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Showing posts from October, 2011

Bye-Bye Bye Week

The Raiders are coming fresh off the bye week and it couldn't have come at a better time. The Raiders are nursing a host of injuries and spent extra week getting Carson Palmer ready and advance scouting for the Chargers next Thursday. The coaching staff also spent time evaluating their own team so don't be surprised if there are a few changes in the starting lineup come Sunday.

Several Raiders receivers stayed in Alameda during the bye week to work with Palmer on timing and routes. Palmer has extensive homework to do getting to know the Raiders playbook and the game plan for the Broncos. The Raiders coaching staff also took a look at T.J. Houshmandzadeh and he will have a physical Tuesday. Housh is very familiar with Palmer and Hue Jackson, so it comes as little surprise the Raiders would take a look at him. One of Derek Hagan or Chaz Schilens would probably be out if the Raiders brought in the veteran receiver.

Everyone is hoping Darren McFadden's foot sprain was minor and …

Hue Jackson's Window

The most successful teams in the NFL have their franchise quarterback. No other position in the NFL is as valuable. Teams, however, don’t need a spectacular quarterback to win. Look at San Francisco, Tampa Bay and the Giants. More than anything, teams need a reliable quarterback to hold it together that does not give away the game. When NFL teams struggle for years, it’s largely due to the team’s perpetual ineptness at quarterback.

This year Miami, Indianapolis and Minnesota have arguably the worst quarterback situations. It seems every week these teams get embarrassed like the Raiders did last week against Kansas City. Not since the inept team of 2006 have the Raiders been shutout at home versus an AFC West rival.

Hue Jackson has reminded everybody how valuable a stable, quarterback is. If the scrappy game against the Houston Texans was this emotional high of the season then the embarrassing loss in Oakland vs. Kansas City was the low. Hue Jackson’s “gamesmanship” caused a resurfacing …

The 12th Man: Time To Unite

Everyone knows the importance of fans, or the 12th man, but too often people jump ship in times of trouble. Last Sunday was the definition of trouble, and a time where the 12th man needed to step up.

Even though Jason Campbell wasn't listed one of the NFL's top 10 Quarterbacks, he was 4-2 as a starter before Hue Jackson swayed the “powers that be” to bring retired Carson Palmer on board. From the beginning Jackson told people that he was going to keep his starter at quarterback last Sunday as a surprise so the Chiefs wouldn’t have an edge. This plan backfired, to say the least. Jackson now knows that when you try to keep something like this a “surprise,” chances are your team will play like they are surprised too.

Part of the poor performance was due to Darren McFadden exiting the game with a foot injury; an unpleasant surprise. The plan had been to rely heavily on McFadden regardless of who the quarterback was. Kyle Boller is a backup and Palmer was sitting on his couch (yes, “…

Studs and Duds From Week 7

Studs

Michael Bush

While he was stone-walled at the goal line by Derrick Johnson three times he still managed to put up a very respectable game with 99 rushing yards on 17 carries. That's a very healthy 5.8 yards per carry. He managed a respectable game despite little to no threat passing and an early two score deficit. He wasn't amazing, but no one was on Sunday.

Darrius Heyward-Bey

He snarred another 5 balls for 89 yards and he's the Raiders leading receiver and it isn't close. Heyward-Bey is on pace for over 1100 yards receiving on 72 receptions. Over the past four games Heyward-Bey is averaging 96 yards and 6 receptions. If that trend continues he'll finish the season with 82 receptions for nearly 1400 yards. It probably will not continue at the same level, but it is worth noting. Ten receivers finished the 2010 season with more than 1100 yards and only Brandon Lloyd finished 2010 with more than 1400 yards. The sample is still relatively small, but Heyward-Bey may …

Week 7: Matchups To Watch

Matchups
Hue Jackson vs. Romeo Crennel
Regardless of who the Raiders quarterback is Hue Jackson is in a difficult spot. This game will feature the Raiders passing game at its lowest point of the season. Expect Crennel’s defense to key in on the run and attempt to apply pressure on passing downs. Look for Kansas City’s cornerbacks to play bump and run in attempt to throw Oakland’s passing game off its timing. Crennel, who won three Super Bowls as defensive coordinator in New England, will try to force Hue Jackson to use the passing game.
Darren McFadden/Michael Bush vs. Kansas City Linebackers
The pressure is on DMC and Bush this week to carry the load. DMC and Bush will also be the quarterback safety valve in the passing game. Look for more plays that have Bush and DMC in the backfield together and don't be surprised if Bush gets more touches overall. The Chiefs run a 3-4 defense and are anchored by inconsistent linebackers Jevon Belcher and Derrick Johnson. Tambi Hali has four out of…

Week 7: Chiefs at Raiders Preview

For the first time in a long time, the focus of the NFL has been on the Oakland Raiders quarterback.  We just don't know who that quarterback is going to be...

Hue Jackson is dancing with the media; winking, hinting, manipulating, and enjoying every second of it.  Reports came out early in the week that newly acquired Carson Palmer would start after just three practices.  Yesterday ESPN and several other news sources stated that it was "unlikely" Palmer was going to start on Sunday.

We may see Kyle Boller, Palmer, and even Terrelle Pryor at some point against KC.  Hue Jackson is an absolute wild man with his play-calling...he will throw everything at you.  We're not even halfway through the season and we've seen a fake punt, fake field goal, flea flicker, and numerous reverses.  How can we have the slightest idea of what to expect?

One thing you can bank on, Darren McFadden will be a very busy man.  Everybody knows it including Kansas City Defensive Coordinator Rome…

Raiders' Week 7 Fantasy Impact

Quarterback

Not sure what to tell you here except don't play Campbell or Boller. Obviously. Al Saunders basically told everyone that Palmer will start, but Jackson is trying to “surprise” people on Sunday. Hue, your surprises are welcome in Raider Nation, but not in Fantasy Land. Pick up Palmer as your QB if you need one this week because chances are very good he'll start. That being said, he has a big playbook to learn. He's worked with Jackson before at USC and Cincy, so he knows his style, but hasn't had the time to memorize the NFL's most prolific playbook. This leaves the chance of interceptions if he gets routes confused, so most likely he'll be handing off a lot. Running is what the Raiders do best, but it gets you nowhere in Fantasy. Pick up Palmer, but don't play him just yet, unless you're QB-less.

Running Backs

If DMC is going to have a huge, monster week, this is it. Not only will he be able to run all over the Chief's defense, his quarterb…

Special Teams is Raiders' X-Factor

Kickers are usually the guy you tease; the “weakling” on the team. When they make tackles, guys nudge each other and say “That was the kicker! Bet he's happy.” Sure, everyone knows that the kicker is absolutely essential. At times the entire game rests on his shoulders. Even still, special teams is the “special” team on the field. This is absolutely not the case with the Raiders, and the entire NFL knows it.

Perusing the Raiders' longest plays in history, current Raiders like Shane Lechler, Sebastian Janikowski and Jacoby Ford hold many of the records. Janikowski in fact holds just about every field goal record ranging from 55 to 63 yards. Lechler has the longest punt at 77 yards. Jacoby Ford holds 4/6 of the longest kickoff returns, after last week. All this to say, while many teams' special teams are decent, none in the NFL compares overall to the Raiders. Some may have a key player or two, like Devin Hester, but the Raiders have special teams weapons at every turn.

Last w…

Always interesting in Oakland

This year has been very interesting in Oakland.

On October 8, Al Davis passed away. The entire sports world focused on the life and accomplishments of Al Davis and the Raiders. The next day the Raiders responded with a win on the road against a quality opponent. Football fans everywhere will remember how the Raiders sealed the victory with only 10 defenders.

This week, the football world almost lost their minds when the Raiders pulled a Mike Ditka and gave up big time draft picks for one player, Carson Palmer. The trade showed Hue Jackson's commitment to winning now. Good receivers rely on great quarterbacks to become great and once Palmer gets his legs under him, the sky is the limit for the Raiders young receiving corps.

Last week against the Browns, the Raider turned some heads when newly acquired Aaron Curry started after one practice. The Raiders then held Cleveland's offense to 65 rushing yards and for the first time this season the Raiders defense held the opponent under 3…

Studs and Duds From Week 6

The Raiders dominated the Browns yet only squeezed out the victory. What players stood out on Sunday and which went unnoticed in the victory?

Studs

Jacoby Ford - A 101-yard kick return gets you into studs about 99 times out of 100. He broke another long return and almost busted out on an offensive play. Ford isn't getting the snaps he is used to getting, but that could change this week.

Kamerion Wimbley - Sure his sack numbers aren't adding up just yet, but he spent the afternoon in Colt McCoy's face. He's drawing a ton of attention and that is freeing up the defensive tackles to wreak havoc up the middle.

Richard Seymour - Double teams are no match for Mr. Seymour. The man sure loved to push around the Browns interior lineman and was drawing holds and double teams just about every play. Superior game by the Raiders defensive captain.

Michael Huff - No one was better than Huff in coverage on Sunday. He played mostly cornerback and Matt Giordano gets an honorable mention for…

Carson City

Carson Palmer lined up his 15-foot putt on the eight hole.

{BUZZ}{BUZZ}{BUZZ}

Carson’s phone vibrates, he fishes it out of his pocket, reads the text. Carson drops his putter, runs his 5.6 second 40-yard dash to the golf cart and speeds toward the clubhouse.

“Carson! Where are you going?!” T.J. Houshmandzadeh yells.

“I gotta get to the gym!!”


 **********************


Let’s hope it didn’t go down like that way and the reports are true that Carson Palmer is in good shape.  The Raiders have traded a 2012 first-round pick, and a second-round pick that could be a first for the “retired” Bengals quarterback who hasn’t played a snap of football since January.

The Raiders are taking heat for the deal. They gave up a lot, no question, in one of the biggest trade deadline deals in NFL history: potentially two first rounders for a quarterback who hasn’t played at a Pro Bowl level since 2006.  He did throw for 4,000 yards last year and 26 TDS, but also 20 interceptions.  The Raiders have virtually no dra…

Hue Jackson Bets the Farm

Huge action from Hue Jackson. Aaron Curry last week. Carson Palmer today.

The Raiders gave up a lot for Palmer, but he's a better quarterback than Jason  Campbell. The Raiders lost Campbell for a significant period of time and were faced with starting Kyle Boller for the rest of the season if they didn't make a move for a quarterback.

The time is now for the Raiders and Hue Jackson pushed all his chips into the middle by bringing in Carson Palmer. The Raiders have only two picks left in the 2012 draft and with the Carson Palmer trade started dealing 2013 draft selections.

This trade and the moves of the past two seasons setup the Raiders for success going forward. Allow us to examine position-by-position and pick-by-pick and what the future may hold for this team and why the move for Carson Palmer was still a good one.

If the Raiders go far in the playoffs under Palmer those draft picks become low in each round and with most of the young players on the roster locked up for the nex…

Carson Palmer a Raider

Jay Glazer reports the Raiders have traded for Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Carson Palmer.

The Raiders send a 2012 first round draft pick and a conditional first round draft pick in 2013. The pick in 2013 converts to second round pick if the Raiders don't win a playoff game.

The price was steep, but the move is the correct one. The Raiders playoff hopes were given a major blow when Jason Campbell went down and they had to move quickly.

Selling Out to Stop the Run

The Raiders have not had any trouble compiling talent the last few years. The problem was putting it all together to form a winning team. It's not a secret they like speed and “athletes”, then again who doesn't? Speed gives the Raiders an edge in a lot of ways, but it's the positions where speed doesn't matter as much that has been handicapping them.
In the past the Raiders have drafted a lot of “athletes”. Some of them worked out and some didn't, but the fact remained that they were trying to acquire great skill position players to disguise what they were lacking in the trenches. To elaborate, the Raiders seemed to be thinking that if they had Nnamdi Asomugha, Charles Woodson, Stanford Routt, Michael Huff, etc...in the secondary they could play man to man and stack the box against the run. If they could consistently have 7-8 guys in the box it wouldn't matter the talent of the players because they would be bringing too many guys to block right? So the Raiders f…

Raiders Exploring Quarterback Options

Jason Campbell is out for an extended period of time. At the earliest Campbell would be back in six weeks, but that's massively optimistic and it is still likely that it's a season ending injury. Kyle Boller now becomes the starter and Terrelle Pryor will be the primary backup, but the Raiders are exploring other available quarterbacks.

The Raiders have already reached out to David Garrard and Josh McCown suggesting they will explore all options. It's tough to imagine that they wouldn't also reach out to Trent Edwards. The Raiders are reportedly going hard after Carson Palmer as well.

Josh McCown would become competition for Boller and would have a chance to become the starter if Boller falls on his face. Trent Edwards would be the same type of player, coming in to backup Boller and push him for the job, but far from certain he would start over Boller.

The biggest question the Raiders have to ask themselves is if they can still make the playoffs with Kyle Boller. If the a…

Week 6 Preview: Browns @ Raiders

On Offense

With all the discussion about last week’s emotional win in Houston it is easy to forget that statistically, last week was the Raiders worse offensive game. Last week, the Raiders finished with 278 offensive yards marking the first time since week 1 the team did not reach 300 yards. The Raiders offense were out-gaineed by nearly 200 yards, by far the largest amount so far this season. The most the Raiders had been out-gained this season was by 56 in Week 3 when Mark Sanchez and the Jets were playing catch-up and attempted 44 passes.

To improve this week, it starts up front with the big hogs. The Raiders offensive line last gave up 3 sacks in week 5 after only allowing two total in the other four games this season. The Browns have 11 sacks in four games and a pass rush that could pose problems to the Raiders offensive line. Darren McFadden totaled only 51 rushing yards in week 5 and 75 in week 4. The opposition has done a good job shrinking the running lanes the past two weeks.…

Raiders vs. Browns Fantasy Outlook

Quarterback

Jason Campbell had a very average game last week, throwing for 190 yards. His games have been alternating pretty steadily from the 100s to 300s. If the trend continues this week, look for him to get somewhere in the 300s for yardage. He is averaging two touchdowns and is low risk when it comes to interceptions. Plan for at least one or each for Campbell when choosing which QB to play.

Running Back

Last week was Darren McFadden's worst all season with only 51 yards and no touchdowns. In that particular game, the carries he did make were crucial, but that doesn't always translate into fantasy points. This week he should get somewhere around 100 yards with at least one touchdown. Michael Bush also had his worst game last week with a just 9 yards. This will not happen again. The whole running game was a bit off last week, but this week the team is at home so look for Bush to get his standard 30 yards and maybe vulture a touchdown. Cartwright's yards came on special te…

Breakdown: Aaron Curry to the weak side

It comes as a bit of a surprise that the Raiders will start Aaron Curry after just one practice with his new team. What was almost as surprising was that the Raiders will move Curry to the weak side. Curry replaces Quentin Groves as the starter.

The Raiders obviously believe Curry was miscast as a strong-side linebacker in the 4-3 and flipped him over the weak side. What's the difference between the two positions in the Raiders 4-3? The weak-side linebacker in the Raiders defensive scheme is responsible for basically three things.

Clog running lanes. The weak-side linebacker needs to keep the opposing running back from turning the corner on running plays and he needs to make tackles in the running lane. Curry has shown he is solid against the run and should be effective in this role. Groves has been inconsistent diagnosing the correct running lanes and has been unable to turn the run inside when a lineman engages him. This is undoubtedly Curry's strength.

Cover the flat. In the p…

Weeks 6-10: Believe In Silver and Black

Anyone who watched the game against the Texans last Saturday knows that it was possibly the ugliest win a team could have. It really was like Mr. Davis was working some miracle to control the scoreboard. Seeing the Raiders ahead at halftime after their complete failure to convert on 3rd down was mind-blowing. As usual, the team hurt itself with dumb penalties (*cough* Quentin Groves *cough*), but somehow, that ball ended up in Michael Huff's hands at the end of the game.

That game is in the past, but after listening to Coach Hue Jackson's post-game presser, there were a few things that stood out about what it meant to be a Raider and wear the Silver and Black. As most people say, Al Davis embodied what it was to be a Raider. He liked to win pretty, but mostly it was “Just win, baby!” Keep on playing until you win.

People are saying the next three games are important, but in reality it's the next five weeks that are really going to matter. This Sunday the Raiders take on the …

Recipe for Domination vs Browns: Run

The Raiders identity on offense relies on power in the running game and speed outside. Last week, Darren McFadden had a total of 51 rushing yards. McFadden has had a grand total of 126 rushing yards a 63 yards per game average over the last two games. The first three games McFadden had 393 yards and averaged 131 yards per game. To dominate opponents the Raiders need to get back to the bread and butter of their running game.

The Raiders are most explosive on offense when they run the ball effectively. The Raiders offensive line dominated the opposing defense and the running attack demoralized opponents over the first three games and Jason Campbell was able to stay upright and the passing game exploded a times. The Raiders are facing a Cleveland Browns team on Sunday that may be missing starting cornerback Joe Haden and will certainly be missing pass rushing defensive end Marcus Bernard. The Raiders offense will be given every opportunity to get the running game up and rolling against th…

Aaron Curry Headed To Oakland

Raiders have acquired former 1st round pick Aaron Curry from the Seahawks for two future draft picks.

The compensation is a 7th round pick in 2012 and a conditional mid-round pick in the 2013 draft.

Aaron Curry was much heralded coming out of college but has been a non-impact player so far in his career. Curry has struggled to defend the pass and hasn't added much as a pass rusher either. However, the Raiders likely traded Curry for his ability to stop the run. Curry has been decently successful at stopping the run since he entered the league despite occasional struggles.

The most likely scenario is that Curry is used in running situations to start as the staff work with Curry on other areas of his game.

With Matt Shaughnessy's status in doubt the Raiders have worked out defensive ends and linebackers in successive weeks. The Raiders ultimately decided against signing these players. Kamerion Wimbley has been lining up more at defensive end with Shaughnessy out and that may continu…

Raiders Displayed Strong 'Will To Win'

The Raiders should have been defeated by the Houston Texans on Sunday.

The offense came out extremely flat and did not get a first down until the 2nd quarter and only had four at halftime. For most of the game the Raiders were embarrassing on offense.

Darren McFadden, the NFL leading rusher, had only 12 yards at halftime and only 51 for the game which is well below his average. Jason Campbell on multiple occasions missed open receivers and made early mistakes. Neither Kevin Boss, Michael Bush or Denarius Moore caught a pass.

The Raiders squandered good field position and failed to capitalize on a block punt instead settling for three Janikowski field goals longer than 50 yards. The offensive line gave up three sacks and countless quarterback hurries. It appeared as if the Raiders offensive line was going to literally fall apart.

Then, all of a sudden, things changed. Penalty flags started to get picked up and the defensive line started to deflect passes. Lamarr Houston got an interception…

Studs and Duds From Week 5

An emotional win. A big win. The Raiders made it through the toughest stretch of the schedule 3-2. Now the Raiders have a month at home and play three unspectacular teams. Two are division foes and anything can happen. Raiders have plenty of things to work on in practice this week and the coaching staff will not let the players look past the Cleveland Browns.

A few players really stood out in the Raiders win and a few, well, didn't.



Studs

Lamarr Houston

Pushed the pile all day long and had the awareness to make the interception on one of the many Matt Schaub tips. Houston had a heck of game in Houston as did the rest of the defensive line. The Raiders really needed the defensive line to take over the game and the Raiders defensive line did just that and Houston was a big part of the Raiders day. Honorable Mention: John Henderson

Tommy Kelly

He had the worst game of his career against the Texans the last time he faced them, but one of his best this Sunday. The Texans had no answer for th…

Life After Al: Who

The passing of Al Davis has the Raider Nation and the league wondering what will become of the team. Who will run the football operations?

Mark Davis and Amy Trask already have a list of candidates to fill the football operations and/or general manager roles, but what isn't certain is who is on the list and how long the Raiders intend to go without a head football man. The search for new football executives could last until early in the offseason at the longest. Who is on the list? Here is a list of potential candidates.



Bill Parcells

Parcells knew Al Davis for 48 years and he's close with the Davis family. Parcells is working for ESPN and has to be itching to get back into the game. He's likely high on the list of candidates. He said the only reason he could never work for the Raiders is that he wouldn't want to ruin his friendship with Al Davis and that he and Al would butt heads too much. With Al Davis' passing Parcells could take over full football operations for …

Al Davis: Our Football Father 1929-2011

Where would the NFL be today without Al Davis? The iconic owner of our beloved Raiders passed away today at the age of 82. The simple answer is that it wouldn't be the same. Al Davis shaped football and Al Davis shaped me.

I'd exhaust myself trying to list all his accomplishments and there are so many great stories to tell about Al Davis. I'll leave that for another day.

Al Davis was one of the founding fathers of the modern NFL. Davis pioneered the vertical passing game and bump and run coverage among other things. Fathers exist on this earth to show us the path and my father put me in Raiders gear from birth. It has become part of who I am. Maybe it's an unhealthy love affair, but I don't care. I never met Al Davis, but he taught me many things.

Be great and don't settle for less. Maybe that sounds simple enough, but Al Davis lived it. Davis worked tirelessly until his very last day trying to make his team great. His motto: "Just Win, Baby" and "C…

Texans Preview with Stephanie Stradley

Stephanie Stradley, AKA TexansChick from the Houston Chronicle was kind enough to do a Q&A with us. Follower her on Twitter @StephStradley and check out my answers to her questions on the TexansChick blog. Big thanks to Stephanie for taking the time to answer my questions. 

Raidersblog: How much of a difference has Wade Phillips made to Houston’s defense? Has  scheme played as big of a role as the additions of Joseph and Watt and a healthy Cushing?

Stradley: "The biggest difference in the Wade Phillips hire is sort of a institutional confidence. The previous two defensive coordinators were first time coordinators. The Texans have had the youngest starting defenses in the league since Gary Kubiak started in 2006.

Inexperienced DCs + Inexperienced Players = A defense ranked by Football Outsiders as 31st-2006, 30th-2007, 29th-2008, 20th-2009, 31st-2010.

When Phillips took over, he had a clear plan of the players he did not want to retain and which ones he wanted to target in free ag…