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  • 04 June 2019
    Coach Jon Gruden knows the Oakland Raiders aren't nearly good
    enough to overcome a litany of mistakes if they want to be able to beat one of
    the top teams in the league like the Kansas City Chiefs.So when the running
    backs lose three
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    , a key penalty wipes out a fourth-down conversion and a
    player jumps offside on a third-down stop that denied Oakland a chance to try to
    put together a game-winning drive, the Raiders ended up on the short end of a
    40-33 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday.The loss made the Raiders (2-10) the first
    team to be officially eliminated from the playoffs, although Gruden is not quite
    ready to turn his focus to the draft and the future."We don't look ahead right
    now. We are looking at the Pittsburgh Steelers, that's all we are doing," Gruden
    said. "I'm really proud of our team. We fought back yesterday and made it 33-30
    in the fourth quarter. We got them third-and-5, we get a stop and we jump
    offside. We gave Kansas City too many mulligans. We fumbled the ball to them
    three times. We had a fourth-and-1 called back, and we gave them first downs by
    jumping offside. We are not looking ahead to nothing except the Pittsburgh
    Steelers. I can assure you
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    , at least on our side of the building."Despite another
    loss that sent the Raiders to their 12th season of at least 10 losses in the
    past 16 years, Gruden was able to glean some positives, especially with the play
    from the offense.Oakland ran for 171 yards for its biggest day on the ground
    since Week 2 in 2017. The Raiders averaged 6.1 yards per carry but were hurt by
    the fumbles from Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.Quarterback
    Derek Carr had one of his best games yet, throwing for 285 yards and three
    touchdowns, while extending his streak of games without an interception to seven
    in a row, tying Rich Gannon's franchise record.Carr even managed to stretch the
    field a
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    , completing five passes that traveled at least 15 yards
    downfield, tied for his most in a single game in the past two seasons."I think
    the offensive line has gotten healthy. I think that helps," Gruden said. "I
    think we're healthier up front. Derek has played good football. I think that's a
    great combination. When you're healthy upfront and you've got some continuity
    with your linemen, you're able to pass-protect and block better. It has an
    effect on every phase of your offense. Derek has been hot. He's been playing
    well. He's really picking up the system well. He made some great audibles
    yesterday. He made some great throws. I'm excited about that."But it wasn't
    enough in part because of the fumbles, the holding penalty on center Rodney
    Hudson that wiped out a fourth-down conversion on the opening drive and the
    offside penalty against Fadol Brown that extended Kansas City's game-sealing
    touchdown drive.NOTES: Gruden explained why he used a challenge after Kansas
    City scored a TD late in the first half on a pass to Travis Kelce, even though
    coaches aren't allowed to challenge scoring plays. "I knew exactly what I was
    doing, by the way. It wasn't a very sensible thing to do but I wanted to
    challenge Al Riveron in New York City to look at it because I have people in the
    press box telling me that's not a catch. Seeing plays overturned by somebody you
    can't even
    see Steven Nelson
    , I thought with three timeouts and seven seconds left I'd use one
    of my timeouts by giving Al a little extra time to look at that play. I knew
    exactly what I was doing." ... Gruden said he wasn't sure if either OL Donald
    Penn (groin) or RB Marshawn Lynch (groin) will be able to return from IR and
    play down the stretch. ... Oakland claimed OL Denzelle Good off waivers from
    Indianapolis and waived Ian Silberman. Barnwell thinks the Chiefs gave up too
    much in the deal that brings Clark to Kansas City"During the NFL free agency
    period, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell has been grading its significant moves.Now he’s
    weighed in on the trade between the Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks that
    brings Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark to the Chiefs in exchange for the
    Chiefs’ first-round pick on Thursday and the less valuable of the team’s two
    2020 second-round picks. As part of the deal, the teams have also agreed to swap
    their third-round picks on Friday.Barnwell thinks the trade has a clear
    winner.He’s given the Chiefs a D- for the trade, and the Seahawks a B.Barnwell
    thinks the Chiefs gave up a lot in the deal.Barnwell argues that because the
    Chiefs also had to negotiate a new contract with Clark as part of the deal —
    which has been reported to be for five years and $105 million — you have to
    consider the surplus value the Chiefs could have obtained by using that same
    draft capital to move up to the seventh or eighth pick and draft a player who
    might provide production far beyond his cost to acquire — using players like
    Roquan Smith, Christian McCaffrey and Jack Conklin as examples.This assumes, of
    course, that a player drafted in the first quarter of the first round will
    provide that
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    , which we know isn’t always true.Clark is a player who
    has consistently provided production to the Seahawks in a similar defensive
    scheme.But after comparing the deal to the one the San Francisco 49ers gave to
    Dee Ford — a contract the Chiefs might have been able to negotiate with Ford
    themselves — Barnwell also acknowledges there’s another way to look at it.No
    team wins the Super Bowl in March — or even April. Evaluations are interesting —
    and also valuable in their own way; it’s true that an important part of an NFL
    general manager’s job is to make the sure the finite amount of draft and salary
    capital available to them is used wisely.But in the final analysis, the most
    important goal is to maintain — and if possible, improve — the fortunes of the
    team; the stewardship of the team’s resources is only a means to that end.If the
    Chiefs improve their chances as a result of this deal, few if its fans will
    ultimately have a problem with it — even if they think it stinks right now.It’s
    just going to take a while to see how it plays out.Six years ago, the Chiefs
    traded two second-round picks to acquire quarterback Alex Smith from the San
    Francisco 49ers.While that deal had few similarities to the one that Chiefs have
    just made — its cost in draft capital wasn’t as high, and Smith played on his
    existing contract for his first year in Kansas City — at the time it was made,
    it was still seen by many as a misuse of the team’s resources.Given what
    occurred during the five years that Smith started as the quarterback of the
    Kansas City Chiefs — and how having Smith put the Chiefs in a position to
    acquire Patrick Mahomes with an offense ready to shine under his leadership —
    it’s hard to make that argument now.Like the Smith
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    , the Clark trade may soon be seen as one of the signature
    moves of Brett Veach’s tenure as Chiefs general manager.Like the Smith deal,
    there’s a legitimate argument that the Chiefs gave up too much for Clark.But
    also like the Alex Smith trade, we may eventually see the Frank Clark trade as
    the right move for the franchise.Only time will tell.