Raiders vs. Dolphins: Final Report Card, Player Grades

Jeff Spiegel@jeffspiegelContributor IISeptember 16, 2012

Raiders vs. Dolphins: Final Report Card, Player Grades

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    With the challenge of traveling east in front of them, the Oakland Raiders were in Miami to face the Dolphins this morning and lost 35-13 after being outscored 28-3 in the second half.

    The Raiders moved to 0-2 on the season, while Miami and rookie head coach Joe Philbin moved to 1-1 after an embarrassing week 1 performance.

    Oakland travel home to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in week 3.

Carson Palmer: C

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    Overall: C

    It's hard to judge how much of this loss comes back on Carson Palmer, and how much comes back on his offensive line, but when a team finishes 1/12 on third downs, a lot of that is on Palmer.

    Palmer needs to be more efficient throwing the ball as a 50% completion percentage just won't get it done for Oakland. Palmer did finish with 373 passing yards, however, and was very effective throwing the ball down field when he got the chance.

Running Backs: C

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    Overall: C

    When your best player offensively finishes with just 41 yards on 13 touches, Oakland fans are not going to be pleased.

    The only saving grace for this unit was Mike Goodson, who scored Oakland's only touchdown on a long screen pass early in the game.

    As a unit, Oakland running backs finished with just 23 yards on 14 carries — an average of just 1.6 yards per carry.

Wide Receivers: C-

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    Overall: C-

    This unit played alright, but for the second straight week they failed to make a game-changing play at any point. When Carson Palmer was pressured on a regular basis, it didn't seem that any of the Oakland receivers were helping their quarterback out by getting open early on.

    The Raiders were definitely glad to have Denarius Moore back, as the explosive receiver finished with 67 yards on three catches. Darrius Heyward-Bey was the next best option among receivers, finishing with 41 yards on four catches.

    Palmer is going to need some more help from this group if the offense is going to ever get going.

Tight Ends: A

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    Overall: A

    As a position that came into the season with low expectations, the Oakland tight ends provided the lone bright spot from an otherwise depressing day.

    Brandon Myers finished as the team's leading receiver with six catches for 86 yards, while David Ausberry also added a nice 31-yard grab.

    With Jacoby Ford out for the season potentially, Myers and Ausberry could become big targets as the season wears on.

Offensive Line: F-

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    Overall: F-

    What a terrible, terrible day to be an Oakland Raiders offensive lineman.

    Not only did they fail to open up any holes for the Oakland running game, but they provided no protection to Carson Palmer, who was hit nine times.

    If this unit keeps under-performing it's going to be a long season for Oakland fans, because a well-oiled offense begins with strong play up front.

    Look for plenty of criticism about the newly-instituted zone blocking scheme this week.

Defensive Line: F

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    Overall: F

    After appearing to be one of the best defensive lines in the league in week 1, they came back down to earth this week (and maybe even further down).

    In week 1, the Oakland defense stymied the San Diego rushing attack, but this week Reggie Bush and Co. finished with 259 yards rushing. They're going to need to generate a much bigger rush in the coming weeks, otherwise Oakland's weakness in the defensive backfield will continue to be exploited.

Linebackers: F

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    Overall: F

    Much like the defensive line, the linebackers have to take a good deal of credit for the embarrassing run defense this week.

    In most of the Reggie Bush highlights this week you'll notice plenty of missed tackles, especially from this unit. After a breakout performance from Miles Burris in week one and a great game from Rolando McClain, the duo combined for just four tackles today.

Defensive Backs: D

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    Overall: D

    For most units, 200 passing yards allowed would be a solid day. For Oakland, however, against rookie QB Ryan Tannehill, it was extremely underwhelming.

    It seemed almost anytime the Dolphins needed a big passing play in the second half, his receivers were wide open. This unit was also another source of terrible tackling and was partly responsible for a number of Reggie Bush yards.

Special Teams: B+

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    Overall: B+

    The good news for Oakland is that this unit didn't turn the ball over.

    Unfortunately, this week's problem was a number of costly penalties.

    New punt returner Phillip Adams was effective when he got the chance to return the ball, but in one case penalties left the Raiders offense starting from the one yard line. When they went three-and-out, the Dolphins started their ensuing drive from Oakland territory.

Coaching: D-

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    Overall: D-

    The offensive line and tackling were Oakland's two biggest problems this week, but the play-calling definitely didn't do anything to help.

    Critics have been loud in criticizing the new zone blocking scheme in Oakland and a game like today definitely will only make those complaints louder. Also, the conservative play-calling of new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp was criticized in week one, something that once again was a problem in Oakland.

    The coaching staff's job is to give their team and players a chance to win, but with conservative play calls and a lack of motivation, it doesn't appear than Dennis Allen and his staff did their job today.

    He's a rookie coach and it's a new staff, so things are sure to take some time, however, Oakland fans won't accept any excuses when the team loses to someone like the Dolphins.