Chiefs vs Raiders: 10 Things We Learned from Oakland's 28-0 Loss
A 28-0 score is usually an indication that there was nothing good to be learned about the Raiders. But that wasn't the case with this game, as there were some good things with the bad we learned about the Raiders.
Turn the page to see exactly what we learned about the Raiders today.
Bye Week Needed
The bye week couldn't have come at a better time for the Raiders, who are banged up right now. Superstar running back Darren McFadden went out of the game with a foot injury to go with the loss of Campbell.
Rolando McClain, who had been playing better of late, went out with an ankle injury. Corner Chris Johnson is still out as he has been for the last month with a strained hamstring.
Chimdi Chekwa, an up and coming rookie corner for the Raiders, was also out with a strained hamstring. Then you have Chaz Schilens, who I thought would finally break the injury bug this year, out with a strained groin.
Fullback Marcel Reece could have been a lot of help to the Raiders quarterbacks with the receivers off, too. The Raiders will be a different team in two weeks just by getting these guys back.
They should adjust the lineup, too.
Palmer Should Have Started
I always thought that Carson Palmer should have started the game today. He threw three interceptions in the second half, but only one was his fault, as one went through Denarius Moore's hands, then Moore slipped on a come-back route on another.
Boller was goodness awful, as I thought he would be, and you might as well get Palmer in for what he did. Boller actually made it even more difficult for Palmer, as he went into the game down 21-0.
Palmer got to see his first action with the defense knowing that he could do only one thing. It would have been nice to see Palmer in the game with the running game still a part of the game-plan.
As it was, Palmer did show the arm, accuracy and pocket presence that will go a long way for him as a Raider. He was able to move the ball better than Boller, throwing for 116 yards to Boller's 61.
I told all that would listen that on his worst day without knowing the offense, he is a better option than Boller.
The Value of Jason Campbell
I got so excited about Palmer coming to Raider Nation, I didn't think about the value of injured quarterback Jason Campbell to the team. We most certainly saw that managing a game is something that a quarterback can easily do.
We can talk about McFadden being out, but Michael Bush had 82 yards in the first half and 99 for the game. Last year, with Campbell under center, the Raiders beat the Chiefs at home without McFadden.
I now really hope the Raiders bring back Campbell to back Palmer up.
Boller scares me to death, and Pryor needs to sit and learn.
Need Help from Receivers
As horrible as Boller was playing, the receivers could have helped out a little more when they did get a catchable ball thrown at them. Hagan somehow became a fan favorite by doing a little something during the preseason, and I never did understand that.
During the regular season, he dropped a pass in every game that he was targeted in. He supposed to be the reliable-handed veteran, but has been anything but that, so his roster spot needs to go to a youngster.
Denarius Moore is the exciting rookie that we've all wanted to see, but hasn't shown up since Week 2. The play where he slipped and the play that he dropped one cost Palmer interceptions.
It's time for him to drop in the rotation until he can prove he can be consistent. I was disappointed with the drop that Louis Murphy had, but I'll give him a pass for now because he just got back from injury.
Schilens is well...Schilens. He's out with a strained groin so I finally give up on him. All and all, there were three interceptions where the receivers pulled up and went half-speed to the ball.
They need to help the quarterback out.
Removing His Name from the Bust List
Perhaps I gave up on Darrius Heyward-Bey a little too soon.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but right now, he's the only dependable receiver that Raiders quarterbacks have right now. It looked to me like he would be the fifth best receiver on the team this year, but he has ascended to No. 1 very quickly.
The most important thing he is doing is removing himself from the bust list. I always knew that he would improve his hands, but I didn't think he would be able to get open enough so soon.
He is the only one the Raiders have that consistently gets open these days—putting that speed to use.
Can't Run Up the Middle
I've been saying this for weeks.
The Raiders can't run the ball up the middle.
They never could do that this year.
All the damage the Raiders have done running the ball this year has been either off tackle or outside. The only direction the Raiders seems to be able to go in these days is to the left.
Both run and pass, center Samson Satele couldn't handle Kelly Gregg, as he was tossed around all day. Khalif Barnes can't get any push off of the line of scrimmage, and right tackles are expected to do such things.
While Hagan holds up that roster spot, the Raiders need do bring in another guard if Stephon Heyer can't play left guard. That way Stefen, Wisniewski can move to his best position of center, and Bruce Campbell can surely do better than what Cooper Carlisle is right now.
You can't call yourself a bully and not run up the middle.
You can't call yourself a bully if you can only run the ball to one side.
Defense Shaping Up
I was disappointed in the defensive line not getting a sack and only getting two quarterback hits. But the coverage was solid, as rookie corner Demarcus Van Dyke has improve immensely—grabbing an interception.
Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel was 15-of-30 for 161 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions and a quarterback rating of 38.3. The much improved run defense showed up, too, as the didn't allow a 100-yard rusher for the third straight game.
They did surrender 139 yards to the Chiefs as a team, but it was through volume, as the Chiefs averaged 3.6 yards per carry. The amazing thing about that stat is they seemed to be on the field all day, as the Raiders turned the ball over six times.
The defense only gave up 14 points on the day, and seven of them were set up by a turnover.
That's something good we learned about the defense.
Demarcus Van Dyke Is Getting There
What a difference a few weeks makes, as Van Dyke was picked on from the very beginning of the preseason. Opposing teams still try to pick on him, but he is now up to the challenge and not giving up much these days.
Cassel found it to be much more difficult than he thought it would be throwing at Van Dyke today. Van Dyke had two passes defensed and an interception to show for his efforts.
If Van Dyke keeps this up and Chekwa plays the way he was when he comes back, the pass defense will be awesome.
Mike Mitchell is hitting out there and covers the tight end well, so I don't know why he doesn't start. Chinedum Ndukwe is another hitter out there that covers the tight end well, so I see why he was brought in.
On third down, when opposing offenses need something, they always seem to get it from whoever Tyvon Branch is covering. His role needs to be reduced, as Mitchell can do everything Branch does plus cover better.
Huff is doing everything in that Raiders secondary as a free safety and slot corner. This unit is already a one of the strengths of the team, but could be better with the right people playing more.
Big hitters need to be on the field more for the Raiders.
The Raiders Really Did Need to Make That Trade
Today, we saw why the Raiders really needed to make the trade for Palmer. This is a very talented team that reminded me of 2008 because of the play of Boller.
Campbell would have gotten the Raiders to the playoffs, including a win today, but that seems to be his ceiling. With Boller starting at quarterback, the Raiders would have won their last game this season in Week 6.
With Palmer in there used to his teammates, this team can go to the Super Bowl as we saw some flashes from Palmer today. This trade was absolutely the best thing the Raiders could have done for themselves this year.
This was a horrible loss for the Raiders at home, but there were some things the Raiders could take going forward. Palmer showed in spots that he is the right man for the job, but just needs to learn the offense and get the timing down with his receivers.
I think Palmer could have even pulled it out with a shrunken playbook and Bush running the ball as a starter. But putting Palmer in down 21 points was a recipe for disaster for him, as he was in comeback mode with a shrunken playbook and rusty.
A lot of the injures the Raiders have right now should be healed by the time they play the Denver Broncos in two weeks. It's not time to panic, as there was plenty of good things we saw in this loss and the bad things are correctable.
The Raiders are going to be alright.