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Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Preseason Finale

As we approach tonight's game versus the Seattle Seahwaks, the one big question is will we go 5-0 in the preseason for the first time in franchise history?

I think we will. I know our starters won't be on the field for more than a drive or two but our backups and our backup's backups have played very well thus far in the preseason. This will be a game that Andrew Walter will get more extensive playing time. We will be able to see if he can lead us to our 5-0 preseason mark. The other interesting thing to see in this game is how much playing time Marques Tuiasosopo and Jeff George will get. Which guy will be our number three QB heading into the regular season?

Our critics will say that the preseason is meaningless and that our record will not be indicative of our regular season play. They may be right but they are most likely wrong. It was important for us to put up a solid preseason this year because we haven't been a winning team for three years. Winning brings a much different attitude to a locker room even if it is in the preseason.

A side note
If you want to watch the game but can't get it on your TV, check out the TVU player. It's available for free at download.com. Just go to the site and search for TVU player and download it. It's a pretty big file and might take some time depending on your internet connection. Once you have it you can check out the channel guide at viidoo.com. Tonight's game will be on the FOX channel.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Jeff George: Raider QB

I know it was a very suprising and upsetting move to a lot of Raider's fans but you really have to face the facts. Even if Jeff George makes it past the final roster cuts, the liklihood that he will throw a pass this season is nonexistant. George will most likely end up somewhere between third string and fourth string and won't play unless we get decimated by injuries.

Lets take a quick look at some Stats.

Career Passing Numbers
Jeff George2298 COMP3967 ATT27602 YARDS154 TDs113 INTs
Aaron Brooks1563 COMP2771 ATT19156 YARDS120 TDs84 INTs

George has a career passing rating of 80.4 while Aaron Brooks has a career passing rating of 79.7.

Don't misinterpret what I am saying, I am all for Brooks and want him to start the season but George has had a much better career than people give him credit for and his numbers are slightly better than the numbers of Aaron Brooks.

Third and Fourth string Quarterbacks can be very important to a team, remember Rick Mirer.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Post Game Analysis: Detroit @ Oakland

Box Score
TEAM1 2 3 4 Final

The Good
Aaron Brooks and Randy Moss finally developed a rythm. Moss hauled in 3 catches for 102 yards and 2 touchdowns. Brooks also threw no interceptions.

Lamont Jordan finally had a decent game. He averaged 5 yards per carry and scored a touchdown.

Shane Lechler booted 2 punts for an average of 51 yards per punt and got one inside the 20.

Derrick Burgess recorded his first sack of the preseason.

Kirk Morrison was a monster on the field. He led the team with 6 tackles and intercepted one pass. He should have had a second interception but was unable to hold on to the ball.

Tyler Brayton and Lance Johnstone both forced fumbles.

Jerry Porter played and actually caught a pass.

The Bad
The only bad things from this game was that there were a couple of important players that did not play. Andrew Walter and Michael Huff didn't play and both could have used the time.

Raiders Top Performers
PassingAaron Brooks 187 yards 2 TDs
RushingJustin Fargas62 yards0 TDs
Receiving Randy Moss102 yards2 TDs

AFC West Preseason Standings

Next Game
@ Seattle
Thursday, August 31
10:00 PM EST

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pregame Analysis: Detroit @ Oakland

The Offensive Line
The offensive line has struggled in it's first two preseason outings. Then they played very well against the 49ers in the third preseason game. I think that they are learning to play their new positions and are gelling together as a more cohesive unit. Sims may re-enter the starting lineup this week so watch and see how this affects the unit. They should be able to build upon a solid effort against the 49ers and once again provide adequate protection to our Quarterbacks.

The Quarterbacks
All three of our Quarterbacks showed significant improvement against the 49ers. Our first unit should play most of the game so this will be a great oppertunity to see how they play when they get completely into the rythm of the game. Brooks looked solid and should be able to at least repeat his performance.

The Secondary
The secondary should get the oppertunity to make some more plays this weekend. Detroit has a new quarterback and a new offense and some struggling former first round receivers. They recorded their 5th preseason interception against the niners which is the total they had throughout the entire season last year. Nnamdi Asomugha still needs to step up his game and not get beat this week. He is the only starter in the secondary who hasn't played well yet this preseason but he played very solid coverage last regular season so look for him to get it done this week.

Derrick Burgess
Derrick Burgess came out of no where to lead the NFL in sacks last season but hasn't done anything outstanding this preseason. He is no longer a secret and teams will be much more likely to double team him this season. Continue to keep a close eye on him to see how he handles the double team and see if he can enjoy the same success he enjoyed last season.

Game Info
Where: Oakland, California
When: Friday, August 25th at 10:00 PM EST
Notes: The Raiders have played the Lions nine times in regular season play and have a record of 6-3.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Where is the sure thing?

Aren't We Forgetting Someone?
Where has Zack Crockett gone? In past years, Crockett was considered a short yardage specialist and when called upon, he was almost always a sure thing.

Now, he blocks. In the past three preseason games, Crockett has carried the ball 0 times! I realize that Jordan has had success picking up the needed yardage in short yardage situations but Crockett is as good as they come in those situations. Plus running with Crockett would also save a little wear and tear on Jordan. A fullback is easier to replace than Jordan would be.

I am hoping that this is just part of our "vanilla" preseason offense but it is doubtful because a short yardage run is not anything suprising and there is no reason to try to keep it a secret.

NFL.com's AFC West Preview
NFL.com takes a look at the AFC West in their AFC West Preview. In their preview, they pretty much say the division is wide open because all four teams have questions and problems. Denver needs a running game, Oakland has questions at quarterback and along the offensive line, Kansas City has major offensive line issues and San Diego has an inexperienced quarterback.

The fact that they brought up that I really liked was that no team has won the division more than once since the realignment in 2002. I could see any one of the teams in the AFC West being great but I could also see anyone one of them struggling. Hopefully, we can pull all of our peices together and emerge as a contender.

Training Camp
in his training camp blog, McDonald talks about Ronald Curry and Jerry Porter. He says how Porter is the best option to play the slot and Curry could do it to but we can't expect him to return to form so quickly.

I agree with him. I think we have to expect Porter to play the slot recevier this season and if Curry can stay healthy all year, we can trade Porter next offseason and turn the role over to Curry then. If Curry doesn't stay healthy, we can hope Morant continues his development.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What does the preseason mean?

Relevance of the Preseason
In 2005, the only undefeated team in the preseason was the Denver Broncos. We know they won the division going 13-3 and made the playoffs.

In 2004, the only undefeated team in the preseason was the Carolina Panthers. They finished 7-9 and barely missed the playoffs in the weak NFC.

In 2003, The Patriots, Titans, Panthers and Cardinals all went undefeated in the preseason. The Patriots won the AFC East and went 14-2 in the regular season. The Titans went 12-4 and made the playoffs through the wild card spot. The Panthers won their division and went 11-5 in the regular season and the Cardinals went 4-12.

So in the last three years, undefeated teams in the preseason have went 61-35 in the regular season and made it to the playoffs 67% of the time. I realize that we still have two preseason games to win before we can call ourselves undefeated but we're off to a great start and have the potential to shock a lot of people this season if it all comes together.

The Wide Receivers
We have one of the most talented Wide Reciever cores in the NFL but how many of them will we have on our active Roster after the 53 man roster cut down? Right now the list looks something like this:

Randy Moss
Doug Gabriel
Alvis Whitted
Ronald Curry
Jerry Porter
Johnie Morant
Carlos Francis
Will Buchanon
Kevin McMahan

Out of those 9 players we will most likely keep about 6 or maybe 7 if we get worried about a player not clearing waivers to make the practice squad.

Randy Moss and Doug Gabriel are listed as starters so they will occupy two spots. Even if someone beats Gabriel out of the number 2 spot he is a lock because he is our backup return man.

Jerry Porter will not be cut due to the cap acceleration towards next season's cap so he will occupy one spot unless we can get him to repay part of his signing bonus and find a team willing to give us what we are asking for him in a trade. He is more talented than Gabriel but will need to shut up and perform if he wants out of Art Shell's dog house.

Alvis Whitted may not be a popular pick among fans but he seems to have the third or fourth receiver spot locked up depending on the status of Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry. He is a speedster and seems to make plays at key moments.

Speaking of Curry, He will get a roster spot based on the skills he flashed prior to his injury in the 2004 season. He has the potential to beat Doug Gabriel out of the second receiver slot if he can stay healthy and play at the level he was playing at in '04. So that pretty much leaves us with one or possibly two spots.

Who will it be? The most obvious choice is preseason standout Johnnie Morant. He has more upside than any of the others and has shown flashes of being a great receiver. But will the other 3 clear waivers and make it to the practice squad? Buchanon and McMahon would both most likely make it but Carlos Francis is a likley candidate to be claimed by another team. He has great speed and can also be used as a returner. His main problem has been injuries. It is doubtful that he will make the 53 man roster so he may end up on another team.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Post Game Analysis: Raiders vs 49ers

Box Score
TEAM1 2 3 4 Final
San Fransisco 00077

The Good
This was not the same offense we've seen the last two preseason games. All three quarterbacks played well. Brooks finally played like a starting Quarterback completing 10 of 17 passses for 125 yards and a touchdown and busting off a 25 yard run. He also threw one interception in the end zone. Andrew Walter completed 8 of 10 passes for 99 yards and led the team to a touchdown on the first drive of the second half.

Michael Huff intercepted an Alex Smith pass and returned it 44 yards before being tackled by Smith. Huff has played very well this preseason.

The Offensive Line played well. Brooks had plenty of time to throw the ball on most plays and they made very few mistakes. Hopefully they can continue to improve.

Janokowski made a 24 yard field goal to make his 7 for 7 this preseason. He showed the power of his leg on his kickoffs as well pinning two back for touchbacks.

Shane Lechler punted twice for and average of 46.5 yards per punt. He pinned one inside the 20 and had a long punt of 56 yards.

The Bad
Brooks used 2 of our 3 timeouts in the first quarter. It's not important right now in the preseason but those timeouts could be very valuable in a tight game.

Brooks also threw a few bad passes. I hope he gets those out of his system in the preseason but he is definitely improving.

Lamont Jordan only averaged 3.75 yards per carry. He carried the ball 12 times for 45 yards.

Raiders Top Performers
PassingAaron Brooks 125 yards 1 TD
RushingReShard Lee49 yards0 TDs
Receiving Randal Williams53 yards0 TDs

Next Game
vs. Detroit
Friday, August 25
10:00 PM EST

The Rest of the West
The Giants crushed the Cheifs 17-0 on Thursday night. Trent Green didn't throw too bad but Larry Johnson was only able to gain 8 yards on 4 carries. The Cheifs defense also allowed Eli Manning to complete 11 of 14 passes for 80 yards and a TD. Tiki Barber also gained 22 yards on 5 carries for an average of 4.4 yards per carry. If the Cheifs play this way in the regular season, they may be competing for the bottom of the AFC West.

The Chargers were defeated by the Chicago Bears 3-24. Rivers completed 9 of 14 passes but also threw and interception. San Diego's first team defense gave up a touchdown to Brian Griese threw the air.

The Broncos crushed the Titans 35-10. Jay Cutler and Jake Plummer both played very well and Mike Bell averaged 7.3 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns.

AFC West Preseason Standings

Friday, August 18, 2006

Pregame Analysis: San Fransisco @ Oakland

The Offensive Line
The offensive line has struggled in it's first two preseason outings. They need to show some signs of improvement this week or something needs to be done prior to the beginning of regular season play. The most likely solution would be scrapping the silent count until next year but hopefully they'll get it down so we can use it to our advantage. San Fransisco doesn't have as good of a pass rush as the Eagles or Vikings so maybe this game will help them get into a rythm and hopefully give them a little more time to work with the silent count. If they can get it mastered it should give them a good jump on the defenders.

The Defensive Line
The defensive line hasn't looked quite as bad as our offensive line but they haven't been dominate yet. The 49ers have questions along their offensive line so hopefully we can dominate them in the trenches and give our players something positive to build on. There is a pretty good chance that the starters will play most of the first half so that could make a big difference and lead to them getting more accustomed to the speed and tempo of the game.

In our first preseason game against the Eagles, we did fairly well with penalties and eliminating mental mistakes. In our second game, we imploded. There were far to many stupid penalties against the Vikings. Penalties of aggression are acceptable but when you're making stupid mistakes, you are burying yourself. It will be interesting to see how Shell responds and if the players listen.

The Quarterbacks
Aaron Brooks has completed 2 of 9 passes for 28 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.
Andrew Walter has completed 13 of 29 passes for 194 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs.
Marques Tuiasosopo has completed 8 of 20 passes for 99 yards, 0 TDs, and 1 INT.

None of these guys is performing well thus far in the preseason. Walter has shown improvement from the first game to the second game but won't unseat Brooks unless he has a completely dominant performance. The poor numbers by all three of our QBs is partially due to poor offensive line play but they need to make better decisions regardless of the pass protection. With Walter playing better, Brooks may be feeling some pressure and may have to elevate his game against the 49ers. It will be interesting to see how he repsonds.

The Secondary
The secondary should get the oppertunity to make some plays this weekend. There is no way that Alex Smith can have two decent games in a row so look for Fabian Washington and Nnamdi Asomugha to make some noise. It will be interesting to see if Ryan decides to match Huff up with the 49ers rookie Vernon Davis. It would be a good test of Huff's skills and it's always fun to watch rookies go at it. If Huff doesn't gaurd Davis, rookie OLB Howard will most likely get a shot.

Game Info
Where: Oakland, California
When: Sunday, August 20th at 8:00 PM EST
Notes: The Raiders have played the 49ers ten times in regular season play and have a record of 6-4.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Running Back Suggestion

Training Camp News
In his latest blog entry, McDonald suggests trading Jerry Porter for TJ Duckett. This wouldn't be a horrible idea because we could definitely use the depth at running back but this trade seems to lean heavily in Atlanta's favor. We would lose a starting Wide Receiver for a backup Running Back, I think we'd need some draft picks in the package too.

Backup Running Back Watch
As mentioned above a lot of people have been saying we should trade Jerry Porter for a backup Running Back and a draft pick. Instead of giving up a player, why not sign Amos Zereoue? We know he isn't good enough to be a starter in the league but he might be a better backup than Justin Fargas and Rod Smart and he is a Free Agent so it wouldn't cost us anything to get him. It just depends on how he feels about the Raiders organization after being cut.

The Rest of the West
Denver Broncos
The Broncos lost their preseason opener against the Detroit Lions 13-20. The story of the game for the Broncos was Jay Cutler. He completed 16 out of 22 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown. This is a very good start for a rookie but he most likely won't get much playing time this season. His strong performance is actually kind of a blessing in disguise for Raider's fans. This could add to any quarterback controversy and cause Denver some problems if Plummer struggles at all. Watch Denver's running game this preseason because this may be the first time in many years that they don't have one.

Kansas City Cheifs
The Cheifs lost their preseason opener against the Texans. The Cheifs offense didn't do anything special and their defense allowed the Texans to score in the opening quarter. Larry Johnson did average a little over 4 yards per carry but he may end up missing his retired tackles and traded fullback.

San Diego Chargers
San Diego was able to defeat Green Bay in their preseason opener 17-3. Phillip Rivers looked pretty sharp as he completed 15 out of 21 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown. There is nothing to worry about yet because this is only the preseason and he played against the Packers but hopefully he shows some signs of struggling before the Monday night regular season opener.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Raiders Offensive Woes

Moss in the Media
Many different sources are reporting that Randy Moss was uspet after being taken out of yesterday's game without having the chance to make any plays. Reports say he threw his helmet and voiced his displeasure to coach Shell. A lot of people are veiwing this as a bad thing. I am happy to see that some of our players are concerned about winning and making plays, even in the preseason. I also think the media is blowing it out of context like they generally do with anything Moss related but having a player get fired up shows his passion for the game and for winning.

The Offensive Line
The struggles of our offense thus far in the preseason are largely due to the inability of our offensive line to pass protect. I have felt all offseason that our offensive line was going to be a great strength of this year's team but they haven't done anything to earn that trust yet. I am still optimistic that they will work out the problems yet this preseason but what options are available to us if they don't?
Here is a list of some of the Offensive Tackles that don't have a team:

Ethan Brooks9 years
Orlando Brown11 years
Marc Colombo5 years
Todd Fordham10 years
Makoa Freitas3 years
Adam Haayer5 years
Brad Hopkins14 years
Tony Pashos4 years
Victor Riley9 years
Jacob Rogers2 years
Matt Willig15 years

The best options from the list above are Orlando Brown and Brad Hopkins. Orlando Brown was cut from the Ravens after having problems dealing with eye injuries for the past few years. He was a pretty decent Tackle before his injury problems and might be decent option as a temporary quick fix for our offensive line if our current tackles don't improve before the regular season rolls around. Brad Hopkins is a pretty quality guy that retired this offseason. He played his entire career with one team so a return isn't likely. Jacob Rogers may not be a bad person too take a look at. He was drafted by the Cowboys in the second round of the 2004 draft. He hasn't lived up to his potential yet but maybe a change of scenery would help him out.

Of course there are other options. Lincoln Kennedy was looking to make a return to the NFL. He hasn't cut it for the teams that he tried out for but bringing him in may not be a bad idea. He would put some more pressure on our starters during the preseason even if he didn't make the cut. There is also the possibility of a trade. Jerry Porter wants out and if we have a more pressing need at another position, it may not be a bad idea to trade him.

Let's hope our current starters pick it up so we don't have to look at these other options. If we did end up bringing someone in they would most likley struggle with the silent count in the beginning as well. I think our current guys will improve as they master the silent count, if they don't I think Shell will scrap the silent count until next year.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Post Game Analysis: Raiders @ Vikings

Box Score
TEAM1 2 3 4 Final
Minnesota 733013

The Good
Andrew Walter played a much better game than last week. He still made a few mistakes but his performance was improved and he threw our only touchdown pass. The biggest difference was his calmness.

Jano went three for three on field goals for the second week in a row. He made field goals from 27,28 and 55 yards out. This looks like a completely different kicker than last season. Hopefully his success can carry over to the regular season.

Our starting secondary played pretty well. If it weren't for the penalties, we probably would have kept them from scoring a touchdown. Fabian Washington seems to be the biggest difference maker in our secondary so far. He has been taking chances and making plays which is a huge difference from last season.

Shane Lechler once again punted wonderfully. He punted five times for an average of 53.4 yards with a long punt of 69 yards.

Chris Carr nearly returned a kickoff for a touchdown. He ran it 60 yards and made a couple tacklers miss. If he continues to run like this, it will only be a matter of time before he finds the end zone.

The Bad
Our offensive line once again looked horrible. Gallery and Walker both struggled at the tackle positions. This led to Aaron Brooks not having time to complete passes down the field.

Penalties turned from a strength last week to a weakness this week. The worst part about it is that they were mainly mental mistake penalties. Both our offensive and defensive lines are guilty.

Raiders Top Performers
PassingAndrew Walter 148 yards 1 TD
RushingReShard Lee34 yards0 TDs
Receiving Johnnie Morant108 yards1 TD

Next Game
vs. San Fransisco
Sunday, August 20
8:00 PM EST

Friday, August 11, 2006

Things to Watch for Against the Vikings

The Offensive Line
The starting offensive line struggled greatly against the Philidelphia Eagles in last week's Hall of Fame Game. The Vikings defensive line isn't quite as good as Philidelphia's but they should provide a challenge. Art Shell will work them hard so look to see some improvement this game.

The Quarterbacks
All three of our Quarterbacks struggled last week. Aaron Brooks only threw three passes last game and never had any time to get synched up with his receivers. He probably won't play much more this game so don't expect a huge improvement. Andrew Walter should continue to improve as he grows more comfortable in the pocket so look for him to play a little bit better. Tuiasosopo struggled because he was trying to force to many throws. If he can regain some composure and play a little smarter, he will have more success.

Grant Irons
Irons was one of the better players last week. If he continues to be a force on defense, look for him to crack into the starting rotation.

Last week was a relatively good game for us with penalties. Watch to see if we can repeat this and limit our mental mistakes.

Game Info
Where: Minneapolis, Minnesota
When: Monday, August 14th at 8:00 PM EST
Notes: It will be broadcasted live on ESPN. The Raiders have played the Vikings ten times in regular season play and have a record of 8-2.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Raiders Training Camp News

Training Camp
In the SFGate's Raiders blog, they talked a little bit about camp happenings. In the beginning, Morrison hit LaMont Jordan pretty good. Maybe this is a signal that our team is ready to be a little bit more physical in the next game.

Also, it seems that Warren Sapp and Derrick Burgess had a discussion on what type of fish was better. Sapp likes grouper and Burgess prefers Catfish. If I had to make a choice, I'd say walleye.

Carrie Underwood
Last night my wife drug me along to a Carrie Underwood concert. To be completely honest, it was actually pretty good. In the middle she sung a couple of Guns-n-Roses songs and sung them very well. I expected an American Idol winner to have a good voice but she definitely was better than I expected.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wednesday Raiders News

Training Camp News
In his lasted Training Camp Post, McDonald says that Porter won't sink the team. He said that Porter may not even have the number 2 spot if healthy and wanting to play for the Raiders. This is more realistic. Porter isn't TO and doesn't single-handedly win games like TO can.

Asomugha made an interception on a pass thrown by Tuiasosopo. It is nice to hear that our defensive backs are taking chances and making plays on the ball in practice. Hopefully this can carry into the regular season games. Ryan said that you can't throw on Asomugha.

Shell Wants More Pushing and Shoving
In this article, the reporter say Art Shell wants our team to be more physical. Shell felt that both our offense and defense weren't attacking and using force in the opener. If Shell can get some of these guys to listen to him and develop better in-game habits, we should see some solid improvement by the end of the preseason.

Shell was also impressed with our special teams. I would have to agree. Jano and Lechler both had great games and our coverage units also performed very well. Our returners didn't do anything great but hopefully they will improve with time.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Tuesday Training Tidbits

Raiders Training Camp News
In Jerry McDonald's most recent Training Camp Blog Entry, he talks about Shell not liking what he saw in Sunday's game. Shell will most likely work the starters hard this week to try and get them where he wants them to be. I would not be suprised if the starters perform much better against Minnesota on Monday.

In McDonald's report on the game he notes that the Eagles did have a few more days of practice and that may have accounted for why the Eagles first team looked a little bit sharper. Thomas Howard had a lot of problems covering Westbrook. What McDonald didn't note is that if it continues, Danny Clark could make his way back into the starting rotation and Morrison could get kicked outside.

Al Davis Interview
Did anyone catch Al Davis's "interview" with Adam Schefter? It was a pretty funny interview. The NFL network people were making a pretty big deal about it because they had never interviewed Davis but when they started the interview, Al spotted Jerry Jones and had a conversation with him instead all while Schefter stood there holding a microphone. It was a classic Al Davis moment. Schefter trying to squeeze questions in while Davis and Jones chatted. Check it out if you can find it but it's not listed on NFL.com.

Comments on the Game's Commentators
Did any one else feel any tension between John Madden and Chris Collinsworth after Collinsworth predicted the Raiders to be at the bottom of the AFC West again this season. Madden seemed to be a bit agitated and said something about how Collinsworth was only partially right about TO and seemed to argue with Collinsworth more throughout the halftime commentary about almost everything Collinsworth said. Way to stand up against the Haters Coach Madden!

Also I noticed a couple of mistakes by Al Michaels during the game. At one point he called Aaron Brooks Kerry Collins by mistake and he also called Marques Tuiasosopo by his father's name. Good thing there is a preseason for the commentators too.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Post Game Analysis: The Hall of Fame Game

Box Score
TEAM 1 2 3 4 Final
Oakland 0 7 3 6 16
Philadelphia 7 3 0 0 10

The Good
Sebastion Janikowski made 3 of 3 field goals from 24, 50, and 51 yards out. This is a very nice start for a kicker who struggled last season. Maybe Shell has fixed this offseason issue already.

Fabian Washington intercepted a Jeff Garcia Pass that resulted in our offense scoring a touchdown. Turnovers were a problem last season so hopefully this trend will continue. On a bad note, it was a poorly thrown ball but Washington did react nicely to it.

Grant Irons may be making a push for more playing time. He looked great most of the game. He consistently provided pressure and did get a sack.

Will Buchanon also looked pretty sharp. He caught 4 passes for 50 yards and played very well. He will be trying to crack into a very talented receiving group though.

The Bad
Our offensive line looked pretty bad. Gallery was beat for a sack and they didn't open up running lanes for Lamont Jordan. The majority of the yardage on our sole touchdown was made by Fabian Washington who intercepted the ball. None of our 3 quarterbacks did anything great. Walter had a decent shuttle pass to Justin Fargas that picked up some nice yardage but seemed to overthrow receivers for most of the game.

Our defense looked soft. McNabb and Westbrook marched the ball down the field for an easy touchdown on their first possesion.

Raiders Top Preseason Performers
PassingMarques Tuiasosopo 63 yards 0 TDs
RushingLamont Jordan27 yards0 TDs
Receiving Will Buchanon50 yards0 TDs

Next Game
@ Minnesota
Monday, August 14
8:00 PM EST (on ESPN)

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Hall of Fame Game

Things To Watch in the Hall of Fame Game

With the Hall of Fame game coming up this Sunday, I think it's time to check out some of the more interesting things to watch for.

The Offensive Line
We'll finally get to see how much our offensive line has improved this offseason. The Eagles have Darren Howard and Javon Kearse at the ends and drafted rookie Brodrick Bunkley to beef up the middle of their defensive line. These guys will be a great test for us. Watch the right side very carefully. If we have any problems, it could be Langston Walker getting beat like he has been in camp.

The Linebackers
Our Linebackers should get a good test from mobile Quarter Donovan McNabb and talented running back Brian Westbrook. Westbrook will dangerous in the short yardage passing game and should give our speedy linebackers a good challenge.

Aaron Brooks
This one is pretty obvious. Everyone will be watching to see if Brooks can develop his timing with Randy Moss and the rest of our talented wide receivers. It will also be interesting to see how Porter plays and whether he is still our number 2 receiver.

Backup Running Backs
Justin Fargas could be a very important aspect of our running game this season so he needs to continue to run hard but eliminate his mistakes. Some of the latest reports out of training camp say he has struggled holding on to the ball so hopefully this is a mistake he can correct before the regular season starts. If he struggles, we may make a move to bring someone else in.

Art Shell has been trying very hard to eliminate "mental mistake" penalties. Penalties of aggresiveness may occur but hopefully Shell will have helped our team to eliminate the penalties like false starts and offsides. Keep on eye on the types of penalties that are occuring.

Tyler Brayton versus Bobby Hamilton
This is one of our less publicized camp battles. Brayton is a better pass rusher but Hamilton is great against the run. If Brayton can improve against the run will end up as the starter going into the regular season. Watch how Brayton plays the run, especially on outside running plays. If he struggles Hamilton will regain the starting job.

The Young Secondary
The Eagles have a Pro Bowl Quarterback in Donovan McNabb but lack any real receiving threats. Our secondary should be able to cover the receivers without any problems but if they screw up, McNabb could make them pay. This will be a good first game for them to show us what we have. Hopefully, our starters can get a couple of interceptions off of a quality passer like McNabb.

Hall of Fame Game Info
Where: Canton, Ohio
When: Sunday, August 6th at 8:00 PM EST
Notes: It will be broadcasted live on NBC. The Raiders have participated in the Hall of Fame game twice and have a record of 2-0. The first appearance was in 1979 when the Raiders played the Dallas Cowboys and won 20-13. The most recent appearance was in 1993 when the Raiders beat the Green Bay Packers 19-3.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thursday's Raiders News

Training Camp
In his Training Camp Blog, Jerry McDonald talks about Michael Bennett. He said that we may end up wishing we had went after him because he ended up with one of our division rivals. I am not worried about Michael Bennett nearly as much as I'm worried about Larry Johnson. Bennett will be a decent back but I will breathe easier when he takes Johnson's place in certain situations. In the San Fransisco Gate's Training Camp Blog they say that Amy Trask had said ticket sales are going much better than last year but she wouldn't give any details yet. The Raiders had a pretty poor practice yesterday. Receivers were dropping balls and linemen were missing blocking assignments. Hopefully we can get this stuff worked out before the Hall of Fame game this Sunday.

Haters at Fox Sports
In this Fox Sports article, the writer ranks the linebackers of all 32 NFL teams. He has the Raiders ranked at number 26th. I do realize that the linebacker position has been a weakness for us in the past but with the addition of Thomas Howard and the emergence of Kirk Morrison, our linebackers are quickly becoming a strength on our defense. I don't think we deserve a top ten ranking yet but 26th is a little low.

Now lets take a look at how Fox Sports ranked our defensive line. It's even worse. They ranked us at 27. They bashed Burgess, said Brayton shouldn't even be a starter, and made fun of Warren Sapp's weight. I don't know how this guy can even take himself seriously. He acts like Burgess's sack total and Sapp's leadership mean nothing. At the very least, we deserve a ranking in the teens.

Fox Sports also ranked our Offensive Line a few days ago. Here they ranked us at 23. The only thing he really said was that Gallery has been a disappointment. They pretty much ignore the potential that this line has with proper instruction. This will be a vastly improved unit this year. I understand the reason for a low ranking after a subpar year but 23 is a slap in the face.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

More Raiders News and Analysis

Training Camp
In his latest Training Camp Blog Entry, Jerry McDonald talks a little more about the Porter situation. He said Porter is free to seek out a deal but must pay back $4 million in bonus money and the Raiders need to get proper compensation. It seems unlikley that Porter would be willing to give up $4 million dollars just to play for another team this season. I am willing to wager that Porter will play this season for the Raiders. McDonald also notes that Marques Tuiasosopo may be outplaying Andrew Walter. This really doesn't bother me because Walter will be better as he gains more experience. We'll have to see how he performs on August 6th against the Eagles.

The SFGate also has a Raiders Training Camp Blog. They pretty much talk about the health of Al Davis in their latest entry but his health isn't a concern to me right now. I think Davis will be around for awhile yet and he has plans in place for when he does go.

The Cheifs
The Cheifs have lost Willie Roaf, Dick Vermeil, Al Saunders, John Welbourn, Tony Richardson and possibly Priest Holmes this offseason. Their major additions were Herman Edwards, Kyle Turley, Quentin Griffin, and Dee Brown. The Cheifs decline may come sooner than expected.

Lincoln Kennedy
Kennedy flew to Texas to try out for the Cowboys. At 35 and being out of the game for 2 years, he might have a tough time landing a starting job. The last season he played was the 2003 season, which was the start of our decline.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Raiders Offense is Taking Off

Training Camp
In the latest Training Camp blog post, Jerry McDonald has an article called Physical, but not physical enough. He praised Shell for running the "Pit" drill but then critisized him for only doing it once. I understand why he says this but I think just because we aren't running the drill again, doesn't mean that other aspects of our practices aren't physical enough. There were a couple of things that really stood out in my mind in yesterday's practice. The first being Jano connecting on 6 out of 7 field goals and the other being the offense going 5 for 8 in goal line situations. It looks like our offense is finally taking off.

Hall of Fame Game
The Hall of Fame Game is approaching. It will take place on August 6th in Canton, Ohio. Kickoff is at 8:00 PM EST and the game will be aired on NBC. It's time to finally see how much our Raiders have improved.