs got the ball twice in the red zone. One of those carries was called back by penalty, for one official carry in the red zone. And he didn’t get a single carry in the fourth quarter. Mostly because of all the times they couldn’t finish a drive had them so far behind that they abandoned the run.

2. Costly penalties

The opening drive of the day stalled following a Darren Waller false start penalty on second and one. And a once-promising drive ended in a field goal. Their third drive, Brandon Parker had a false start and they once again weren’t able to recover and punted it away.

Late in the third quarter, the Raiders went on one of their most impressive drives of the game. It started with an Alex Leatherwood holding that brought back a 35-yard catch by Desean Jackson. The Raiders were able to regroup and move downfield anyway. But when John Simpson was called for holding on first and goal, they weren’t able to recover and settled for yet another field goal.

3. No consistent pressure

The first drive for the Bengals went for a touchdown with Burrow having his way. He completed five of seven passes including the touchdown. The only time he even lined up in third-down was the touchdown pass itself which came on third and goal from the seven.

Early in the second quarter, the Bengals drove for another touchdown. Once again, he completed five of seven passes including the touchdown.

Midway through the fourth, they went on another long drive, this time with Burrow completing six of seven passes. It was switching to the run and getting stopped on consecutive plays that would end the drive and they added a field goal to go up 26-16.

The Raiders had two sacks in the game. Both stopped drives. One in the second quarter by Quinton Jefferson that led to a field goal and one by Maxx Crosby that led to their first punt…in the third quarter.

4. Special teams mishap

One of the biggest bonehead plays of the game was committed by Peyton Barber who chased down a kickoff and then stepped out of bounds, which downed it at the two-yard line. It seemed like he was trying to do what Dwayne Harris did a few years back and step out of bounds FIRST and then touch the ball which would have given the Raiders the ball at the 40. But Barber touched the ball first and THEN stepped out and…that’s not how that works. 

A few plays into the ensuing drive, Derek Carr ended up getting sacked at the one-yard-line on third down. The punt would go 58 yards but be returned to the Raiders 45, starting the Bengals in Las Vegas territory two drives in a row. They would get another field goal out of it to take a 13-3 lead.

5. Lost turnover battle

No takeaways of any kind for the Raiders. They had one against the Chargers last week that helped tremendously. Two if you count the turnover on downs. They got none against the Bengals. But the Raiders had a couple of their own.

The Raiders’ second drive, Carr either didn’t notice or simply didn’t prepare for the fact that tight end Foster Moreau was lined up one-on-one with Bengals’ best pass rusher Tyler Hendrickson. He was sacked and fumbled it. The Bengals recovered at the 15-yard-line and added a field goal to go up 10-3. You might recall last week Carr fumbled inside his own 20 too, but that time the Raiders got lucky when Brandon Parker fell on it.

The game ended with Carr throwing an interception. The turnover didn’t really matter as an incompletion would’ve resulted in the same thing and even the catch being that Zay Jones was not in the end zone. But throwing to him twice while he was well covered up — either pass could’ve been the one picked — was playing with fire and the Raiders got burned.

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