Coach Jay Dee
Sunday, November 15 2009 @ 06:04 AM CST
Contributed by: Ore
Contributed by: Ore
Is it Really THAT Bad?...
The season is half over and things aren’t going that well, but are they really THAT bad? Well…it’s pretty bad but it could be worse. Yes! I said it. Things aren’t as bad as most people make them out to be. We are 2-6 and that’s bad, but the Rams, Browns, Lions, Buccaneers and Chiefs all have records worse than the Raiders. So yeah, it could be worse.
Make no mistake there are a myriad of problems in Oakland…most of them in the front office. The defensive line and the line backing corps are inconsistent at best. The secondary has one consistently good player and a bunch of guys that play great one week and horrible the next. That being said there are some things that are improved from last year. We are not the worst defense in the league in any of the major defensive categories. We’re #25 in points allowed, #13 in passing yards allowed, #29 in rushing yards allowed. We rank 9th in passing TDs allowed and 29th in rushing TDs allowed. Now I realize that these numbers are not very good, but look at it this way. We are improved in all but one of these categories from last year. (We ranked #6 in pass defense last year at this time.) Therefore, improvement is happening on defense. It just isn’t as evident because of our record. Last year at this time we had allowed the most rushing yards and TDs and the second most total yards. That is improvement no matter how you look at it.
The place that needs the most work on defense is at DT. With Gerard Warren not living up to expectations and showing his age and Tommy Kelly showing some injury issues, this position is in turmoil. We also need to address the Nickel and Dime packages. The 3rd and 4th CBs are not getting it done. As I’ve said before, Stanford Routt couldn’t cover himself with a blanket and Johnny Holland was cut earlier in the season for a reason. He is a kick return guy and nothing more. I truly believe if Kelly can stay healthy, we can add another DT at least as good as Kelly and we get a 3rd and 4th corner that can actually cover, we would become a much better defense. Good enough to move into the middle of the rankings or even higher. That isn’t that bad!
The offense is an entirely different story however. We’ve got a QB that can’t hit water from a boat. An offensive line that plays ok at times, but usually resembles a sieve more than a wall. We’ve got a #7 overall pick at WR that couldn’t catch a cold, much less than a rocket ball from 3 yards away. There is a LOT of room for improvement on offense. But…is it THAT bad? Uhhhmmmm…yes and no. We are pretty bad, but there are some bright spots. We are 31st in points per game, 31st in passing per game, 26th in rushing yards per game and 27th in rushing yards per attempt. These numbers are bad, but they aren’t the worst in the league. That distinction belongs to the Browns.
We have a LT that has been a pleasant surprise; a stud at LG that can’t stay healthy; a center that is average; at G we have a few guys that can’t decide who is going to play well from one game to the next; and finally we just don’t have a REAL RT. Kalif Barnes was supposed to take that spot over and solidify the line and that hasn’t happened. Cornell Greene has proven that he is not capable of playing at a high enough level for us to be successful. Overall, the O-line is a mess. Some one needs to step up and show us something. Gallery and Henderson can’t do it all by themselves. If the C, RG and RT positions don’t get fixed soon, we’ll be in for a long second half of the season.
As I said, there are places that we don’t need any help at all. We have one of the elite TEs in the league in Zach Miller. He is a beast for safeties and LBs to cover and he is a decent blocker. Brandon Meyers is a solid blocker that can provide a nice big target for the QB and has hands soft enough to make catches and move the chains. Tony Stewart doesn’t get much playing time, but has show that he is a legitimate back up in this league. It’s looking like we’ll have Chaz Shillens back for the KC game this week and this is good news. Shillens is one of those Wayne Chrebet/Steve Largent type receivers. He isn’t that fast or explosive; he’s just always open and always seems to makes the catch. It doesn’t matter if he’s in traffic, if he knows he’s going to get hit or if the ball is not thrown well. He just wants the ball and wants to make the catch.
Our other WRs could take a lesson from Shillens’ attitude. Murphy is learning and making strides and I’m confident that he will turn into a quality player. Heyward-Bey on the other hand has had his best years already…in college. He is a track star, not a football player. Javon Walker has been a waste of salary cap space since day one. He shows absolutely none of the ability or willingness he showed in Green Bay. He jogs his routes, giving only half effort…if that! Johnny Lee Higgins has potential, but makes too many mental mistakes. This is not a guy you can trust to make the right adjustments.
I don’t have to tell anyone that the biggest problem for the Raiders on offense is under center. But is he the worst in the league? Uhhhmmm…yeah…he is! His stats don’t show it only because Cleveland has a guy that is a decent player that isn’t getting any help from the rest of his team. Russell is getting help from the RBs and TEs. If this kid were able to complete even 50% of his passes for at least 175 yards a game with more TDs than INTs we’d be 4-4 or possibly even 5-3. We should have beaten SD both times, we should have beaten Denver, but our QB decided that the opposition needed to possess the ball more than we did so he just gave them the ball! This position IS that bad.
Over all it’s not THAT bad. Of course we could be better, but we could be worse… not much worse, but worse nonetheless. Ultimately, we are a QB away from respectability and a few other pieces away from the playoffs. Starting Bruce Gradkowski makes us respectable. Adding a better #2 DT, adding decent #3 and #4 CBs and solidifying the G and C positions would be enough to put us over the hump and possibly into the playoffs. If you think I’m crazy, go talk to a Browns fan, a Rams fan or a Lions fan. They’ll ALL tell you that Raider Nation doesn’t have it THAT bad!
Just one coach’s take.
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