Two defensive captains have been cut

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Two defensive captains have been cut

ALAMEDA Derrick Johnson Jersey , Calif. (AP) — , a respected veteran retired and the team’s No. 1 receiver was traded away.The losses for the Oakland Raiders have been mounting on and off the field in recent weeks as a season that began with optimism has fallen apart at the midway point.After four straight losses, including a blowout by Bay Area rival San Francisco, have left the Raiders (1-7) tied for the worst record in the NFL, it’s time to start looking to the future.To that end, coach Jon Gruden called in his rookie class Friday following the 34-3 loss to the 49ers and delivered a message to the group.“He was just telling us he needs more from us rookies,” defensive end Arden Key said Monday. “He needs more, more, more. He said we’re doing pretty good but he needs more. We need to lead the league in effort and we’re not doing that as rookies. … It was a wake-up call and we answered.”Little has gone right of late for the Raiders, who have been outscored by 85 points during a four-game losing streak. The team has also cut captains Bruce Irvin and Derrick Johnson during that span, watched cornerback Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie retire, and traded receiver Amari Cooper to Dallas for a first-round draft pick.That follows the trade one week before the start of the season that dealt star pass rusher Khalil Mack to Chicago for a package of picks, including two first-rounders.Oakland was last in the league with seven sacks before cutting ties with Irvin, who led the team with three. Only rookies Maurice Hurst (two sacks) and Key (one), along with Clinton McDonald (one) have sacks among players on the active roster.That’s why Gruden wants more from his rookie class that also features defensive tackle P.J. Hall.“I know right now the maturity level on this team has to rise up,” veteran defensive lineman Frostee Rucker said. “We just have to be a complete team and do the little things better. That’s what we’re starting with today, trying to do the little things better.”The Raiders also added some reinforcements Monday, signing defensive linemen Jacquies Smith and Kony Ealy to contracts.Ealy had 14 sacks in three seasons with Carolina from 2014-16, including three in a Super Bowl loss to Denver following the 2015 season. He was traded to New England in 2017, got cut by the Patriots and then signed with the New York Jets Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Jersey , where he had one sack in 15 games.Ealy spent training camp in Dallas before getting cut by the Cowboys on Sept. 1.Smith was originally signed as an undrafted free agent in 2012 and finally got his first chance to play in 2014 with Tampa Bay. He had 13 1/2 sacks in 27 games his first two seasons with the Buccaneers before suffering a major knee injury in 2016.Smith has played just seven games the past three seasons with Tampa, Detroit and Arizona, recording three tackles and no sacks in seven games. Smith was released by Arizona in September.Smith worked out for the Raiders in recent weeks and got the call Sunday, a day after Irvin was released. Smith said he feels as healthy as he has since before the injury and is eager for the chance to show what he can do.“It’s been very frustrating,” he said. “Obviously, I have a ton of confidence in myself. Obviously, I’ve made a ton of plays in this league. Just getting back and getting that opportunity to do that. I’m very confident in my ability. Obviously, these guys see something in me to give me a shot.”NOTES: The Raiders waived James Cowser. … LT Kolton Miller didn’t have a helmet at practice after re-injuring his right knee last Thursday. … LG Kelechi Osemele participated in practice despite injuring his knee again against the 49ers. … RB Marshawn Lynch stopped by practice for the first time since undergoing surgery on an injured groin last month.Jon Gruden says pump your brakes, Raiders have ‘long way to go’ After the first three weeks of the regular season ended in disappointment with poor second-half performances, the Oakland Raiders and Jon Gruden finally notched their first win of the season scoring 31 of their 45 points in the second half and overtime.Derek Carr did have two interceptions but lit up the Cleveland Browns’s secondary with 437 yards and four touchdowns. Marshawn Lynch had 130 yards along with Amari Cooper and Jared Cook each eclipsing the century mark.On defense, the unit allowed too many points against a rookie quarterback in Baker Mayfield and gave up big plays to Nick Chubb, however, made up for it with two sacks, four turnovers and a touchdown. It was an exciting day for Raider Nation to see the offense clicking against a very good Cleveland defense and the Oakland defense forcing turnovers. But the Raiders came awfully close to losing the game as Carr looked to have fumbled the game away if not for the refs blowing the whistle prematurely.Rightfully so, Gruden wants to pump the breaks after the season’s first victory. “We have a long way to go,” Gruden said after the game. “Obviously there are things we have to do better. Its fun to win, we felt that we had a couple of victories slip away, but to close out the first quarter of the season with a win. At least we got paid, at least we made something. We have a long way to go though. We have to get back to work.”The Raiders have played good football during stretches in all four games. Just because the result was different doesn’t mean there isn’t more work to be done.“We haven’t fixed anything yet,” Gruden said. “We have a lot of things we have to get better at. I think it is pretty obvious. We played some good football for stints. We played good football in Miami. We played some good football against the Rams. We had some really good tape against Denver Marshawn Lynch Jersey , but we have tape that needs to be fixed. That’s the same thing that I think we will see today. We have some guys that are really eager to work, we have good leadership and we going to continue to do it. It was really fun to score and win a game and to get that monkey off our back.”Despite putting up 45 points, the offensive execution wasn’t close to perfect. For example, the miscommunication near the end of the fourth quarter between Carr and Cooper could have easily cost the team the game. “[I] want to throw up because that’s always on me,” Carr said. “I just got to be better for Coop. You just feel sick that it didn’t work out. You just go to the sideline and pray that you get the ball back. I think our stadium emptied out about half way after that. The people that stayed got a fun show.”The offense also had six drops including this one by Martavis Bryant which cost the team an easy touchdown. Jordy Nelson, who was sure-handed unlike Bryant securing a two-point conversion to force overtime, was excited about the win, but knows the team needs to get back to work and get ready for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers. “We’ll still come in, correct the things that we need to correct, be proud of the things that we did well, and then go to work on Wednesday because Sunday will be right around the corner again,” Nelson said. “It’s week by week and this win will be fun tonight, but it’s not going to do anything for us next week.”On Monday, Gruden’s message remained the same; there is a lot of work to be done and the celebration is short lived with the Raiders headed for Los Angeles to face a tough Chargers team next Sunday.“You start seeing the Chargers, you see Philip Rivers,” Gruden said. “It’s hard to rejoice in your victories for very long. We have a real challenge. [Melvin] Ingram is unbelievable. Derwin James is a good player. [Joey] Bosa they tell me is coming back, so we have work to do.”The win on Sunday was nice, but it won’t mean a thing if the Raiders don’t stack another one on top Sunday. Gruden is right, on to the Chargers.