Raiders and Browns have big connections

While the Browns are just another opponent for the Raiders in general, the two teams are tied closer than others.

In recent history, anyway, quarterbacks Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr, along with Browns defensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who was Oakland’s quarterback coach for five years, in two stints.

Carr sounded happy when asked about facing his former coach, whom he affectionately calls ‘coach Flip’:

“It’€™ll be great. I’€™m sure Flip will change some things and all that kind of stuff. I love Flip. He was huge in developing me, him and Ollie (former offensive coordinator Greg Olson), in helping me learn what it takes to compete at this level, physically and mentally. I can’€™t say enough good things about him.”

More than development, though, DeFilipppo put a big time grade up for Carr, and didn’t think the Raiders would have a chance to grab him in the second round. But they did, much to Flip’s dismay. The coach said:

“I was definitely surprised. I don’t want to say team I though he was going to, because there was a lot of speculation before the draft. I gave Derek a first round grade, I did. And I thought Derek was a first round quarterback.”

The Browns passed on Carr just when it looked like they were going to draft him 22nd overall in 2014. Then the Vikings made a trade with the Seahawks for the 32nd pick.

It looked like Carr and the Raiders just weren’t going to work out. Especially since the Vikings made a trade with the Browns earlier in the draft, swapping Cleveland’s ninth selection for Minnesota’s eighth.

When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stepped out to the New York City Music Hall podium, stomachs were tight, and fists were clenched.

With the 32nd pick of the 2014 NFL draft, the Minnesota Vikings select Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback, Louisville.

Carr fell into Oakland’s lap.

Said DeFilippo:

“I just knew the four or five teams in the first round that were looking for quarterbacks, and I knew the Browns were one of them.”

Flip, the almost young coach who spent most mornings jogging five miles along the Alameda coastline between breakfast and lunch while he was with the Raiders, impressed the faculty while he was in the Bay Area.

Browns head coach Mike Pettine says that he still impresses:

“Anybody that’s been around John knows that he’€™s very passionate, loves football. He’s one of the first ones here in the building, one of the last ones to leave and he works. It’€™s impressive for me to sit and work alongside him.”

Added Browns quarterback Josh McCown:

“His approach is just making the quarterback feel as comfortable and as confident as possible when you get to the line of scrimmage. Giving the quarterback the tools to work with to get himself in the right position to be successful.”

McCown continued:

“Based off of the success and the steps that Derek took last year and where he’€™s progressing this year, it makes us even more excited to have Flip here.”

Manziel is heading back to the bench after one start, though he performed well enough to be considered, McCown is the wily veteran that DeFilippo prefers for now.

Injury Report

The Raiders have one starter out for Sunday’s tilt against Cleveland, defensive tackle Justin Ellis. Defensive end Benson Mayowa is also out. Fullback Jamize Olawale is questionable, defensive end Justin Tuck and safety Charles Woodson are probable.


Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Oakland Raiders.