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Showing posts from September, 2011

How To Stop Tom Brady

So maybe stopping Tom Brady is impossible without resorting to tactics used by Robert De Niro's character in The Fan. Maybe this is more of a how to limit Tom Brady and beat the Patriots, but I'd argue it is nearly impossible to win a game against the Patriots without stopping Tom Brady at least a few times. This is the definitive how to guide on stopping Tom Brady. Okay, it isn't definitive, but it is a guide and you didn't write it.



Disguise the coverage

If Tom Brady knows the coverage, there is a good change he knows exactly how to exploit it. The Raiders need to completely change the way they disguise their coverages and force Brady to read and react to the coverage post snap. For the Raiders this also means more mixed coverages. Strict man-to-man will be hard to accomplish without Michael Huff and Chris Johnson who did not participate in practice on Thursday so the Raiders need to explore zone coverages in addition to man.



Get pressure

Blitzing good quarterbacks can b…

Missing Hiram

After the Raiders "bullied" the Jets it is easy to forget the team has inadequacies. Even though the Raiders have a very imposing defensive line and are tied for third in the league with 10 sacks, the defense is still allowing nearly 290 passing yards per game. What is also looked over in the Raiders 2-1 start is the inconsistent play of the kick coverage units. The Raiders were exposed on a couple long kick returns despite recovering a fumble by Antonio Cromartie. The punt coverage has been terrible and is a huge weakness on this team.

Stanford Routt and Tyvon Branch are the only healthy members of the Raiders secondary who were on the team last year. With the injury to DeMarcus Van Dyke (knee) coupled with his lack of development, the Raiders are extra thin in the weakest area of their defense.

Chimdi Checkwa, is showing why he was drafted and made the roster. After Chekwa's promising performance the starting cornerback position could be his for the taking with Chris Joh…

Studs and Duds From Week 3

The Raiders victory over the Jets has the coach and the team riding high. Even the national media is catching on as the Raiders are now making the top 10 in the mostly ridiculous power rankings.

Tom Brady comes to Oakland in week 4 so the Raiders don't have much time to think about their early season victory. The Raiders need more studs on defense if they are to beat the Patriots.

Studs

Samson Satele

I sometimes have a hard time believing he is the same player as he was last season. I heard Satele was dealing with headaches and dizzy spells last season. I'm not sure how much this impacted his on-field performance and how much his production has to do with having Bob Wylie and Steve Wisniewski as offensive line coaches. It doesn't matter now as Satele has done a great job this season. Early in Sunday's game Sione Pouha got the best of him on one running play and Satele dominated at the point of attack from that point on.



Darren McFadden

I'm pretty sure he'll be on the…

Ron Parker Signed To Practice Squad, Sterling Moore Released

The Raiders announced the signing of  6' 0" 210-pound defensive back Ron Parker and released preseason darling Sterling Moore from the practice squad.

Parker has the kind of size, speed and length the Raiders covet. Parker runs a sub 4.4 in the 40-yard dash in addition to excellent times in the short shuttle and three-cone drill. He also broad jumped 9-7. Parker is a long and fast athlete with the tools to develop into more than a fringe roster player.

Moore-as good as he was in training camp and preseason-is probably a fringe roster player. Moore also lacked the elite physical tools the Raiders like in their defensive backs. It's suprising because it was widely believed Moore could be elevated this week to the active roster due to all the injuries in the secondary.

Don't be surprised if Parker is elevated to the active roster and Miller is released later in the week. Another option is veteran Lito Sheppard, although if it was going to happen it probably would have been …

Raiders Shoot Down The Jets, Win 34-24

Quick reactions from the Raiders 34-24 victory over the New York Jets.

Chimdi Chekwa filled in admirably when Chris Johnson exited the game with an injury.

The offensive line has allowed one sack in three games, a much improved unit.

Jason Campbell has made the most of the extra time in the pocket.

Denarius Moore is a special player. Raiders will make sure he is on the field.

Darren McFadden has a groin injury. He was laughing on the sideline next to Jackson at the end of the game. McFadden says it is nothing serious, but it is worth keeping an eye on.

New England comes to Oakland next week, Raiders will need to get healthy and figure out how they will attack Tom Brady and stop the Patriots passing game.

Jets @ Raiders: The Week 3 Preview

On Offense by Brandon Dwonch

The Raiders offense has been hitting on all cylinders. Week 1 saw Darren McFadden run for 150 yards. Week 2 showcased the Raiders vertical passing game as Jason Campbell passed for 323 yards and hooked up with Denarius Moore for 146. McFadden could not be the second leading rusher in the NFL nor could Campbell be performing this well if not for the offensive line. The make shift offensive line is exceeding expectations and deserves recognition. The offensive line is creating holes, finishing blocks and keeping Campbell upright and clean.

This week the offensive line faces their stiffest test yet. The Jets’ defensive front seven is stout and only giving up 88 rushing yards per game. By comparison the Raiders defense is allowing 130 rushing yards a game. Even though the Jets front seven might be a little overrated, they and their coordinator cannot be taken lightly. Make no mistake, the Jets are a defensive team.

This is a match up of strength vs. strength. In …

Jets vs Raiders Preview/Injuries/Predictions

Raiders offense vs Jets Defense 

Everyone knows the Jets have a very good defense and the raiders have a very good running offense. The Jets' defense is 9th in the league vs the run allowing 88 rushing yards per game.  The Raiders' offense is 4th in rushing per game, averaging 160 yards per contest.

The Raiders will have the advantage on the ground with the top end speed from the backs. The Jets run a 3-4, and have a very slow front 7. The front seven can lay the wood but struggle with keeping up with faster players. The Raiders will have to hold blocks just a little longer and seal off the edges and it can be off to the races for McFadden and company.

Jason Campbell will have to pass the ball fairly decent or they will easily see 8 or more players in the box. The two targets that will help the Raiders move the ball through the air will be rookie Denarius Moore who exploded on the NFL scene last week vs Buffalo with 146 yards and one touchdown on five catches. Then the debut of t…

Gut Check

After a week one win, on Monday night, against a division rival, the Raiders and the Raider Nation were flying high. The opening game curse was broken, the Prime Time curse was broken, Hue Jackson was 1-0 as a head coach, and the Raiders were back. Week 2 has brought everyone back down to earth a little. Welcome to the first, but probably not last time the Raiders have to look in the mirror and decide what kind of team they are going to be this year.

Hue Jackson had a lot of time this off-season to say what he wanted to say. Get his message across to everyone. The time for talk, however, is now in the past. This is a different Raiders team under Hue Jackson, but one win on Monday Night Football is not going to convince anyone. He has to get his persona to show through his players. That's what good coaches do. Rex Ryan is able to get his attitude to show through his players on the field. Bill Belichick is able to get his players to always be right mentally. Mike Tomlin has his playe…

Raiders Week 3 Fantasy Preview

Alright fantasy football die-hards, if you are looking for information regarding the Raiders players, you’ve come to the right place. Each week we will break down the fantasy impacts of the Silver and Black in case you own any or most of them.

There were no major injuries to speak of when it comes to the skill positions and the only area where the injury bug has hit seems to be in the Wide Receiver position as was the case last week. Notable returns this week include the enigmatic Darrius Heyward-Bey and Tight End Kevin Boss, which will be discussed in our picks.



Running Backs

This week you need to start both Darren McFadden and Michael Bush. McFadden isn't at the top of his game, but he has been practicing and will play. As long as he's on that field, you better believe that he will be carrying the ball (and hopefully holding onto it). Expect him to put up similar numbers to last week, around 60-70 total yards. Since McFadden is a bit banged up, Bush will get more carries than u…

Rating & Ranking Raiders Receivers

Rating players is obviously a highly subjective business. Scouts spend time identifying traits that translate and there are a multitude of factors that go into if a player is successful including confidence, situation, scheme, etc. Madden ratings always spark discussion.

For the purposes of rating the Raiders receivers I chose hands, jumping, speed, acceleration and route running as I believe these are the primary "traits" that dictate whether a receiver is a good receiver. I rate these five traits on a Madden-like scale of 100.

I didn't factor in blocking of any kind. It's a factor, but a receiver's primary job is to receive. Some other traits are included in the five I chose.

Hands - Pretty straight forward. You could almost see this as the percentage of time the receiver uses his hands to catch the pass.

Jumping - Does the receiver have leaping ability? Can the receiver jump over a cornerback to make a play on a ball in the air?

Speed - Top end speed. Is the guy fa…

Will Jason Campbell Out Perform Sanchez and Brady?

After a sloppy lost Sunday against the Bills, the Raiders need to prove they belong. This week is the first really test against a team that has made it to AFC Championship games two years in a row. Mark Sanchez came into Oakland as a rookie and carved up our defense left and right in a embarrassing lost. This Raiders defense is different, but is coming off is worst performance so far this season. The Jets defense got carved up by Tony Romo and looked overrated. Then they dominated a Jaguars team that is about as good as the Chiefs. Jason Campbell looked great in the season opener, but really didn't have to show much against Denver as Darren McFadden ran all over them. Then came the Bills game were Campbell showed aside of his talent that we haven't seen yet. Throwing deep clutch passing to Moore and moving the ball down field with ease. Tom Brady has thrown over 400 yards in two games against above average teams. So the question still remains. Does Jason Campbell have what it …

Davis Has Given Jackson Tools For Offensive Success

Can you remember when the Raiders were without a real deep threat? On multiple occasions the Raiders had a roster filled with receivers who could only run in a straight line? The Raiders also had their fair share of divas at the position. Remember when Oakland's pass offense revolved around dump offs and check downs? Remember when it seemed Justin Fargas was the only reliable weapon the Raiders had?

Do you remember all the years Zach Miller led the Raiders in receptions and receiving yardage? Do you remember feeling the entire Raiders team squawk after Miller signed with Seattle?

I am sure you remember the excitement in the media when the Raiders announced that Kevin Boss had picked Oakland over his other suitors. All the articles stated, “Well, he is a better blocker," and Al Davis let a pro bowl tight end slip away. The Raiders were blasted for letting Miller go to Seattle and accused of taking Miller's talent for granted. Kevin Boss has yet to play a snap and the Raiders…

Studs & Duds From Week 2

The pain of defeat had a nasty sting to it Sunday when the Raiders blew a big lead in the second half and were downed by the Bills in the final minute.

This game, unlike the first game, had many more standout performances. Unfortunately for the Raiders, some of the performances were horrible. Fortunately,  many are correctable. Luckily, the team now comes home for five out of the next six games where they were 5-3 a year ago. Thankfully, the Raiders found out important things about their team in the process.

Studs

Denarius Moore

Yes, the rookie can play. He proved it Sunday. It's going to be hard for the Raiders to keep him off the field. Who's playing time does he cut into? It would be logical for him to cut into Darrius Heyward-Bey's time, but that won't be the case. Most of the damage done by Moore was from the Z receiver position. Jacoby Ford plays this position. Certainly the Raiders will not rob from Ford to give to Moore.

Moore is cut into the playing time of the Rai…

No Time To Panic

Sunday proved that the Raiders offense is good even with their starting receivers out. Jacoby Ford, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy, and Kevin Boss were all out. Surely they would struggle.  Jason Campbell showed that he may be  the Raiders quarterback for years to come. He made big throw after big throw. Rookie Denarius Moore had is coming out party in this game and could be the number one receiver the Raiders have needed for years. Once Ford and Boss are healthy, this offense will be explosive.

Nick Miller has proven nothing in the kick and punt return game. He should never return kicks again. Chris Johnson also proved that he can't play man-to-man. He is no better than last year and gets worse every game. I would rather re-sign Lito Sheppard than continue to watch Johnson look like Demarcus Van Dyke did against the Saints. The defense looked great in the first half and looked they gave up the second half. They couldn't stop the run or the pass. No pressure on the quarterba…

Don't Say Sorry

“You definitely don't want to ever feel like you're letting your offense down and yesterday we did.” -Stanford Routt

“We have a good group of men in that locker room who hopefully have learned a very valuable lesson that we can learn from this and move forward. That we have to play Raider football all the time. Not just for a half, but you have to do it for 60 minutes.” -Hue Jackson

“Don’t say you’re sorry, just change.” This is what my mother would say to me when I apologized for doing something wrong, for the millionth time. This is the same message that needs to be conveyed to the Raiders.

Following Sunday’s total meltdown, many players from the team tweeted their apologies and promises of a stronger showing next week. Some veterans said in interviews that it was the worst game in their careers. While the Raider Nation was appreciative of the players acknowledging that the end of the game was a huge disappointment, that doesn’t change anything. The Raiders blew a 21-3 lead at …

What If?

If Rolando McClain makes a few more tackles...
If Nick Miller doesn't trip on his own feet...
If the Raiders "daunting" front four sacks Ryan Fitzpatrick just once...
If Tyvon Branch isn't called for roughness on a defenseless receiver and it is ruled a fumble...
If Ryan Fitzpatrick's dropped snap is a fumble and not a faux spike...
If Chris Johnson makes just one play...
If Tyvon Branch catches the interception or deflects the ball...
If Darren McFadden doesn't fumble...
If Denarius Moore comes down with the Hail Mary pass...
If Kevin Boss, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford, Louis Murphy and Mike Mitchell play...
If Matt Giordano makes a key tackle...
If Rolando McClain doesn't miss his coverage assignment...

If if if if if.

The Raiders lost this game. Plenty of blame to go around and that's why it was so terribly painful to watch.

The defense was terrible. The offense could have been better.

Positives? Sure...there are plenty of positives, but it's the ifs tha…

The Streak-Slaying Raiders

Last year the Raiders had many bad streaks going against them. 0-13 against the Chargers, losing seasons since 2003, and seven straight seasons with 11 or more losses. The Raiders turned all three of these around last year by sweeping the AFC West and going 8-8. The streak the has still lingered is winning outside the division and on the road. This Sunday the Raiders have a chance to make a statement that they are for real. ESPN experts still have counted out the Raiders and look at them as a second class team. See: Panel Shuts out Raiders Again

The issues for this game is who is healthy and which player will be the next man up. The Raiders haven't started 2-0 since the 2002. That year they went to the Superbowl. Too early for that talk. The current report out of Oakland is that Jacoby Ford is out unless there is some kind of miracle that happens overnight. Richard Seymour looks like a go for Sunday and the Raiders really need him to play. His presence in this defense is vital to t…

Your Turn Secondary

Any NFL fan, outside of Buffalo, should have been surprised by the complete dominant performance the Buffalo Bills unleashed on the Kansas City Chiefs in week one.  The Bills, who been near the bottom of the AFC East for quite some time, killed last seasons AFC West champions 41-7. The Buffalo Bills, for now, deserve respect.   

Going into week two, both the Raiders and the Bills boast a 100 yard rusher and a very physical and at times dominating defensive line.  If the Raiders are to be become “bullies” their defensive line cannot take any weekends off, including ones in Buffalo. Together the savvy Fred Jackson and the explosive C.J Spiller pose a greater challenge to the Raiders defensive line then the maligned Knowshon Moreno and the aged Willis McGahee did.  Both offensive lines will have their hands full. The offensive line that finishes blocks and paves the better running lanes will give their team a huge advantage.

Despite this advantage the winner of this game will have to do mo…

Tale of the tape: Raiders @ Bills Preview

For two teams looking to turn things a whole culture around, the Oakland Raiders and the Buffalo Bills meet in what is bound to be an early statement game.

After demolishing their Week 1 opponents (41-7 in favor of the Bills over the struggling Chiefs and the 23-20 win of the Raiders over the physically outmatched Broncos), both teams are looking to state their case as the up-and-coming team in the AFC by coming out of the gates fast.

One can argue that these two teams are night and day schematically and aesthetically (the new-look Bills all white look and the Silver and Black of the Raiders). The Bills relies on a short-passing attack by on offense behind QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Raiders employ a hard-running attack behind one of the most complete backs in the NFL Darren McFadden.

On defense the two teams are also night and day, with the Bills being stout in the secondary while having a solid but not great defensive line, while the Raiders are dominant in the front seven and are sti…

Bush’s Payday Looms

Last Monday night the Raiders secured the current longest win streak inside a division and ended the embarrassing 11-game losing streak in prime time games. After the Oakland Raiders week one victory on MNF one thing is certain: The Raiders are a run orientated team, both offensively and defensively.

As Richard Seymour said, "If you can't stop the run, you aren't going to be successful in this league.” The Raiders goal offensively is to pound the rock, then work play action to hopefully open up the offense. Defensively the Raiders will rely on their front four to control the line of scrimmage and mix in the occasional zone or blitz.

Last Monday night, the Raiders executed their game plan with perfection by rushing for 190 yards and giving up a league low 38. What was most impressive regarding the running attack was the four-minute drill to close out the game. It was not giving the Broncos the ball back that guaranteed victory. It was the Raiders ability to run successfully …

Is Pryor Al's Last Hurrah?

Just as the world was being set a blaze by Cam Newton’s performance in his first ever NFL start, I couldn’t help but think about our version of a freak athletic quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Newton’s stat line was eye-popping for a seasoned vet let alone a rookie in his debut. Although emotions should be tempered a little bit since it was against the Cardinals less than solid secondary. But 400 yards is 400 yards, and the poise and command he showed were excellent. What does that mean for the Raiders? That means there is a decent amount of hope for the future once Terrelle Pryor gets his shot. The difference between Pryor and Newton? Let me know when you find that out.

Here’s their last college year stat lines :

Newton 66.1%, 2854 passing yards, 30 pass TD, 7 int, 1473 rush yards, 20 rush TD, 5.6 avg

Pryor 65%, 2772 passing yards, 27 pass TD, 11 int, 754  rush yards, 4 rush TD, 5.6 avg.

Newton doubled Pryor in rushing yards, but also doubled him in attempts, they matched in rushing average.…

Studs & Duds From Monday Night

Who played well on Monday? Maybe a few are obvious, maybe a few weren't obvious. It's always a little more difficult to determine a dud, expecially if the player didn't make any glaring or obvious mistakes.



Studs

Darren McFadden - 150 yards. That should be enough to tell you everything you need to know about McFadden's night. The Raiders rode on McFadden's back to victory.

Matt Giordano - The interception was just icing on a very good game from Giordano. He was solid in coverage and a willing tackler and his excellent play enabled the Raiders to use Michael Huff as the nickel corner. Who Stevie Brown? Giordano didn't even make the initial 53-man roster.

Quentin Groves - He forced a fumble and held his own in coverage making minimal mistakes. He did his job in the run game. For all the abuse Groves has taken for being the weakest linebacker he played like the best one on Monday night.

Kamerion Wimbley - He had his way with the rookie right tackle for the Broncos. He …

Raiders' Brash Attitude Propelled Win Over the Broncos

During the night telecast of the Monday night opening double-header between two bitter AFC West rivals, something ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer said caught not only my attention, but I'm sure a lot of other residents of Raider Nation as well.

Dilfer assumed that of the Raiders' penalty-filled night, scuffles and aggressive nature meant that the team lacked discipline. Granted the 15 penalties for 131 yards were deserved, I argued that it was exactly what this team needed.

Many forget that there was actually no NFL preseason this year. For Dilfer to assume that a clean-fought game was to be expected in week one was ludicrous.

While there was no overwhelming evidence of penalties in the other week one games, the talk of the NFL after one week centered around ballooned passing yards. Tom Brady passed for over 500 yards and Chad Henne, the other quarterback in the game passed for over 400 yards (Chad Henne everybody! Who saw that coming?). This further explains that not only are the play…

Raiders Can Rely On Running Game

It is all too apparent that in the year dubbed as “The Year of the Quarterback,” it is exactly that. In week one, four quarterbacks threw for over 400 yards, including rookie Cam Newton who had 422 yards. Jason Campbell was in the bottom five quarterbacks in yardage with 105, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

Running back Darren McFadden, who had a great year last season, was number one in the NFL in rushing with 150 total yards for week one. He averaged 6 yards per carry. This is extremely significant because this has undeniably become a passers league, with many defenses making adjustments to guard bigger, faster receivers. This leaves a small gap when it comes to defending the running game, which is great news for the Raiders.

Not only is McFadden off to a high-powered start, Michael Bush is not far behind. He ran for 30 yards on Monday night, which was right up there with the starters DeAngelo Williams, Reggie Bush and BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

For years Al Davis has drafted …

Raiders Bloody Broncos, Win 23-20 Despite Penalties

More penalty yards than passing yards. Hue Jackson will be satisfied with the win, but not his team's lack of mental discipline.

If not for the penalties and a punt return touchdown by the Broncos the score would have been much more lopsided. On the other hand, Orton's late fumble gave away the Broncos chance at a lead.

Raider Nation has seen this game before. Dominate the game and figure out a way to lose. On Monday night the Raiders figured out a way to win. Perhaps the Raiders were lucky the Broncos were so inept on offense and couldn't stop Darren McFadden. They will not be so lucky against better teams.

Broken was a streak that had the Raiders at 0-1 to start the season for eight years. Now, for the first time since 2002 the Raiders are 1-0. I think the fans and team would tell you it feels good to be perfect for a change.

Sebastian Janikowski tied the record for longest field goal. A nice highlight and it ended up being the difference in the game.

Let's revisit the ke…

Raiders @ Broncos Preview

The Raiders kicked the Broncos tail last season, but every season is different. The Broncos have a new head coach and return Elvis Dumervil. The Broncos also added a dynamic rookie in Von Miller in April's draft.

The Broncos are a different team with different challenges. The Raiders are very similar team, with very familiar challenges and maybe a few new ones.



Raiders Offense vs. Broncos Defense

The Raiders were able to run on the Broncos last season and will attempt to do the same again. The Broncos go from a 3-4 to a 4-3, but the Broncos didn't drastically alter the front seven. Dumervill and Miller are the primary difference and they are mostly pass rushers.

Much has been made of the Raiders new and improved passing game and the Broncos secondary will make plays when provided ample pass rush. The Raiders will need to play run effectively to use play action. An early lead will help the offense and keep the Broncos pass rush from pinning their ears back to get Jason Campbell.

Jar…

2011 Oakland Raiders Season Preview

Only two seasons ago the Raiders had trouble scoring touchdowns. All of that changed when Hue Jackson arrived as offensive coordinator prior to the 2010 season. Despite the continued problems pass blocking the Raiders vaulted into the top ten in total yards and top six in points per game. Despite the offensive improvement the Raiders had other problems that caused them to end the season with an 8-8 record.

Fast forward to 2011 and the Raiders offense appears ready to exceed their 2010 production, but the Raiders will need to curb a troubling trend of being unable to stop the run or create turnovers. The poor pass blocking was also a concern as the Raiders struggled with quarterback injuries in 2010. Unable or unwilling to retain the services of all-pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, the Raiders pass defense is now under a microscope.
What’s in store for the 2011 Raiders? Let’s take a look at the key areas.



Can the Raiders Stop the Run?

The Raiders have been unable to play consistently agains…