Oakland Raiders Win Two In a Row: New Guys and Old Are Chipping In!
The Oakland Raiders have now won back to back games this year. That has been a rare occurrence in Raider Nation for the last seven years.
This talented Raider team stumbled out of the gate and looked to be headed toward another double digit loss season. After rock bottom loss to the 49ers, the Raiders have produced back to back blowouts.
This is a very talented Raider team.
All year, there have been players on the team that I expected to show up but haven't until the Bronco game. There have also been players that I didn't expect anything from that have performed very well.
This has led to total Raider domination for the last two games.
Turn the page to see who these guys are.
Hue Jackson Is Getting It Right.
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Hue Jackson is starting to get things going in Raider Nation as a play caller. I thought he was a little conservative when the Raiders went up 10-0 but straighted things out as the game went on.
Jackson at some point realized he had to let it roll with who he had out there. Louis Murphy and Chaz Schilens were out because of injury and Zach Miller got nicked up during the game.
Jackson dialed up some nice reverses and started to trust quarterback Jason Campbell. It might have been by default but 2009 first round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey was utilized very well.
Marcel Reece was also established as a nice weapon in the pass game for the second game in a row. While doing all of this, he never got away from the vaunted Raider running game.
Jackson found himself some new weapons while more established weapons were out.
John Marshall Is Calling His Own Game Now.
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John Marshall is finally calling his style of defense.
I wonder how much of the Charger and 49er games influenced Raider owner Al Davis to let him blitz. I probably shouldn't wonder and just enjoy it because the results have been outstanding.
The Raiders have allowed only 17 points in the last two games with 12 sacks in that span.
The Raiders had 8 sacks in the Seahawk game.
I Was Wrong About Jason Campbell.
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I originally bought the whole "Jim Plunkett" thing when Davis sold it to me. Then after a couple off listless games including the 10.7 rating against the 49ers, I was done.
Campbell has since posted ratings of 120 and up twice in a row.
That includes Sunday's 15-27, for 310 yards, with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. I really wonder what head coach Tom Cable is thinking by announcing Bruce Gradkowski as the starter after the game.
Campbell just won two in a row as a starter and is the first Raider quarterback to win a start. The man is finally learning the system along with the players and threw dimes between defenders on Sunday.
He even showed some pocket awareness as he slid around a bit to get on of those dimes off.
Campbell did get a little lucky with the play running back Michael Bush made on a Jacoby For drop. However, that evened things out from a dime that he threw to Nick Miller that hit him in the face mask.
Many call Campbell "Captain Checkdown" but that's not bad because deep balls aren't always open. On top of that, the Raider's best offensive weapons are running backs Darren McFadden, the aforementioned Reece, and tight end Zach Miller.
But Campbell now uses that big arm to go deep and the results have been great. It's been good times since the day the Raider coaches told Campbell to "cut it loose."
I hope Davis doesn't let Cable ruin a good thing now.
Was I Wrong About Jared Veldheer?
Is this Jared Veldheer kid for real?
It sure looked like it today.
I was a little hesitant of giving him credit for his great game against the Broncos because they had no healthy pass rushers. However, he came back and did it against a much better pass rushing team in the Seahawks.
Now we know that Veldheer can handle speed rushers.
The question that remains is if he has improved or will those taller, longer pass rushers still slap his hands down?
One thing I will say about the rookie is that he's earned the right to find out.
A franchise left tackle may mean a franchise quarterback for the Raiders.
Tommy Kelly Is Earning His Checks Now.
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Tommy Kelly has finally shown up!
After getting abused for the first five games, Kelly has been un-blockable the last two games. If Kelly keeps this up, he will be worth every penny that Davis is giving him.
Kelly has 6 tackles and 2 sacks along with 2 tackles for a loss in the last two games. He's always been a good pass rushing defensive tackle but he's been very disruptive against the run in the last two games.
That's why the Raiders only allowed 40 yards rushing on Sunday.
Tyvon Branch Is Back.
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Tyvon Branch shook of the first couple of games and he's back on pace for another 100 tackle season. The one thing I was looking for from Branch to go to the Pro Bowl this years is interceptions.
That is what Branch delivered to Raider Nation on Sunday with his first.
He also had a sack in the game.
Interceptions to go with his tackles, sacks, and man coverage will punch his ticket to Hawaii.
Robert Gallery Is Back To Handle The Inside.
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Here's a common denomenator with Raider's offensive improvement.
Robert Gallery came back from a hamstring pull to get the offensive line together the last couple of games. Back up Daniel Loper did a good job in his stead but isn't quite the caliber of Gallery.
I do wish Loper would replace Cooper Carlisle but that's another story.
But it does seem that Gallery's presence has picked up the play of Samson Satele and Carlisle a bit. There was nowhere near the pressure up the middle there was earlier in the season.
And the Raiders really needed the Raiders to have the middle sown up with the defensive tackles they faced Sunday.
Lamarr Houston Breaks Through.
Lamarr Houston has played hard and played well all year.
However, his numbers haven't shown what this man has meant to the Raider defense. But on Sunday, Houston was finally rewarded with a sack for his efforts.
The heat that Marshall is calling for Raiders to put on opposing quarterback is a big help. Houston is not a guy that can just be blocked all day with one man so I look forward to more from him.
The rookie has also been solid against the run.
Michael Huff Shows His Versatility.
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I still like him more at corner but Michael Huff has done his thing as a safety these last couple of games. He's shaken of a bad start with missed tackles to be among the league leaders among defensive backs in tackles.
Huff also broke through in coverage with and interception but it was called back due to a Raider penalty. Late in the game, Huff filled in for an injured Asomugha and lined up on Mike Williams at corner.
He was beaten for 27 yards on the his very first play at corner by a perfect throw to the big receiver in tight coverage. Huff would then allow no more and have a pass defensed in the game.
I still say Huff should move to corner permanently to make room for Mike Mitchell at safety. But it is nice to have a man that is so versatile in the Raider secondary.
Huff is a Pro Bowl corner waiting to happen with more reps at the position.
More Time For Mike Mitchell Please!
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Get Mike Mitchell on the field more!
He has been coming up from his safety position to rock heads in the run game lately. He has also done a good job in coverage so for this year.
He had 5 tackles to go with 1 pass defensed Sunday while he was a part of Seattle tight end John Carlson being held to under 50 yards receiving.
Carlson didn't do anything on Mitchell himself.
The main reason this man needs to play is the way he hits.
His hits have a different sound to them and will contribute to Raider intimidation.
I have to admit that had no clue who Reece was throughout his first couple of years in Raider Nation. When I did get to know him early this season, I didn't have good things to say about him.
He flashed his receiving talents this preseason but didn't block well in the run game to start the real season. But in the last couple of games, Reece has picked up his physicality in the run game.
He has also displayed himself as a match-up nightmare with the linebacker covering him. He also broke off some pretty big runs to show us just how unique his skill set as a fullback is.
Reece a has rushed for 71 yards the last two games on only 9 carries. He's also had 109 receiving yards on only 4 catches in that span.
3 of those catches and 90 of those yards came in the Seahawk game.
The Raiders have revolutionized the game again with a fullback that can go deep!
Reece makes the Raider offense that more explosive.
Darren McFadden Has Arrived!
Darren McFadden has been hearing the whispers of "bust" in Raider Nation for a while now. We are only to the half way mark of the season now but it looks like the whispers are soon to stop.
He's also had 37 carries for 266 yards in the last two games to go along with 4 catches for 55 yards. McFadden did score 4 touchdowns in that span but they were all in the Bronco game.
That's 311 total yards in two games.
McFadden is now the hub that the Raider offense is built around.
Let the breakout season continue!
The 2009 First Pick Shows Up.
Speaking of bust labels, people around the league are looking to put it on 2009 first round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey. After giving Raider Nation next to nothing for the first season, Heyward-Bey showed up Sunday.
He had his first 100 yard game with 5 catches for 105 yards. Included in his career day was a 69 yard touchdown reception that showed his newly found hands to go with his 4.27 wheels.
I'm very happy for Heyward-Bey's career day but what's big is what that meas going forward. He now has the trust of Campbell and that will be big when Murphy and Schilens return.
Heyward-Bey is now another weapon at Campbell's disposal.
The Reclamation Of Kamerion Wimbley Looks Good.
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Kamerion Wimbley is a former first round draft pick that the Raiders got in a trade with the Cleveland Browns. So far, this Raider reclamation project is a smash hit in Oakland.
Wimbley began the season doing well in the run game and in coverage with occasional quarterback pressure. With the blitzes Marshall has called lately, Wimlbey has 3 sacks in the last two games.
Two of those sacks came in the Seahawk game.
Wimbley is now tied for the team lead with 5 sacks on the season.
That's what happens when you let a man do what he does best.
Richard Seymour Is Always There.
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What a player!
What a leader!
It looks like Richard Seymour didn't come to training camp with the rookies for nothing. Not only is he making plays but the defensive lineman around him are starting to raise their level of play.
I don't think Seymour has given them a choice.
Seymour himself has 3 sacks in the last couple of games and now has 4.5 sacks this season. That ranks him #2 in the league in sacks among defensive tackles behind Detroit's Ndamukong Suh.
The man is also a disruptive force against the run too.
His leadership is a big reason why the Raider defense has improved after starting poorly.
Nnamdi Asomugha Is Also Always There.
Seymour and Nnamdi Asomugha are one and the same.
They are reliable professionals that are always there when you need them and great leaders. Just as Seymour has done with the defensive line, Asomugha has help his younger defensive backs improve.
Instead of having ill feeling for mistakes they've made, he has continued to help them step their game up. It's also a help to know he has his man shut down so coverage can be rotated elsewhere.
But this is who he has always been.
People are now around him that can make plays to help win games.
This Is One Scary Sight!
This was a great win for the Oakland Raiders.
My only fear going forward for the Silver and Black is the injury to Asomugha. That would be a crushing blow to the pass defense of the Raiders.
Seeing him go down and clutching his ankle after a pass defensed was scary.
Asomugha's ankle is now in Raider Nation's prayers.
Please let him be all right!
I hope you enjoyed the slide show.