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Showing posts from December, 2011

Raiders Resolutions

While the year is coming to a close, the Raiders’ season is very much still alive. With playoff hopes looming, there are few things the Raiders need to do both this current season and in the season to come. This means starting the new year off with a bang against the Division rival San Diego Chargers. The Chargers have become a formidable opponent in recent weeks, especially amidst the Raiders' inconsistent play. So, these are some of the resolutions the Raiders need to make in the upcoming year:

No More Penalties
While they've been better about minimizing penalties recently, certainly better than they were at the beginning of the season, the Raiders still need some work on avoiding penalties altogether. Many people complain that their team is unfairly penalized, but the fact of the matter is that the
Raiders are like a team of Ndamukong Suh's, meaning that the refs already have their eye on the guys. Just this season, the team has given up over 1,200 yards in penalties, whic…

Week 16 Preview: Silver Bells

The Raiders simply must win their next two games to have a chance at the playoffs. The Chiefs are playing for the playoffs themselves and will need to win the last two games. This is a late December trip to Arrowhead with playoff implications despite struggles along the way for both teams.

Reeling after an explicable defensive meltdown last week at home versus the Detroit Lions, the Raiders will attempt to pick their season off the scrap heap Sunday in Kansas City. Temperatures will be win the mid 40s and mild, not what one would expect for a late season trip to Arrowhead stadium. The mild temperatures mean the Raiders will have dodged their cold-weather games this season. It didn't make any difference in their blowout loss to the Packers two weeks ago and the Raiders are hoping to avoid any repeats.

The last time the Raiders faced the Chiefs, Todd Haley was the Head Coach and Matt Cassel was the Quarterback for the Chiefs. Fast forward 11 weeks and Romeo Crennel and Kyle Orton are …

Hue of Shame

It is easy enough to blame Chuck Bresnahan for the Raiders second half collapses this season. He was never Hue Jackson's guy and his performance this season means there will likely be turnover in that area unless the Raiders defense turns into the 1985 Bears the last two weeks and the team squeaks into the playoffs and continues to dominate defensively. That's not going to happen.

Jackson will likely get a pass for his rookie season. Dealing with the loss of legendary owner Al Davis and assuming the General Manager duties, losing his starting quarterback, his star running back, and having some of his best players miss time will all be excuses to give Hue Jackson another chance. That's probably how it should be, that's a lot to bite off for any first time head coach. Add to it the Jackson-created hype and expectations and you have a dangerous mix that has a segment of the Raider Nation upset.

Playing the blame game

Let's take a look at the two phases of the game. Let&#…

Week 15 Preview: Effort & Efficiency

Two weeks ago headed into the game against Miami the Raiders were leading the AFC West and coming off three straight victories. Two weeks later the season is on the line. Thanks to Timothy Tebow in Denver and two horrible losses in a row, the Raiders are in must-win mode. Unfortunately for the Raiders the opponent this week needs a win just as badly. The Lions look and play like a playoff team. The Raiders haven't played like a playoff team in many weeks. What do the Raiders need to do to win? Let's take a look at the numbers.

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When the Raiders have the ball:

The Lions are nearly as suspect against the run as the Raiders surrendering 5.1 yards per carry this season to the Raiders 5.2 and 5 yards less per game than the Raiders atrocious run defense. The Raiders will attempt to run on the Lions and keep Carson Palmer from hurting the Raiders with costly turnovers. The Lions secondary have proven themselves to be ball hawks and they will force Carson Palmer into a turn…

Studs and Duds From Week 14

Surely in a blowout loss there were more duds than studs. I suppose a stud is relative to the play of the rest of the team when the score is 147-14. A few players did have nice days and the rest didn't. There were probably more duds than I can list, so the duds this week are the "Death Ro" of duds.

STUDS

Desmond Bryant

He's earning himself more playing time each week. With the way Richard Seymour is playing and with John Henderson banged up he might just earn more time at defensive tackle as well as defensive end.

Stefen Wisniewski

Towards the end of the game the Raiders sat the Wiz kid down. I guess the coaching staff realized that he was the only solid offensive lineman and gave him a rest. He was very good pass blocking and did a solid job run blocking for Bush. He was particularly good at getting to the linebacker. Some may argue Wisniewski is better suited to play center, but until Stephon Heyer or Joseph Barksdale play well enough to slide Wisniewski over he'll …

Week 14 Preview: It's All About Time

When the Raiders take on the Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday, there is little room for error. Losing to the Dolphins last week and the meteoric rise of Tim Tebow in Denver has given the AFC West a legitimate race to the finish. Both teams are 7-4 with four to play. The Raiders face Green Bay and Kansas City on the road and Detroit and San Diego at home. The Broncos have three at home versus the battered Bears, New England and Kansas City and one game on the road against the faltering Bills.

Hue Jackson has been trying to get his team to finish games all season and now that lesson is on full display. If the Raiders are to win the division they will need to win in the final quarter of the season too.

The Packers are undefeated and present the Raiders greatest challenge this season, but don't let a record fool you in the NFL, this will be a battle and it could come down to a turnover or special teams score. Here is how the teams look by the numbers.

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As you can see, the …

What's Going On In The Training Room?

Anyone who is a Raiders fan or works writing about football is beyond frustrated with the Raiders organization right now. Not because of the way they're playing, which is bipolar to say the least, experiencing glimpses of an untouchable championship team, then flashes of a scrappy high school squad. The frustration comes from within, with regard to injuries. Call it self-serving, but many people need to know what to expect on Sunday, and with these obscure, clearly false injury reports, fans are getting restless.

A key component to the Silver and Black's mystique is an air of secrecy. Up until the time of his death, the team and family never let on how truly sick Mr. Davis was. This would take attention away from the team on the field, which no one inside the walls of the facility in Alameda wanted. This same tactic is being employed with the Raiders current injured players.

Darren McFadden has been out for weeks with a foot injury that they've played down from the beginning…

Shocking Loss. Shocking Win?

A game like the one last Sunday against the Dolphins would cause any fan to start second guessing their team. It doesn't mean you're any less of a fan, it just means you expected a different result and are having a hard time figuring out what went wrong. What if I told you that loss wasn't far off the beaten path?

It's very easy to get caught up in the "now" when evaluating a team. Even though the season seems very short, for most teams there are many high and low points along the way.  In the end it's how you finish that really matters. Most tend to look at schedules and mentally fill in wins and losses as if they are almost a sure thing, but one phrase will always remain true in the NFL, "Any Given Sunday."

The Raiders have been a tough team to gauge this season and depending on what week I ask you, your answer would probably vary. However, one thing that is hard to argue is that this team is very dangerous. Most teams would tell you that they d…

Studs & Duds From Week 13

It was such a painful football game to watch a second time that it took three days to get entirely through it. Searching for answers to what happened in Miami, I put some extra focus on finding the performers and pretenders this week, so let's take a look.

STUDS

Darrius Heyward-Bey

Magnificent day from the Raiders' breakout receiver. No he didn't have great yardage numbers or multiple touchdowns, but he was the only offensive weapon the Raiders had on Sunday. He had 21 yards taken away from him via holding penalty on the offensive line and made a highlight one-handed touchdown grab. Knowing how far his team was behind, Heyward-Bey flipped the ball to the official. There would be no celebration of his second touchdown catch of the season.

Stefen Wisniewski

The rookie has a rough game last week and although the rest of the offensive line crumbled around him he stayed strong. It wasn't a great performance, but no other Raiders seems to qualify for studs this week.

Stanford Rout…

Week 13 Preview: Sling It

The Raiders land in Miami to face a rejuvenated Dolphins team. It was a few short weeks ago Tony Sparano was on the chopping block. Now, after winning three of the last four, Sparano's team looks to play spoiler in the AFC. The Dolphins are finding out what they have in quarterback Matt Moore, the defense is playing well and Reggie Bush may be relevant once again.

It was a week full of distraction for the 7-4 Raiders and perhaps that wasn't a bad thing. The focus could have been on how the Raiders are still unable to get three offensive playmakers on the field. Jacoby Ford Denarius Moore and Darren McFadden remain out of action. Tommy Kelly did not participate in practice and is questionable with toe injury.

There is good news for the Raiders, they get back veteran corner Chris Johnson and Richard Seymour is getting healthy. The offense has been able to manage without Ford, Moore and McFadden, but the defense has been patchy and can use all the help they can get.

The Dolphins are…

Week 13 Matchups: Risk/Reward

Defensive Matchups

Stanford Routt vs. Brandon Marshall

Marshall can take over and when his mind is right he is one of the best wide receivers in the game. Routt has an interception in two consecutive games and may be starting to prove he is worth his contract. With Bresnahan mixing up things, don’t be surprised if Routt shadows Marshall as he did Vincent Jackson a few weeks ago.

Rolondo McClain vs. Reggie Bush

Bush is at his best when in space and McClain is at his worst in space. The Dolphins will try to get Bush in open space and build on his reception total currently at 35. McClain needs to be physical with Bush to take him out of his game. From his midweek arrest in Alabama, McClain has plenty to prove. ***If McClain sits, Blackstock will draw the matchup, but the key for him will be getting the defense lined up correctly***

Kamerion Wimbley vs. Jake Long

Long has been under-achieving this season and as a result the Miami Dolphins offensive line has given up 36 sacks, which ranks 28th i…

Week 13 Fantasy Outlook

Quarterback

Carson Palmer is lighting up the field now, and helping to win football games. With the recent slew of quarterback injuries league-wide, you should seriously consider picking up Palmer. He's back in the saddle and playing well, even in the Fantasy world. Last week he threw for 300+ yards, but had one interception. Depending on if you have a league that's focused more on yards than points then play him, however, if you rely heavily on a QB's ability to score, he may not be as beneficial. Last week he threw for no touchdowns, but his stats were great.

Again, play him if you're looking for yardage, but do so while accounting for one or two interceptions.

Running Backs

Michael Bush is a must play this week. Darren McFadden in still out with no word on when he'll return. Rookie Taiwan Jones also did not practice on Wednesday, which doesn't bode well for his chances on Sunday. These factors taken into account, Bush is going to get a ton of carries. While he d…

Studs and Duds From Week 12

Belated this week, but the show must go on!

STUDS

Marcel Reece

Quite the weapon for the Raiders. Expect him to continue to have a big role for the final five games.

Aaron Curry

Best game as a professional. He's a good player when he the play is in front of him. A good trade for the Raiders with potential to be great.

Rolando McClain

The linebackers were a big reason for the Raiders success on Sunday. McClain had a good game stopping the run and in coverage. He was in a tough position when Caleb Hanie scrambled to his right as he had to choose between covering Forte or going after Hanie. It was a big pickup for the Bears, but if McClain leaves Forte open it could have been bigger. ***I should revoke this for his actions Wednesday night in Alabama.***

Kamerion Wimbley

He did a bit of everything on Sunday. Still the best pure pass rusher on the team, he stepped up and stopped the run and he had an interception and return that would have been a touchdown if not for a horse-collar tackle at the…