It may be premature to say that the “second honeymoon” for Jon Gruden with the Oakland Raiders is already over, but another defeat Sunday, and it likely is.
The Raiders are clearly struggling after dropping their second straight game last week in heartbreaking fashion against the Broncos in Denver. Oakland controlled most of the game and Derek Carr was outstanding, completing 23 of his first 24 passes on the day.
However, in the end Case Keenum rallied the Broncos and when Brandon McManus’ last-second field goal went through, the smirking critics of “Chucky” were already “sticking their chests out” about his NFL return.
Without question, some of this is self-inflicted, as Gruden clearly did not want to pay and therefore keep, linebacker Khalil Mack for the Raiders. And yes, they got a bounty of draft picks in return, but Mack has been nothing short of sensational as a pass rusher in two games in Chicago, and the Raiders defense is again mediocre-at-best.
So, that brings us to Sunday. And even though Gruden has been living in the Tampa Bay area while doing Monday Night Football for ESPN, this is the first time that he’s back coaching a game in the state since the final regular-season game of 2008. That day, ironically his Buccaneers lost to the Raiders completing a four-game losing collapse and costing his team a playoff spot-ultimately Gruden his job with the Bucs.
Now, the Raiders have come all the way East to Miami to play the 2 – 0 Dolphins. And while Gruden is in absolutely no jeopardy of losing his job, at least not until year 3 or 4 if it’s not working, owner Mark Davis didn’t make this shockwave multimillion-dollar hire to have the Raiders be one of the worst teams in the NFL.
Clearly, there was going to be some learning curve for Gruden with his new staff and new players. However, with a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback like Carr the belief was the Raiders would be solid, if not a wild card playoff contender.
It hasn’t shaped up that way as of yet.
The good news for Raider fans is: no one is going to outwork Gruden at trying to get it right.
The bad news is: the Raiders may not have enough overall talent to overcome that above-mentioned learning curve and digging themselves an 0-3 hole start 2018.
And the Fins, may be about to deal “Raider Nation” their latest lost Sunday.
Gameday- Dolphins look continue winning against Lions
Who: Dolphins (4-2) vs. Lions (2-3)
When: Sunday 1 p.m.
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens
Spread: Dolphins by 3 points (Courtesy of Vegasinsider.com)
What we are watching:
Will “Brock-tober” continue?
Last Sunday there was uncertainty, as suddenly Ryan Tannehill went from a late add to the injury report to unable to play for Miami. Veteran Brock Osweiler stepped in and played well for much of the day throwing for 380 yards in the dramatic overtime win over the Bears.
Osweiler does have a lot of starting experience, but his problem of late has been consistency. Will he put together another good performance against the Lions or will he take a step back?
He isn’t the only key, but probably the biggest one for the Dolphins to have success on Sunday.
Can Miami slow down Stafford and the Lions attack?
Detroit comes in well-rested off of a bye and boasting one of the top arms in football in Matt Stafford. The Lions have speedy receivers Golden Tate and Marvin Jones and a big target in second year receiver Kenny Golladay. So Miami, and in specific their defensive backfield, will have its work cut out for them.
One of the biggest question marks will be can the Fins generate some pass rush on Stafford? Miami has already ruled out defensive end Charles Harris with his calf injury and Cam Wake who missed the game last week, is still battling a knee injury but trying to play Sunday.
Wakes presence, even if it’s only for a few plays will help generate some of that pass rush.
Dolphins coach Adam Gase has repeatedly met and matched wits with, former Patriots defensive coordinator and now Lions first-year head coach Matt Patricia, over the last two seasons. Obviously the Patriots have had tremendous success for going on 20 years against every opponent and the Dolphins are no exception.
Still, Miami had a successful Monday Night Football win last December over the Pats.
Now, Patricia is now with a new team and his Lions are taking their lumps early on in the year. Still, they are playing a similar scheme defense, and you know they will be raring to go against the Dolphin offense that Patricia is very familiar with.
Gase has not been afraid to pull out “razzle dazzle” plays for touchdowns already this season, too.
Latest see what the latest match up of these two has in store.
Dolphins being investigated for hiding severity of Tannehill shoulder injury
For the most part everyone already understands that the NFL’s injury report that is loosely utilized to judge whether players can play or not. For three or more decades, teams have done their best to hide the significance of important injuries from everyone, including their opponents, while listing whatever they can get away with on the injury report.
And now, the Miami Dolphins are about to be the latest team to be scrutinized for what they did report about QB Ryan Tannehill injured shoulder a week ago.
As Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald wrote on Wednesday afternoon, the league is investigating the Dolphins for having listed Ryan Tannehill as having fully participated in practice on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. But then, listed him as limited for Friday and questionable for the game:
NFL to investigate Miami Dolphins reporting of Ryan Tannehill injuryhttps://t.co/tt76zfcdng
— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) October 17, 2018
Specifically at issue, according to Salguero is that Tannehill was apparently unable to throw passes for most or all of Thursday’s practice while being listed as a full participant.
Further, he did not participate at all in the Friday workout, which should have led to the Fins labeling him as “doubtful,” because they knew the extent of the injury and that he couldn’t throw.
We now know that Tannehill suffered a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder in the fourth quarter meltdown loss to the Cincinnati Bengals the week before . and really had no possibility of playing in the Chicago game as the week went on.
That’s another point of contention for the investigation, because Miami coach Adam Gase never said any of that prior to the game. However, he admitted as such after the game Sunday (Tannehill couldn’t throw/was doubtful all weekend), and repeated it on Monday, as well.
And more confirmation that the shoulder has been injured so bad is: Tannehill was still unable to practice on Wednesday and the Dolphins have already ruled him out for Sunday’s game at home with the Lions.
The Fins announced that backup Brock Osweiler will start for the second consecutive week. Osweiler threw for 380 yards, three touchdowns and led the game winning field goal drive in the final minute of overtime against Chicago.
The league does have consequences for teams not being forthcoming, especially hiding significance of injuries with the most prominent players on their roster and their injury statuses.
They have reprimanded and fined teams, like the Patriots for an example, for not being forthcoming about injuries. Coach Bill Belichick responded one year by listing 25 players on his injury report one week for an upcoming game.
Most likely, the Dolphins will get a fine, if it can be proven that they were purposely misleading everyone, including the Bears when they knew the severity of Tannehill’s injury earlier last week.
And clearly they were, and did.
Dolphins WR Albert Wilson named AFC Offensive Player of the Week
The Dolphins knew that wide receiver Albert Wilson had big play potential, and now, that he has delivered early in 2018, others are seeing that potential realized too.
Wilson was recognized on Wednesday as the AFC Offensive Player-of-the-Week coming off of his two touchdown 155 yards receiving performance in the Miami thrilling when 31 – 28 over the Bears in overtime Sunday:
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) October 17, 2018
Wilson has become known for his ability to gain yards after the catch, and his spectacular 75-yard weaving catch-and-run to the endzone tie the game late in regulation.
His big receiving day was part of Brock Osweiler filling in for injured quarterback Ryan Tannehill on short notice to throw for over 380 yards in the victory.
The Dolphins were hopeful that the additions of Wilson, Danny Amendola and drafting tight end Mike Gesicki from Penn State would provide offensive spark. So far, Amendola and Gesicki have not given much in the way of productivity.
Now, it looks like snagging Albert Wilson off Kansas City’s roster in free agency last March was the right move by VP of football Mike Tannenbaum, GM Chris Grier and coach Adam Gase.
Sunday was Wilson’s first 100 yard receiving game in the Aqua and White and he is now averaging 15.6 yards per catch through Miami’s first six games.
And, Wilson has becoming one of the top big-play threats after the catch in the AFC, he even threw a touchdown pass to Jakeem Grant on a trick play in the win over the Raiders in week two.
Look for the creativity from offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains to continue to get Wilson into space and have the ability to make big plays continuing with this week’s match-up with the Detroit Lions.
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