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Showing posts from November, 2010

Rivers vs. Rookies & Routt

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 corn

Morning After Pill: The Davis Doghouse

The aftermath of the Raiders blowout loss at home Sunday was about as ugly as any post game in the past seven seasons. It rivaled Bill Callahan’s “Stupidest Team in America” and Art Shell’s catatonic press conferences towards the end of a one-win season. The post game press conference was reminiscent of Lane Kiffin defiantly jabbing Al Davis and his scholarship players in the media. It was ugly. Things everyone knew, but was no one admitted publicly finally came to light. The dysfunction finally reared its ugly head. Jason Campbell is Al Davis’ choice at quarterback. Bruce Gradkowski is Tom Cable’s choice at quarterback. Just as sure as Al Davis’ Friday night KFC Cole Slaw, such a differing opinion would be grounds for firing. Especially after such a poor display by the coach’s quarterback. It probably would be or could be if not for Hue Jackson. Jackson backed Tom Cable’s choice at quarterback saying about switching quarterbacks that, "It was just about a feel - sometimes a

Happy Thanksgiving!

The dedicated fans that comprise the Raider Nation make covering the Raiders fun. Thank you! I'm thankful that you keep coming back and reading. I look forward to the blog's continued growth. Enjoy this time with your family and friends. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Six Games To Prove It, Three to Lose It

The fans will find out a lot about this Raiders team in the next six weeks, but the fans will know if the Raiders are contenders over the next three weeks. At this point, the Raiders haven’t beaten an opponent with a record better than .500 outside the division. The Raiders are also woefully bad on the road, with just one giant victory in Denver. If the Raiders are to go from pretenders to contenders things must change. The game against Miami this Sunday at home might be the easiest non-division game remaining on the schedule, but Miami is far from a Powder Puff team. Miami is starting a familiar foe at quarterback, ex-Chief Tyler Thigpen. Four of Miami’s five wins have come on the road. Miami defeated Buffalo, Minnesota, Green Bay, and Cincinnati. The Dolphins also defeated the Titans at home and it took a questionable call for the Steelers to defeat the Dolphins. The Raiders travel to San Diego in week 13. A huge game with division implications. San Diego is going on their typic

No Running Game, No Pass Protection, No Win

Jason Campbell or Bruce Gradkowski? The question is worn out and it doesn’t matter than much unless the offensive line can block. They both have deficiencies and strengths. Most solid NFL quarterbacks can have at least moderate success when they get time to throw. That includes about 20 starting NFL quarterbacks. Bruce Gradkwoski and Jason Campbell would qualify. On Sunday, Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski had very little chance to have success. The offensive line was not capable of blocking the Steelers pass rush. Campbell was sacked four times and Gradkowski twice and the offensive line allowed ungodly amounts of pressure. The Raiders have given up 3.8 sacks per game in losses and 2.6 sacks in wins. The Raiders have won just one game when giving up four sacks, that was at home against Kansas City. How have the Raiders been successful? Running the ball. Darren McFadden or Michael Bush have rushed for over 100 yards in every Raiders victory with the exception of week nine agai

Are The Raiders For Real?

The Raiders have five wins. The Raiders haven't won six or more games since 2002. There is little doubt this team is better than the ones of the past seven seasons. That's not the question everyone is asking. Are the Raiders for real? Are the Raiders a legitimate playoff team? A big game against the wounded Pittsburgh Steelers this week will go a long way to proving if the Raiders are a playoff team. What are the key stats saying? Raiders' opponents have a combined .444 winning percentage. The Raiders have been victorious against teams with a combined .466 win percentage and lost to teams with a combined .416 winning percentage. Besides the obviously weak schedule, the Raiders are also playing up and down to their competition. The much more damaging fact regarding the Raiders schedule is the 1-3 record on the road. The Raiders lost road contests against the Cardinals, 49ers and Titans. The Raiders blew the games against the two NFC West teams and could be sitting here at 7

Report: Al Davis Wants Campbell

Steve Corkan of the Contra Costa Times is reporting, according to several sources, that Al Davis has expressed his desire for Jason Campbell to remain the starting quarterback. This was one of the possible scenarios I presented this morning for Tom Cable's stunning change of heart. To be fair to the organization, Davis may not be forcing the issue, but rather making his desire known to Tom Cable and Hue Jackson. Tom Cable would have to be very confident in Bruce Gradkowski's play and health to consider going against his bosses' wishes. Al Davis could keep his opinions to himself, but why would he? He owns the team and operates the football side, why wouldn't he? That's a better question.

Campbell vs. Gradkowski Debate Rages On

To start the season, few were doubting Jason Campbell’s status as the starting quarterback of the Oakland Raiders. Bruce Gradkowski had supporters, but even they thought it was Campbell’s job to lose. Fast forward six quarters of the season and Gradkowski is the new undisputed starter. The coaches reasoned with the media that Gradkowski’s personality fit the team better without going into any of the specifics of the situation. Those specifics are important, because they are the same specifics that could keep Campbell the starter and push Gradkowski back into a backup role. When Campbell was benched, the offensive line was doing a terrible job pass blocking and the Raiders hadn’t yet become the run dominant team they are now. The offensive line simply couldn’t block for Campbell because he was slow to make his reads and has a long delivery. Gradkowski only lasts two games behind the porous Raiders pass protection. He doesn’t do significantly better and currently has a quarterback ra

Cable Leaning Campbell

Two blowout victories weren't enough to dislodge Bruce Gradkowski's status as the Raiders starting quarterback. Two blowout victories and a overtime victory may have been enough. Tom Cable said he is leaning toward riding the hot-hand. Presumably the hot-hand is Jason Campbell, who has lead the Raiders to three straight wins. After six bad quarters, the Raiders benched Jason Campbell and named Bruce Gradkowski the quarterback. Gradkowski started three games and was injured, again, early in the game. He played the entire game in two losses and partial games in two victories, including closing out the game against the Rams. His quarterback rating is 71.8 on the season with a record of 1-2 in game he finished. Campbell was benched the first time after completing 57.7% of his passes, but was sacked eight times. Not much has changed overall, besides the fact the Raiders are winning. Campbell has completed 56.7% of his passes and has been sacked about three times per game, but his r

Raiders Have FORDitude In Win Over Chiefs

When someone had to step up and make a play for the Raiders, it wasn’t stars Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller, or Louis Murphy. They were all inactive on Sunday. It wasn’t top draft-pick Darrius Heyward-Bey or offensive star Darren McFadden. It was rookie fourth-round pick Jacoby Ford who did the damage. With the Raiders down 10 and desperately needing a score to stay in the game, Ford raced 94 yards for a touchdown on the opening kick of the second half. It was only moments later the Raiders would tie the score after recovering a fumble at the Kansas City 34. Ford came through again when the Raiders needed someone to make a play, ripping a would-be interception away from Brandon Flowers that would have sealed the game. It set up the game-tying field goal in the closing seconds of regulation. He wasn’t done. After the Raiders defense forced a three-and-out in overtime, Ford streaked under a 47-yard bomb from Jason Campbell and set up the game winning field goal. It wasn’t expected, b

Best In The West War: Chiefs @ Raiders Preview

Old school. A kind of gritty, nasty style. Primitive and basic while maintaining a level of purity or nostalgia. Chiefs vs. Raiders is always an old school match up, because the teams have so much history. What is different about this game is how much these teams remind you of the old school Raiders and Chiefs. The two teams are one and two in the rankings for rush yards per game. They are also the top two teams in the AFC West. The old school Raiders and Chiefs are playing old school football. It will be a war and there will be casualties. The Raiders know this is a validation game. The Raiders know this is a statement game. Win today and the NFL talks about the Raiders and the playoffs in the same sentence. It would be conceivable for a team, fresh off two games in which they outscored their opponents 92-17, to overlook an opponent. Not...this...week. Division game, at home, against a rival team that leads the division, and looking for validation? No player is letting is looking past

Put the Blackout on TV

It's ironic just how much the term "blackout" applies to the Raiders. With 11 straight TV blackouts, the Raiders literally had lost a part of their mystique. This is the Silver and "Black." The "Black" Hole might be the most well known area of any NFL stadium. When you have "blackouts" you are just left with half of what used to be something great. Silver without the "black" cannot attack. Then something amazing happened Thursday, the Raiders announced that the TV blackout had been lifted for this Sunday's game against the Chiefs, I'll be there is section 111, row 20 with my dad and 63,000 other Raiders fans rain or shine. The Raiders fans really rallied behind a two for one ticket offer, two big wins in a row and Rolando McClain's bold statement. McClain proclaimed a media blackout until the Raiders sold out a home game. He didn't have to wait long. While he didn't likely have much impact on the tickets sold, he

Studs and Duds From Week 8

While the attention shift the Chiefs this week, allow me to jump back and examine the second great team performance in a row. 33-3 was a pretty good beating of the Seahawks. This game was pretty simple the Raiders killed the Seahawks in the trenches. The offensive and defensive lines whipped the Seahawks into submission. STUDS: DL: Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Lamarr Houston, Matt Shaughnessy The front four whipped the Seahawks. Richard Seymour continued his solid play. Tommy Kelly had one of his best games of the year and Matt Shaughnessy and Lamarr Houston fed of the veterans inside. Trevor Scott is the only player that didn't stand out here. Darren McFadden He's dominating games. Play action works better when he is running it and it only takes a small seem for him to bust a long run. All the attention on McFadden has given Marcel Reece opportunities and kept the Raiders poor pass blocking line from being exposed. He's the key to the offense right now and needs to keep i

Raiders Rising: Midseason Report

The Raiders are eight games into the 2010 season with a record of 4-4 and have been resurgent in recent weeks, outscoring the Broncos and Seahawks 92-17 after a disappointing loss to the 49ers. Are the silver and black back? While it is probably too soon to say, there are some encouraging signs. If it wasn’t for Sebastian Janikowski missing three field goals in Arizona, including the game winner, the Raiders would be 5-3. Realize this, the Raiders haven’t had more than five wins since 2002. What was the Raiders record after eight games in 2002? It just so happens it was also 4-4. The Raiders won the first four games only to drop four in a row before finishing the season 7-1 that season. Is this team capable of a run at the playoffs? If so, the Raiders will need to win this Sunday at home against the division leading Chiefs. There have been two different quarterbacks, two starting left tackles, two of the top three receivers have been injured and the Raiders began the year playing