Raiders: What You Need to Know Heading into Week 7

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Raiders: What You Need to Know Heading into Week 7
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

A troubling performance in a 24-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs brought the Terrelle Pryor Express to a screeching halt in Week 6.

It also exposed a few other key problems the Oakland Raiders have heading into their bye week.

A banged-up offensive line is clearly at the heart of many of the Raiders problems, but there are also issues with the running game as well as with kicker Sebastian Janikowski.

Coach Dennis Allen also left open the possibility that Oakland might add a third quarterback to its roster at some point, though it doesn’t appear to be tied to Pryor’s performance against the Chiefs.

The quarterback, who threw three interceptions in what he called the worst game of his career, was given a vote of confidence by Allen on Monday.

“He’s still got a lot of growing to do and a lot of getting better to do,” Allen said. “But he’s a talented player and we’re going to try and continue to build with him and try to grow with him.”

Here are few other things to consider as the Raiders head into their bye week.

 

Division Standings

AFC West Record
Denver Broncos 6-0
Kansas City Chiefs 6-0
San Diego Chargers 3-3
Oakland Raiders 2-4

The last two remaining unbeaten teams in the NFL are Denver and Kansas City, two teams following vastly different paths.

The high-powered offense of the Broncos got a tougher-than-expected win over Jacksonville to remain the class of the AFC, though quarterback Peyton Manning proved to be human after all.

Pryor’s meltdown at Arrowhead Stadium allowed the Chiefs to pull away late and keep their unblemished mark intact. The Chargers rebounded from their loss to Oakland and stunned the Indianapolis Colts to get back to .500. The Raiders are 2-4 after six games for the second straight season under Dennis Allen and the ninth time in 11 years overall.

 

Injury report

Player Injury
Andre Gurode Quad
Tony Pashos Hip Flexor
Tracy Porter Shoulder

Gurode’s injury was a crippling blow to Oakland’s offensive line, which was already one of the most banged-up units in the NFL. He walked slowly through the Raiders locker room on Monday and said he was still sore and looking forward to the time off with the bye.

Pashos can also use the break. Depending on the severity of his injury, he could miss anywhere from 1-4 weeks.

Allen didn’t sound as if Porter’s injury was very serious.

 

News

Jared Veldheer is making progress from the triceps injury he suffered during training camp, but there’s no word on how soon the left tackle will be back. Veldheer is eligible to come off the injured reserve-designated to return list in Week 9.

 

What must improve

1. Pryor clearly has a lot of growing to do if he’s going to last long in this league, both from a mechanical standpoint and a mental one. His three interceptions were all turned into points, and all of them could have been avoided.

Allen called it a learning experience for the quarterback, but Pryor was much more critical. He repeatedly shouldered the blame for the loss, sometimes harshly so.

When talking about the 10 sacks he absorbed, Pryor was emphatic.

“I deserved them hits because I made bad plays,” he said. “I didn’t get the ball out. One the one play I called the wrong protection. Little stupid mistakes like that, I deserved to get pile-driven into the ground.”

2. The offensive line is a mess, and even then that’s being polite. Injuries have forced the Raiders to reach deep into the well for help, to the point where they were using a pair of players against the Chiefs (right guard Lamar Mady and right tackle Matt McCants) who weren’t even on the roster five weeks ago.

Allen said Monday he isn’t even sure who the starting five will be when the Raiders come back from the bye week to play Pittsburgh in Week 8.

“To be honest with you, I have no idea right now,” Allen said. “This week is critical for that group to get rested and get recovered. We’ll probably know a lot more at the beginning of next week as to who’s going to be available for the Pittsburgh game.”

3. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski has missed four field goals in six games after missing just three in all of 2012. For the first time this season, Allen acknowledged the problem might be something other than Janikowski’s comfort level with new holder Marquette King.

Allen noted all of the misses have come when Janikowski is kicking from the left hash marks.

“We’ve got to loose and see, is it the operation? Is it something he’s doing in his kicking motion? What’s the reason for that?” Allen said.

4. The ground game and Darren McFadden continue to sputter, and it’s not just because the running back is still showing the effects of a sore hamstring. The injuries to Oakland’s offensive line have really created havoc with the blocking, and it’s not likely to get better anytime soon until some of the injured front-line players return.

 

All information and quotes used in this story were obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted or linked.

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