Trying to put a loss in perspective is really hard when you get blown out the way the Raiders were today. Some optimists will just simple shrug this loss off with things like, "We still have 15 more games to play", "This is the first real game that our new look team has played so they need time to gel", or "Our rookie center needs more snaps with Campbell." All of these things have truth to them however, as a fan who went to the game and sat there among a sea of titans fans watching my team get beat like Ike beat Tina, I'm not so willing to let this slide. Just like we have been saying for the past 7 years, Raider fans get overly excited and full of blind optimism every year, not hoping but KNOWING that "this year" will be the "Year of the Raiders". I'm sorry guys but I don't NOW nor did EVER share that same blind optimism. I so very much want to say that our team sucks a$$ but that's not true. (I'm just pissed off right now). Our team has some definite possibilities but they also have some gaping holes to fix as well.
For instance, why in the hell is Yamon Figurs even on the team and also why is he returning kicks and punts when we have Johnnie Lee Higgins, Jacoby Ford and Nick Miller? If one of our guys hadn't landed on the his fumbled ball, the titans would have gotten the ball deep in our endzone and scored in the first couple of minutes of the first quarter. Not only is he delegated as our sole returner but he also was the 3rd receiver. What in the hell has he done that was so special to warrant such responsibilities?
Janikowski is normally very dependable from anywhere within 50 yards but he missed a field goal wide right that ordinarily he would make. It was obvious that the wind was blowing so I really don't understand why he didn't adjust for it.
On a positive note, Darren McFadden was our player of the game. He didn't rush for 100+ yards but he could have with more touches. He rushed for 95 yards on 18 attempts averaging 5.27 yards per carry. He also had the most receiving yards with 55 and 1TD. (It's bad when your top receiver is your half back and the highest receiving total is only 55 yards though.) To better put McFaddens production in perspective, Chris Johnson ran for 142 yards on 27 touches with a TD averaging 5.25 yards per carry. The biggest thing is that....HE DIDN'T GET HURT!
If we are going to be as good as we hope we can, the following issues have got to be addressed ASAP:
- Jared Veldheer needs more practice at center ASAP. I really don't know he did in ONE pre-season game that warranted him replacing Samson Satelle but I think Satelle would have played much better today.
- Mario Henderson is a joke at left tackle when up against real defensive ends. We need a better solution ASAP.
- Jason Campbell needs to take a page out of Gradkowski's book on "Scrambling to Make a Play Because My O-Line Can't Pass Block". Too many times today, Campbell was a statue just waiting to get popped. I was really hoping that Gradkowski was going to take over in the seconf half but no such luck.
- I have said this before, GO GET A PRODUCTIVE VETERAN WIDE RECEIVER. At half time, we only had 38 total passing yards. (Damn shame if you ask me.) Heyward-Bey had only 1 reception for 11 yards. (garbage) Louis Murphy had 4 for 28 (garbage). Zach Miller, our offensive safety valve had only 4 for 43. (garbage). I know we are committed to our young receivers but sometimes you have to do whats best for the team and not the player.
- Hugh Jackson needs to get more creative with is calls. I actually agree with Keilyn Ellis when he said that they were predictable on offense. They ran a lot of single back sets and they even lined up in a i-back formation with Murphy at Full Back, only to audible into a 3 receiver, single back formation. Who in the hell did they think they were fooling?
I maintain that Huff needs to be traded. From an ROI perspective, we have been taken to the cleaners on him. I also don't know why we kept running the same defense (the single deep safety) when it clearly didn't stop Chris Johnson from breaking off a 70+ yard run. That guy is too quick to have all those guys that close to the line. Nnamdi did his job once again (no surprise there) but the defense did not do a good job of containing Vince Young. He didn't throw for a lot of yards his yards both on the ground and through the air were all productive as he only missed on four pass attempts.
All in all this game was painful to watch and even more so being at the game. I have never said this before but if Cable doesn't get this team moving in the right direction ASAP then he may certainly be out of a job come 2011.
The best thing about this weekend was kickin' it with all the Raider Fans who traveled here to support our team. We had a great time despite the lopsided loss.
In closing I have 2 questions for the Raider Nation, (1) after this beat down that we took today are any of you willing to revise your predictions of wins and losses and (2) what do you think needs to happen to ensure that we don't take another beating like this?
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