Oakland Raiders Week One: Stud & Duds
David Wilson – Sep 12, 2012
In the embarrassing debacle that was the Raiders loss to San Diego on Monday night, it would be easy to wonder if Oakland were actually a professional football team. Despite that, there were actually some good, as well as very bad individual performances.
Carson Palmer – I have read some pretty negative press about Palmer’s performance against the Chargers, and I can’t understand why. Completing 34 of 46 passes for 297 yards, with a touchdown and no interceptions is a good day for a quarterback. When you consider that the run game wasn’t working, and he had no real deep threat that day looks even better.
He only made one bad throw all day, and threw some very nice passes under extreme pressure. The lack of playmakers in the passing game didn’t leave Palmer much to work with, and the protection started to break down in the second half as Oakland got further behind. He was left with a long field on every drive due to poor special teams play.
The miscues that put the Raiders in deep trouble weren’t down to Palmer, who had a number of his passes dropped. Palmer did what was asked of him.
The Linebacking Corps – If I was highly critical of Rolando McClain last year, I felt he deserved it and then some, especially in his play against the run. On Monday night he played extremely well, showing the ability to shed blocks and fill the holes inside. An impressive transformation and credit well deserved. Philip Wheeler showed he was an every down player. Wheeler played the run well, showed good coverage skills, and even got himself on the sack sheet.
Miles Burris led the team in tackles with nine (7 solo, 2 assists). That can often be a misleading statistic, but certainly not in this case. Burris shot gaps to make two tackles for a loss, and hit ball carriers hard in the hole to stop running plays. He was always around the ball and constantly played to the whistle. He won’t be out hustled, and after an impressive debut from the rookie, Aaron Curry will have a hard time winning his job back.
Jared Veldheer – Oakland’s left tackle was the lone bright spot in an otherwise shoddy performance from the Raiders offensive line. He blocked well in the run game, getting the better of defensive linemen all night and was a solid pass blocker. Last year he was penalty prone at times, but put in a clean sheet against the Chargers. A great start to the year from Veldheer.
Brandon Myers – After contributing much at all for most of the first half, he finished the day with five catches for 65 yards, and continually worked hard to get open when Palmer got in trouble in the pocket. He caught what was thrown to him with no drops. A lot of people were wondering if Myers could carry the load of a starter in this offense. Based on the Chargers game, he has a shot to prove he can be the guy.
Jason Tarver – The ‘Mad Chemist’ and his new defense kept the Raiders in the game after the offense three times gave up possession deep in its own half, every time holding the Chargers to field goals. Oakland’s normally leaky run defense gave up only 32 yards on 20 carries (including 11 yards on a reverse), and only 258 yards all day. The Chargers ground game was never a factor. Tarver is the only coach that makes the Studs list, and appears to have done a great job with this unit.
Steve Hoffman – The Raider special teams was a concern going into this game, and the coach has to take the blame for what was maybe the worst special teams performance in the team’s history. This unit was not ready to play, and not to have an adequately prepared back up long snapper is just inexcusable. Don’t put this one on Travis Goethel, he made two bad snaps but was clearly not properly prepared for task. On the blocked punt there was a blocking breakdown when a rush on the punter by the Chargers was an obvious threat in the circumstances. Hoffman’s unit made the offense work from a long field on every drive, and put the defense in a hole continually. Total return yardage on punts/kick offs for this unit was 21 yards. Just shocking.
He needs to get his unit together quickly or look for another job.
Tommy Kelly – Make whatever other plays that you want, but to jump off side twice on third down to keep a Chargers scoring drive going will get you on the duds list. No excuses, just bad play from an experienced veteran. Kelly needs to sit in the bench until he learns to play disciplined football.
Ron Bartell – Bartell managed to give up two big catches to Malcolm Floyd (23 yards) and Robert Meacham (46 yards) in the first half before going out injured. He looks like he struggles to cover deep, and will be targeted by opposing quarterbacks until he proves otherwise. I already feel that Oakland will be looking at the corner spot with its first round draft pick in 2013.
Rod Streater – Streater had four receptions for 27 yards and the Raiders only touchdown. But He gave away a key fumble on the opening drive, which killed offensive momentum. He also dropped passes that might have made a difference in this game. It might be a lot to ask of an undrafted rookie to start on week one, but if you are in the line up you had better make the plays.
The Offensive line – the interior of the line struggle to open holes for Darren McFadden all day, and concerns around the Brisiel/Parsons/Carlisle G/C/G combination appear to be well founded. They continually failed to generate any push up front, and gave DMC little running room of any kind. The line also gave up a lot of second half pressure, and failed to account for stunts and blitzes on a number of occasions. I’m hoping that Wisniewski can return to the starting job next week (Allen has said he will get some first team reps). I excuse Jared Veldheer from the Duds list, but all the others are on it as Khalif Barnes gave up his share of pressure too.
Dennis Allen – Allen simply did not have his team ready to play. Although the defense looked much improved, the offense and special teams, both which had looked good in 2011, took steps backwards.
Allen also said that Travis Goethel had taken snaps in practice as the backup long snapper, which does not appear to be true, (at least according to Goethel and the Raiders site).
On why he was chosen to long snap: “Coach asked if anyone knew how to long snap, and I was the only one at camp that stood up so that’s kind of how I got put in there.”
On how much notice he had before he snapped: “That notice right there when he went down and I got put in. Trust me, I wish it never happened.”
It looks very much like rather than admit the team wasn’t prepared, he was willing to throw Goethel under the bus.
Personal responsibility Dennis, isn’t that what you teach the players?
In week two, the Raiders go cross country to play the Dolphins, one of the worst teams in the league at this point. If Oakland can’t beat Miami, get ready with your panic buttons…
Like Raider Nation Times
How Would You Grade the Raiders Free Agency So Far?