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Raiders TE Lee Smith plays long snapper after Andrew DePaola hurt

Updated September 10, 2018 - 11:08 pm

OAKLAND, Calif. — Andrew DePaola signed a four-year, $4.27 million contract in March.

His initial season already may be in jeopardy.

In the first quarter of the 2018 opener, the Raiders long snapper suffered what appeared to be a significant knee injury while running in punt coverage against the Los Angeles Rams. Quickly thereafter, the team ruled out a possible return. Tight end Lee Smith served as the emergency backup snapper in his wake.

More information on DePaola’s noncontact injury was not immediately available.

DePaola, 31, was the first addition this offseason to what was envisioned to become a younger, new-look special teams core under coordinator Rich Bisaccia. When signing DePaola, the Raiders steered to a future without Jon Condo. They also replaced punter Marquette King with rookie Johnny Townsend and expected to replace Giorgio Tavecchio with rookie Eddy Pineiro.

Pineiro, though, suffered a groin strain in training camp. He is on injured reserve.

With Monday’s knee injury, there seems a chance DePaola could join him.

Fast start

The Raiders’ offense impressed to begin Monday night.

Coach Jon Gruden dialed up an at-times uptempo opening drive, spanning 75 yards on seven plays. The series culminated with a driving effort from running back Marshawn Lynch, who was struck initially a few yards downfield on a shotgun handoff before churning through contact for a 10-yard score.

Last year, the Raiders scored a touchdown on their opening drive just four of 16 times.

Keyed by a 45-yard reception from tight end Jared Cook, the team is 1-for-1 in 2018.


■ Oakland opened its season on a record-shattering pace. It was flagged 10 times for 145 yards in the first half. The NFL record for most penalty yards against the same team in a single game is 212, set by the Tennessee Titans against the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 10, 2009. The Rams were flagged twice for 20 yards in the first half. The Raiders still managed to lead 13-10 at halftime.

■ Wide receiver Keon Hatcher served as the gunner in special-teams coverage opposite Dwayne Harris. Wide receiver Johnny Holton was slated to handle that role before being waived last week. Holton was cut to create roster room for veteran wide receiver Brandon LaFell.

■ Cook caught six of eight passes for 113 yards in the first half. His halftime receiving yardage was the most by a Raiders tight end since Cook posted 113 yards against the Miami Dolphins in Week 6 of last season. He finished with nine catches for 180 yards.

■ Running back DeAndre Washington (knee), LaFell, defensive lineman Tank Carradine, rookie cornerback Nick Nelson, offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings and defensive tackle Brian Price were inactive.

■ In the second quarter, defensive end Bruce Irvin recorded the Raiders’ first sack of the post-Khalil Mack era, stripping quarterback Jared Goff in the process. The Rams recovered but missed the ensuing field goal attempt. Mack posted on Twitter: “Ok Bruce I see you” with three flame emoticons.

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

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

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