The Oakland Raiders go into the final stretch
ALAMEDA <a title="Brandon LaFell Jersey" href=" removed link ">Brandon LaFell Jersey , Calif. (AP) — of the season not knowing if they will have their starting offensive line available for the remaining two games.Coach Jon Gruden said he remained cautiously hopeful that left guard Kelechi Osemele can return from a toe injury and right guard Gabe Jackson can get back from an elbow injury in time for Monday night’s home finale against Denver.“You have to be realistic, not just hopeful,” Gruden said Monday. “This is a serious toe injury that is hard for him to maneuver on. Gabe Jackson is suffering from a very legitimate elbow injury and it’s hard to block people when you can’t extend your arm. We’re concerned, obviously. But, I will say this. Chaz Green and Denzelle Good — on a short notice — they did do some good things yesterday.”With a pair of backup guards who joined the team during the year, the Raiders struggled offensively against a Bengals team that came into the game as the lowest-ranked defense in the NFL.Oakland allowed five sacks in a 30-16 loss as the offense generated just one touchdown behind the banged-up line.While much attention was placed on the fill-in guards, it was the rookie tackles who struggled more, particularly left tackle Kolton Miller, who allowed two sacks and eight of the 16 pressures against Derek Carr, according to Pro Football Focus.“He had a couple pass sets that were uncommon for him and we have to fix that fast,” Gruden said. “He was isolated in some tough one-on-one situations like he always is. There were a couple pass sets that I’m sure he wants back and we have to continue to work with him on the practice field and become a lot more consistent in that aspect.”It’s been a tough rookie season for Miller, who was selected 15th overall by the Raiders. Miller was hampered by a knee injury he played through earlier in the season and has appeared to lack the strength to deal with NFL pass rushers at times.According to Pro Football Focus, Miller has allowed more sacks (14) and total pressures (59) than any other player in the league. But Gruden remains confident in Miller.“For a rookie, he’s been able to handle the peaks and valleys of his rookie season very well,” Gruden said. “He’s had some really good games. He’s had some games where he’s had his eyes opened. He’s not the first rookie left tackle that has gone through this. We’d like to see him finish with some authority and we have to help him do that with a much better protection plan than I called yesterday.”The poor protection has taken a toll on Carr, who has been sacked 47 times this season after having just 36 the previous two seasons combined. The only Raiders to be sacked more in a season since the merger are Rich Gannon with 49 in 1999 and Jeff George with 58 in 1997.Carr has also been sacked at least three times in seven straight games, the longest single-season streak since Blake Bortles did it in the final seven games of 2014.“I think Derek has played great,” Gruden said. “Somebody told me he had 3,700 yards and 68 percent completions in 13 games. That’s astonishing. With three new guards, losing a right tackle, a feature back, three top receivers. The guy is a hell of a player. The guy is a great quarterback. We are very pleased and proud of what he has done. We know we got to get better around him, and that we will.”NOTES: Gruden said there’s a chance T Donald Penn could be activated from IR from a groin injury that sidelined him in Week 4. … CB Gareon Conley is in concussion protocol after leaving Sunday’s game with the injury. MOBILE <a title="Lee Smith Jersey" href=" removed link ">Lee Smith Jersey , Ala. (AP) — John Cominsky has more people watching Senior Bowl practices this week than he figures would typically attend his games at Division II Charleston.“We maybe had three or four hundred people max at our games watching us play,” the defensive lineman said. “Just the attention here has been completely new to me. A lot of these guys are used to it from the Power 5 schools. This is an experience I’ve never had. I can’t help but smile and be excited about it.”He’s not alone.While the Senior Bowl rosters are littered with players from Power 5 schools as usual — some of whom are already household names among college and NFL fans — there’s plenty of others looking to make an impression. That includes small-school stars who caught the attention of NFL teams while playing in front of small crowds away from the glamour of major college football. Saturday’s Senior Bowl will be the first nationally televised games for some.Players like Cominsky, Delaware cornerback Nasir Adderley and high school quarterback-turned left tackle Tytus Howard of Alabama State are competing against their big-school counterparts all week in front of NFL scouts, coaches and executives.Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who’s leading the North team, can relate to them somewhat as a product of the University of Dayton.“It’s huge. Carson Wentz proved a couple of years ago it doesn’t matter where you come from,” Gruden said. “There’s been a lot of obscure schools represented here. I think these guys have a chip on their shoulder, some of them. They want this. This is the only chance they can get to prove that they belong with the big boys. So keep an eye on a lot of these schools that aren’t your Power 5 conferences.”All told, the Senior Bowl rosters include 11 FCS players and three from Division II, including Cominsky. He arrived at Charleston as a 215-pound quarterback but measured in this week at 6-foot-5, 285 pounds.Now, NFL teams are getting a chance to see how he fares against bigger, stronger, faster blockers than he typically faced.“It’s a golden opportunity because the competition at D-2 just doesn’t cut it for these scouts,” Cominsky said. “It’s exciting to watch me run through somebody’s face but not when it’s at the Division II level. They want to see it bigger, better. You see these offensive linemen walking around here, these are the guys they want to see me do it to.”Gruden said small college products like wide receivers Keelan Doss (UC Davis) and Penny Hart (Georgia State) helped themselves in Wednesday’s practice, and also cited Cominsky. The practice was moved to South Alabama’s indoor facility because of the weather.“This Cominsky kid is also making people check the rosters to see who he is,” Gruden said.Here’s a look at a few of the other intriguing small-school products at the Senior Bowl:— Khalen Saunders, DT, Western Illinois: Missed the birth of daughter Kambridge Vonyea Saunders Tuesday to pursue his NFL dream in Mobile. “There’s no doubt if I love the game or not,” he said.The 6-foot, 320-pounder gained some attention for backflips and even caught a touchdown pass his senior season in addition to his defensive performance.He received scholarship offers from Wisconsin <a title="Frostee Rucker Jersey" href=" removed link ">Frostee Rucker Jersey , Notre Dame, Auburn and Missouri out of high school — as a shot putter.— Andy Isabella, WR, UMass: Not an FCS product, but one who’s still from a lower profile program. One of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver. Second-team Associated Press All-American after leading the FBS with 1,698 yards on 102 catches. How’d he fare against Power 5 teams? His resume includes a 219-yard performance against Georgia. Isabella also had 303 yards against Liberty, the most of any FBS or FCS receiver in a game on the season.He says he gained confidence he could play in the NFL after his first start against Florida as a sophomore. “In my head, you would have thought I was crazy but I always thought I was going to make it,” Isabella said. “I never really doubted myself.”— Adderley. He has drawn NFL buzz leading up to Senior Bowl week for his own play. His pedigree is impressive, too. His grandfather’s cousin, Herb Adderley, played for Vince Lombardi with the Green Bay Packers, and for the Dallas Cowboys, winning three Super Bowls. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.“He’s just one of the greatest to ever do it,” Nasir Adderley said. “I’m very fortunate to have him in my circle.”— Howard. He didn’t get a scholarship offer coming out of high school, where he played quarterback and says he could throw the ball 70 yards. He walked on at Alabama State as a 225-pound tight end. Now, Howard is a 6-5, 322-pounder.Howard never played tight end at the Southwestern Athletic Conference school but did catch a pass on a trick play against Grambling State as a junior. Howard is already lobbying for more chances for himself and his fellow linemen.“You’ve got tackles who can catch the ball so why not use them?” he said. “Nobody’s looking for it.It’s his blocking that could land him an NFL job, though.Senior Bowl head Jim Nagy said none of the players were token small-school invites.“I think every (small college) guy we brought in is going to get drafted and play a long time,” Nagy said.