Oakland Raiders Regress: They Now Have the Look of the 2009 Raiders
Watching the last two games, it looks as if the "Great Regression" has hit Raider Nation.
No wonder why the Raiders are getting blacked out on a weekly basis with one exception. After an uninspiring blowout loss the Pittsburgh Steelers, they follow it with another to the Miami Dolphins.
The second of the two was much worse as the the Dolphins are a big step down from the Steelers. Also factoring into the equation is the fact that the Raiders were at home after losing in Pittsburgh.
This all happened after the Raiders looked new and improved after having a share of first place in the AFC West. At one time, the Raiders were ranked in the top 10 and total offense and total defense.
But on Sunday, the Raiders had neither.
The offensive line could get no push to run the football.
The Raider defense gave up the big play in the running game.
The Raiders once again had horrible play at the quarterback position.
This looked a lot like the 2009 Oakland Raiders.
Cable's Guy Not The Guy
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Oakland Raider head coach Tom Cable announced Jason Campbell as the starter in last week's post game interview. He then reversed field on the decision and gave Bruce Gradkowki the start on Sunday.
It looks like Gradkowski has proven beyond reasonable doubt that he's not an NFL starting quarterback. I will leave Gradksowki's stats alone except for two exceptions.
1. Gradkowski was 1-9 on third down.
He had plenty of time to throw while doing it too.
The completions he did have were five-yard completions on third and over 10. The result of Gradkowski's failures was not having a drive over 4 plays until the fourth quarter.
Their longest drive of seven plays came with only three minutes left in the game. This left the Raiders new and improved defense on the field way to long as Nnamdi Asomugha already couldn't play much.
The other stat is just the bottom line.
2. Gradkowski is now 0-3 as the starter this year and 2-6 in his time in Raider Nation.
Some like to say that Gradkowski gives the Raiders the best chance to win.
How can a 0-3 quarterback give you a better chance to win than a 4-3 quarterback?
Cooper Carlisle: Another One Of Cable's Guys
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Cooper Carlisle gave the Raiders nothing on Sunday afternoon.
He was driven back in the run game.
He gave up sacks and pressures in the passing game.
How long will Cable let this go because Carlisle has been horrible all year?
Yet the Raiders continuously look to run in his gap to no avail.
This leads to third and longs and a man named Darren McFadden not being able to give the Raiders some big plays. Fourth round pick Bruce Campbell can at least do as well as that while getting better.
Cooper Carlisle won't get better so why waste time with him instead of getting Campbell some experience.
Samson Satele: Another One Of Cable's Guys
As long as Samson Satele starts at center for the Raiders, I will have something to write about.
Cable once told all the would listen that Samson Satele was the best lineman in the 2007 draft. After proving Cable wrong in Miami, he's now proving himself to be the NFL's worst center in Oakland.
This makes me wonder about Cable's ability to evaluate talent.
You've already seen the Gradkowski debacle.
Satele's debacle is even bigger.
He has done nothing but get driven back on almost every single play in almost every single game. A football team cannot run the football unless the nose tackle blocked.
Satele seemed to improve a little for just a short while but then went back to his old ways. Much of that has to do with playing against larger, better nose tackles.
I don't know what he has to do to get replaced.
But if he isn't, the Raiders are in danger of returning to their 2009 form.
Raider Pass Defense
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Last year, all the opposing team had to do is throw away from Nnamdi Asomugha. With Asomugha not playing much, the Dolphins were able to pick on everyone else again.
However, when he did play, Asomugha was far from 100 percent and the Dolphins had success throwing at him. Chris Johnson was also out with an injury and Walter McFadden showed that he is just a baby.
The result was a rare 300-yard game from.
Why won't they put Huff at corner?
He did give up a touchdown to a fullback but that was at safety while biting on a play fake. He should be locked up on a man as he is second best cover guy on the team.
McFadden isn't quite ready yet and Mike Mitchell does look ready to fill in at free safety.
Raider fans are hoping Asomugha and Johnson are back next week.
Raider Run Defense
The Raiders gave up another big run on Sunday.
That isn't different from 2009.
I'm still trying to figure out if the Raider run defense is that bad or got tired as a result of a poor Raider offense on Sunday. Late in the game, Ricky Williams exposed the Raider fatigue with a 45-yard run.
Even with the big run, the Dolphins only averaged 3.8 yards per carry on Sunday. That shows you that the Dolphin's 186 yards was more from volume than anything.
Give it to the Dolphins for staying committed to the run.
Maybe the Raiders should have done that.
Raider Coaching: Hue Jackson
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Rickey Williams was averaging 2.5 yards per carry at one point.
But the Dolphins just kept pounding him and and things got a little better. Then at the end of the game, Williams broke for that 45-yarder to seal the game.
Oakland Raider offensive coordinator Hue Jackson sends McFadden between Carlisle and Satele then gives up once that doesn't work.
Where's the commitment to the running game?
Why not send McFadden off tackle and outside more?
Do you remember who our best offensive football player is?
Do you remember what the Raiders do best?
The Raiders have to stay committed to the run.
McFadden carrying the ball eight times is reminiscent of 2009 when he did play.
Raider Coaching: Tom Cable
It doesn't look good to this point.
Satele is the worst starting center in the NFL bar none.
Yet Cable does nothing about it.
I guess he thought Satele would do since the Raiders had that winning streak earlier. Now that the Raiders are playing against better nose tackles, Satele went from just bad to horrible.
Jake Grove was brought in for a workout but not signed while there is no other center on the Raider roster.
Cooper Carlisle was once a solid lineman for the Raiders but those days are gone. He is another reason the Raiders can't run the football as he takes turns getting ran over with Satele most of the time.
Cable is quick to blame Jason Campbell and pull him in favor of Gradkowski when things go wrong. Well, Gradkowski couldn't beat an average NFL team again so why not pull some of his lineman.
This offensive line needs to be addressed or the Raider offense will be just as it was in 2009.
Veldheer Slowing The Offense Up
Rookie left tackle Jared Veldheer has been sold as a franchise left tackle to Raider Nation. The truth is he is more of a 2009 version of Mario Henderson.
Veldheer has given up 5 sacks and hasn't even played that many snaps through the year. And to prevent him from giving up more sacks, Khalif Barnes goes in at tight end to help out with pass blocking just like they did with Henderson.
That slows down the offense.
A solid left tackle allows the quarterback more options in the passing game. If it's not there down the field with the receivers, tight end Zach Miller, fullback Marcel Reece, and McFadden are good options.
With Miller out of the game, that's one less option the Raider quarterback has. Now the secondary can double a man in the intermediate area as well as down the field.
The Raiders can take advantage of more of those match ups with left tackle that doesn't need help.
Veldheer looked like a franchise center after a rough start at the position in week one. McFadden had his biggest day running the football against the Broncos with Veldheer at center for the injured Satele.
Veldheer can get the nose tackle blocked.
That's how you run the ball against the 3-4 defense.
Bright Spot: Jacoby Ford
Jacoby Ford couldn't beat the Miami Dolphins by himself but he sure did try. He first got the Raiders going by returning the opening kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown.
He also kept the Raiders in the game by taking a 10-yard out to the house for a 43-yard touchdown. Ford also took another interception away, giving him a 52-yard reception. Ford had 4 catches, for 108 yards, and one touchdown receiving.
He would have had another but Gradkowksi threw the ball too late, too short with the ball floating in the air too long. The game might have been different if that deep ball would have connected in the third quarter.
Ford had 339 all-purpose yards on the day and the two Raider touchdowns.
Bright Spot: Rolando McClain
Before the 45-yard run, Ricky Williams averaged just 2.6 yards per carry. That was due in large part to Rolando McClain having grown into his role as the Raider's middle linebacker.
It seemed as if he had more but McClain had eight tackles and rushed the passer for two quarterback hits. McClain seemed to be all over the place as he had a pass defensed and an interceptions as well.
How's that for rookie impact?
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After looking new and improved over the first half of the season, the Raiders suddenly look like the 2009 version. The playoffs are still in reach but but they can also go 5-11 again if changes aren't made.
Something has to be done about the offensive line and the quarterback position.
Does that sound familiar?
The red hot San Diego Chargers will be looking to avenge their loss to the Raiders earlier in the season. They will look to crowd the line of scrimmage just like the Dolphins to stop the run.
That in turn will force long yardage on third down.
Ford is an emerging weapon and needs a quarterback that can get it to him deep.
Campbell should be back in a quarterback next week as Gradkowski is hurt again. Campbell is far from great but he does give the Raiders the best chance to win going forward.
A 4-3 quarterback gives you a better chance than a 0-3 quarterback.
But all that is null and void if the quarterback doesn't have protection and the Raiders can't run the ball.