Oakland Raiders in Missouri on Business

Jeff LittleSenior Writer ISeptember 14, 2008

The Oakland Raiders are moving on from the forgettable opening day loss and are seeking to avoid a 0-2 start. Despite having a bad taste in their mouths and wanting to distance themselves from the stench of week one, the team needs to forget about it and focus on the matter at hand which is showing discipline, executing and coming away with a win.


The team plays its second straight division game in as many weeks. This is a rivalry that goes back to 1960 and make no mistake both teams hate each other. It is a known fact that rivalry games seem to get much more intense each and every year. The Raiders do have good memories about their last trip to Missouri.


Every Raiders fan started the season with high hopes; those hopes were dashed or took a significant blow with the performance shown or lack thereof. The most alarming or lackluster effort was shown by the defense that was gashed for 441 yards.


What we saw was a team play terrible and show several communication breakdowns. Another reality, that hasn’t been mentioned a lot, is that the defense as a whole hasn’t played together for a very long time and clearly hasn’t got it together yet.


The frustration of the loss was felt by all involved; the front office, coaching staff, players and the fans. The Head Coach is the guy who has to field several questions from the media after a game, good or bad.


Lane Kiffin and Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan don’t appear to be on the same page regarding the defense at all. That needs to change immediately.


Usually you hear a whole lot of what is known as “coach speak.” Head Coach Kiffin can’t get so frustrated that he throws a coach or a player ‘under the bus’ publicly.  


Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan unleashed a profanity lace tirade at his critics and decided to throw himself on his sword so to speak and solely take the blame for the defense in the loss. He also shielded Al Davis from criticism in his tirade.


He is known as a players coach and his troops love him for standing up for them and never ripping them publicly. I’ll bet that isn’t the case at practice. He wasn’t alone as Lane Kiffin and DeAngelo Hall took the blame for the loss as well.


Contrary to popular belief the season isn’t over after one game an NFL season has many highs and lows.


It would’ve been great to win the season opener but that didn’t happen. The next step is to redeem yourself, play better, and put on a far better performance in the next game.


The best way to assess a season is to break the season down into quarters. The first four games are the first quarter; the next four are the second quarter and so on. You want to win every game or at least finish the quarter with a .500 record.


The team was far from tearing it up when in possession of the ball but the offense moved the ball on the ground and through the air in week one. Despite the fact that both teams are young and are far from the leagues best, the offenses of both teams can be dangerous.


Both teams lost in week one and are in need of playing better. The Chiefs are dealing with a new starting quarterback Damon Huard following the injury to Brodie Croyle.


The Raiders will have the combination of Derrick Burgess and Kalimba Edwards available and need to put pressure on the passer and play discipline in coverage.  


When Kansas Citylooks to attack via the pass, chances are high that passes will go in TE Tony Gonzales’ and WR Dwayne Bowe’s direction. The Chiefs will run the ball with the trio of Larry Johnson, Kolby Smith and Jamal Charles.


The Raiders need to stop shooting themselves in the foot with game changing mistakes. Limiting the passing attack and containing the Chiefs ground game will go a long way to winning this game.


Tommy Kelly will be key in accomplishing this task as well as helping to collapse the pocket and I believe he will step up to the challenge.


The defense has several veteran players who have had to deal with the fallout of the opening week and should be looking forward to getting back on the field and proving that they’re a better team and better players then what they’ve shown.


It appears that OT Mario Henderson might start at Left Tackle with the injuries to Kwame Harris and Paul McQuistan.


Lane Kiffin stated that he has played well in practice and has shown improvement, is much more confidant and shown that he is up for the challenge, I want to see him do well but until proven otherwise, I still have my concerns and reservations.


There’s a good chance that the Raiders could receive a mulligan for the loss to the Broncos and that there will be no carryover in Missouri.


I’m looking for a better game plan offensively and defensively that is mistake free and attacks weaknesses on Sunday and far better execution.

Chief's Safety Jarrod Page has been a thorn in the Raiders side and that trend needs to stop. 


This game gives the Raiders an excellent chance to come together as a team and put on a performance that shows the Raider nation that even though people have thrown dirt in the face of the team, that it is premature to bury the team.  


Raider fans, I know last Monday was horrible but let’s try to keep the faith.