Spotlighting the Oakland Raiders Going into Week Three

Bret ArmstrongAnalyst ISeptember 25, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 20:  Head coach Tom Cable of the Oakland Raiders watches from the bench during warm-ups prior to the start of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 20, 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Rich Gannon had a lot to say to the media this week with regard to the Oakland Raiders. I’m sure a lot of you have heard or read what he said about JaMarcus Russell, but here are some direct quotes you may not have heard in media outlets.

“When you watch him (JaMarcus), and he’s in rhythm, he’s phenomenal. He can make every throw.”

I absolutely agree with this statement. I had to go to YouTube.com last night and watch some highlights because I, myself, doubted JMR’s accuracy. And what I found excited me.

Even when throwing on the run, JaMarcus' accuracy was right on point. This leads me to believe that he is having issues with receivers not being where they are supposed to be when he looks up to read the field after/during his drops.

JaMarcus said earlier this week, “I know where the guys are going to be, but at the same time, once you look there, they’re not quite there yet.”

Unfortunately, I was not able to watch the game at Kansas City, instead listening to it on KSFO 560 radio. However, I did get to see a highlight where Darrius Heyward-Bey had a defender directly in front of him, on a comeback route, and JMR purposefully threw it over his head, which leads me to this statement by the QB.

“With the punter we have, you know all-world Shane Lechler, go to the sideline, look at it again, come back out again, and let’s do it again.” I mean c’mon Raider Nation, you don’t want to have the guy throwing interceptions all day, so he throws it away, give him a break.

"Rich Gannon also said that, “the addition of Richard Seymour and Greg Ellis has been great for Oakland, not only in the run game, but with their ability to rush the passer. You combine that with the impact they have with the secondary and the linebackers, and I think it bodes well.”

There is no doubt about this statement; it is a fact. Seymour was huge against the Chargers, and creates mismatches whenever he is on the field. He frees up the other defensive lineman, he helps the linebackers get into open space, and he gives the quarterback less time to throw—which helps the secondary with their coverage.

Ellis has three sacks this year. His former team, the Cowboys, have none. So, his impact on the Raiders is not only recognized by Raiders faculty and fans, but also by the Cowboys. Both of these men have been beasts this year and are highly reliable players along the defensive front.

Jonathan Holland is returning kickoffs this week for Oakland. It is yet to be said whom he replaced on the 53-man roster, although all signs point to Louis Rankin, what with the return of Justin Fargas and the fact that Louis is the odd man out on kickoff returns.

For those of you who don’t know, Holland has made a switch from wide receiver to defensive back, so part of this move might help with the absence of Hirum Eugene as well. Holland last returned kickoffs in the Oakland Raiders' final preseason game, and average 35.5 yard per return. In contrast, Rankin only averaged 18.0 yards on six returns this year.

If Rankin makes it through waivers, the Raiders will be very fortunate to get him signed to their practice squad to replace Holland. Rankin is a great asset, regardless of his return numbers—which leads me to my next point.

The Oakland Raiders need to run the ball more. There is no reason why we should not have a 60 to 40 percent ratio of run to pass. It is insane to put all this pressure on JaMarcus Russell’s shoulders, especially with no Chaz Schilens.

If the Oakland Raiders have a primary receiver this year, odds are it will be Schilens. Schilens had five catches and a 47-yard pass interference call in one quarter against the Cowboys in preseason game one. He has a great chemistry with JaMarcus, and he is missed in the passing game, not only by Russell, but by Zach Miller as well.

Miller is getting extra attention by defenses, and will continue to see heavy coverage until Schilens returns. With the halfbacks in Oakland’s stable, they should be running, running, running, and only passing when absolutely necessary.

I know that nobody wants a $16 million/year hand-off guy, but right now that’s what Oakland needs to do to keep the defense fresh and produce some time of possession.

Eric Pears is the man expected to take the spot of injured Robert Gallery. Tom Cable said that he felt better replacing one guy on the line than moving Chris Morris to guard and replacing two positions. I don’t blame him for it; I think it is a good move.

Pears was a Denver Bronco under Mike Shanahan and is experienced in ZBS. Cable said he is a very smart man, and he's picking the offense up quickly.

Raider Nation's immediate thoughts are that Samson Satele is a bust trade, right?

No, that is wrong.

The simple way to put it is to say that Samson was in a man blocking scheme in Miami during his tenure there, and he needs some time to adjust. He is young, folks.

Plus, Cooper Carlisle is getting older, and soon we will need a good guy to replace him at right guard. Satele fits that bill, if Morris holds down the center spot for years to come.

Johnnie Lee Higgins is back, and my personal hope is that he can return to the form he had last year. Hopefully, he'll keep developing chemistry with the quarterback and pick up where he left off on punt returns.

He seems to be up to some of his old antics, referring to himself in third person earlier this week. He was asked if No. 15 would play Sunday, he replied, “Yeah. He has to be out there.”

He said that he was in game mode at Kansas City, until he looked down and realized that he had no pads on. I think, I hope, that Johnnie can be even a small glimpse of his image from last season.

Coach Cable said the woes of the passing game are not due to one person’s inconsistencies, but to the group as a whole not doing well. He even said that the coaching staff has to do a better job.

Way to man up, Cable. This is why he is the best coach since Gruden. He is the most honest coach since John Madden. He really does a good job of keeping things in perspective and getting his job done like a man would do.

On that note, I will leave you to think about things, Nation. All I have to say is keep believing. Good Fight, Good Night.


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