Notes, Quotes

The Sports Xchange

September 05, 2018 at 1:08 am.

–The Raiders traded a fifth-round pick to Buffalo for quarterback AJ McCarron, who will back up Derek Carr. Both EJ Manuel and Connor Cook, who competed for the backup job throughout camp, were released.

Now the task is to get McCarron ready in case he is needed in Week 1.

“Hopefully, Derek stays healthy,” head coach Jon Gruden said. “That’s No. 1. We have to fast track AJ. He’s in here now working with (quarterbacks coach) Brian Callahan and he’ll be a consistent visitor at our facility over the next few weeks.

“He has a lot of catching up to do. We’ll try and fast track him the best way we can.”

McCarron was a guest on one of Gruden’s “Quarterback Camp” shows on ESPN and was a backup in Cincinnati when defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was there. The Raiders also got information from secondary coach Derrick Ansley, who was on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama when McCarron was the starting quarterback.

–Tight end Derek Carrier played for the Rams with Sean McVay as head coach, and also at Washington under Jay Gruden.

McVay is a former Jon Gruden assistant who has many of the same mannerisms and style of speech — not by accident — and Jay Gruden of course is Jon’s younger brother.

“They’re all able to make a point at a meeting, and then they’ll make a little joke,” Carrier said. “It’s uncanny how similar they sound. Coach Gruden and Sean sound alike, but with Jay and Jon it’s really similar when you’re talking about delivery and style of speech.”

At Washington, Carrier also got to know Deuce Gruden, a strength assistant who now works for his dad in Oakland. If that’s not enough, Greg Olson, Gruden’s offensive coordinator, worked with the Rams last year under McVay.

Said Jon Gruden: “I can remember going to Washington and everybody liked Carrier. Talking to my son, he liked Carrier. Then when McVay went to the Rams and Olson joined him, they liked Carrier. So when free agency came around, I liked Carrier too.”

–Cornerback Daryl Worley was lost for the first four games of the season after being suspended under NFL policies of personal conduct and substance abuse after falling asleep at the wheel while drunk while a member of the Eagles in the offseason.

The Raiders said they would stick by Worley, who had worked himself in position to be at least the third corner behind projected starters Rashaan Melvin and Gareon Conley.

–Wide receiver Martavis Bryant, acquired from Pittsburgh for a third-round draft pick in the offseason, was released after an unimpressive camp after he missed several practices because of headaches and struggled to learn the offense.

“We expected more from him,” Gruden said. “He did not make the team because Keon Hatcher came on, and other players outperformed him. … we tried to keep the five or six best receivers that we had.”

Gruden said a potential looming suspension had no impact. Bryant reportedly could be suspended for the third time — this time indefinitely — meaning he would probably be out for the year.

Still, the coach said he didn’t regret the gamble.

Asked if the possible suspension was an issue, Gruden said, “Not really. Just the overall versatility.”

Gruden said spending a third-round pick on Bryant wasn’t a miscalculation. It’s simply part of the business.

“I think the guy is a superb talent,” Gruden said. “We released our second-round draft choice last year before and the year before that. Not everything is a perfect science. We’ll be criticized for that. But it was a risk that was well worth taking. Perhaps we get Martavis again next year when we can get the best out of him.”

–Quarterback Derek Carr: For the first time, Carr has an offensive minded head coach who is determined to build an offense around his strengths. There will be some growing pains, but the Raiders will go how Carr goes. How he responds to Jon Gruden will determine the direction of the franchise.

–Left tackle Kolton Miller: Miller has stepped in as a lean, 6-foot-8 left tackle and will be entrusted with protecting Carr’s blind side. For that reason, he’d better be the Raiders’ rookie of the year. The preseason, although Miller hasn’t gotten an extensive amount of work, has been mildly encouraging.