Week 6 State Of Raider Nation: 49ers Week
If you have followed the Raiders in recent years, the one constant has been their inconsistency.
If you are a gambler, probably no team in the league has stung you quite like the Raiders.
Going back to last season, the Raiders salvaged their young season with a win against an NFC contender in the Eagles. The following week, the Jets came to Oakland having lost three in a row. The game was lost in four minutes, and the result was a 38-0 beating from a rookie quarterback.
The 2010 team just ended the streak of all streaks with their first win in 14 tries against San Diego.
Is the team due for another letdown?
Historically, the answer is yes.
Here's why the Raiders are seven point underdogs to the 0-5 Niners:
They haven't played a solid four quarters of football since the season began. In fact, even their wins came with two terrible quarters to St. Louis and San Diego.
There actually isn't a lot for the coaches to hang their hat on at this point. Other than the running game, nothing has been consistent. If the Chargers had managed to hold on and win, there would not be a hotter seat than the one of Tom Cable.
The defense has disappeared and reappeared all season. The run defense has been Jekyll and Hyde while the secondary has never looked worse than it did in Sunday's win.
The one question everyone is asking: If the Raiders are not blitzing safeties, where are they? They certainly haven't bailed out Stanford Routt to this point.
Here's the solution if you're Tom Cable and John Marshall. Assume that you're fired. If the team misses the playoffs at 8-8 or 3-13, it will not matter. You guys are getting canned.
The team can no longer rush four and leave its corners in man coverage.
Everyone loves Darrelle Revis. Let's see Revis Island stay above water if the Jets rush the same four linemen every play.
The Raiders don't need to be the Jets and blitz every other play, but at minimum, they need to blitz occasionally and give the illusion of blitz even more.
There is enough speed in this secondary to have safeties at linebacker depth before the snap. The coaches have begged for it; now they just need to do it.
You can't say enough about the way Routt, Johnson and Asomugha played in coverage when Oakland sold out and went after Philip Rivers on the final drive. Of course, this can't happen all game, but it also can't happen never.
This may be the week where things change in Oakland.
My hunch is that defensive coordinator John Marshall will go after Alex Smith this week. After 13 losses in a row, Tom Cable had to be prepared to lose to San Diego last week and knows he's playing with house money.
Tom, hopefully you're like the rest of us. When you play with someone else's chips, you go all in.
And now for the good news:
The Raiders are finally healthy.
They look like they will be at full strength on the offensive line with Robert Gallery returning. Darren McFadden and Michael Bush will most likely split carries.
Thanks to injuries, Matt Shaughnessy is back in the starting lineup, and Trevor Scott had his best game back at linebacker.
Jason Campbell may start at quarterback, but he played well against a solid Charger defense and looked good against San Francisco in the preseason.
On the opposite sideline, the 49ers are in disarray. Mike Singletary's ship appears willing to sink with Alex Smith at the wheel.
The Raiders look like a Lexus parked next to a battered 49er Honda Civic right now.
Their coach drops his pants in the locker room. The fans don't like their coach or their quarterback. Their wide receivers hire rap stars as their agents and their star tight end likes to draw self portraits and go curling.
This isn't a football team; it's a circus.
Still, the nature of the beast remains the same. The complexion of the NFL changes dramatically each week.
If the Raiders find a way to lose on Sunday, the circus will cross the bay, and you can bet Tom Cable will be leading it from his hot seat.
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