Oakland Raiders: Latest Win Bodes Well for 2013 Season Outlook
Captain Jack Rack Levy – Nov 2, 2013
I stated in part one of this piece I believe the Raiders are indeed coming together into a playoff caliber team this year based primarily on their defense prowess under the tutelage of Defensive Coordinator Jason Tarver. The defense just doesn’t look good ‘on paper’ (as attested to the Top Ten Defensive ranks in various categories exhibited to date), it meets the ‘eye test’ as a physically
impressive, dominating and attacking defense against both the run and the pass. Again, these latest statistics are only as good as the games we’ve played so far, but our next six games appear winnable against teams with non-winning (i.e. .500 at best) records.
True, we ourselves have a ‘non-winning record’ presently, but don’t you think our Raiders can hold their own and win these games against the Iggles (3-5), Giants (2-6), Texans (2-5), Titans (3-4), Cowboys (4-4) and Jets (4-4 and a game Captain Jack will PERSONALLY attend!!). Two are at home in Oakland, two are in Texas and the other two are in the Big Apple, so yes, there will be some travel involved, but there is no reason to believe the Raiders can’t show a winning record of 7-6 at worst before we hit the final three most important games against our AFC West foes Chiefs, Bolts and Donkeys to close out 2013.
There is a catch however, and it comes in the form of two items - Health along with Second-half performance and adjustments.
We all know we’ve been waiting to get healthy, having endured some debilitating injuries to our offensive line which undoubtedly cost us games in Kansas City and against the ‘Skins (Pryor being out especially hurt our chances of winning then). Good news appears… although murky and foggy in these waters the Galleon presently cuts through running with the wind… yet good news may yet be coming with the expected (healthy) return of Gurode, Pashos, Watson and Veldheer within the next month.
Adding some good news would be the return of Miles Burris to bolster an already impressive and attacking defense. Burris, along with our newest defensive addition Martez Wilson will hopefully get some game time rushes as they are added to the mix by the ‘Mad Scientist’ Jason Tarver. Just think if we can possibly add Tyvon Branch back to the roster by the end of the year how many ‘toys’ Tarver will have at his disposal. By the way, in case you haven’t bought your Tarver 3:16 shirts - follow the link I provided and get yours today!! I know The Captain definitely is getting his!!
So we’re feeling good about our health getting better (or maintenance when it comes to the rest of the oft-injured player(s) who shall remain nameless), but we do have to work on our second half performances. Looking back at our last four games (2-2) it is both shocking and nail-biting to realize the Raiders have scored 10 second half points in those games.
Let me repeat that… TEN SECOND HALF POINTS – TOTAL!! - in the last four games. And what makes matters worse, is seven of those ten came off of the Woodson fumble recovery for a touchdown (and following PAT) in the San Diego game.
Many will attribute the conservative second-half play calling to ‘not playing to lose’ while others will state its mainly due to the injuries along our offensive line playing into the hands of the defense with a young quarterback who has made only seven starts in his career.
I’m sure it’s probably a combination of all the above, but it surely doesn’t give anyone in Raider Nation a ‘warm and fuzzy’ seeing winnable games against the ‘Skins an Chiefs being lost due to no offensive output whatsoever, while wins against the Chargers and Steelers in that span were primarily due to a defense who snuffed out the opponents drives when it mattered in the end.
Let’s see if we can get some healthy O-Linemen back to assist in the endeavor of not having to rely on an Automatic Electronic Defibrillator for those of the weaker of heart – in case anyone needs to be reminded the Captain had to be medevac’d off the Rock last year due to hemorrhoidal Charger and Chief fans who spiked the heart rate to near geyser proportions following the Monday Night opener when the loss of Condo was the principle cause of the season opening loss – so keeping one’s blood pressure under control is indeed important.
So while we’re on the subject, I would like to see our Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson maybe open up the playbook juuuuuuuuuuuuuuust a bit more and utilize Reese and Jennings more often in screens and runs that don’t involve DMac slamming into the middle of the line repeatedly. How about a bubble screen to Moore if Ford can’t hang onto the ball? Perhaps some crossing routes enabling Reece, Rivera and Moore, Streater to be utilized effectively. Here’s a thought… ever consider using McFadden as a slot/wide receiver at least once or twice a game? I’m sure it would scare the bejesus out of any defensive coordinator not named Lebeau, Capers or Ryan (Buddy, not his sons).
I’m sure Olson and the rest of the offense will indeed get better as our wounded return and our warriors get more in synch to what the offense will be capable of showing, as our last five games especially we’ll need to have an offense scoring points to keep up with our Top Five – Ten defense we’re playing with presently.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, as an Iggles team comes into Oakland looking to gain their own respectability after great hype following the opening night juggernaut on display for all to see. Granted, it’s been shut down a bit lately, and it appears Michael Vick may be shut down as well for the game (with his back up Nick Foles ‘nicked’ as well), so again this is indeed a WINNABLE GAME for the Raiders to get back to .500. First things first… let’s clip the Iggles wings before our follow-up trip to New York (Part One), shall we?
Until next week when we’ll have nearly all hands on deck (injury-wise) and ready to go to battle throughout the second half of the season, Captain Jacks bellows his mighty and hardy “YAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH!!! RAIDER NATION!!!” to members and crew of the Raider Galleon!!
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