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Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Cleveland Browns

Charlie Frye has played much better than many expected thus far this season. He has emerging receiving threats in Kellen Winslow Jr. and Braylon Edwards and could eventually form a very dangerous passing game.

The good thing is Cleveland has had similar problems as us along the offensive line. The Browns have been unable to produce a running game and tend to give up a lot of sacks. If we want to win this game we will need to win the battle with our defensive line. Warren Sapp and Derrick Burgess will need to get consistent pressure on Frye and sack him in key situations. If we plug gaps and put Cleveland into third and long situations we should be able to keep them off of the scoreboard for most of the game.

The Browns defense isn't anything special but they do have a couple of key players on the defensive line. If we want Andrew Walter to be successful, we need to keep Willie McGinest away from him. He is the biggest pass rush threat on the team. Ted Washington will also make it difficult to run the ball up the gut.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

AFC West Standings: Week 3

Here's a look at the current AFC West standings after week 3.

AFC West
San Diego2001.0006771-01-02-00-01-0Won 2
Denver210.66736311-01-12-00-11-0Won 2
Kansas City020.00016320-10-10-20-00-1Lost 2
Oakland020.0006550-10-10-20-00-1Lost 2

The only AFC West team to play this week was the Broncos and they were able to beat the Patriots 17-7. Denver's defense allowed it's first touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter. They look to be a pretty solid unit but their offense is still hit or miss. Javon Walker scored a couple of long touchdowns and if he can be limited it would limit their offense.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Team of the Decades

I know we are sitting at 0-2 right now but we were once known as the team of the decades because we had won a Super Bowl in every decade up until the 1990's. That is a trend that needs to get started again. Let's take a look at how we've done this decade.

2000: 12-4, won the division but lost to the Ravens in the AFC Championship game
2001: 10-6, won the division but lost to the Patriots by way of the infamous "tuck rule"
2002: 11-5, won the division and advanced to the Super Bowl but lost to the Bucs
2003: 4-12
2004: 5-11
2005: 4-12

So that puts our overall record at 46-50 so far in this decade but we have won the AFC West 3 times in the last 6 years. I am confident that our organization will be fixed and we will enjoy more seasons like the first three listed in the near future.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Whats happening in the AFC West?

The AFC West has been a very difficult division to predict so far this season. There is only one team in the division that has been dominant and that is San Diego. But what does that mean? San Diego has looked like a very good team so far but they've only faced us and the Titans so far and neither team looked very good. Will San Diego and Rivers be able to hold up against teams that are playing much better? We'll have to see how Rivers handles the Ravens defense in week 4.

The Broncos are sitting at .500 but haven't looked anything like a Super Bowl contender yet. They had a loss against the St. Louis Rams who didn't score a single touch down and then they were only able to beat a Trent-Green-less Cheifs by a score of 9-6 in overtime.

The Chiefs offense has completely fallen apart this season leading them to a 0-2 start to the season. Trent Green's injury could put them into a hole they won't be able to climb out of.

We have also started off 0-2. We have some question marks along the offensive line and have played absolutely horribly in our first two games. The good news is that we may have put the toughest two defenses on our schedule behind us and our next two games are against the Browns and the 49ers. If we are going to turn this season around it has to start against Cleveland.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tuesday Report

Andrew Walter
Well it seems that Aaron Brooks will miss two weeks with his injury which will put Andrew Walter as the starting Quarterback against Cleveland in week 4. Shell said that Aaron Brooks is still the starter when he recovers from his injury.

Advice for Aaron Brooks: Hurry back if you want to keep your starting job. We have put the teams on our schedule with the best pass rush behind us and we should be able to throw the ball down the field against our next two opponents. Andrew Walter could have a very big day against the Browns. He should have adequate time to throw the ball and Randy Moss should be able to torch Cleveland's secondary.

You'll hear some people saying that Walter didn't look that great and that he threw three interceptions and they won't fear him. This will be their mistake. Two of his interceptions shouldn't have been. The pass to Whitted when he tipped the ball in the air shouldn't be on Walter and the pass to Morant where he didn't see the ball coming and didn't make a play for it shouldn't be on Walter either. The interception by Ray Lewis was a poor read and that one should be on Walter. Walter will get better as he faces more defensive looks, gets more practice with the first team and more comfortable behind the center.

If Walter has a good outing against the Browns, Shell needs to start him against the 49ers. That would give Walter two games against teams without a strong pass rush before heading into Denver. This would give him more confidence and give our entire team more confidence if he can get our offense rolling. I just hope he makes good progress and continues to look like the Quarterback of our future.

Lamont Jordan
What's up with Lamont this year? I know we've faced strong defenses but he needs to read his blocks better and not hesitate so much. He is a power back. He needs to find his hole and hit it hard. He hasn't had gaping holes to run the ball through but he isn't playing as well as we need him to play.

I think Jordan will be much better against the Browns and 49ers because of their defenses and I am hoping this builds his confidence. If we are going to try and salvage this season, we need Jordan to emerge as one of the elite backs in the NFL.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Another Loss

Sunday's loss to Baltimore was bad but there are some positives to be taken out of the game. Here is a short list just to name a few:

1) We didn't get shut out.
Baltimore has one of the toughest defenses in the league and although we were not able to get the ball in the end zone, we scored 6 points. There were some other drives that went pretty well too before a turnover stopped it short. There are some things to build on now.

2) Janokowski hit a field goal outside of 50 yards.
Last year, Seabass missed all of the field goals he attempted outside of 50 yards and had a pretty rough season overall. Making two field goals may mean that the preseason was no fluke and Jano has fixed whatever was wrong last season.

3) Warren Sapp had two sacks.
Sapp is beginning to look more like the player we envisioned when we signed him as a free agent. His two sacks were against a strong offensive line and a mobile quarterback. Sapp is back.

4) The Defense looked strong.
Generally when a team scored 28 points on you it is hard to say this but our defense looked pretty solid overall. Our turnovers and a couple of special teams breakdowns made the game out of reach. Our defense should continue to improve as the season rolls along.

5) Andrew Walter is the Quarteback of our future.
I know he didn't have a statistically outstanding game, but if he gets more practice time with the first team offense and better protection, he could be a very dangerous Quarterback. A couple of his mistakes weren't really his fault and some of the others he will fix with more playing time and practice.

A week 3 bye is usually considered a bad thing but it should be a very beneficial thing for us this season. An extra week will give Walter more time to prepare and allow us to continue to make adjustments to our offense. Coming off of the bye we will face a couple teams (Cleveland and San Fransisco) that don't have as good of a pass rush as our first two opponents. These would be a couple of great games to get Andrew Walter and the offense in sync before we face Denver in week 6.

Don't panic yet Raider Nation, we could easily be 2-2 heading into Denver.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A look at the AFC West in Week 2

AFC West Matchups
Kansas City (0-1) @ Denver (0-1)
Jake Plummer played horribly in their season opener against St. Louis last week. Even if Plummer repeats last week's performance, the Cheifs will have a difficult time in this game without Trent Green.

Denver 20
Kansas City 10

Tennessee (0-1) @ San Deigo (1-0)
San Diego's may have looked better than they are last week because of our poor offensive line play but they will be able to beat Kerry Collins again this season. The Titans are in a rebuilding mode but will improve because they have a good crop of young players coming up.

San Diego 27
Tennessee 13

Oakland (0-1) @ Baltimore (1-0)
I may be a bit biased but I believe that Slaughter may end up holding the Left Tackle position for the rest of the season after Gallery's injury and will be able to provide more protection than Gallery did. Slaughter performed very well against Strahan last season. Our offense is loaded with talent if we can get the ball moving. I expect Brooks to take a couple of sacks and throw and interception but it will be nothing like last week. We will win this one and have people second guessing about both us and the Ravens.

Oakland 17
Baltimore 10

My AFC West Game Prediction record : 1-2 (ouch)

Predicted Divisional Standings
San Diego20
Kansas City02

Friday, September 15, 2006

Tom Walsh

Many fans are pointing fingers at our offensive coordinator, Tom Walsh, for our loss and they may be doing so correctly.

Our offense was only able to generate 96 yards through the air and 87 yards on the ground. 32 of the 87 yards rushing were gained by Quarterbacks. This is unacceptable on an offense with Randy Moss and Lamont Jordan.

We were dominated in the Time of Possession. We held the ball for 24:12 and San Deigo held the ball for 35:48. Time of Possession is a key part of the game. Our defense was tired after chasing LT around the whole first half.

Shane Lechler punted the ball 9 times. I think the best players should always be on the field but that doesn't include our punter.

The real key was poor offensive line play which partly can be attributed to bad play calling. We used 5 and 7 steps drops the majority of the game and Brooks held on to the ball too long when he did get time to throw. There were no adjustments made at half time and the Chargers continued to put our Quarterbacks on the ground. Nine times to be exact.

I am hoping that Walsh sees the errors he made during our first game and adjusts our offense this week against the Ravens. If not, it is likley that him and possibly even Art Shell won't be coaching on this team by the end of the season.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

What's in store for us?

To really begin to analyze this week's matchup with the Ravens let's take a look at the Raven's shutout victory over Tampa Bay . Let's start with a peek at the Raven's offense.

Steve McNair completed 17 out of 27 passes for 181 yards and a touchdown. These stats may not blow anyone away but they are improved over what the Ravens have had to endure with Kyle Boller at the helm and they were done against a very solid Tampa Bay defense. This week our secondary will actually face a real test. If the Ravens throw the ball 25-30 times against us, I expect at least one interception from our secondary.

Jamal Lewis carried the ball 18 times for 78 yards and a touchdown and Mike Anderson added 7 carries for 25 yards. Thats 4.3 and 3.5 yards per carry respectively. This guys are talented but they are not as good as we had to face last week. After watching the tape on us from last week, I would expect the Raves to come out running the ball like San Diego did. 4:49 PM 9/13/2006

The Ravens defense ended up with 3 sacks and 3 interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. They had a good pass rush which is scary when you look at our offensive line. It is really up to Walsh. He needs to change up the offense for this game and we may need to keep a fullback in blocking or use double TE formations more often. A shorter drop on passing plays would help but would also limit the effectiveness of Randy Moss

Chris Simms completed 17 of 29 passes for 133 yards and threw 3 interceptions. Simms is an inexperienced Quarterback and hasn't really proven himself as a consistent starting quarterback yet. With a secondary consisting of Chris McAllister and Ed Reed, you have to expect they will make a couple plays but Aaron Brooks was very good when he had time to throw last week so I wouldn't expect to see more than 1 interception.

Cadillac Williams carried the ball 8 times for 22 yards. This is the stat that could really hurt us. If Lamont Jordan can't run the ball on this defense the Ravens will dominate the Time of Possession and force our defense to get tired by the fourth quarter.

All said and done, this will be a tough game against a tough team but it is not out of reach. We need to force the Ravens to make mistakes and keep working the gameplan against their defense.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Why we aren't doomed yet

I've seen many experts and football fans predicting the Raiders doom now that we were shut out during our first regular season game. I've even seen Raider's fans calling for Walsh and Shell to be fired and declaring Robert Gallery a bust. It is way too early to be making those types of predictions and here are some reasons why:

1) With our new coaching additions and offensive line shuffling we didn't know what to expect
In our first game no one really knew how well our offensive line would perform. This is hopefully the reason why we kept going with a seven step drop on passing plays. There is also the question of why we didn't "adjust" our offense at half time. I am unsure if this has to do with some rust on Walsh or maybe we haven't gotten that far into our playbook yet. Whatever the reason, give us another couple of games before judging Walsh or the offensive line too harshly.

2) Both of our other Divisional oppenents lost
Despite how badly we performed, there is only one team with a win in our division so we didn't get ourselves into an early hole.

Jake Plummer played horribly and St. Louis was able to win the game without scoring a single touchdown. Denver showed absolutely nothing to back up many "experts" picking them to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

Kansas City, on the other hand, faced off against a solid Bengals team but Larry Johnson didn't look nearly as good as he did last season. The retirement of Roaf may affect this team more than people think.

I know that we were completely dominated by the Chargers, but I think we will look like a much different team in our second matchup. I would expect 8 people in the box for most of the game next time and think that our offensive line should improve as the season rolls on. I still am not sold on Rivers being good after just one game and I think he will still face some struggles this season.

3) We have three rookie starters
Huff, Howard and McQ will all continue to improve as the season goes on. Very few rookies come into their first NFL game and make an immediate impact. I really watch for Huff to turn some heads this year. He played pretty well against the Chargers and I expect him to keep getting better.

4) Aaron Brooks actually looked pretty good when he had time
Thats right, Brooks threw some nice accurate balls when he had time to throw. His stats are very deceiving. We had a number of dropped passes. I will admit that he did hold on to the ball for too long a few times but that will get better as he gets more comfortable with the offense and his receievers.

There are probably a lot more reasons than these listed not to panic but this is a good start. I think we will look better against the Ravens next week.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Offensive Performance
The root of all of our offensive woes was the poor play of the offensive line. The Chargers completely dominated the trenches and were able to force sacks and bad throws. The real question is will this 7 step drop offense work with our current offensive line? We either need to get our guys to block or switch to a shorter drop and shorter passing plays if we want to have success this season. I was glad to see Andrew Walter get some playing time once the game was out of reach but it wasn't very valuable time because he didn't get much time to throw the ball. Aaron Brooks actually looked pretty decent when he had time to throw the ball but once again didn't have much success with our poor offensive line play.

Defensive Performance
Why did we play a nickel formation for the majority of the first half? With a Quarterback with no starts we knew San Diego was going to run with LT and yet we just sat back and let him run all over us. The defense started playing much better against the run in the second half Fabian Washington was beat badly and we didn't converge on the ball like a speedy defense should.

What to expect
Art Shell has his hands full with things to work on. No one performed very well at all. I definitely think we need to switch up to a shorter drop on passing plays or we will get sacked all season long. We face another strong defense next week so we need to get better protection or it could be a similar result.

With all of this negativity, there is still no reason to hit the panic button yet. This was Shell's first game in many years, Aaron Brooks first game with the Raiders, and a shuffled Offensive line's first game together. The positive thing is that there is no way to go but up

Why didn't Art Shell kick the field goal at the end of the game to prevent the second shutout at home in Raider History?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Pregame: San Diego @ Oakland

The Chargers and Raiders games have always been close games and this shouldn't be any different. The Raiders and Chargers both have new Quarterbacks but the difference is Rivers hasn't started an NFL game.

Keys on Offense
San Diego has one of the toughest defensive front sevens in the NFL. It will be difficult to come out and run the ball on them right away so the real key here is to establish the passing game to loosen up the defense. San Diego's biggest weakness is their secondary so if we can score quickly through the air, it will make it easier to run the ball and could also take LT out of the game if we build an early lead.

Keys on Defense
Force Rivers to win the game with his arm. Antonio Gates is a stud but the Chargers don't have a strong core of receivers. If we put 8 guys in the box to stop LT and get a decent pass rush on, we can force Rivers to make some mistakes and with our speedy defense we may be able to score some defensive points.

Raiders 24
Chargers 17

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Wild Wild West

AFC West Standings

The current AFC West standings after the Sunday games is as follows:

Kansas City01
San Diego00

This presents the Raiders with a huge oppertunity. If we can beat the Chargers on Monday night football, we will hold the sole victory in our division.

The Broncos didn't look too bad on defense but Jake Plummer threw three interceptions but the running game was still strong. Tatum led the way with 15 carries for 103 yards for an average of 6.9 yards per carry and Mike toted the ball 10 times for 58 yards for an average of 5.8 yards per carry and scored the Broncos only touchdown.

The Cheifs were never really able to get anything established offensively and had a horrible scare when Trent Green was drilled while running the ball. Green was carried off the field on a strecher but had no damage to his back or neck. Read the story here.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Moss: The QB Helper

Out of curiousity, I compiled the stats of all the quarterbacks that started games on Randy Moss teams since he came into the league. Moss may not have produced all these numbers himself but this is what his presence on the field has yeilded.

Randall Cunningham1442525937043410106.0
Brad Johnson2101657477589.0

Jeff George103291912816231294.2
Randall Cunningham620012414758979.1

Daunte Culpepper164742973937331698.0

Daunte Culpepper113662352612141383.3
Todd Bouman389517958498.3
Spergon Wynn298484181638.6

Daunte Culpepper165493333853182375.3

Daunte Culpepper144542953479251196.4
Gus Frerotte 2653869072118.1

Daunte Culpepper1654837947173911110.9

Kerry Collins155653023479201277.3
Marques Tuiasosopo126141241247.6

As you can see, in most cases Moss has been great at making Quarterbacks look good. There are a few exceptions of course like in the 2001 season with Wynn and last season with Tuiasosopo (I know he wasn't 100%) but overall Moss is good for Quarterbacks. Let's see what Aaron Brooks can do with him.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Keys to the Game

The Game
The regular season action kicks off for the Raiders on Monday, Sept 11, against the San Deigo Chargers. This will be a tough test to beginthe new season and will be a very good indicator on how our team will perform this season.

Here are a few keys to the game:

1) Stop the run
L.T. is one of the best Running Backs in the NFL. He has been a large reason for San Diego's turn around. If the Raiders can hold him, it will cause the Chargers to pass the ball with first year starter Philip Rivers and that is what we want.

2) Create Turnovers
We were one of the worst teams in the league at creating turnovers last season and it showed. Shell has been very committed to rectifying this problem and it has showed this preseason. If we can carry this over into the regular season, we will have more success this season.

3) Pressure the Quarterback
Generally, first time starters struggle when pressured. We need a strong pass rush from our front 4 and watch for Ryan to be sending some of our speedy defensive backs on blitzes against Rivers. We need to get to him early and not let him develop into any type of rythm.

4) Protect Aaron Brooks
Our pass protection has looked both good and bad this preseason. If we can give Brooks time to get the ball deep, we will win this game. The Chargers have one of the best run defenses in the league and if we want to soften it up at all, we need to get the ball downfield to Randy Moss.

NFL Network
Did anyone get a chance to catch that two hour season preview they had on NFL Network last night? I really enjoyed it. When they were doing the AFC West both Woodson and Faulk picked Denver as the team to beat but they both said that Oakland would contend this year. They picked San Deigo to bring up the bottom of the division and really didn't say a whole lot about the Cheifs.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Some Raider Info

Fun Facts

Here are a couple very interesting facts from Gil Brandt of NFL.com:

"For the first season since 1978, the Oakland Raiders will not have a Heisman Trophy winner on their roster."

I didn't even realize that one. I guess the end of the Charles Woodson era ended this rather impressive streak. If we would have drafted Matt Leinert, like some fans wanted, this streak would still continue. I am happy about having Huff on our roster and think ending a streak is a good thing.

"If Randy Moss catches two touchdown passes, he will be the second fastest to100 touchdown receptions in NFL history. Jerry Rice did it in 120 games and Moss has played in 125 games."

It's just too bad that Moss only had 8 touchdowns last season and played injured throughout the year. He also had injury problems during his last season in Minnesota but was still able to grab 13 touchdowns while producing under 800 yards receiving. It would be nice to see Moss go deep for 2 TDs on the Chargers on Monday night and lock up the second quickest spot.

Week 1 Predictions

Here is my analysis and predictions of the AFC West Week 1 Matchups. I have the Raiders and Broncos winning and the Chargers and Cheifs losing.

Overcoming the Chargers would say a lot about our team and our chances this season. Our best chance at doing that would require us to eliminate L.T. from the picture. We need to score quickly and try to build an early lead. That would make the Chargers try to pass the ball to play catch-up. Then we could force some defensive turnovers and put the Chargers into a hole that they won't be able to climb out of.

AFC West Week 1 Matchups

Cincinnati at Kansas City
Sunday, Sept. 10
1:00 PM EST

Kansas City has a tough week 1 matchup now that we know Carson Palmer is healed and will play. Look for the Bengals to be very dominant in this game because of the potent offense and their defense's knack for creating turnovers

Cincinnati 34
Kansas City 10

Denver at St. Louis
Sunday, Sept. 10
1:00 PM EST

St. Louis has a potential to be a potent offense but Stephen Jackson will face a tough test against Denver's front 7 and Holt will be facing off against Champ Bailey. This could be a close game but the edge has to go to Denver

Denver 24
St. Louis 17

San Diego at Oakland
Monday, Sept. 11
10:15 EST

Both teams have numerous questions but look for Randy Moss to explode against this week secondary. Lamont Jordan may not have a great game because San Diego has a tough front 7 but our defense should be able to generate some turnovers off of some River's mistakes.

Oakland 17
San Diego 14

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

What does the trade mean?

Most Raider's players and fans were shocked this weekend when the Oakland Raiders traded starting wide receiver, Doug Gabriel, to the New England Patriots for what is believed to be a fifth round draft pick.

The positives about this trade are
1) It gets Jerry Porter back to a starting role
2) It will give Johnnie Morant an oppertunity to prove himself
3) It means the coaching staff has faith in Ronald Curry health

We were very deep at WR anyways but most speculated that Jerry Porter would be the one traded.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Preseason is over

Poor offensive play overshadowed a strong outing by our first string defense and a 72 yard punt return touchdown by Chris Carr in a 7-30 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

The Good
Aaron Brooks didn't do anything wrong in his limited time. He completed 2 of 3 passes for 17 yards.

The Secondary looked very strong, especially Nnamdi Asomugha. If it weren't for a pass interference call, he would have played a nearly perfect game.

Lance Johnstone and Tyler Brayton were both able to get a sack. Brayton looked especially sharp while in.

The biggest play of the game came after Seattle's first possesion ( a three and out) when Chris Carr returned the punt 72 yards for a touchdown.

The Bad
Andrew Walter played very poorly. He got frustrated and was never able to lead the team into the end zone.

Our running game was non-existant. Lamont Jordan carried the ball twice for 0 yards and Justin Fargas was only able to muster up 15 yards on 8 carries.

Hopefully this was just a poor night because play like this against the Chargers won't get us a win.