Why the Oakland Raiders Still Have Big Problems After Win Over St. Louis Rams
All offseason, the coaches and players sounded very confident going into the new season. Reports came out after the Week 1 loss to the Titans that the Raiders were overconfident heading into that game.
The Raiders had all week to prepare for the Rams, who started a rookie quarterback and will likely pick in the top 10 again this year, but the Raiders barely beat them by two at home.
Only the Oakland Raiders can leave fans and the media with more questions than answers following a win.
Let's take a look at some areas of concern for the Raiders following their Week 2 victory.
Jason Campbell wasn't the only starting quarterback to not finish a game in Week 2, but the fact that this is happening is Oakland again is disturbing.
With JaMarcus Russell gone, the Raiders quarterback position was not supposed to be an issue any longer with the fans or the media.
Players and coaches praised Campbell all offseason. His benching came as a surprise considering the Raiders were still in the game and Campbell wasn't playing terribly.
Now the Raiders are faced with a tough decision and it doesn't appear that Cable and owner Al Davis are on the same page.
Bruce Gradkowski played well and helped the Raiders win in the second half, but does that mean he'll start? Campbell would have probably led the Raiders to a victory as well because the defense made the right adjustments at halftime to stop Steven Jackson.
Gradkowski deserved at the very least to compete for the starting job during the offseason, but the Raiders declared Campbell the starter right away.
Now, because of the benching, the Raiders will face unwarranted media attention again in Oakland about their shaky quarterback situation .
Cable said last season that they were an average quarterback away from the playoffs: The Raiders now have two average quarterbacks.
Let's see how this mayhem turns out.
Offensive Line Woes Continue
Perhaps I'm wrong, but Tom Cable and Al Davis are the two men responsible for the Raiders offensive line woes.
Davis continues to ignore the offensive line in the draft when it is obvious it has been the team's weakness since 2002. The style of offense that he likes to run demands time for the quarterback, but if the line can't block, then his offensive scheme won't work.
Cable doesn't seem like he knows what he is doing either when it comes to the line. In the first game, he started a rookie (Jared Veldheer) at center who hadn't played the position since high school, then changed his mind in the second game, having Veldheer replace Mario Henderson at left tackle.
Rookies will make mistakes; if you are serious about him playing center, either let him learn and grow in the position or don't put him there in the first place.
Cable has a good relationship with Henderson, whom he worked with all offseason. If Cable can't get help coaching his offensive line, which is his specialty, it's going to be hard to coach the whole team.
Until the offensive line become a priority for the Raiders, quarterbacks will struggle and get hit all season.
Questionable Calls Already This Season
The Raiders have already made some questionable calls this season and during the Rams game.
Early in the first quarter, the Raiders failed on a fourth-and-inches conversion. Call me old school or conservative, but this should have been a field goal attempt and three points for the Raiders.
This is the NFL, not college or high school: Every point matters, and you need to take advantage of your opportunities to score.
Instead, the Raiders turned the ball over to the Rams, who drove the ball down the field and almost scored, missing a field goal.
The Raiders scored only 17 touchdowns last season and struggled to score against the Titans in Week 1. You can't get greedy and think touchdown when you struggle at scoring points.
The Raiders' decisions during the offseason are troubling as well.
Cable named Yamon Figurs the starting kick returner and, though Figurs produced some catches, cut him after Week 1. If a guy is on the roster bubble, he shouldn't be considered to start anywhere.
Mario Henderson and Jason Campbell were both named starters during the offseason but were benched in Week 2.
If you don't trust your starters to finish a game, maybe you shouldn't have named them starters in the first place.
Offensive Scheme Still an Issue
Before I talk about this issue, I want to first commend Darren McFadden for his great game against the Rams; also, receivers Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey showed that they can produce like receivers should.
The Raiders' offensive scheme isn't working and something has to change. The deep ball is OK, but the Raiders can't rely on that if they can't block.
Jason Campbell has already said it's tough because most of their routes are designed to go deep and if you don't have time, you'll either get hit or it will be Check-Down City for the Raiders.
While the Raiders are in the top 10 so far with 345 yards per game, they are in the bottom 10 in scoring points.
If they continue at this pace, they will have 16 touchdowns to end the season, one less than they scored last year.
The Raiders have to do better on offense; I'm sure they would agree with that statement.
When Will Al Davis Take Over?
Love him or hate him, Al Davis is the Raiders and helped create the team that all Raider fans love today. Lately he has done more damage than anything else, but he's doing it because he thinks it will help the team.
It reminds me of a little girl who loves her new kitty to death, literally, She loves it so much that she accidentally strangles it to death with the many tight hugs she gives it.
Al Davis loves the Raiders, but he may have been strangling them a bit for the last seven years.
Davis deserves to win another Super Bowl, but he has to trust his coaches and players. The last time the Raiders went to a Super Bowl, they had a GM and a very smart coach who ran his own system.
At some point this season, we'll see Davis flex his muscle as an owner. We may have already; I'm not sure how happy he was with the benching of Campbell, but he can't be unhappy his team won.
The Raiders even added some words to Tom Cable's post-game press conference, saying that Campbell's benching today doesn't mean he will be benched for the rest of the season.
Call me crazy, but I'd love for Davis to trade Tommy Kelly for Albert Haynesworth. That is one Davis move I would love and approve of.
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