7:39 PM ET

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Offering a passionate, if premeditated, speech at his locker on Wednesday afternoon, Oakland Raiders tight end Lee Smith defended his quarterback, saying criticism of Derek Carr was a “joke” while lauding his best friend’s toughness.

A number of Oakland Raiders players are unhappy with the way coach Jon Gruden handled this week’s blockbuster trade of star receiver Amari Cooper, according to a report by The Athletic.

Reports this week have suggested Carr lost the locker room after he appeared to be crying on the field after taking a hard hit to his left (non-throwing) shoulder against the Seattle Seahawks in London on Oct. 14.

“Attacking him as a leader on this football team is a joke,” Smith said. “I hope everyone hears me loud and clear what a joke it is. It’s frustrating, it’s annoying and it’s laughable and not fair to him when it is obviously not coming from inside this locker room.

“Anybody can say whatever they want. Coach (Jon) Gruden and Derek are going to take all the bullets. We are 1-5, not playing the football we want to play. Coach Gruden had a lot of expectations coming

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