Raiders prove to be fast starters under Jon Gruden

Updated September 19, 2018 - 7:43 pm

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Both Raiders’ opponents this season deferred possession after winning the pregame coin toss, choosing to start on defense in an attempt to slow the plays that coach Jon Gruden and his staff scripted in the days leading to their respective game.

Each time, that decision produced the same result.


Starting hasn’t been the issue for the winless Raiders. On Sept. 10, they scored a touchdown on their season-opening series against the Los Angeles Rams.

On Sunday, they methodically drove into the Denver Broncos’ red zone before stalling and settling for a field goal.

The Raiders are one of six NFL teams to have scored on their first possession each game.

By comparison, the Raiders scored on their first drive in five of 16 games last year.

“We try to do the same thing with every possession, honestly,” Gruden said this week. “We try to move the football, put points on the board. Ultimately, you try to get your best players involved early. Go with your best stuff, things that you think have the best chance of working, things your quarterback really loves and what you anticipate the defense doing.

“We had a great drive (Sunday) to start the third quarter. The only problem was that we only had three possessions the whole second half. We just need to try to get better field position when a drive does start. Try to get the ball more to the offense so they can do something with it. I was pleased with the way we started the first and third quarter, for sure.”

Early in the third quarter, quarterback Derek Carr fired a 20-yard touchdown to wide receiver Seth Roberts. The Broncos then scored 13 unanswered points. In Week 1, the Rams ended with 23 unanswered points.


■ Defensive lineman Gabe Wright is rejoining the Raiders’ practice squad, a source said. He will assume the spot vacated Tuesday by defensive end Shilique Calhoun, who was promoted to the 53-man roster.

■ Running back Marshawn Lynch (shoulder) was one of four players who were limited participants in Wednesday’s practice. Center Rodney Hudson (ankle), guard Gabe Jackson (pec) and cornerback Leon Hall (illness) were the other three. Hall dealt with illness in Denver.

■ Two rookies, defensive tackle P.J. Hall and offensive tackle Brandon Parker, missed practice with ankle injuries. Hall suffered a sprain in Week 1. He isn’t expected to play Sunday against Miami.

More Raiders: Follow all of our Raiders coverage online at and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

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