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Carr dodges bullet on injury to his throwing hand

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ALAMEDA, Calif. — Despite early reports to the contrary, Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said Monday the club appears to have escaped serious injury to quarterback Derek Darr, who departed a 33-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals with a hand injury.

“He has a bruised hand,” Del Rio said. “We think he’s going to be OK.”

That was enough for at least a sigh of relief after a game that saw injuries to starting safeties Nate Allen and Charles Woodson, as well as defensive tackle Justin Ellis.

Allen had an MRI for a knee injury, which early reports had as an ACL tear. Del Rio would go no further than saying, “We feel he may have a chance to return (this season).”

Tests on Woodson’s injured shoulder, an injury that occurred with only 1:04 left in the game and facing a 20-point deficit, had not made their way to the coach at the time he met the media. Woodson declined to talk with reporters following the game and needed help getting his dress shirt on.

Ellis, the second-year starter at defensive tackle, was said to be doing “OK” with an ankle injury.

“They all got banged up,” Del Rio said. “We’ll see how they respond.”

Before Carr left the facility Monday morning for his medical tests, he made his way to Del Rio’s’ office to demonstrate confidence in his recovery.

“He was showing me he could squeeze the ball, so it was good news,” Del Rio said. “We were all relieved.”

Earlier in the day, ESPN reported Carr did not have a fracture but would likely miss Sunday’s game, with the Raiders reaching out to Christian Ponder as a possible quarterback to back up Matt McGloin.

Ponder was released by the Raiders during the cutdown to 53 players.

Carr’s injury occurred when he broke loose on a scramble, and instead of sliding for the first down, he stuck out his throwing hand in an attempt to stiff-arm a defender. The injury occurred on that play.

“We would ask that he not repeat that,” Del Rio said.

The Raiders altered their schedule this season, giving players a day off Monday rather than Tuesday. Del Rio believes it will help the Raiders move on to the Ravens, who visit the Raiders in Week 2.

“This league is about next: the next play, the next series, the next game, and that’s our focus,” Del Rio said. “We’ll finish this up, meet with our players in the morning, put this one behind us and move on to next.”

–Aldon Smith had a minimal impact after signing with the Raiders during the week, and it’s still not known if he will face an NFL suspension after recent criminal misdemeanor charges for DUI, vandalism and hit-and-run.

Smith’s role was primarily as a pass rusher, but with Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton getting rid of the ball so quickly, he had only one good rush where he knocked the quarterback to the ground.

“I didn’t think our group brought the kind of pressure it will throughout the season,” Del Rio said. “I didn’t think anything in particular about (Aldon). Overall we’re going to expect a better rush. But I wouldn’t try and put that on him.”

Smith said he had other offers besides the Raiders, but liked the location as well as the support system he has in place — even if trouble seemed to follow him around with the 49ers.

“I have a house here. I have a son here,” Smith said. “This is my home … I’m doing good. I’m excited to be here, have this chance with this team, be part of a bunch of guys who work hard and an organization who looks out for their payers. Just a fresh start.”

REPORT CARD VS. BENGALS

PASSING OFFENSE: F — Don’t be deceived by 11- and 9-yard touchdown passes from Matt McGloin to Marcel Reece when the Bengals had already built a 33-0 lead. The Raiders passing game looked ill-timed and disjointed from the outset — even before Derek Carr left with a hand injury in the second quarter. Deep passes were few and far between – and one of McGloin’s resulted in an interception. Dink, dunk, punt.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F — The moment of truth came on a fourth-and-1 near midfield after McGloin entered the game, and Latavius Murray as stuffed for no gain. The NFL’s 32nd-ranked rushing game last season managed 63 yards on 16 carries, with Murray gaining 44 yards on 11 carries. The Raiders had only three rushes in the second half after trailing 24-0. The Raiders had one rushing first down.

PASS DEFENSE: F — Tight end Tyler Eifert had nine receptions for 104 yards, with nary a defender in sight. It didn’t help that safety Nate Allen was lost to a knee injury in the first quarter. Quarterback Andy Dalton was 25 of 34 for 259 yards and two touchdowns. He got rid of the ball quickly and was seldom pressured, as Khalil Mack was slowed by double teams and Aldon Smith was working off the rust after signing during the week.

RUSH DEFENSE: F – Head coach Jack Del Rio bemoaned the lack of leverage by the linebackers, who let Jeremy Hill get loose for early gains that helped set the tone for the entire game. Giovani Bernard and Hill ran steadily at the Raiders throughout, gaining 63 yards each on the ground.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C — Del Rio was happy with the way the Raiders played coverage against some good return specialists for the Bengals. Nothing else stood out, however. Marquette King’s first punt covered just 34 yards and set Cincinnati up for a 59-yard, 11-play scoring drive to open the game and take control.

COACHING: F — Hard to imagine the Raiders coming out and playing any worse in all phases before a home crowd starved for anything resembling success. Del Rio’s decision to go for a first down on fourth-and-1 near midfield backfired and resulted in a short-field scoring drive by the Bengals. If the Raiders were making any adjustments to throw Dalton off his game, they weren’t discernible to the naked eye.


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