Oakland Raiders Week 12: Pressures, Hurries and Knockdowns
Justin Smith – Nov 23, 2012
Well folks, it's been a rough few weeks. As in "historically bad NFL defense" rough. But things may get better this weekend when the Raiders travel for one of their favourite tilts - a 1 pm game on the East Coast (or further East than Oakland anyway).
The Raiders have now lost eight straight 1 pm eastern time zone games, and their last, against the Baltimore Ravens, was over so early that John Harbaugh felt the need to fake a field goal later in the game just because, well, he's a douche I guess. Didn't you hear me? Are you deaf? I said I'd ride the hot hand.
Couple of classy guys right there.
I digress. The Raiders, after playing very GOOD defense for three straight weeks, have played some of the worst defense in NFL history over a three game span over the last three. But the Raiders going to Cincinnati has a little more to it than just a football game.
Perhaps you've heard that Carson Palmer used to play for the Bengals? Or that Hue Jackson used to coach the Raiders and now helps out with the Bengals?
Perhaps, just maybe, if you pay any attention to football, some media-type this week chanced to mention Hue mortgaged the Raiders future to trade for Palmer - and Cincinnati is looking good with those draft picks while the Raiders are still struggling to win games.
Well, I'm not going to focus on that. Sure, Hue mortgaged the farm to get Palmer in - but he thought the team could win now, so he tried. It backfired, he was fired, and now Palmer is playing on a team that has little running game, a porous defense and a dearth of talent and lack of depth at most positions - largely due to the trade for him.
Owner Mark Davis is unhappy - and when Mark Davis isn't happy well....nobody cares. But at least he said something, and his points were all valid.
Nobody should feel safe on the Raiders, that much is clear. This team needs a major overhaul - I think many of us in the Nation wore blinders in thinking we didn't and couldn't this season, I being as guilty as anyone - in a major way, and now they are on notice.
The entire team is under pressure. All of them. There is no need to single out one entity, coach, aspect of play or unit. The entire team has played poorly, has looked like they've given up at times, and have simply been hard to watch for about a month now.
There is something you get used to as a Raider fan, and it happens a lot though it shouldn't with professionals - you wait for the team to pack it in once the playoffs are lost for the season.
Sometimes, that's week 17. Over the last decade, it's been somewhere between weeks 1-9.
This year, it was after the Tampa game.
The Raiders came into that game with a two-game winning streak - albeit over the lowlier Jaguars and Chiefs - and had held their previous three opponents (Jags, Chiefs and Falcons) to under 300 yards each. They were playing stellar ball.
They took a lead into halftime against the Bucs. And then the entire world fell apart.
Doug Martin ripped off a long run, which deflated the team. You could SEE them slump down; and they subsequently gave up three more rushing touchdowns to Martin - two more of the home run variety - and no offensive effort could sustain as long as their defense kept giving up yards and points.
They lost a hard-fought comeback against Tampa, but showed a lot of grit.
So what happened? This team has looked nothing like the team that beat Pittsburgh and took Atlanta and Tampa to the wire - and should've beaten Atlanta.
Instead they've played the worst football I've seen in a long time for the last three weeks. Sure, McFadden is injured - but Marcel Reece has been doing a better job anyway, so that's moot.
Has Allen lost this team? Is there any chance for redemption this season? Why does the Raiders season always seem to go downhill in weeks 6-8?
I don't know, but we'll have to see this weekend. If he's lost them, we'll know it from the opening snap. And if that's the case, he's gotta go. But if they are still playing hard, working it, putting in effort, then good. That's what they're supposed to do; and DA should stick around.
I used to think our wide receivers were young but talented and ready for a breakout - but what's happened to Denarius Moore? Rod Streater? Criner? Nowhere to be found, even though the Raiders have to pass constantly
With McFadden and Goodson injured and Taiwan Jones banged up, Greg Knapp - although he didn't do a great job with a full squad either - is very limited in his play-calling. Most would say he's limited in his play-calling regardless of the health of his players, but I actually like some of the bootlegs, screens and roll-outs Knapp comes up with. This team is just NOT a ZBS team
Khalif Barnes looked rusty but he was still better than Big Willie Styles at RT. It's about time to put Bergstrom on the line to see if he's worth plugging in next year. He can't be any worse than Barnes or Smith were
Or put him inside and get rid of the over-priced and underachieving Mike Brisiel. Looked good in Houston - looks terrible in Oakland.
The Raiders Aren't Rebuilding
Okay, this is techinically true as they aren't rebuilding. But that's due to lack of materials and funds, not want to. The 'new regime" shined us all on by telling us this team was good, was ready, was able to compete for the playoffs.
After starting 4-2 with a less talented quarterback last season, it was tough to argue about the possibility. But what people didn't choose to see, myself included, is this:
Loss of key players like Kamerion Wimbley due to salary cap issues. Cutting good players and getting absolutely nothing in return. Loss of financial acuity due to poor contracts, overpriced players and an abundance of scholarship players. That has gone by the boards, but it takes time to recover.
And loss of direction, purpose, and icon. Make no mistake, even though he'd made some dubious decisions recently and wasn't as in tune with the game as in the past, Al Davis was the Oakland Raiders. When he passed, naturally the entire franchise went through an identity crisis - which probably isn't fully complete as of yet - and lost their sense of "Raiderness."
Allen and Reggie McKenzie have saturated the roster with "their guys." I mean, how many former Green Bay practice squad players can one man sign - one that doesn't even WORK for the Packers?
McKenzie seems smart but picking up Packer detritus hasn't helped the team at all - and he keeps doing it. Almost every time you see the Raiders sign a new player, he was somehow affiliated with Green Bay at some point.
Allen seems smart and tough as well, but for a defensive "guru" with a "Mad Chemist" (defensive coordinator Jason Tarver) at his disposal, he should be making 98% pure blue glass with his defense. Glacializations. Science, Mr. White. He should be Heisenberg.
Instead this defense gets stepped on - and over - every week until they're so weak they have no effect, and Allen is more Jesse Eisenberg than Heisenberg.
Not rebuilding? Why not? You should be. This offseason is paramount - never has a Raider coach needed such a good draft or free agency period to save their own skin. As I said, they shone us all on, promising the blue whilst not delivering.
As a result, the entire season has just broke bad.
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