Oakland Raiders: The Good, the Bad, and the What the Hell Was That?

Bret ArmstrongAnalyst IAugust 24, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 22:  San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis #85 runs as Oakland Raiders linebacker Thomas Howard #53 defends during the 1st quarter as the San Francisco 49ers host the Oakland Raiders at Candlestick Park August 22, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

Let’s face it Raiders’ fans, it’s not going any better in run defense this year. Last night, the run defense was not great in the mid section, but they fared very well. On the outside is where the problem lied yesterday. It seems like every time the 49ers went around the end on a running play, it was a guaranteed first down.

This has to change, it is not acceptable. This was the ugliest part of Saturday night’s game, and quite frankly, it was hard to watch.

They seemed to stiffen up when the Niners got into the red-zone, but then San Francisco would pass the ball, and “Touchdown!” Something has to change. It will be a long, long season if we give up 200 plus rushing yards per game.

The passing defense was great. Chris Johnson made some great plays. At times, the Raiders would send all three linebackers, and that would open up the middle of the field, however, other than that, it was a very solid performance by the secondary.

It is my belief that Nnamdi Asomugha should sit out these next two weeks of practicing and preseason games, and let that heel heal. The Raiders can’t afford for this to be a lingering problem. We need sixteen games from Nnamdi, not sixteen first quarters.

JaMarcus Russell played very well in what ESPN AFC West blogger Bill Williamson called, “so-so.” I really don’t get his criticism of Russell, 7-11 for 76 yards and a touchdown. Granted, he was a little off on some throws, and he tripped over the dirt on third and five once, but overall, those are really good stats.

For Jeff Garcia, Charlie Frye, and Bruce Gradkowski, eh, the game was not so good. Some might call it “so-so.” For them combined one touchdown and three interceptions.

The ground game was non-existent, inconsistent, and blatantly anemic. Just 69 yards on 18 carries a big 1 in the touchdown column. Charlie Frye was our leading rusher, with two carries for 16 yards and a nice TD run, yikes!

Kirk Morrison got hurt; he dislocated his elbow, and will likely miss the first couple weeks of the regular season. His replacement, Ricky Brown, played very well, but will have to take a stronger leadership role if he expects to keep the job upon Morrison’s return; or if the team is expected to feed off his play.

I know this article is all over the place, but bare with me, I’m a bit scatterbrained after watching a dull performance by a team I believed to be on the brink of greatness. Not saying that they won’t have their growing pains, but some consistency would be nice.

Tom Cable may have put it best when he said, “I felt like we were really up and down, in terms of rhythm.”

That is what this article is.

Cable said, “There were some tremendous individual efforts,” like the pass protection. I’d like to add there were too many penalties by the offense, including two illegal formations, which to me is unacceptable.

Coach Cable said, “I felt like coming off the field at halftime, we had left 21 points on the field.”

This cannot happen, in order to win; we need those points, even if we have to settle for a field goal on fourth and goal from the four, or kicking an extra point after a touchdown.

Benefit of the doubt given, it is preseason. It really doesn’t matter, and it was good situational practice. Let’s hope there is enough common sense there to not do that on a more regular basis.

Overall, 21-20 is not a terrible loss. I personally felt like it was a bad game to watch in spite of the score, because it was just so bland. Aside from the Thomas Howard “pop” tackle on the sidelines, and Ricky Brown’s interception and return, there really wasn’t much excitement in the game for Oakland.

My feeling is that these two teams picked a bad week to scrimmage each other, but hey, there is a reason why they pay these guys to be coaches right?

Here’s a little food for thought; I’m just glad they didn’t go undefeated this preseason.


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