Oakland Raiders: The State of the Raider Nation
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For the third straight year the Raiders have won in Week 2, only to be 1-3 headed into Week 5. It seems to be the same story with different characters. Each year, the lead role goes to a different villain.
The lifeboats are out once again in the first week of October as the Raider ship seems to be sinking again.
Rather than jump ship, sometimes it’s best to throw someone else off. Since the fans don’t play the game as Jacoby Ford so eloquently pointed out last week (before deleting it hours later), someone has to be blamed from within.
Like him or not, Al Davis has brought in players that should win games. He may not have a GM and maybe he has called in a play from the press box, but a team with this talent has no excuse.
Blame Al for the last six years and JaMarcus Russell, but not for this group of guys.
Unlike other years, the talent is finally there but the results are not.
Week 1 it was the quarterback and offensive line. Week 3 it was the special teams and red zone incompetence. Week 4 was all about effort and tackling.
Is there anything left for Week 5?
For years I’ve made the excuse that the defense was on the field too much to hold teams in the fourth quarter. This year the offense is moving the ball and yesterday the defense was as bad as it's ever been.
If the Raiders are truly bad at every facet of the game, as they have been at different times, then the problem is coaching.
Unless Tom Cable is actually teaching his team to chase and tackle from behind, the coaches are not demanding enough from the players.
Every aspect of the Raider disaster seems to point once again to discipline. The team has early round picks making mental lapses, which cost the team games.
We are all outsiders to the Raider empire. Very little information leaks from the Raider compound, so all there is to go by is Sunday afternoons.
From what I’m watching, there is only one solution.
Don’t allow guys on the field that are not ready to play. If players are taking shortcuts in practice, sit them. If the next guy wants to make arm tackles, sit him.
If the team’s Round 7 draft pick becomes the starting safety in two weeks, then so be it. Stevie Brown worked harder on one tackle on Tim Hightower than any we have seen from anyone since.
With the exception of Richard Seymour and the Raider cornerbacks who have played very well, this entire defense needs to be served notice.
The Giants and Bears secondary tackled better last night than the Raider linebackers.
While the offensive line has been the fan whipping boys, but they have been the least of the Tom Cable’s concerns since Bruce Gradkowski has been at quarterback. While their blitz pickup has been awful, they have plowed the way for Darren McFadden to be among the league leaders in rushing yards. The pass offense has not exactly suffered, averaging 285 yards per four quarters that Gradkowski has played.
The rest of the team has been very underwhelming.
If the Texans can go on the road without Andre Johnson and sit the leagues leading rusher for nearly two quarters, Tom Cable can start making his guys earn playing time.
In the last two seasons the team has responded to 1-3 starts with beatings of 44-7 and 34-3. The Raiders showed little fight in either game.
Unlike previous years, the team does not yet have a loss within the division.
Recently, the Raiders have played the Chargers well at home despite finding ways to lose. If the team does not magically become disciplined, then in six days they will blow another game to San Diego.
The fans will come back to the Coliseum when the team starts acting like they want them there.
The cliché we hear too much is to let coaches coach and players play.
Right now in Oakland, neither is doing either.
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