I discuss Pryor and breakdown the offense and defense for the 2011 season on the Football Sickness Podcast. Check it out.
Nnamdi Asomugha went down with a high ankle sprain injury against the Seahawks and when he returned last week against the Dolphins after three weeks of rest he clearly wasn’t himself.
Now it appears his ankle is worse than previously believed or got worse during the game on Sunday. Asomugha could miss more time.
Chris Johnson was also out with a groin injury and could also miss this week’s game in San Diego.
That leaves Stanford Routt and rookies Jeremy Ware and Walter McFadden as the only healthy cornerbacks.
Jeremy Ware drew poor reviews from the coaching staff in Pittsburgh and was inactive last week. Walter McFadden was active and had a rough day against Miami. Both will be relied upon against the second best passing team in football.
When the Raiders defeated the Chargers in Oakland, Philip Rivers threw for 431 yards and two touchdowns. He was unstoppable against the Raiders secondary, which included Asomugha and Johnson.
Michael Huff will likely see additional snaps at cornerback in practice this week and could see plenty of work at cornerback in nickel situations.
The Raiders would then bring in Stevie Brown at free safety or have Mike Mitchell come in to cover Antonio Gates with Branch sliding over to the deep safety position.
If Norv Turner is smart, which offensively he is one of the smartest, he will spread the Raiders out by using four and five receivers sets.
The dime package means one or both of Ware and McFadden would have to be in the game presenting favorable matchups for the Chargers dynamic passing game.
Ware and McFadden simply must step up this week for the Raiders to have a chance at stopping the Chargers passing game.
The pass rush from the front seven need to pressure Rivers to give the young secondary a chance. Communication must be better in the secondary to avoid huge mistakes, such as a corner believing he has over-the-top when he doesn’t.
It took a series of big plays for the Raiders to defeat the Chargers the first time at home. Now instead of the Chargers being banged up and the Raiders healthy at home, it is the reverse.
One of the big keys to this game will be the play of the Raiders secondary. After the Chargers rolled them up the first time and after an embarrassing showing last week at home, they should be hungry.
Hard to find a dud, but I did manage to find a couple. Studs were equally hard because of the multitude of good performances, so you can really make a case for several players.
He has taken tongue lashes from fans in recent weeks. People were saying how Walter McFadden should play more than Johnson. Boy did he prove us all wrong. Johnson routinely takes chances and he took a chance and jumping in front of a Kyle Orton pass and returned it for six points. The play started the snow ball down the hill and the Raiders never looked back. Getting beat a few times can be lived with if he makes just as many plays. Let’s hope the Raiders can keep it up.
AFC Offensive Player of the Week. He deserved it. He dominated the Broncos all day. Four touchdowns and 165 yards is a good day and you can’t take that away from him. Honorable mention to the Raiders offensive line, who had a great day against a soft Broncos run defense. He’s averaging 150 total yards per game, the most in the NFL and proving the Raiders didn’t draft a bust two seasons ago. If he stays healthy, he has a chance to lead the league in yards from scrimmage and carry the Raiders to their best record in seven years.
First drive, 43-yard touchdown to Zach Miller. He quickly erased all the bad from the week before and quieted the call for Kyle Boller. He hasn’t been consistent and he has a chance to prove he can be this weekend in Oakland. Honroble mention to Hue Jackson, who opened up the playbook and didn’t close it until the Raiders had a commanding lead.
Sat out the game with an illness. He’s not proving he isn’t a bust. Louis Murphy will be out this week, so it is his chance to lift the Raiders passing game. His window is closing. Typically receivers get three full seasons, but the fans should start seening signs of a breakout soon or they wont at all.
A poor call negated a Lamarr Houston touchdown on a fumble recovery. That’s terrible and cost the Raiders a chance at an NFL record scoring game.
Now the hard part; recovering from the win. The Raiders have had the uncanny ability to recover from losses, but a marked inability to recover from a win. Back-to-back wins would be a marker for this team.
The concept is simple. Take one game at a time. Win a game, the next week you are 0-0 and looking to go 1-0. Lose a game, the next week you are 0-0 and looking to go 1-0. It’s cliché, but that doesn’t reduce it to rubble. Each team must be able to do both, focus on the next week instead of the prior week.
Next week Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks come into Oakland on Halloween. The Raider Nation doesn’t need a holiday as an excuse to dress up, but on Halloween you will get more than your fair share of crazy costumes and the FOX broadcast will love it.
A win next week means the Raiders could be playing for the division lead when the Kansas City Chiefs visit Oakland in week nine before a bye in week 10. The Raiders sit at 3-4 and have yet another chance to get back to .500 for the first time since 2002.
The Raiders demoralized the Broncos, something Nnamdi Asomugha and Tommy Kelly have seen before and both highlighted with their postgame interviews. The impact an early big lead can have a snowball effect on the opposition. It has happened routinely to the Raiders and now they get to taste what it is like on the other side.
The only negatives Tom Cable could muster in his post game press conference were penalties, blocks could be a little cleaner and two sacks.
In reality, the penalties are an issue in losses, but never in wins. Avoid the mental mistakes, but this isn’t really a big deal. The errors you want to avoid are penalties that turn third and short into third and long or negate positive plays. Timely penalties are worse than penalties overall. Raiders didn’t have many ‘shoot yourself in the foot’ penalties.
Blocks can always be cleaner. No team has ever executed an entire game with perfect blocks. Sometimes an ugly block works just as well. Not many issues with blocking on Sunday. Keeps improving, but if they do what they did in Denver, they should be fine.
Two sacks surrendered? I can remember at least one of them was Jason Campbell holding the ball too long. Tom Cable is taking issue with two sacks? Really? I didn’t think this line was capable of the performance they turned out Sunday.
Raiders did rack up a list of injuries during the game.
Matt Shaughnessy (Concussion)
Chris Johnson (Concussion)
Samson Satele (Concussion)
Louis Murphy (Clavicle)
Kamerion Wimbley (Groin)
Robert Gallery (Calf)
Darrius Heyward-Bey (ill)
Michael Bennett (Hamstring)
Concussions aren’t to be taken lightly. Players must pass several tests to be cleared to play the following week and the NFL is considering a mandatory one week waiting period for all concussions in the future. Tough to count on any of those three this week.
Louis Murphy re-injured the clavicle he originally injured three weeks ago. Thus far, Murphy is the only receiver who has produced. While the Raiders were able to make things happen without wide receivers on Sunday, defenses are going to load the box to stop Darren McFadden if the Raiders can’t find a competent passing game. Receivers must get involved.
Darrius Heyward-Bey started the game, but came down with an illness. He is the receiver the Raiders need to step up more than anyone. Jacoby Ford and Nick Miller can only be counted on so much.
Gallery’s injury didn’t seem serious, but he’s been an injury magnet, so cross your fingers. Wimbley’s injured groin is a big question and we may not find out the severity until Wednesday.
Jared Veldheer had a great game overall. He started as a left tackle before moving to center when Samson Satele was injured. Mario Henderson came into the game a did a good job run blocking, but his pass blocking wasn’t tested. A healthy Satele keeps Veldheer at left tackle. Veldheer needs to stay at left tackle.
The Raiders could go out and sign a center, but the only one with enough knowledge of the scheme to start next week would be Chris Morris. Jake Grove is also available.
Let’s hope Satele’s concussion was minor and he will be able to play this week.
Didn’t get one complaint from the Raider Nation about Jason Campbell after the game. The talk the entire week was that Kyle Boller should get the start regardless of the health of Campbell.
Late in the week it was looking like Campbell might miss the game due to injury and that Kyle Boller might get the start. Not so fast.
Speaking of injured player surprises, who had Darren McFadden sitting on their fantasy bench? That was 47 points, ouch. I did, but it looks like I might still get the win against @ThunderingBlurb
Studs and duds article should be easy this week? Not so fast. I’ve had to think long and hard about any possible dud on the Raiders and how can I possibly give out studs to only a few players? Harder than you think to pinpoint them despite the huge win.
Last season, the Raiders went into Denver and got a win on the back of JaMarcus Russell. Charlie Frye started the game and Russell came in when Frye was injured to lead the Raiders to victory.
Michael Bush had 144 total yards and a touchdown. Darren McFadden had 74 yards rushing. Chaz Schilens made the game-winning catch. Brandon Marshall had seven receptions and a touchdown and Kyle Orton went 19/34 for 278 yards.
The Broncos couldn’t run the ball that day and haven’t been able to run the ball much this season. The worst rushing offense in the league happens to be doing very well passing. The addition of receiver Brandon Lloyd and subtraction of Brandon Marshall has the Broncos ranked third, behind San Diego and Indianapolis in the NFL.
The Raiders may not be able to run the ball on Denver like they did last season. The Broncos added nose tackle Jamal Williams to help with their woes stopping the run and have held five of six opposing rushers under 100 yards.
Maurice Jones-Drew was held to 98 yards, Joseph Addai to 29 yards, Chris Johnson to 53 yards, Justin Forsett to 44 and LaDainian Tomlinson to 55 yards. Only Ray Rice was able to break the 100-yard threshold with 133 yards in week five.
The Broncos still have a dangerous secondary and have only allowed one receiver to eclipse 100 yards. Austin Collie had a monster game against the Broncos, but the Raiders don’t have anything approaching Peyton Manning.
It could be a tough game for the Raiders offensively if they can’t get the run going. At this point, Kyle Boller looks like the starter for the Raiders. He played well during the preseason and has plenty of experience. He has the ability to make plays, but his problem had always been making good decisions with the football. If he can avoid the interception he is more than capable starter.
Matchup to Watch:
Samson Satele vs. Jamal Williams
If the Raiders get their running game going they will have a chance to win. It hinges on Satele, who must do a good job against Williams. Satele must keep Williams from eating up multiple blockers and make sure he has to work.
If Satele can contain Williams and Darren McFadden returns to action, the Raiders will be able to employ a two-headed rushing attack to chew up yards. Many coaches will preach wearing down and wearing out the big boys up front. Expect the backs to see plenty of action up the middle if Satele does his job.
In many ways the Broncos passing attack is overrated, but that doesn’t mean they should be taken lightly. The Ravens and Colts have decently rated pass defenses and beat the Broncos easily. The other four teams are all among the league’s worst against the pass. The Jaguars (28), Seahawks(30), Titans (23), and Jets (22).
Despite the Chargers outburst, the Raiders are ranked eighth against the pass. The Raiders poor rush defense might yield yards to Denver, but the matchup couldn’t be better for the Raiders. The Raiders rush defense seems to be close, having held rushers in check besides a couple long runs. It depends on if the Raiders can prevent those long rush plays.
Matchup to Watch:
Nnamdi Asomugha vs. Brandon Lloyd
Will the Raiders treat Lloyd like a top receiver or allow Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson to cover him? My bet is the Raiders will shadow Brandon Lloyd most of the time with Asomugha. Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson will draw matchups with the other receivers.
Broncos have a 27.1 yard kick return average and 10.1 yard punt return average, both rank top ten. On the other side, they have allowed 27.4 yards per kick return and one touchdown and average just 63 yards per kickoff, both rank bottom ten. Considering the altitude of their home stadium, this is extremely poor.
The Broncos have made 11 of 12 field goals including two from more than 50. The Raiders have made the most field goals, but also missed the most. Maybe we will see the 63-yard record broken on Sunday by Sebastian Janikowski. He can probably hit from 70 in Denver.
The Raiders dominate all the punting categories thanks to Shane Lechler and the coverage units. The Broncos have punted decently well, but haven’t done a good job containing the returns ranking near the bottom in punting net and near the top in gross.
Quentin Groves gets his job back at weak-side outside linebacker. Trevor Scott moves back to defensive end. Interesting to note that Scott will likely now be a nickel rusher, with Lamarr Houston and Matt Shaughnessy the first down ends.
Maybe the reason for Scott’s move to end wasn’t Groves rise or Shaughnessy’s regression, but actually Trevor Scott’s inability to solidify himself at a position.
Jared Veldheer may have won the starting left tackle position. Tom Cable still insists it is a rotation, but Veldheer got all the first-team snaps during practice this week.