The Oakland Raiders: Five Things You May Not Know
1. There are four Raiders on pace to record 50-plus receptions.
This has not happened since 2002. Those four players were Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, Jerry Porter, and Charlie Garner. The current receivers would be Louis Murphy, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Zach Miller, and Darren McFadden. The 2002 group was led by a 37-year-old Jerry Rice and 32-year-old Tim Brown. The oldest member of this year's group is Zach Miller at 24 years old.
2. The Raiders are tied for number two in the NFL in defense in terms of yardage.
They are 24th in scoring defense at 25.3. Only eight teams have been scored against more this season—Houston is one of those teams.
3. The Raiders are tied for sixth in the NFL in sacks, but continue to bail out teams with a league leading 277 penalty yards against in just three games.
Penalty yards always find a way to lead to losses. Or do they? The Bears have 242 penalty yards against and are 3-0. Can anyone explain how that team is undefeated?
4. The Raiders are in the bottom third of the league in holding teams on third down—40 percent.
They are also in the bottom third of the league in converting third downs—30 percent. So how are they keeping drives alive? They lead the league in drawing penalties, particularly pass interference calls. Through three games, they have drawn 290 yards in penalties.
5. The Raiders are a top 10 team in offensive yards. They are a bottom 10 team in the league in scoring offense. Did Tom Cable go over red-zone offense this week?
What does all this mean? Some of these stats may not mean alot against weak competition, but the devil may still be hiding in the details.
Could it be as simple as sticking with what works and fixing what's broken? If that is the case, the team needs to work in the red-zone on both sides of the ball. It’s convenient that both sides are struggling with the same thing. The first team offense and defense need to be going head-to-head with red-zone sets until at least one of them improves.
Penalties seem to be part of Raider football. That probably won’t be fixed this season or any time soon.
On offense what can you say to Bruce Gradkowski, McFadden, Murphy, Heyward-Bey, and Miller? Just keep it going. It's been way too long for Raider fans since they last saw the chains move like they have the past two weeks.
The offensive line looks better at times with Gradkowski, but is still very bad against the blitz. I was under the impression that was Tom Cable's niche so maybe this is the week they can put together a complete game.
Last week stung, but this team is competing. If it can improve in a few areas and avoid some mistakes, who’s to say they can’t be 2-2 next week hosting San Diego?
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