ALAMEDA, Calif. — For the first 15 games of the season, rookie Connor Cook was inactive, making his biggest contribution as a scout team QB who would sometimes dress up like Cam Newton or Philip Rivers before the Raiders faced those stars to lighten the mood at practice.
Now with the Raiders set to play their first playoff game in 14 years, Cook has been thrust into a much more significant role. He will become the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to make his first career start in a playoff game when Oakland visits Houston on Saturday in a wild-card matchup.
"I'm just embracing the opportunity," Cook said Wednesday. "I'm going to go out there and have fun, let it all hang out."
Cook moved up to the backup spot last week after starter Derek Carr broke his right leg in the second-to-last game of the regular season. He then got his first real action Sunday in Denver after Matt McGloin was knocked out with a left shoulder injury.
Coach Jack Del Rio called the decision to turn to Cook easy.
TAMPA — The Bucs signed kicker John Lunsford to a futures contract to compete with starter Roberto Aguayo. Lunsford played at Liberty in college and was an undrafted rookie with the 49ers last summer before being cut in the preseason. Also signed to a futures contract was tight end Kivon Cartwright, who was with the Bucs last year as an undrafted rookie out of Colorado State and was among their final preseason cuts. … Punter Bryan Anger was named NFC special teams player of the week after all five of his punts were downed inside the 20-yard line in Sunday's win against Carolina.
pacman 'sorry:' Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones said he regretted a hotel scuffle that landed him in jail but insisted that he didn't deserve to be arrested. "I'm sorry that this happened," Jones said as he left the Hamilton County Jail in Cincinnati, more than 32 hours after he was booked on four charges. He said all he did was touch someone. Authorities said Jones tangled with hotel security investigating after he was pounding on room doors Monday night. Cincinnati police said he also kicked and head butted officers as they tried to put him into a police vehicle. A judge Tuesday set bond at $37,500 and ordered Jones to provide a blood sample and be tested for communicable diseases. The sheriff's office said it had to wait until medical staff was available Wednesday, so Jones remained in jail overnight.
Dolphins: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill sat out practice, making it unlikely he'll return from a sprained left knee for Miami's first postseason game since 2008. "We may run out of time this week," coach Adam Gase said. Veteran Matt Moore, who is 2-1 as Tannehill's replacement, will make his first career postseason start "unless something changes drastically," Gase said.
49ers: Bills interim coach Anthony Lynn interviewed for the head coaching job. Lynn was the first candidate to interview with the 49ers after they fired Chip Kelly after one season.
Packers: Bad and good news for the depleted defense: Cornerback Quinten Rollins was placed in the league's concussion protocol after being carted off the field with a neck injury against the Lions on Sunday, and cornerback Damarious Randall practiced after hurting a knee in the game. Rookie cornerback Herb Waters was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster for Sunday's NFC wild-card game against the Giants.
Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.