Week 1: Seven Observations From The Raiders Loss To the Titans
This exactly what the Oakland didn't need. A lopsided loss to the Tennessee Titans to start the 2010 season.
With so much optimism in the Raider Nation about the end of the bad times, this loss really has the potential to take the heart out of this team and ruin the season.
Bu what can we really learn from the performance against the Titans?
Well actually quite a lot.
And it isn't all bad.
It's Still Week One
This is just week one.
And against a quality opponent.
There have been previous years (actually quite a lot of them) where we have had bad losses in the first week of the season, but come back with excellent performances later in the season.
There are a lot of new personnel on defense, and a new quarterback and offensive coordinator on offense.
It isn't going to be a great surprise if they take time to gel.
Please don't be alarmed or press the panic button at this point.
The Pass Rush Was a Disappointment
Despite leading the NFL in pre-season sacks, the Raiders defense had a poor pass rush this Sunday.
If the week one loss to the Titans's is anything to go by, Oakland is going to have to blitz to get pressure on the quarterback. Yes, Tennessee has a good offensive line, but this performance just wasn't good enough.
Matt Shaugnessy and Kamerion Wimbley may have had sacks, but pressure wasn't a factor.
The Run Defense Was Better Than It Looked
Despite giving up a big amount of running yardage, the Raiders rushing defense contained Chris Johnson most of the day.
Apart from one 76 yard TD run, Johnson wasn't a factor.
Without that run, Johnson was 26 for 66 yards. That is very, very good. Unfortunately it isn't reality as the 76 yarder can't be excluded. But it isn't as bad as it looked.
Am I happy? No, we lost and gave up a lot of yardage, but there is some consolation in defeat with this.
Tennessee is the NFL's number one rushing team against one of the worst rushing defenses in the league a year ago.
It's better than it looked.
This Is a Test Of Spirit
We have heard all off season how this Raider team is different.
How this team has the spirit that previous teams didn't, and that things will be better. Well a lot of teams have a bad start to the season, but it is how you come back that counts.
If that is who this team really is, we will see a better performance against the Rams next week, and the bad opening weekend will inspire them through the first half of the season.
If they aren't winners at heart, this defeat will sink them for this year.
Darren McFadden Did All That Was Asked Of Him
A healthy Darren McFadden really did everything that was asked of him today, accounting for 150 yards from scrimmage during the game.
91 yards on the ground, 55 in the air, and McFadden looked dangerous all night long. He was clearly Oakland's best player on offense, and really answered a lot of questions that have been asked about him over the last two years.
Assuming that he can stay healthy, he showed he can be an every down back.
A total of 24 touches for 150 yards. Lets all hope he can keep that up throughout the season.
Michael Huff Is Done?
Michael Huff was replaced during the game by Hiram Eugene after the 76 yard touchdown run by Chris Johnson.
It isn't the first time that Huff has lost his starting job, and he has failed to live up to his draft status since he was taken seventh overall in the 2006 draft. His pass coverage isn't in question, but his tackling has been consistently poor.
Eugene isn't an outstanding player by any stretch, and for him to replace a healthy Michael Huff says a lot.
Michael Huff may be done with the Raiders, and if they can't trade him he may end up being cut. If he is, then I know a lot of people are looking at Stevie Brown to take his spot.
How Long Before We See Bruce Gradkowski?
There is the question.
It may not be Jason Campbell's fault that the Raiders lost, his stats weren't bad and he kept his head up right until the end. But Quarterbacks are the only position judged by their won/lost record, and Campbell is 0-1 this year so far.
A lot of coaches have their jobs on the line this year, including Tom Cable, and Cable will do what he needs to win.
Bruce Gradkowski lit a fire under the Raiders last year, and he looked hot during the pre-season too.
If the Raiders continue to lose, you just know that Bruce will have his name called sooner rather than later.
Don't press your panic buttons!
There are plenty of teams who aren't good week one, who end up making the playoffs. There are plenty of tams who win in week one and go downhill. And this is just week one.
This is a team with a new offensive coordinator, and a lot of new players in the defensive unit. We always knew they might take time to gel.
Next week our home opener is against the Rams, the worst team in the league over the last two years.
If we get dismantled by the Rams, then please feel free to hammer those panic buttons good and hard. Rest assured I will be beating on mine.
Don't bet on it happening though. The Raiders will win next week, and everyone will be happier.