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For the second time in the past month, the Las Vegas Raiders spent part of their work day trying to deal with a crisis.
Last month, it was the resignation of coach Jon Gruden following the leak of emails that showed him making remarks about black people, Hispanics and others that people in leadership positions should not make.
On Wednesday, the Raiders were digesting the tragic death of Tina Tintor, a 23-year-old woman who was killed in a fiery crash when Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III slammed his Corvette into her Toyota RAV4 going approximately 127 mph, according to Las Vegas police and court proceedings.
After rescue efforts by several bystanders and first responders failed, the Las Vegas resident and her dog died while pinned inside her car, police said.
Ruggs was treated at a hospital for unspecified injuries before being booked in the county jail on charges of DUI resulting in death and reckless driving. A prosecutor said Wednesday Ruggs’ blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit.
The Raiders cut him Tuesday night. And Wednesday, Raiders players, led by quarterback Derek Carr, tried to figure out what to make of it all.
“Yeah, my emotions have been on a rollercoaster, so to speak, this year,” Carr said. “My heart goes out so much. I’ll try and say it with a straight face because I’ve already been emotional about every bit of this.
“But to the family, to all the families involved, no one ever wants to see this, whether it’s a football player or not, you never want to see something like this happen. It broke my wife and I’s heart, honestly. We talked about it a little bit, but I can only talk about it so much.”
Carr said it felt wrong to discuss the accident involving his former teammate and an upcoming game at the same time. But he wasn’t given a choice.
“These are two totally different situations,” he said. “I want to say a lot of different things. But we have a game this week and I’ve got a job to do, and so do the guys in that locker room. From that aspect, from a football aspect – I hate to talk about both in the same breath but it’s weird and that’s what we’re doing.
Carr said the Raiders are “ready to go” as they prepare for Sunday’s game at the New York Giants, but the team has probably reached its limit of bad situations for a while.
“We’re dealing with a lot of things this year, that’s for sure,” Carr said. “A lot of guys, just what a crazy year. I heard that a couple of times. I heard, ‘Goodness, man, can we please. Nothing else.’
“Not for our own sake, but for the sake of everyone else, for everyone involved.”
Can Ryan Tannehill step up with Derrick Henry out?
The Tennessee Titans don’t have Derrick Henry, arguably the best running back in the NFL, now and that suggests quarterback Ryan Tannehill will have to take on a bigger responsibility for the success of the offense.
Tannehill didn’t exactly embrace that Wednesday. For one thing, he doesn’t think his responsibilities change at all.
“My responsibility stays the same as far as leading this offense, doing everything I can to put us in the position to score points,” Tannehill said. “The responsibilities and the job doesn’t change.”
Well, what about filling a bigger role in, you know, moving the team?
“We will see what shakes out,” Tannehill said. “I kind of approach each week independently, and I want to do whatever it takes to win. If that is throwing the ball more, then it is throwing the ball more.
“If that is running the ball more, then it is running the ball more. I just love winning football games. Whatever it takes to win and give our team the best chance to win, that is what I will do.”
I expect the Titans to try to maintain their offensive personality even without Henry because switching to a Tannehill-centered attack has never really worked in the NFL.
Consider that despite Tennessee’s success since Tannehill arrived in 2019, the team is only 7-7 in games Tannehill is asked to throw 30 or more passes.
The Titans are 17-4 in games Tannehill throws fewer than 30 passes.
This isn’t just a Tennessee phenomenon. During Tannehill’s six seasons (he missed 2017 with a knee injury) with the Dolphins, the team was 20-33 in games Tannehill threw 30 or more passes.
The obvious conclusion from this is Tannehill is great in small increments, but when he’s asked to throw more, to take on a bigger role in the offense, that doesn’t result in as much success.
Jimmy G knows 49ers have to keep climbing
The San Francisco 49ers ended a four-game losing skid last week, but Jimmy Garoppolo understands they’re still in something of a hole. So they’ve got to keep climbing to get out.
“Yeah, every week going forward is big now, especially with the little hole that we put ourselves in,” Garoppolo told reporters. “So that’ll be a challenge. It really will be. I mean, there’s some good teams right now, good teams in the league, good teams in our division too.
“So it will be a challenge for us. But you know, that’s the NFL man. It’s every week’s tough. It’s going to challenge you in different ways and just it’s how many times can you keep coming back and answering the bell like that.”
The 49ers host the division-leading Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. And the good news for Garoppolo is he’s expecting to get tight end George Kittle back from injury.
“It’ll be awesome,” Garoppolo said. “I mean, just having him out there for the walk-through just a little bit ago, you could feel him. He’s got some fresh legs, so his legs are, he’s looking fast right now. So I’m excited to get him back out there. Just another weapon for us.”
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