Raiders at Dolphins
The Oakland Raiders seemingly have received nothing but doom and gloom to start the season in the new Jon Gruden Era while the Miami Dolphins conversely have enjoyed sunny skies to begin the 2018 campaign. The Raiders aim to change their outlook on Sunday when they visit Hard Rock Stadium to face the Dolphins, who are off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2013.
The Raiders have been left reeling after trading away 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack, with the team averaging an NFL 31st-ranked 154.0 rushing yards to opponents while recording just two sacks -- matching Mack's total with Chicago. "We have to do something. We got to make improvements there," Gruden said of his team's pass rush on the heels of a 20-19 loss to Denver on Sunday. "Across the board we got to make improvements. It was pretty obvious." What might not be as obvious is Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill is 9-1 in his last 10 starts -- a stretch that is sandwiched around a serious knee injury that sidelined him for the 2017 season. The 30-year-old Tannehill threw two touchdown passes for the second time in as many weeks in Sunday's 20-12 triumph over the New York Jets.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Dolphins -3. O/U: 44.5
ABOUT THE RAIDERS (0-2): Derek Carr completed 29 of 32 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos, with wide receiver Amari Cooper recording 10 receptions for 116 yards. Jared Cook, who leads all NFL tight ends with 229 yards receiving and is second with 13 catches, had eight receptions for 126 yards in a 27-24 win over Miami last season. While Cook has been fast out of the blocks, veteran wideout Jordy Nelson has been limited to just five grabs for 53 yards in two weeks. "We're using a lot of receivers. We expect to see more and more from Jordy as the weeks unfold," Gruden said. "Cooper had a big week last week, Cook had a big week in Week 1, hopefully Jordy has one this week."
ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (2-0): While Kenyan Drake leads the team in carries (25) and rushing yards (101) and has the team's lone rushing touchdown, the ageless Frank Gore is averaging a robust 4.8 yards per carry. Gore, who totaled 468 scrimmage yards in four career encounters with the Raiders, surpassed Hall of Famer Curtis Martin for fourth place on the NFL's all-time rushing list (14,112) last week. Miami's aerial attack features a number of receivers in play, with Danny Amendola leading the team with just eight catches while Kenny Stills has a club-best 123 yards receiving and two touchdowns. DeVante Parker has participated in practice this week, but the Palm Beach Post reported that coach Adam Gase has a murky outlook toward the wide receiver playing in Week 3.
1. Miami LB Kiko Alonso recorded two forced fumbles last week and had one in the last encounter with Oakland.
2. Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch returned from a one-game suspension to collect two touchdown runs against the Dolphins last season.
3. Miami S Reshad Jones (shoulder) participated in individual drills on Thursday to move a step closer toward playing against Oakland.