Oakland Raiders: Keeping That Positive Hum in the Face of Adversity

Bret ArmstrongAnalyst IOctober 26, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 25: Darrelle Revis #24 of the New York Jets intercepts the ball in the endzone against Todd Watkins #19 of the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 25, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

First off, I’m going to say that that was just an amazing play by Derrelle Revis. No question about it, four out of five NFL corner backs are not coming down with this interception, thus props to Revis.

I secondly want to say that I do agree with the decision to bench JaMarcus Russell, not because of his performance, but just to shut the haters up. The “fans” who say, “Put in Gradkowski!” Whatever! He fumbles too, and he looks like Jeff Garcia during the preseason, out there running around like a chicken with his head cut off.

If he didn’t prove to you with all of his “quarterback draws” that the receivers might be having a difficult time getting open, or that the line might be having a difficult time blocking for the pass plays, then I don’t know what to tell you. You obviously have no brain.

So the benching of JaMarcus Russell accomplished two things for Oakland. Number one, it made it clear that it is not the quarterback who is at fault here. JMR is indeed the best signal caller on the roster. Number two, it should light a fire under the big guy's Superman belt; it tells JaMarcus that Tom Cable doesn’t care what Al Davis thinks about it, or who makes the most money.

The end result should be the “Boo Birds” going into early hibernation as this team tries to develop into what it is capable of becoming. They put together some good drive starts on Sunday, but were unable to seize the moment.

Really, aside from the four turnovers, which led to 21 of those Jets points, the offense didn’t look that horrific. I might even go as far as calling it a bad shake. DHB even made two JaMarcus Russell catches!

Like Justin Fargas said, “We spotted them 14 points, and in this league, you can’t do that.”

JaMarcus blamed his first pick of the day on the guy passing in front of his eyesight when he threw the ball. CBS analyst Dan Dierdorff said, “I don’t know where he was throwing that ball, there was not a black jersey anywhere near that ball.”

What I saw was just panic from Russell. He turned around and had guys right in his face. The Jets had sent seven guys against five linemen and a single back formation, the halfback (Michael Bush) keyed on a guy to block, and ended up hitting nobody, JMR freaked and lobbed one into the air.

What is he going to learn ultimately? Eat it, just cover up, get down, and take a sack. Then it will be second down, and the Jets won’t have the ball for the second straight time in your territory. You will keep the ball, keep the drive alive, and have an opportunity to go down and get some points on the board, or at the very least punt.

I liked what the analysts said Rex Ryan was trying to teach Mark Sanchez, “Every good drive ends in a kick, whether it is a punt, an extra point, or a field goal.” JaMarcus should take a lesson.

In my opinion, this turnover was the only turnover of the day you can completely blame JaMarcus Russell for. It was a bad decision on his part, but he’s going to make mistakes, just like everyone else.

Take Khalif Barnes for example. He gets an opportunity to start, and on the first series of the game, he gets blown up by a linebacker, jumped over, called for tripping, and the guy he was blocking gets a sack/fumble on the quarterback. Not a very good first impression as a Raider.

I really don’t think the loss was as bad as the scoreboard indicated when the final gun went off. Aside from the two early touchdowns, when the offense turned the ball over inside their own ten yard line, the defense had a fairly decent first half of football. The forced some three and outs, and on other New York Jets series when they did get first downs, they forced them to punt.

On the third touchdown, they shot themselves in the foot, twice. In case you’re losing count; that left them with no feet to stand on.

First foot shot was delivered when Mark Sanchez got laid out by a blitzing linebacker on 3rd-and-seven, and Stanford Routt got called, in the secondary, for holding his receiver. The second blow came on the same drive, on another third down when Richard Seymour was called for a personal foul, indicating that his attitude means more to him than the teams well being.

Richard was also quick to say, “We couldn’t beat an Oakland high school team.”

Well, maybe that’s true with the way your team played yesterday, but stupid penalties are not going to help anybody, on any team, at any level.

You also have to wonder what kind of mental toll it took on the offense to be prepared to have Chaz Schilens, and find out at the last minute that he would not be involved, or even pad up for the game.

Louis Murphy was asked about Chaz after the game and said, “Oh man that was a big blow. We had a lot of game-plan stuff, you know, with Chaz in the game-plan and for him not to play really took some air out of my sails. Chaz is a dynamic player, you know, and he can make plays. I’m just praying that he gets back healthy.”

To quote, “A lot of game-plan stuff,” that makes perfect sense, considering that Schilens was scheduled to play right up until the last second of Friday’s practice, when he allegedly felt some soreness in that foot.

Tom Cable said Schilens passed all the physical tests, and there were no indications of a re-break. Still, I don’t understand why he was incapable of playing until he felt soreness again during the game. That is kind of a head-scratcher to me, but I’m not the coach.

So, tough loss for the Raiders, it indicates that Richard Seymour’s guarantee of playoffs is not likely to take shape, but it does not make them the automatic top ten pick that everyone wants to see them be.

They bounced back from a Giants shellacking to put a vice on a potent Eagles offense, all indications are with less mistakes, they can bounce back from another New York sized slice of humble pie to put the clamps on a potent San Diego Chokers offense.


How can they fix their woes? http://fanhuddle.com/oaklandraiders/2009/10/26/how-can-the-oakland-radiers-fix-whats-wrong/