Who is this team? Seriously folks. How does an NFL team start off shaky, then win three games straight, only to lose horribly to the recent two. It's hard to tell if they are a playoff team or just lucky.
In point, how did the Oakland Raiders defeat the Denver Broncos by 59 points, breaking some historic records, then play at home and appear, well, unbalanced. Unbalanced is the best way to describe what we saw today. I wasn't upset as much as I was disappointed to see the Oakland Raiders lose again.
For the Oakland Raiders, the season could be ending if they don't get their act into gear and start using players that are playing at 200 percent. The Kansas City Chiefs are pulling away with today's win and the San Diego Chargers are also one game ahead of the Silver and Black.
Where does that place the Oakland Raiders? They are now representing the AFC West third best at 5-6. This ties them with the Tennessee Titans, the Seattle Seahawks, the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texans. These are not bad teams and compared to last year the Raiders should be ecstatic. However, for the fans and the Oakland Raiders, they need to get things right and take these last games. Can it be done? Yes. Does Oakland have the heart to win those games? Maybe.
Rookie WR Jacoby Ford once again played some great football! He started the game with a kickoff return TD and then caught a pass from QB Bruce Gradkowski and ran in for his second TD against the Miami Dolphins. In fact, in the first quarter it was back and forth as the defenses played well.
However it was the weak links that hurt the team. One of the links was Walter McFadden. At 5'10" and 180 pounds, McFadden had the task of covering Miami Dolphins WR Davone Bess and it was simply embarrassing for the Raiders. Bess able to complete at least a dozen third downs and he could not be stopped.
So, my question is why didn't coach John Marshall not replace him with a faster player who knows how to look for the football also. After the first two completions by Davone Bess on third downs it was pretty obvious that Miami found a weakness and they used it.
At 6'3" and 250 pounds I may have considered a big LS like Jon Condo. The passes to Davone Bess were short enough that Condo may have squashed Bess a few times.
Those plays may have been the negative, but the huge positive was once again Jacoby Ford. QB Bruce Gradkowski also deserves credit as he maintained his composure and got the ball to Jacoby Ford for the TD although he was hit hard.
The best part of the Oakland Raiders is definitely the defense. Tommy Kelly, Richard Seymour, Lamarr Houston and Matt Shaughnessy. These guys are solid and the sacks were great. Both Tyvon Branch and Michael Huff also hurt the offense
One player I do question is Stanford Routt. He is a veteran, but he was beaten quite a bit.
Time is critical for the Oakland Raiders. First off they need to decide which QB is the leader and let him train harder with the WRs and TEs. The Oakland Raiders QBs must get the timing down on the plays, especially with WRs Ford and Murphy. The weapons are there for the Oakland Raiders but sync is off and must be restored or they are out. Imagine if Stabler had this team.
Although the Dolphins scored 33 points the Oakland Raiders should have matched those TDs. What happened to the passing that scored 59 points? Should QB Jason Campbell have played today for the Oakland Raiders? At this point, I am unsure of the two. In all likely hood, Jason Campbell will finish off the season and get 3 more wins.
Plays such as the Wildcat needed improvement. The Wildcat was actually attempted today against the Miami Dolphins and it looked horrible. It was no where near how the Arkansas Razorbacks used it with RB Darren McFadden. It was as if the play was called but the players had never really practiced.
Next week the Oakland Raiders travel to San Diego and play the Chargers for a second time. The San Diego Chargers are looking to chase the Kansas City Chiefs and get some payback on the Silver and Black. This animosity leaves the Oakland Raiders with no choice but to get that win. Is the fat lady singing yet? Probably not, but if the Raiders lose to the Chargers, she will be singing the blues along with a million others.