Holla at me RAIDER NATION!
I'm only going to talk about the Offense with this report. I will give the Defensive Report Card next followed by the Special Teams report.
Now, down to business:
We are at a point in the season that I like to call "The end of the first quarter"
I'm quite sure that I'm not the only person who breaks the 16 game season down into 4 parts; Each part consisting of 4 games, for example the first quarter = games 1-4, the second quarter = games 5-8 and so on (for the mathematically challenged).
With The Raiders having a record of 1-3 one would be hard pressed to call this a "successful" first quarter: I know that there are those of you right now saying "we could be "0-4".
To that I say this: We would be 0-4 if not for a skin of your teeth, 2 point win against the rebuilding Rams; Hardly an impressive win & hardly a reason for me (or you) to do the whole "glass half full thing".
Using that same skewed logic, I understand that there are those of us in The Nation who believe that the team is improving because "we're losing... but at least the games are closer".
To that I say this: I don't know what's worse getting beat badly all the time, or being close in every game but, still not being able to get a win! Someones going to have to do a study on that (but it won't be me).
What Grade Do You Give The O-Line?
Therefore, I don't care about how close the loss is. A loss is a loss period! plain and simple. The facts are, at this point the team has lost more than it's won; Now let's look into some of the reasons why.
To prosper in the n.f.l today a team must have a TOP level quarterback; The position, depending upon the team does not need to be filled by a "franchise" player however, he does need to be of elite status.
With the departure of (you know who) most in The Nation were expecting an upgrade in this position; Many were singing the praises of Jason Campbell, others were supporters of Bruce G. (I'm a fan of neither but I digress)
Both camps got to see their guy play and both camps got to see their guy lose.
I wonder if it's too late to trade him back to the skins and get McNabb? The facts are that Cable pulled him from game 2, and did not start him for game 3;
(do you really want me to list his Raider stats? do you really???)
What that means ladies and gentlemen is that J.C. is done (until the O-line gets Bruce hurt... but we'll get to that later).
I don't have anything against Brucie G. (insert smirk)
really I don't..... I love this guy! the only problem is I love him as my back-up, not as my starter.
In my view Bruce is like that donut the car companies give you to use as a spare tire; When your car has an unexpected blow out, you LOVE having that donut to use as a spare. However, you do not want to drive your next 10 thousand miles on it!
Bruce is a great spare tire. You bring him in (when you get a flat on one of your 22 bridgestones), and hope that he can spark the team to a win, or keep the momentum and ride the wave to a win (use him to get from point A to point B; Until you can get to the auto shop and get a new 22)
As I stated, Bruce is a great back up quarterback. What he is not is a franchise quarterback, nor is he an elite quarterback (in my view). I'm not going into his stats either because honestly, the only stat that matters to me is the teams record; Which stands at 1 win 3 losses.
The way THIS Raider team is constructed, without superior quarterback play it will not be successful; In my view the teams current record speaks to this fact.
Bruce is no stranger to the team, nor the offensive game plan therefore, mistakes such as not knowing how much time is on the play clock,during a much needed touchdown drive are totally unacceptable! How many times has a John Elway or a Dan Fouts or even a Matt Castle done that?
Furthermore, I'm concerned with a number of the decision (and I know you are too) he's made during key moments in games. Now ask yourself a question: How many times have the Colts been concerned about Payton Manning's decision making?
Too high of a Q.B. for you? Try this one:
How many times have the "super-choker's" been concerned about Rivers decision making?
What?...... You wouldn't trade Bruce for Phil?
On another note: I know people want to talk about the drops (and we'll get to the wide outs) but I want you to think about this for a moment...
You have guys like Tom Brady and Payton Manning who, more often then not throw to "no name" wide outs, who always seem to make the catch. Why?
I believe it has something to do with "who" is throwing them the ball and what that means.
I'm not against Bruce as I said but, our guys know he's not a "franchise" quarterback, they know that he can't "really" hold them accountable for a drop ball the same way say a Payton Manning or a Tom Brady could (and would) hold them accountable for their drops; He just doesn't have that type of "command"
We've all (you included) seen the best Bruce has to offer, There is no real, lasting "up side" to him (for THIS Raider team). He is what he is, and no disrespect to him but... there's no "If I make this play, or if I come up with this catch then he'll......" factor to him; He's got no real "sizzle" like say a ...
Mark Sanchez: 1 yr of college 2nd season with the Jets Last 3 games: 8 TD's 0 INT's
Maybe I'm being too hard on Bruce, after all he is only my back up.
To save my sanity (and yours) I'm not going to grade these guys (bums) individually; We all know who they are, and if your a fan of mine you know that for the past two seasons plus I've been ranting and raving about how crappy our line has been playing.
As of last I've been noticing more and more article directed at the play of the O-line. To those of you who have joined me in my ire I say welcome to the real black hole!
Here lies the "soul" of the problems with our beloved Raiders.
Their not the straw that breaks the camels back, what they are is far worse. They're the first domino that falls which in turn sets in motion a bad sequence of events.
I stated earlier that a team can be successful without a "franchise" quarterback. One of the most important (along with a Dominate Defense) elements necessary for that teams survival is a DOMINATE offensive line.
Run dominate: A line that consistently opens holes for it's runners, as it punishes and wares down the defense line. Pass dominate: A Line that understands that they don't have a "franchise" quarterback and that they're going to have to hold that block just a beat longer; Or even worse (for the defense), a line that knows they have a "franchise" quarterback which means nobody gets to touch him.
Well Raider Nation How would YOU describe OUR O-line?
I wouldn't say we were run dominate. We got a taste of that this last game; When Mr. Foster (who missed the first quarter) came in and behind HIS dominate O-line ran for over 100 yards in three quarters (that had something to do with our defense as well, however that's a grade for another report).
So, would you say we're pass dominate?
Try not to laugh.... I had to ask
We all know that these guys provide about as much "protecton" as a g-string. There's a reason we NEEDED to get a mobile quarterback.Don't think I forgot to mention the holding penalties, the false starts, the missed blitz pick ups, do I really need to go on? really???
Let's be honest here for a moment Raider Nation you know, like I know that some of these guys are going to be OUT of the league when we're done with them.
This one was difficult. I really had a hard time coming up with an over all grade. Factors such as Chaz not being on the field and the amount of time Z. Mill has to spend in pass protection alter what this core is capable of doing.
However, when one person is out of the game others MUST step up, and make plays. DHB continues to show what he is capable of doing with the ball in his hands. However, his problem continues to be getting the ball in his HANDS!
Even L.Murphy has become a victim of "the dropsies" The lone shining star continues to be at T.E. where Mr. Miller is proving he's the next in line of Raider greats at the position.
It's clear that the team lacks a solid #1 receiver. There is no Steve Smith, or Larry Fitzgerald for this team. I'd be happy with a Chad Johnson or even a T.O (and you know you would be too) They just don't have a guy that they can go to (other than Mr. Miller) when they need to have a catch made for a first down;Nor do they have a "real" decoy, raise your hand if you miss Randy Moss!! (sorry DHB) to take pressure off of the offense with the threat of the deep completion.
However, we are still early in the season, and we do need to "keep hope alive". I believe (and hope) that with the return of Chaz, Mr. Miller doing what Z. Mill does, and some slightly better play from "Dirty" Murphy (along with some stick-em for DHB's hands, thanks to my man Lester) things could pick up.
Another group that was some what difficult to grade due to other factors (namely the O-line). Not to mention their (the R.B's) blitz pick-ups (or lack there of).
This group was similar to the wide-outs as well because there is no dominate back amongst the group. We don't have an Adrian Peterson, or a Chris Johnson, or even a Steven Jackson (hell I'd settle for a Marion Barber!). While Bush, & McFadden continue to show flashes that one can only hope will turn into a constant beam of light they, as well as the rest of the group must continue to work on blitz pick-up and recognition if they want to remain on the field (along with the Q.B. their supposed to be protecting)
Moreover, they're going to have to step up their game in the upcoming weeks if the Raiders are to have any reach chances of winning. On a more positive note: neither has had a real problem with fumbling (so far) and both I believe have been running hard.
With this being only the first quarter of the season I don't want to be too hard on the team. However it's clear that (at this moment) Jason Campbell isn't ready to lead this team. the O-line is at best average (and that's me being really kind) Receivers are dropping too many catchable balls and the run game is inconsistent, but hey It's got to get better .... right?
Raider from birth.