Oakland Raiders Have Much to Build On and Change After Beating The Chargers
The Oakland Raiders fought their way to a 35-27 win over the San Diego Chargers Sunday. This was a huge win as it marks the first win against the hated Chargers in 14 tries.
Over five tons were lifted off the shoulders of the Raiders in the ugly, sloppy win. The win showed that this team had much to build on going forward from this point.
However they must change the things that hold them back.
Turn the page to see what those things are.
Change: Stanford Routt
It looked like Stanford Routt finally got it in the training camp and the beginning of the season. It hasn't looked so great for Routt over the last couple of games.
Asomugha did get touched up a bit on the other side but the Chargers made their living off of Routt. He gave up multiple deep balls on Sunday and has been on the inconsistent side so far this year.
Nickel corner may be what's best for him.
Change: Bruce Gradkowski
Tom Cable was looking to ride Bruce Gradkowski at quarterback until the wheels fell off. He made the move at quarterback six quarters into the season when the problem wasn't the quarterback.
Then Raider Nation got to see Gradkowski for the back-up, spark quarterback that he really is. He has not the accuracy, mentality, consistency, or durability to be an NFL starter.
He's been like that since his days in Tampa Bay.
I will throw statistics out of it because the bottom line is making plays when they are there to be made. Gradkowski has made some plays but he's missed more than he has made this year.
He has missed four touchdown throws in two games coming in to week five. Gradkowski started the day 1-5 before getting injured which is another issue with the journeyman quarterback.
The Raiders need a steady quarterback instead of a streaky one that is often injured.
Change: Samson Satele
Samson Satele has improved a bit in his pass blocking but really lacks in the run game. He is still unable to get any kind of push in the middle of the line.
It was evident on back to back plays when the Raiders couldn't convert a third and fourth and one.
Satele didn't get the push needed when Campbell tried a quarterback sneak up the middle. Then running back Michael Bush tried on a fouth down and didn't get as Satele was stood up by his man.
Jake Grove and Justin Harwig are on the street while the Raiders have the worst starting center in the NFL.
Change: Cooper Carlisle
I don't understand the love the Cooper Carlisle gets from Cable.
He gets defeated on play after play as he gives up sacks and can't get any push in the run game. This was especially highlighted on a fourth down run bu Bush that he couldn't covert into a first down.
First, there was no play side hole as Samson Satele was getting handled by his man. There was a backside hole but Bush couldn't get to it because he ran into Carlisle being pused into the backfield.
Loper going to right guard when Robert Gallery comes back would be ideal.
The Raiders have to own the middle of the line of scrimmage win continue winning.
Change: Jared Veldheer
The only left tackle in the league that's worse that Mario Henderson starts over him now. And he was his regular self on Sunday, as he nearly got both quarterbacks killed.
It would be nice if Cable's love for his lineman would be based on performance instead of wishing. If there is a left tackle on this team that could get it done, it isn't Veldheer or Henderson.
Perhaps they can go outside to find one.
Build On: Nnamdi Asomugha
Nnamdi Asomugha was touched up a bit in the ball game but he kept in the fight. After that, he tightened up so Rivers eventually got the message and made a killing on the other side.
He has to be one to build on because he is one of the best football players on the team anyway. The Raiders need someone who can be more than just a target on the other side.
The Raiders aren't supposed to give up over 400 yards passing.
Build On: Richard Seymour
The Raiders definitely need to build on Richard Seymour.
He just might be the leagues best three technique.
He played the run very well on Sunday and should have gotten credit for a sack. He was there first but I'm not sure if the gave it to him or teammate Tommy Kelly.
Seymour also knocked a pass down behind the line of scrimmage.
He is the disruptive force that the Raiders have to build on.
Build On: Michael Bush
Michael Bush is a beast running between the tackles.
He has 26 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown.
He also had three catches for 31 yards and picked up the blitz well.
Raider Nation awaits the day the Bush can team up with Darren McFadden in the run game. It just might start next week when the Raiders play the Bay Are rival San Fransisco 49ers.
The Raider running game will be tops in the league when McFadden comes back.
Build On: Zach Miller
Zach Miller has been the Raider's most consistent offensive weapon over the last three years. It is nice for Raider Nation to see that this year is no different for Miller.
Miller had six catches for 62 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.
Dallas Clark and Antonio Gates are the tight ends in the league with more catches than Miller. Gates is the only tight end in the league that has more receiving yards than Miller.
He should see a Pro Bowl this year.
He only had two catches for 61 yards but Louis Murphy was Mr. Big Play again. He had a 58 yard catch that had those that were in attendance on their feet on Sunday.
It will be interesting to see what the Raider passing game will look like when Chaz Schilens comes back. Opposing defenses will have to chose who they want to try to take away from the Raiders.
Will it be the consistent one or the big play guy?
Build On: Jason Campbell
Jason Campbell finally got a chance to show Raider Nation what he can do. That's because he was finally given time to throw in the second half of Sunday's game.
Campbell was 13-18 for 159 yards including a touchdown to Jason Campbell that was thrown where only Miller could catch it. The Raiders have to start him next week after proving his worth this week.
I don't think Al Davis will have it any other way.
The Raiders are right where they should be at this time.
It doesn't seem that way because they have had opportunities to be 4-1. However, if Raider Nation knew the Raiders would be missing Gallery, Schilens, McFadden, and John Henderson, they'd take 2-3.
There are only two games that separate the Raiders form the AFC West lead and plenty of games to make it up. After beating the Chargers Sunday, they have to feel they are up to the task now.
This is the kind of win that can turn the season around.
But Cable must play his cards right.
Or is it play his players right?