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Showing posts from November, 2011

Week 12 Matchups

Defensive Matchups

Rolando McClain vs. Matt Forte

Before Cutler’s injury, Forte carried the Bears offense with nearly 1,400 yards from scrimmage. 926 of those yards come on the ground. With continued success and Cutler's injury, Forte can be an MVP candidate. McClain needs to show leadership and consistent playmaking ability to limit Forte’s production. Stopping Chicago's offense starts with containing Forte.

Tommy Kelly vs. Roberto Garza

With Seymour’s injury, Kelly becomes the Raiders best defensive tackle. Garza, the Bears’ center, anchors the Bears offensive line. The winner of this matchup will go a long way in showing what team will control the tempo and what team will control the line of scrimmage.

Chuck Bresnahan vs. Caleb Hanie

With very limited tape of Hannie, Bresnahan is going to test the young quarterback. Watch for Hanie’s mobility to play a key part as Bresnahan mixes coverages and blitz packages.

X-Factor

Matt Giordano

Giordano is not great at tacking in the open field …

Week 12 Defensive Preview: Stop Forte

The Bears come into Oakland minus their starting quarterback Jay Cutler. They will turn from Cutler to Caleb Hanie. It changes the game considerably from what the Raiders would have been facing with Jay Cutler under center. The Bears will not be able to turn to Cutler when the defense stacks the box against Matt Forte and the pressure will be on Hanie to make the defense pay for it.

Running

Matt Forte has more yards from scrimmage and more 20+ and 40+ yards runs than any running back in football. Forte is averaging 155.1 yards per game. Put this in perspective, Matt Forte generates over 47% of the Bears offensive yards. How does the worst run defense in football stop the best running back in football? The Raiders are allowing 5.2 yards per carry. Forte is averaging 5.0 yards per carry. It doesn't take a mathematician to do this math Forte could run all over the Raiders if they don't have a plan to stop him.

Forte is extremely elusive and defenders have missed tackles on him 38 ti…

Week 12 Offensive Preview: Avoid Turnovers

With Jay Cutler going down to injury the Chicago Bears will start Caleb Hanie on Sunday. Hanie has played well in short spurts, but will make his first career start on the road. I'm sure the record for quarterbacks in their first career starts on the road isn't good. The focus shifts on what the Raiders can accomplish on offense versus an opportunistic Bears defense.

Rushing

Fortunately for the Raiders, the Bears weakness has been against the running game. The Bears rush defense has allowed 4.9 yards per carry to opposing running backs, but only 6 rushing touchdowns. Raiders will want to run the ball in the middle of the field and attempt to pass in the redzone for opportunities to score. Expect Michael Bush to have a big day on the ground, but don't expect too many touchdowns as the Bears clamp down against the run in the redzone. The Raiders offensive lineman must get to the second level in the running game and put clean blocks on Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher to spring …

Studs and Duds From Week 11

The Raiders slogged through the second half again and it nearly came back to bite them. A better team may have been able to capitalize on the Raiders penalties, but the Vikings without Adrian Peterson were powerless to do so. The defense looked suspect again and the Raiders offensive line struggled more than they have all season. A few welcome surprises this week and the reappearance of duds from 2010.

STUDS

Jared Veldheer

Veldheer handled Jared Allen on Sunday and held him without a sack for the first time this season. The Raiders finally found their franchise left tackle from Hillsdale College. If Veldheer can handle Julius Peppers this Sunday, he'll start getting national recognition and should get a decent amount of Pro Bowl consideration. Allen did get pressure on Palmer on back-to-back plays in the first half, but Veldheer adjusted and was pushing Allen well wide of Palmer for the rest of the day. On one occasion Veldheer flattened Allen on a run. A great performance from the R…

Week 11 Defensive Preview: Focus is on the Linebackers

The 2011 Minnesota Viking Offense is very similar to the offense of the 2009 Oakland Raiders. Both of these offenses featured young developing quarterbacks and potentially game braking running backs. The Raiders won five games during the 2009 season. With the season more than halfway over Minnesota is 2-7, so finishing with a five-win season is a realistic goal for them. As a result, both of these offenses relayed on a strong running game to alleviate their ineptness in the passing game.

For the Vikings to be successful they have to get Adrian Peterson going. Peterson has earned the right to be regarded as the best running back in the NFL. The Raiders defense has contain him and remain disciplined. To be successful, the Vikings must take advantage when the Raiders defense plays undisciplined or gets too aggressive. Look for Christian Ponder to try to expose the Raiders’ linebackers in pass coverage and take try to connect with Percy Harvin when he is lined up against Demarcas Van Dyke …

Week 11 Offensive Preview: All About The Fatties

The Raiders success on offense this Sunday in Minnesota relies on the massive shoulders of the offensive line.  The big boys up front dominated the Chargers defensive line last Thursday night, providing big holes for Michael Bush and a solid pocket for Carson Palmer.  But it’s a horse of a different color waiting for them in Minnesota: a big purple horse wearing number 69.



Match-ups To Watch

LT Jared Veldheer vs.  DE Jared Allen

Jared Allen leads the Vikings front seven.  He is a tenacious, relentless pass rusher, and leads the NFL with 13.5 sacks.  His motor never stops, he has a wide range of pass rush moves and has embarrassed even the league’s best tackles.  He can electrify the loud raucous crowd in Minnesota with one play, and it’ll be up to 6’8” left tackle Jared Veldheer to slow him down.  Don’t expect him to shoulder the burden alone, Hue Jackson will have tight ends Kevin Boss or Brandon Myers stay in and pass block on some plays, and he may also chip Allen with a back.  The ot…

Raiders’ Week 11 Fantasy Outlook

Quarterback

Carson Palmer is a name that is generating a lot of buzz this week, partly because of his solid stat line in Week 10 (299 yards, 2 TD passes, 1 INT). It also has to do with the fact that a lot of quarterbacks are injured in fantasy land (Matt Schaub, Matt Cassel, Michael Vick). Facing off against a depleted Vikings secondary this week, Palmer is a recommended start this week. The Vikings placed cornerback Antoine Winfield in injured reserve and will be counting on Benny Sapp. Unfortunately for Sapp, he will most likely going up against one of the hottest receivers in the NFL in Denarius Moore. With a plethora of options in the passing game, fantasy owners should be able to count on Palmer against a weak Vikings' secondary this week.

Running Backs

Michael Bush has been a force in the running game, scoring double-digit fantasy games in three straight games. While Darren McFadden has been seen out of his protective walking boot, he has been ruled out for week 11. Fantasy own…

The Raiders' Open Road

This Sunday the Raiders travel to Minnesota and face the Vikings. This game will feature two of the top five rushing teams in the league. While the Vikings run All Day (Adrian Peterson), their passing game is anemic. While defending the run is the Vikings' strength, stopping the pass is their weakness. The Raiders' offense leads the NFL with 56 plays over 20 yards and 11 plays over 40 yards, but the Raiders' defense have given up more 20+ yard runs than any team.

Regardless of the numbers, the Raiders will take advantage of Vikings rookie quarterback Christian Ponder. Even though Minnesota has a stout defensive line, their offense remains unbalanced and largely ineffective. This will allow the Raiders to wear down the Vikings' defensive line and make big plays. For good reason, the Raiders are favored to win this game, and barring another systemic defensive catastrophe, they will.

Taking a look at the other AFC West teams, we see Denver upsetting the Jets, San Diego trav…

Raiders' Obstacles and Weapons

The Raiders are one of the most up and down teams in the NFL, but with good reason. At the beginning of the season, they rose with the Autumn wind, fueled by the emotion of the passing of Mr. Silver and Black himself. They looked unstoppable; that is, until Campbell got hurt. The team, who still has no real, official front office leadership, had to make a snap decision about what to do since the signing deadline was looming. This landed Carson Palmer squarely into the black hole, and the rest of the team started looking like just that: a black hole. Then the Autumn wind picked up again and the team is cruising steadily. Though they're headed in the right direction, there are still some massive things to look out for, both good and bad.

Raiders' Biggest Obstacles

Penalties
It's still no secret that the Raiders are the most penalized team in the NFL, which is not unique to this season. This seems to be something that needs constant work and attention. Even a casual Raiders fan …

Praising McClain

Until Denver and their spread option read came and put up nearly 300 rushing yards on them, including two 100-yard rushers, the Raiders allowed only Fred Jackson to post a 100-yard rushing game. Four days after the Denver game, the Raiders held an offense that averages over 100 rushing yards a game to 68. So what happened two weeks ago against Denver?

Did the Raiders defensive ends play undisciplined? Yes. Were the linebackers often late in filling lanes and did they often fill the wrong ones repeatedly? Yes. Did the entire front seven of the defense get manhandled by Denver’s offensive line? Yes. Is there anything else that led to the Raiders' defensive collapse two weeks ago? Yes: the absence of Rolando McClain.

McClain has only missed one game, that being of course Denver at home. In that game, Curry had the green dot on the defense and the Raiders run defense was atrocious. Regardless of the Raiders having a dominant defensive line, the middle linebacker is the undisputed quarte…

Studs and Duds From Week 10

The Raiders really took it to the Chargers on Thursday night and came away with a seven-point victory in San Diego. The Raiders played well and a few players really stood out in a good way and a couple in a bad way. Special mention to the Raider Nation's Southern California division for making the game an extra home game for the Raiders.

STUDS

Kamerion Wimbley

An impressive performance by the Raiders franchise player. The Chargers backup tackle had no answer for Wimbley and the rest of the Raiders defensive line on Thursday. It's a big reason Phillip Rivers didn't look comfortable all night. The Raider Nation has been waiting for Wimbley's coming out party and they were blowing out birthday candle after that four sack performance.

Stanford Routt

If you wanted to be critical, he was unable to breakup the Vincent Brown touchdown grab. I saw was a heck of a catch and Stanford Routt clawing at the pass the whole way down. Just a superb play by the receiver to come down with it.…

Seven Things From Thursday Night

1. TAG! YOU’RE IT. - Michael Bush proved once again just how productive he can be as a starter in this league.  His 242 yards from scrimmage were the most by a Raider since the merger.  The Raiders need to use the franchise tag on him in the off-season, as its clear he is worth it.  It’s a steep price to pay for a backup runningback, but as this league continues to remind us, you cannot just rely on one.

2. PLAYING FAVORITES - Looks like Carson Palmer found his go-to guy in rookie wide out Denarius Moore.  Moore has come on strong the last two weeks and is finding his groove with Palmer.  Moore brought in 5 receptions for 123 yards and 2 TDs, including one of the best catches you’ll see all season.  The sky’s the limit for this kid, as he continues to wow the Raider Nation and develop a rapport with the Raiders new signal caller.

3. WIMBLEY IS BACK - Hue Jackson said Kamerion Wimbley would get his sacks in bunches, but who could predict he’d grab four against the Chargers, doubling his …

Week 10 Preview: Short Week, Short Handed

Wow.  That was ugly.  The Raiders have played themselves into a corner after dropping two straight divisional games to less talented football teams.  After the “bully” had his nose broken on Sunday, the Raiders will have to heal quickly because one of the biggest games of the season comes on only three days rest.

The Raiders gave up 300 rushing yards to the Denver Broncos.  That’s not a typo.  A college-style option offense torched the Oakland defense en route to a 34-21 upset win on Sunday.  The Raiders were undisciplined in every aspect of the game.  They had 15 penalties for 130 yards.  Players didn’t stay true to their assignments, and were caught out of position, with Tim Tebow and Willis McGahee ripping them for huge gains.  Linebackers were leaving gaps uncovered, defensive ends got burned bending down the line and lost contain, and the punt coverage team took bad angles in pursuit.

Michael Bush had a nice game in the starting role, 19 carries for 96 yards and 33 yards receiving.…

Raiders' Week 10 Fantasy Outlook

Quarterback

There’s absolutely no way you should play Carson Palmer this week. He’s averaging 3 INTs a week and his yardage certainly isn’t making up for that. He threw for 3 touchdowns last week, but the INTs nearly balance out the point gain. The only reason he should start on your Fantasy roster is if it’s 10 minutes before kickoff, you have no backup and your usual starter is on a bye. Otherwise, no Palmer for you!

Running Backs

From all appearances, DMC will be out again this week. If you didn’t pick up Bush or Jones, then you didn’t miss too much. Bush had an impressive showing in comparison to previous weeks. He had 96 yards and his first touchdown of the season. That being said, the Chargers are fairly tough against the run, but Bush is going to have the majority of work in this game. Jones, however will get a few touches, but it most likely won’t translate into fantasy points. Consider Bush a strong RB2 this week after back-to-back strong showings.

Wide Receivers

What in Al Davis’…

Midseason Report Card

The Raidersblog team gives their grades at the midway point of the season.

Quarterback

Chris Hansen: B
Brandon Dwonch: C - (Incomplete)
Nick Silverman: B-
Natalie Saar: C - (Boller D)
Bram Makonda: C+
Jeff Fagen: B
Overall GPA: 2.5

Jason Campbell played his game and did it well enough until he got injured. Carson Palmer, given ample time to learn the offense, tossed three touchdowns and had such command of the offense he was audibling at the line. The grade can be considered incomplete for now, but with significant room to grow.

Runningback/Fullback

Chris Hansen: A-
Brandon Dwonch: A-
Nick Silverman: B+
Natalie Saar: A
Bram Makonda: A-
Jeff Fagen: A
Overall GPA: 3.8

Darren McFadden held the league lead in rushing until his injury against Kansas City. Michael Bush is a great replacement back and can consistently put up 100-yard days. Marcel Reece injury really hurt the offense, but he's as good as they come at the position. Richard Gordon and Manase Tonga have done a good job as blocking fullbacks. …

Contest: Predict & Win a Pair of Bucketfeet!

Predict Carson Palmer's passing yards over the next three games and win a pair of Bucketfeet!

[gallery orderby="rand"]

The shoes not your style? Predict and win them for a friend or family member. Two silver and black style's to choose from. I wasn't sure about deck shoes, but the silver and black Full Circle's have turned me into a believer.

How to enter: Post your guess every week for the next three weeks on Carson Palmer's passing yards in that week's game. Post the guess by mentioning me on Twitter, post the guess on the Raidersblog Facebook page or in the comments below. Play all three weeks for three chances to win.

How to win: Have the closest guess to Carson Palmer's actual passing yardage. The closest guess over the course of three weeks wins! Totally miss the first week? That's okay, try again for equal chance to win. Leaderboard after each week will be posted for bragging rights. Tie-break: Hat Pick

All entries must be received prior to …

Just Balance, Baby!

Every year around this time something happens in the NFL, but not usually in Oakland. Al Davis had a grip on the Raiders for decades so it hadn't quite taken root until now. The influence of the Head Coach begins to percolate through the team's play and demeanor. Hue Jackson is making the Raiders an image of himself. Jackson is aggressive and undisciplined on defense and conservative and bland on offense (outside of "trick plays"). Balance is not on his list of personality traits. Hue Jackson’s inconsistent nature only works if he is actively supervised and held in check. Up until October 8th he was.

Coming into the Kansas City game, dating back to 2009, the Raiders had an 8-game wining streak inside the AFC West. Now, regardless of what the records say, the Raiders are playing the worst football in arguably the worst division in football.

It's still interesting in Oakland, but the attention Oakland is getting is reminiscent of 2002-2009. Darrius Hayward-Bey was in…

Studs and Duds From Week 9

Since I've already blasted Hue Jackson and Chuck Bresnahan, we'll keep this to the players who didn't perform on Sunday.

Studs

Lamarr Houston - One of the few Raider defenders who showed up on Sunday. He's becoming a force on the defensive front. The Broncos couldn't block him and instead ran away from him with great success.

Michael Bush - He isn't McFadden, but he is still good. He grinds out positive yardage every time he gets the ball. He doesn't quite have the burst to run away from the defense, but he is good at finding running lanes and agile enough to get through them. He should have had more carries on Sunday, maybe if he does the Raiders grind out a victory after being up by ten points.

Carson Palmer - Three interceptions, but good enough to be a stud. Keep in mind he still only has three weeks in the offense. He looked crisp enough and made a few laser throws. He was audibling at the line and commanding the offense. For a debut it wasn't bad. Kee…

Hue-yuck!

Hue Jackson essentially benched Darrius Heyward-Bey, the team's most productive receiver, in favor freshly signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh and rookie Denarius Moore. Moore's production has dipped since taking over punt return duties and was targeted on three of the six interceptions against the Chiefs and another one Sunday against the Broncos. Benching a guy just starting to get confidence is terrible mistake if he is to be part of the Raiders future. Al Davis wouldn't have let this happen and by pulling this move Jackson is essentially urinating on whatever legacy Al Davis left behind.

Houshmandzadeh hasn't played a down in months and he gets more action than your top receiver? Palmer is paid to throw the receivers on the roster. Houshmandzadeh was not a terrible sign, but it's subtraction by addition if he plays more than your top receiver. The only valid reason to bench Heyward-Bey was for discipline reasons. By all accounts Heyward-Bey is a model teammate.

Jackson ha…

Week 9 Preview: Matchups To Watch

Hue Jackson vs. Hue Jackson

This is the most important matchup of the game. Jackson made himself look foolish with the Raiders quarterback situation two weeks ago and Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer combined to throw six interceptions. Jackson will be walking a fine line this Sunday. He has to balance his aggressive tendencies, Carson Palmer’s effectiveness and game management. The play calling has to vary enough to keep the passing game respectable without putting Palmer in a position to fail. Jackson has to remember that the opposing team has one of the worst quarterbacks and will struggle to be productive. If the Raiders lose this game it is because Jackson failed.

Carson Palmer vs. Carson Palmer

Palmer will make his starting quarterback debut this Sunday vs. Denver. To lead the Raiders to victory this Sunday, Palmer has to be more of a game manager than anything else. Rather than making plays that lead his team to victory, Palmer has to avoid plays that give away the game. This is not …

A Tale of Two Seasons

It's been a NFL season full of abnormalities due to the lockout and the Raiders have been no exception. Many thought the Raiders would finally find their grove. The team finally had a guy they could call their franchise quarterback in Jason Campbell and they were full of young talent at just about every position. Hue Jackson, a fiery new coach, seemed to have the right formula for success. It started well enough, until week 5 when the wheels started to come off.

The Raiders lost their fearless leader Al Davis. While the Raiders were able to rally to beat the Texans that week, it was easy to tell that things were not the same in Oakland. Although often scrutinized for his managerial decisions, Al Davis ran things his way and answered to no one. Meaning when it came time to make decisions, they were made, and people moved on. Uncertainty was the word of the week when it came to how the Raiders would move forward. It didn't take long to find out who was now making the calls. Hue J…

Raiders' Week 9 Fantasy Outlook

Quarterback

This position, in regards to Fantasy, is less of a crap shoot than it was two weeks ago, but there's still no way to confidently say play Palmer over other QBs in the NFL. Palmer's play against the Chiefs was not an indication of his future play because he was unprepared and didn't have his go-to: Darren McFadden. He was just trying to clean up Boller's mess. This week he still won't have McFadden, but he will have T.J. “Who's-Yo-Mama” Houshmandzadeh with whom he practiced during his “retirement.” Housh will give Palmer a reliable target that he's comfortable with and can go to on third downs, or any other down for that matter. It would irresponsible to give a definitive “go!” for starting Palmer on your team this week. On the bright side, Tebow will make him look like a pro-bowler again.

Running Back

All of you who have been reaping the benefits of McFadden's success have probably been drinking yourself to sleep after seeing him leave practice…

Week 9 Preview: Tebow & Palmer Do Battle

Both Tim Tebow and Carson Palmer are coming off performances they would love to forget.  After orchestrating a heroic comeback against Miami, Tebow fell flat at home against Detroit, while Carson’s last outing resulted in 3 interceptions in one half of football.

For Palmer, the Raiders bye was anything but an “off week" as he spent some of the mandatory off days gaining chemistry with receivers Jacoby Ford and Darius Heyward-Bey.

“There’s no comparison to last week…I’m comfortable with the entire playbook.  I’m comfortable with the guys,” Palmer said.

The Raiders added to Palmer’s familiarity by signing veteran free agent wide receiver T.J. Houshmanzadeh.  Houshmandzadeh will help out in the slot. He’s a big body that’s not afraid of contact and can go over the middle.  Palmer and Houshmandzadeh played together in Cincinnati and worked out together last summer.  Palmer will look for his safety blanket primarily on third downs.

Perhaps the definition of “Tebowing” should be changed to…

Time for a Rebound

In the six quarters following Jason Campbell’s injury the Raiders offense has a grand total of 277 passing yards, 6 interceptions and 0 touchdowns. The Raiders have scored 10 points in those quarters, 6 from a perfectly executed fake field goal. With extra work being put in by Carson Palmer and the wide receivers during the bye week, hopefully the Raiders offense has hit its lowest point and is on its way back up.

Last game vs. Kansas City was a debacle and downright embarrassing. The Raiders were shutout in a game they were expected to win. Not only did Kansas City end the Raiders domination of the AFC West, but the victory has supplied the Chiefs with enough momentum to make another run in the AFC West. It's three way tie for first place. The AFC West is officially up for grabs.

In the coming weeks, Oakland, Kansas City and San Diego all face Green Bay and Chicago. San Diego and Oakland face Detroit. Kansas City will host the Steelers and travel to New England and New York to see …

Analysis: Houshmandzadeh Helps

The Raiders signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh to veteran minimum contract on Tuesday. Houshmandzadeh is familiar with Hue Jackson and Carson Palmer from their days together in Cincinnati. Palmer also worked out with Houshmandzadeh during his "retirement."

Aside from Houshmandzadeh's familiarity with Jackson and Palmer, what does he bring to the table as a receiver? Houshmandzadeh is 34 and had a less than spectacular year in Baltimore in 2010. He has also been unemployed for the past eight weeks.

Is Houshmandzadeh purely to make Palmer comfortable or does Jackson actually believe he is good enough to crack the rotation at receiver?

Both. Jackson realizes how important the timing is between receiver and quarterback and went out and signed one that Palmer knows well. Houshmandzadeh runs certain routes really well, particularly from the slot. The Raiders are struggling to find consistency at the receiver position. Rookie Denarius Moore has slowed way down over the past few games and …

Studs and Duds From the Bye Week

Who said there wouldn't be studs and duds because of the bye week?

Studs

Phillip Rivers

Thanks for dropping the ball. The Chiefs are the luckiest 4-3 team in the league right now and the Chargers now have the most difficult second half schedule. A Chiefs win put the Raiders in the driver's seat in the AFC west despite not playing a game. Thanks Mr. Rivers!

Raiders Receivers

Giving up your vacation to work isn't a choice a lot of people would make. Most of the Raiders receivers stayed to get their timing down with Carson Palmer. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford and Louis Murphy were together at dinner on one of the off days indicating they stayed behind. It's possible other receivers stayed also. Studs of the bye week.

John Fox/John Elway

Thanks for sticking with Tim Tebow for one more week. Poor guy might not make it out of Oakland uninjured.



Duds

Hue Jackson

Stop it. If you wanted to bring in T.J. Houshmandzadeh since the beginning of the season and he was any good he would hav…