NFL Wire News

Raiders better but Del Rio is far from satisfied


The Sports Xchange

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders hit the bye week with a 2-3 record, nowhere near they wanted to be but encouraging to a fan base that saw an 0-10 start and a 3-13 finish a year ago. Coach Jack Del Rio has made it a point to avoid all talk of the Raiders recent failures, willing to acknowledge the club’s winning tradition decades ago while moving on from a string of 12 non-winning seasons — 10 of those seasons with double-digit losses.

Yet while the sub-.500 record isn’t what Del Rio had in mind, he has seen progress after a 33-13 season-opening face-plant against the Cincinanti Bengals.

“I know we’ve made a lot of strides,” Del Rio said. “We had hopes it would be better. It’s what we’ve earned to this point. … We’ll focus on the road ahead of us, make sure we’re learning what we can from the previous five weeks of experience.”

While a 16-10 loss to unbeaten Denver heading into the bye was disappointing, it was a far cry from six consecutive blowouts at the hands of the Broncos since from 2012 through 2014 after Peyton Manning took over as quarterback in Denver.

“Absolutely you can see progress in different areas,” Del Rio said. “That was as good as we’ve played on defense. There have been several bright spots, several areas of improvement. … We know there’s a ton of work in front of us, so we’ll reflect on our beginning, heal up, and get ready to go forward.”

Del Rio said he has seen enough over short periods of time to be optimistic about how the Raiders will play when they learn to be more consistent.

“When you look at the tape, in all three phases, you see spurts of really good play,” Del Rio said. “Drives being put together, really great execcution, timing, rhythm, some good things taking place.

“Our punt coverage the last game was excellent. Defensively we were really good on third down in our last ballgame. As a team, you learn how to do it right first, then you learn how to sustain that effort and that production, and that’s what we’re after.”

Quarterback Derek Carr believes the Raiders have made progress and credits the offense struggling the previous two games in part to the opposition, with the Bears and Broncos playing excellent defense.

“I don’t ever look at records or stats, I turn the film on and I watch them,” Carr said. “I knew those were good defenses. You know it’s not going to be a 49-30 game. Some of these games are going to be low scoring.”

–Usually tight-lipped when it comes to injury situations, coach Jack Del Rio conceded an MRI exam on starting defensive end Justin Tuck was “not good” and said, “We’ll see where it goes.”

Tuck left late in the Denver game because of a shoulder injury and did not return.

The Raiders were without defensive end Denico Autry (concussion) against the Broncos, although defensive end Benson Mayowa played in his first game after missing the first four games because of a knee injury.

Also available is second-round draft pick Mario Edwards Jr., who played a season high 50 snaps against Denver and can play tackle or end.

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