Oakland Raiders: 10 Raiders Having a Disappointing Season
After three straight wins, including two against division rivals, the Raiders are on a roll and flying high.
The defense is firing on all cylinders, the offense has started rolling and even the return game got it going last week.
But not all is good, it would seem as though some players are just along for the ride and may have been holding the team back.
Here's a look at players who have had a disappointing season thus far.
Will these players step up or fade into obscurity?
Receivers in General
Unsurprisingly the Raiders leading receiver isn't even a receiver. Tight end Zach Miller is with 34 receptions and four TDs. The Raiders second leading receiver isn't a receiver either; it's running back Darren McFadden, who has 24 receptions and two TDs.
At third and fourth are Louis Murphy and Darius Heyward-Bey with 21 and 19 receptions, respectively, each with a single TD.
Close behind them in fifth is Marcel Reece with 13 receptions and two TDs.
Out of 150 receptions only 57 have gone to actual wide outs and out of 11 passing TDs, only two have gone to actual wide receivers.
The receiving corps, in general, needs to step it up as not one wide receiver has more than one TD reception on the season. It seems all the TD passes are going to other positions, half backs, full backs, tight ends and even offensive tackles.
This whole unit needs to step it up in order to take pressure off of Darren McFadden, Zack Miller and Marcel Reece.
Last year Mario Henderson was the worst starting left tackle in the NFL. Many fans chose to give him a pass suggesting his horrid play could be attributed to JaMarcus Russells' inability to play QB.
Fast forward to 2010 and both Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski have gone down with injury under Henderson's watch.
Fortunately though, Henderson has been releived of his starting duty in favor of rookie Jared Veldheer, so Raider QBs can breathe a bit easier.
By some, Samson Satele was considered the best linemen in the 2007 draft.
Today, the 25-year-old Hawaiian native is starting, but not living up to the hype.
Satele lacks the strength to hold up against many of the leagues premier DTs and gets little to no push in the run game.
However, it is not all bad for Satele. The 25-year-old center has been solid on the move, on screens and finding blocks on the second level of the defense.
Regardless, this guy needs to play with more fire. The Raiders are counting on him and don't have a better option on the roster.
In my opinion, Cooper Carlisle is not only the worst starting O-linemen on the Raiders, but the worst starter on the team period.
He gets no push in the run game, he holds, he misses stunts and blitzes and he lacks the athleticism he once had.
He's pretty much just terrible.
The Raiders may even have better options in Daniel Loper and Bruce Campbell.
Loper filled in nicely for an injured Robert Gallery, and I'd much rather see a young player with a lot to learn screw up than someone with nothing left in the tank.
Please Tom Cable get this has-been off of the field.
Thomas Howard has always been a fan favorite—well, at least one of my favorites.
This year he hasn't actually played badly. He actually hasn't had a chance, as he is riding the bench and has been limited to contributing only in special teams and certain nickel packages.
Some (at least I am) are disappointed in him for his lack of contributions on defense.
Though giving the Raiders recent performance, it's hard to suggest the Raiders aren't better off without him starting.
After leading all rookies in sacks in 2008 and leading the Raiders in sacks in 2009, Trevor Scott became a fan favorite.
So far this year, he has shown very little except for a strong affinity for being pushed around in the running game. This guy was supposed to be our best pass rusher and thus far this season has only been shut down by opposing pass blockers, totaling a dismal 0.5 sacks and 13 tackles.
Despite superior play from both Matt Shaughnessy and Lamarr Houston, Trevor Scott is still starting.
This guy needs to step it up and show us the pass rusher from the last few years or give up his starting status to someone more qualified.
I have no idea why this guy is a starter. Is it seniority, hype, politics, potential? I know for damn sure it isn't his play.
A product of the Raider Nation hype machine.
Last year Nick Miller suffered an injury in preseason. Lacking any foresight whatsoever, the Raiders left him on the roster in the hopes that he would heal before the season ended. Unfortunately, it didn't happen and he was just a waste of roster space.
This led many Raider fans to assume he had playmaking ability and was actually worth a roster spot. Some fans even went as far as to compare him to Wes Welker, suggesting he would actually contribute to the offense.
So far he has shown us nothing.
He has one reception on the season. Hell, Khalif Barnes has more than that and he even has a TD to go along with his catches.
As a returner, he has disappointed as well, often leaving Raider fans gasping in fear every time he fields the ball. Please someone teach this guy how to fair-catch...please!!!
Oh yeah and to go along with his lacking return ability and one reception, he has two fumbles
I don't know what so many Raider fans see in this guy. Do they just like him because he is white? Or did they buy into the hype that they themselves created? Or do they just like the idea of the Raiders finding a gem in a 5'9", undrafted, no-name receiver?
I really don't know. In my opinion, he's just as big of a waste of a roster spot as he was last year. Though it would be nice if he proved me wrong by taking a few punts to the house.
Tyvon Branch is easily one of the most aggressive players on the Raiders defense and seems to always be around the ball.
But sometimes that aggressiveness hurts him, especially against play action as he has bit on his share of play fakes this year.
Every time there's a big play, it seems as though this guy is out of position either via a blown coverage or a missed tackle.
But hey, give him a break, he's leading the team in tackles; he can't do everything. Oh yeah, he also leads the team in takeaways with one interception and two fumble recoveries.
If this guy can improve his decision making, he would be the among the premier safeties in the league, but hey at least when he makes mistakes, he does it at full speed and when you're always around the ball good things will happen.
This guy just needs to keep doing what he's doing and good things will happen.
For years, Michael Huff has been called another of the Raiders first-round busts. Then last year he picked off three balls within the first three games, quickly shutting up his critics.
But since then, he is yet to pick off a single ball in over a year. Every game he fails to pick off a ball, the whispers begin to re-emerge louder and louder.
But reality is even though interceptions are the standard barometer to measure a safety's worth, they shouldn't be the only form of measurement used.
Michael Huff has improved every aspect of his game over the past year. With patience, the interceptions will come. Huff currently has 58 tackles, three forced fumbles and two sacks—great numbers for any safety at the mid-point in the season.
Well maybe Tyvon Branch and Michael Huff aren't to blame after all. Maybe zone coverage is the real culprit.
In the recent past, many Raiders fans have moaned and complained that we run far too much man coverage.
Well, be careful what you wish for. Early this season, the Raiders have run far more zone than they have in the past. And ironically most of the blown coverages and big plays that we've given up have been while in zone coverage.
Prior to the Broncos game, the team as a whole decided to implement more man coverage and the results were astonishing.
Here's a qoute from Raiders safety Michael Huff's official blog:
"Before the game, we decided to alter our game plan slightly. We spent the majority of the games prior to the one against the Broncos in zone coverage. The zone coverage helped our secondary in run support, but hurt us in other ways."
"We tended to over-think while playing zone. Leading up to the game, the coaching staff and the players made a conscious decision to employ more man-to-man coverage. It helped us react to the plays better and simplify the defense. If our defensive line continues to pressure the quarterback, our secondary will be tough to exploit."
Where have we been the last four or five years?
Prior to the Chiefs vs. Raiders game, we failed to sell out the Coliseum for 11 straight home games—that's ridiculous.
At the Texans vs. Raiders game, only 32,000 tickets were sold, but I assure you more like 25,000 fans were in the stands.
But against the Chiefs, as the team was looking to advance past .500 for the first time in over seven years, we came out in force. We were loud and we were proud.
That's how Raider games are supposed to be. Let's sell out the stadium for the rest of the season so home field advantage actually means something in Oakland.