NFL Wire News

Raiders rookie LB Bell gets chance and performs


The Sports Xchange

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Linebacker Neiron Ball, the Raiders’ fifth-round draft pick, had played primarily special teams through four games but got 36 snaps against Denver and made the most of it.

Ball helped the Raiders shut down tight end Owen Daniels after being burned repeatedly by that position group in the first four games.

“It was exciting because I came here to play football, I got more playing time and that’s what I’m looking for,” Ball said.

Ball declined to take credit for the Raiders solving their issues with covering tight ends.

“That wasn’t just on me,” Ball said. “It was a team effort. The DBs did their job, the guys rushing the quarterback did their job and it all worked together. It wasn’t a one-man effort.”

Running back Latavius Murray, limited to only two second-half carries in a 16-10 loss to the Denver Broncos, believes the bye week has come at a perfect time.

“I definitely think it’s a good time to get some rest, just relax, and heal up,” Murray said.

Murray leads the Raiders with 336 yards rushing, and the ground game managed only 17 yards on seven carries after he left the Denver game because of a shoulder injury.

“He is one of many guys that are giving it up for the team, playing hard, playing through some pain in some situations,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “I’m really appreciative of that, respectful of that.”

The Raiders are ranked 27th in rushing and 29th in rushing attempts.

NOTES: Tight ends Mychal Rivera, Lee Smith and Clive Walford have combined for 17 receptions for 130 yards with no touchdowns through four games. Walford, who had a 33-yard reception to help set up the Raiders’ only touchdown against Denver, could get considerably more work in upcoming games should he remain healthy. … Linebacker Curtis Lofton, who struggled on pass defense through four games, started but played only 19 snaps against Denver, his least playing time of the season. … Fullback Marcel Reece has three receiving touchdowns through four games, tying his career high set in 2010. … Running back Taiwan Jones (foot) returned to practice after missing two games. … Quarterback Derek Carr is averaging 7.2 yards per pass attempt, up from the 5.5 figure that was the worst among starting NFL quarterbacks in 2014. … Linebacker Malcolm Smith leads the Raiders with 40 tackles and has two sacks and a fumble recovery.

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