Last week, the Raiders announced that Derek Carr would miss two to six weeks with a fractured bone in his back. Now, he's preparing to play this Sunday after missing one game. “It just hurts,” Carr said on Wednesday. “There’s not really much more to it . . . It’s just one of those things you gotta deal with, just like everybody in the NFL right now.”
His return can't come soon enough for an Oakland team (2-3) that has lost three straight while the Broncos and Chiefs have raced out to an early AFC West lead. The Raiders are now preparing to host the Chargers and the Chiefs over a five-day stretch. Two wins and the Raiders will be right back in the mix, but it's important to remember that Carr’s return won’t fix all of their issues.
What was supposed to be a matured defense ranks No. 31 in Football Outsiders' efficiency metric, as injuries have taken a particularly hefty toll on the back seven. On offense, Marshawn Lynch (3.4 yards per carry) has added more character than production and the offensive line has not played up to its elite standards. And, most surprisingly, former No. 4 overall pick Amari Cooper currently ranks as the worst receiver in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus, with a league-high 27.8% drop rate. Carr may be back, but the Raiders still aren't right.
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2. Kevin Hogan wears number 8. He's also now No. 28, as in the 28th starting quarterback for the Browns since 1999. Hue Jackson announced that the Stanford product will start instead of rookie DeShone Kizer as the team prepares for the Texans. On the other side of the ball, Dan Labbe breaks down Myles Garrett's debut.
3. Kate Hairopoulos takes you behind the scenes in Dallas, where players were notably mum when asked about Jerry Jones or anthem protests. On the topic, free agent defensive end Jared Odrick has a well-written essay on how fans view athletes. The payoff line is this: "Don’t tell me who your favorite athlete is; tell me about your favorite person who plays sports."
4. A bit of a chaotic situation transpired in New York yesterday, as Giants corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was suspended after reportedly walking out of a defensive team meeting and leaving the facility. In case you haven't noticed, the Giants are now the Jets.
5. With Aaron Rodgers playing at an MVP level, it's up to the Packers’ defense to help him reach another Super Bowl. And 31-year-old Clay Matthews is a key piece for the unit, even if he's not racking up sacks.
6. Want to know how good your team’s offensive line is? Pro Football Focus ranked them all. The top ones play tonight.
9. The Raiders had to adjust their practice on Wednesday as ash from wildfires fell on their field. “It smells like someone’s barbecuing to be honest,” Derek Carr said. “That’s what I thought. I didn’t know that it would travel like that. My heart really goes out to the families, though. When something like that happens and then someone tells you what it really is, you just sit there and think you’re fortunate; you’re blessed. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families that have lost houses, loved ones.”
10. Head over to this link to see a picture of college age J.J. Watt and Antonio Brown. Stay for the story of the one season they played for the same offense.
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The last time Josh McCown started against the Patriots, these were the top 10 songs in America:
She Will Be Loved
Let’s Get It Started
My Happy Ending
Save A Horse