Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Raiders QB to make history

“I’ve been in the system for almost a year now,” says rookie QB Connor Cook, who will make his first career start in the playoffs.

Getty Images

“I’ve been in the system for almost a year now,” says rookie QB Connor Cook, who will make his first career start in the playoffs.

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.

Aguayo competition

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.


Wild-card round


• (6) Dolphins at (3) Steelers,

1 Sunday, CBS

• (5) Raiders at (4) Texans,

4:35 Saturday, ESPN


• (6) Lions at (3) Seahawks,

8:15 Saturday, NBC

• (5) Giants at (4) Packers,

4:40 Sunday, Fox


Jan. 14-15


• Dolphins/Raiders/Texans at (1) Patriots

• Raiders/Texans/Steelers at (2) Chiefs


• Lions/Giants/Packers at (1) Cowboys

• Giants/Packers/Seahawks at (2) Falcons

Conference Championships

Jan. 22


Feb. 5, at Houston

Raiders QB to make history 01/04/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 4, 2017 10:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Nature Coast puts unbeaten streak on the line vs. IMG White


    BROOKSVILLE — Nature Coast currently rides a 22-game regular-season win streak, but first-year football coach Cory Johns was not around for any of those wins. Neither was most of his coaching staff. This is an entirely new campaign with new obstacles ahead.

    Nature Coast offensive lineman Louis Miele (66) blocks a Sunlake defensive player during the Clash 4 Clayton football scrimmage and fundraiser at Springstead High School Spring Hill, Fla. on Saturday, August 12, 2017.
  2. Crosstown rivals Bloomingdale-Newsome kick off season


    LITHIA — In a week filled with area football rivalries, there is a game on the east side of Hillsborough County — Bloomingdale vs. Newsome — that has matured into a classic crosstown battle, complete with classic cliches.

    Bloomingdale wide receiver Ed Amos charges through a drill a few days before the big rivalry game against Newsome on Friday night.
  3. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Several key players still sidelined


    Greg Auman gives an injury update, with several key players still sidelined from practice three days before the Bucs play the Cleveland Browns in Tampa, and a full recap of your favorite scenes from Tuesday …

    Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans was held out of practice Wednesday at One Buc Place. [CHARLIE KAIJO | Times]
  4. Playoff ambitions evident in opener for Zephyrhills, Wiregrass Ranch


    WESLEY CHAPEL — A new football season in Pasco County begins Friday night, but this one promises to be like none before it — with more math than ever. A new playoff system emphasizes schedule strength, making non-district tilts particularly important.

    Wiregrass Ranch wide receiver Jordan Miner catches a pass in spring practice at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel on Monday, May 1, 2017.
  5. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues


    During a 20-minute team meeting Tuesday, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter decided to turn the discussion to social issues and whether players are expected to stand for the national anthem.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]