Oakland Raiders: AFC West Contenders Or Pretenders?

Vic LContributor IOctober 14, 2010

Oakland Raiders: AFC West Contenders Or Pretenders?

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    OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 10:  Bruce Gradkowski #5 of the Oakland Raiders is hit by Shaun Phillips #95 of the San Diego Chargers at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 10, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    I got to thinking about possible topics for my second post on B/R. I was gonna chirp about the Huge win over them Chargers, or maybe how bad our Defense is.

    But while trying to decide I realized I don’t even know who this team really is. These five games have been a roller coaster, from extreme lows to euphoric highs.

    I’m hoping next week Raider Nation can smoke another one and get high on a win against the 49ers. Can they put up back to back wins? Who knows, it seems like the Raiders are different team every Sunday.

    I'll provide some commentary, and based on the early season play you can decide:

    Are the Oakland Raiders ready to contend for the AFC West Crown in 2010?

AFC West Champs With This Offensive Line... Not Likely

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    OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 10:  Jason Campbell #8 of the Oakland Raiders is tackled by the San Diego Chargers at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 10, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    I'm one of those guys who believes you build a team from the inside out. Which means you can't win if your offensive and defensive lines give up sacks and yards, like Brett Favre gives out Junk pics.  

    We trusted Ol' Tom Cable (the O-Line Genius, lol) during the off season. We said "oh, all our O-Line problems were JR's fault". Hey I'll admit I was one of those guys, but judging by the amount of Smack laid on our QB's this year, I'd say we have some issues.

    Look I wont beat a Dead Horse, you watch the games. Given that this is a Quarterback driven league I'd say it might be a good idea to keep ours, whether Doc B or JC standing upright. However...

Ground and Pound to Victory, Is Bigger Better?

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    Hey Darren did U need us to Block that guy?
    Hey Darren did U need us to Block that guy?Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    With all the knocks on our O-Line, I can't really complain about our 7th ranked running game.

    Both DMC and MBush have had a over 100 yard rushing games this season. I was campaigning hard for Bush this season to be our #1 back, but DMC came out and proved he can be an everydown back in this league.

    One thing you can say about this O-Line is that they are all BIG. When Veldheer was starting Center they were the Biggest in the league, but being big isn't always good.

    The longest runs of the season were for 33,30, and 23 yards all by McFadden. What does that mean? Well, those big lineman can't get to the second level to block the Backers and DBs. This is necessary for those Big Runs to the House.

    There is no denying, despite the O-Line's faults the Running game is Solid.

Five Games, One Touchdown. Wide... Recevier?

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    GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey #85 of the Oakland Raiders attempts to catch a pass while defended by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie #29 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Sept
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    This surprised me at first. One Wide Receiver TD, Damn.  Who do I blame…

    "Oh hey DHB how you doing, I know you worked really hard this off season, but sorry back under the Bus you go".

    Yes Darrius Heyward-Bey. Look I like this kid, he fast, big, and is a hard worker. My gripe is by picking #7 in the 2009 draft we are now forced to make him our #1 receiver, which is retarded. He should be #3 at best and that’s with Chaz out.

    People want to blame our O-line, are QB play, or the Playcalling, which are all BS arguments. DHB got targeted three times in the endzone against the Cardinals. My conclusion is that DHB cost us that game, not Sebass, sorry folks.

    No matter where you’re drafted you got to earn your spot, bottom line. That has been the Raiders problem; they start and play players based on draft status and how much they signed for. Get the job done or get out I say.

Zach Miller...Tight End. Job...Catch Touchdowns

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    Hey Revis your covering the wrong Guy.
    Hey Revis your covering the wrong Guy.Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    The good news Raider Nation is that our #1 receiver is playing lights out, and who is our best receiver…it’s our Tight End.  

    I am a Huge Zach Miller fan, the guy is a hometown favorite. I found out he grew up like ten minutes from where I did, and stayed home in college playing for Arizona State.

    Zach is once again leading the Raiders in receiving, and that should not change anytime soon. Three TD’s do not tell the whole story; some of those balls thrown DHB’s way should have gone to Zach. Behind Nnamdi, Zach Miller might be the most important player to this franchise in recent years.

    The Raiders need to follow one rule when in the RedZone. Throw to Zach Miller.

De-Fense, De-Fense, De-Fense... Well Not On Sudays

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    OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 10:  Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers drops back to pass against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 10, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Score on me once, shame on you, Score on me twice shame on me, Score on me anytime you want, Fire somebody.

    The Oakland Raiders give it up on the Ground, they give it up in the Air, The Raiders are easier to score on than a drunk fat girl at last call. Hell we made Vince Young, Derek Anderson, and Sam Bradford look like Pro Bowlers.

    Rivers ripped us apart all by himself. Hey Nnamdi I know your the best corner in the league, but can you give some tips to your fellow DB's. Oh and maybe get a pick or two, you had your chances.

    Our Run Defense looks stout for a couple of series, than all of sudden, Bam 46 yards, Boom, 58 yards, Ouch, 72 yards. Our Run D is like a drug addict in rehab. They try to stay away from giving up the big run, but they just cant resist.

    Is it John Marshall? is it the Players? I can't figure it out.

We're So Special: Special Teams and Key Defensive Stops.

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    OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 10:  Tyvon Branch #33 of the Oakland Raiders picks up a fumble and returned it for a touchdwon in the fourth quarter of their game against the San Diego Chargers at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 10, 2010 in Oakland, Cali
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Can the Raiders continue to live with Key defensive stops, and opportunistic Special Teams play?

    I doubt it, but despite giving up tons of yards the Oakland defense has put their team in position to tie or win a game in two out of our three losses.

    A gimme field goal from Sebass, or a catch by LMurphy and who knows where we might be. Even in the Titans game I thought the D looked good, but just couldn't get any help from the offense.

    This Defense needs to be opportunistic and try to create turnovers. Interceptions and Fumbles are key. How do we do this? You gotta take a few risk. Blitz and Cheat in the secondary. This might burn us from time to time, but frankly this Defense is gonna get Burned anyway.


Raider Nation Be Patient

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    OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 11:   Fans observe a moment of silence in honor of the lives lost on September 11, 2001, before the NFL game between the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers at McAfee Coliseum on September 11, 2006 in Oakland, California.  (
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Do I believe the 2010 Oakland Raiders are ready for Primetime?

    No...but this team is talented and can compete with anybody. Patience is key we gotta let this team marinate a little.

    In my heart I feel the Oakland Raiders will once again Dominate the AFC West. Just maybe not this year.

    What U think Raider Nation? 


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