Relax, Raider Nation, Season Ends in 15 More Weeks

Carl CockerhamSenior Analyst ISeptember 20, 2011

Relax, Raider Nation, Season Ends in 15 More Weeks

0 of 9

    That was a heck of a loss the Raiders took on Sunday but there's no reason to call the season a lost one. Much of Raider Nation got too high after a Week 1 win only to get too low after a Week 2 loss.

    I predicted a Raider victory for Week 2 but it wasn't because I was too high after the win. I simply though the the Bills didn't match up with the Raiders on the line of scrimmage and it played out that way in the first half.

    However, Bills head coach Chan Gailey came up with some smoke and mirrors that made it so they didn't have to. A Raider turnover and 35 points in the second half later, the Bills narrowly escaped with a win.

    "Hue Jackson got out-coached!"

    "Bresnahan should get fired!"

    "Chris Johnson is horrible!"

    "Al Davis needs to be checked into a mental institution!"

    Did you ever stop to think that maybe it's you?

    How many of you said that when they beat the Broncos?

    It's only one loss and maybe the Bills are a lot better than we thought.

    Let's see what the Raiders can still do to have a successful season. 

Encouraging

1 of 9

    Kevin Boss looks like he's going to be back in the starting lineup this coming Sunday. The receiving corps is doing well right no,w but the passing game will be enhanced when Boss comes back.

    Boss is a huge target at 6'7", can get vertical and averaged more than 15 yards per catch last year. That's another option for the quarterback when they decide to take away the deep ball too.

    The Raiders really need him for his run blocking as Brandon Myers isn't so good in that department.

Chris Johson Not Horrible

2 of 9

    The Raiders already started the season thinner in the secondary, losing Nnamdi Asomugha to free agency. Everyone wants to put it all on Chris Johnson and talk about how he can't cover anyone.

    Let's not forget that Johnson had the fourth-best burn percentage among corners in the NFL last year.

    "That was last year!"

    "He shouldn't be starting now!"

    That may be true that he shouldn't be starting but it is not for the reason think you're thinking. A player doesn't lose coverage ability overnight unless there is an injury that enters the equation.

    You know, the groin injury he had surgery on about a month ago while having a stellar camp. He was rushed back because the Raiders don't have enough experienced bodies for the coaching staff to trust.

    He needs to rest or become the nickel corner until his groin is 100 percent. That being said, he should have held on to that ball on the Bills' game-winning drive.

    No matter how you feel, if you have a chance like that you have to bring it in.

Michael Huff Should Really Earn a Big Contract

3 of 9

    A lot of Raider Nation cried when they saw the size of Michael Huff's new contract. I thought it was a good deal because Huff had double value as he would play the nickel corner position.

    Now he really has a chance to give the Raiders value for the contract he got if he moves to starting corner. The former Jim Thorpe Award winner has good coverage skills and they're much better than Johnson's right now.

    Remember, he has blanketed the likes of Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd before.

    Therefore, he should move to starting corner until Johnson is fully ready. 

Tyvon Branch to Free Safety

4 of 9

    The Raiders love Tyvon Branch so the Raiders will find a way for him to play.

    So, how about changing his position?

    The man is horrible in man coverage and definitely has the speed to be a single high safety. His time at strong safety, where he had to make tackles, will also come in handy as the last line of defense.

    It would help against the run, too, as he is no match for a fullback leading through the hole. He has high tackle numbers partially because he's fast and will make the tackle after his man makes the catch.

    He would do well as a free safety until Huff moves back.

Mike Mitchell Ready Yet?

5 of 9

    Mike Mitchell sprained a knee in camp and hasn't been seen on the football field since. Mitchell being out is the main reason why the Bills were able to run and pass out of the spread.

    He is just a step slower than Branch but 20 pounds heavier and better in the box against the run. He's also much better in man coverage, not having a burn percentage of high than 70 percent like Branch does.

    When the Raiders are in zone, a receiver will catch alligator arms when trying to make a catch in Mitchell's area. The only problem here is there is no word on how close Mitchell is to getting back on the field.

    If he's not, Jerome Boyd should man the position.

Emerging Superstar

6 of 9

    Denarius Moore has proven that he is more than just a preseason sensation, he's a playmaker. This first-round talent's quarterback in college must have really been horrible for him to get picked in the fifth round.

    Raider Nation is happy to have him, though.

    The training camp he had made it possible to get a good look in the preseason in August. The preseason he had made it possible for him to get a look as a starter after injuries to Louis Murphy, Jacoby Ford and Darrius Heyward-Bey.

    His first start with five catches for 146 yards and a 50-yard touchdown catch should keep him in the starting lineup. The manner in which he went up and made that catch in the clutch tells me he's a budding superstar.

    Before Sunday morning, I wanted to see him get a shot along side Chaz Schilens, another supremely talented player. After Sunday morning, I don't care whom they start alongside Moore as long as Moore starts.

    I want Moore!

    Raider Nation wants Moore!

    So does Campbell. 

Offensive Line

7 of 9

    Darren McFadden needs help when he runs the ball to the right as he only gets it when he runs left. Up the middle isn't very kind to him either because left guard Stephen Wisniewksi and left tackle Jared Veldheer are the only true run blockers on the starting lineup.

    Center Samson Satele and right guard Cooper Carlisle are smallish, Tom Cable-type zone blockers. I don't know what type Khalif Barnes is, but he just isn't getting it done in the run game.

    The Raiders should give Joseph Barksdale a chance at right tackle and Bruce Campbell a chance at right guard. Stephon Heyer is no tackle but he's a good run blocker so he could settle in at left guard.

    Well, if no moves are made, the pass blocking is good, so Campbell will have a ball. 

Strategy

8 of 9

    In my halftime adjustments article Sunday, I suggested the Raiders go to a zone defense against the short crossing routes the Bills ran. I figured the Raiders are up 21-3 and could come up and punish receivers after catching the ball.

    Once the tackle is made, the clock ticks.

    Lo and behold, that's what the Raiders did in the second half, but I was wrong. The Raiders' personnel isn't made of zone coverage as no one was coming up and punishing the receiver except Branch once.

    In fact, they weren't even making the tackle right away as two-yard throws turned into 10-yard gains. The Raiders are going to see that strategy a lot, especially against teams that aren't as physical.

    Now, I suggest straight bump and run coverage to throw of the timing of these short routes. Then the pass rush should have some time to actually get to the quarterback because receivers aren't at their spots on time.

    You can simply switch on some of the crossing routes that attempt to pick you off. Stanford Routt needs to earn his contract and start following the opponent's No. 1 receiver.

    He needs to sit on the opposing team's bench next to him when the defense is off the field. He should even follow him into the bathroom or concession stand if he decides to buy a hot dog.

    I'm tired of opposing team avoiding our best corner.

    Routt had to cover the opposing team's No. 1 receiver when Nnamdi Asomugha was a Raider.

Overview

9 of 9

    Sunday was one horrible loss, but it should be treated like one horrible loss, not a loss that cancels the whole season. The Raiders are a young team and it's pretty hard to get a consistent performance out of them in on the road.

    They are also very thin in the secondary with so many injuries.

    It's not an excuse but they are going to have to get healthy and there are players that should be on their way back. I'm sure they will find something to adapt to what we will see from other going forward.

    They had last Sunday to learn from.

    The Raiders actually have a better chance to win this Sunday than you think.

    They are at home, you know.