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.
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 Raiders left tackle and the Raiders need him to equal it next Sunday.
Hue Jackson finally got his tight end involved in the offense and the Bossman didn’t disappoint. On more than one occasion Boss helped the Raiders convert on third down. It was nice to see Boss getting into the groove of things and getting involved, he’ll continue to be a good third down outlet for Carson Palmer and Jackson should utilize him in that capacity when needed.
He sustained a blow to the back of the head and the severity of the injury is still unclear, but it appears that Heyward-Bey avoided the worst and may be able to return to action in a few weeks. It’s a good thing too, because Heyward-Bey’ has been producing when given the opportunity. Palmer is starting to look his way and a 34-yard strike was nullified by a Veldheer hold in the first half.
He’s much like Nnamdi Asomugha was, he’s consistently good in coverage and will occasionally have lapses trying to make a tackle, but a corner’s main responsiblity in the Raiders offense is to cover and he did that an elite level on Sunday. Capping the performance with interception in the endzone when it appeared the Vikings were getting back into the game.
He’s the starting end opposite Lamarr Houston now and his performances have gotten him more and more playing time ahead of Jarvis Moss and Trevor Scott. He had two sacks on Sunday and looked dominant at times. He should win the job full-time at end as he has been equally good against the run and pass. It sure helps alleviate the loss of Matt Shaughnessy when you have a player as versatile and good as Desmond Bryant on the team.
Tommy Kelly, Matt Giordano, Tyvon Branch
Oh Rolando…how I wish you were anything approaching a good middle linebacker. The Raiders really hit the 2010 draft out of the park…minus the very first pick. Bad angles, bad tackling, can’t get off blocks. He’s decent in coverage, but for every good play he has a lapse. He made a good play to knock down a pass late in the game, but he should have been able to intercept it if he hadn’t been there a step late.
Matt Giordano is getting more time at free safety and Huff is getting more time at cornerback at the expense of Demarcus Van Dyke. Perhaps the Raiders should re-think this alignment. Huff might be playing injured, but he wasn’t able to tackle anyone and was lucky Percy Harvin’s touchdown run was nullified by a Vikings penalty. Terrible game for Huff.
He’s obviously the weak link on the Raiders resurgent offensive line. If the Raiders had a good alternative they would probably bench Barnes, but Bruce Campbell appears stuck at the bottom of the depth chart and Stephon Heyer and Joseph Barksdale are getting their snaps at guard due to the injury of center Samson Satele.
The Raiders offensive line struggled on Sunday and Carlisle was no exception. The Raiders couldn’t run to the right without the lineman getting blown into the backfield and stuffing Michael Bush. Carlisle and Barnes are probably rated 21 and 22 among Raiders starters and they both get dud status this week.
Stephon Heyer, Samson Satele, Aaron Curry, Officiating.[table “1” not found /]