Why The Raiders Should Be Encouraged And The Chargers Discouraged
1) The Chargers are not as good as people thought
2) The Raiders will be better than people thought
3) The Chargers were "rusty," but will build speed
4) The Raiders played impressively and will iron-out the mistakes through the season
Of course, as a Raider fan, I'm inclined to believe that the Raiders will be better than people thought. Meanwhile, San Diego coach Norv Turner made a comment (about injuries) that will likely reflect the opinions of San Diego apologists that the game "probably isn't as bad as it looks."
Turner made that remark in regards to the apparently high-number of injuries suffered by San Diego, in what may have been a Pyrrhic win for the Chargers.
However, any truly objective person that watched the game would know that San Diego looked awful, while the Raiders looked impressive for a team that some had remarked after the Seymour trade was still on the, "decline."
Personally, I think the Raiders shocked the NFL world by turning in an impressive performance, despite technically losing. The Raiders outplayed the Chargers physically, and dominated statistically for most of the game.
This performance came after the drama of the Richard Seymour trade, in which many speculated was a *desperation* move by Al Davis, but in fact appeared to be a home-run move by Davis.
Overall, anyone that watched that game would say that Oakland outplayed San Diego, but that San Diego won a game they should not have with a few timely big-plays on special teams by Darren Sproles to set-up points for San Diego.
The Raiders smothered the Chargers running-attack when Richard Seymour played, but would allow timely plays to LT and Sproles near the end of the game.
The Raiders defensive-line played very physical, smash-mouth type football, with new addition Seymour, which sidelined ProBowl center Nick Hardwick and rookie guard Louis Vasquez.
Strangely, Seymour's in-game stats disappeared from Sportsline.com but not the rapid reports. Yet, the man everyone thought did not want to play in Oakland, answered those blow-hards with two sacks and six tackles in his debut with Oakland, after only two days with the team (even if those same critics are trying to hide the truth).
Defensive backs Chris Johnson and sophomore, Tyvon Branch, also had a big-game, which we believe is a mark of future success. Much maligned former first-round pick, safety Michael Huff, would recover a fumble and intercept Rivers, which could indicate more starting time for Huff in the future.
The Raiders ran the ball effectively in the first half, but veered away from that in the second half, as the Raiders attempted more passes to their rookie wide receivers, and few high-percentage passes to the running-backs and tight-ends.
Eventually, one attempt paid off with a 57-yard touchdown to Louis Murphy on 4-15 for a go-ahead score and a lead that didn't last. Murphy also had a touchdown overturned at the end of the first half, which even the analysts thought should have been a touchdown.
Murphy's performance was encouraging, as the Raiders will need a wide receiver to step-up in order for JaMarcus Russell to continue to progress.
Though Russell struggled with hash passes, the offensive-line kept him clean, (aside from one sack near the end), and gave Russell plenty of time. That is encouraging, as Russell will benefit from protection that held-up against a much heralded San Diego front seven.
The Raiders would commit few penalties throughout the game, which was also encouraging, when you know that penalties had plagued the previous coaches, Lane Kiffin, Art Shell, Norv Turner, and Bill Callahan.
Considering that the Raiders started two rookie receivers and tried too hard to incorporate them into the offense, even though Louis Murphy came through, I think the Raiders will be better than people thought.
The reason being is that I think the Raiders will either commit to the run and high-percentage passes, or the passing-game will develop as the season goes along.
The offense stalled in the third quarter, when the Raiders had several 3 and outs after incomplete passes to wide-receivers.
Offensively, the Raiders should stick with high-percentage passes to the running-backs and tight ends. Tight end Zach Miller seemed to catch every pass thrown to him, while running back Darren McFadden is dangerous in space.
It might not be fancy, but the way the Raiders played defense with Richard Seymour was encouraging. The high-percentage passes, and even some reverses to the speedy wide receivers should be the primary offense, with occasional shots down field.
And if anyone in the Oakland organization is reading this, don't get cocky PLEASE or believe that you were robbed (which you were), because the best way to prove that you were is to stay focused and WIN the next game.
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