Programming note: Tony Sparano is scheduled to address the media starting at 2 p.m. this afternoon. Watch the live stream right here.
OAKLAND – The Raiders got blown out in a 41-17 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, an end result somewhat expected. Getting there was sure strange.
The Raiders produced their share of folly, but they also surprised by remaining competitive early. Per our weekly custom, we’ll mine for three positives to take from Sunday’s home defeat.
1. Defense starts hot: The Raiders went two games without a takeaway, and then had two against Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. D.J. Hayden got his first interception of the season on the opening drive and Justin Tuck made an athletic play where he tipped a pass to himself for an interception.
[RELATED: Hayden optimistic about groin strain]
The Raiders were tipping passes at the line and received solid coverage downfield. When Manning did get going in the first half, the defense put on the brakes and held Denver to a pair of field goals.
The wheels came off later as the defense wore down due to an offensive inability to sustain drives. The game plan was sound and, for most of the first half the defense executed well.
2. No. 1 pick still in play: There isn’t a Raiders player, coach or executive happy with an 0-9 record. The Raiders haven’t been worthy of victory thus far and remain the NFL’s only winless team.
While they’ve added some solid foundation pieces, the Raiders have several key holes to fill with prominent young prospects. They need top picks, and they’re in line for the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s draft. Tampa Bay (1-8) and Jacksonville (1-9) will also be in contention down the stretch.
A Top 3 pick remains valuable, but the top slot becomes great currency considering they already have a quarterback in Derek Carr and teams could pay a hefty premium to draft their guy No. 1 overall. That would help the Raiders stockpile picks and continue building for the future.
3. Carr remains upright: Carr is learning on the job while leading a bad team, which is never easy for a young quarterback. At least he isn’t taking as great a physical toll as others in his situation. He wasn’t sacked – Von Miller brought him down once, but it was disallowed by penalty, but absorbed only three more quarterback hits and has generally avoided severe punishment.
The Raiders have chosen to let him learn by doing, which is only possible if he’s healthy enough to play.