Oakland Raiders: Remember(ing Next We Play) The Titans

Captain Jack Rack Levy – Nov 23, 2013

I wrote in my last piece how eerily similar in feel our latest win against the Texans was in comparison to the ‘Al Davis Remembrance’ game played shortly after his death in 2011.  I also recently posted we needed to have some offense show up if we were ever going to keep on track and get some needed wins down the stretch, if not to make the playoffs this year, to at least go into next season on an “upswing positive…”

At least against the Texans, we got the elusive touchdowns needed in the second half… which in fact were TWO touchdowns, with the second – Rashad Jennings’ 80yd run out of the wildcat – ultimately being the deciding factor.  Darren McWho? Jennings has indeed earned a contract for next year based on his playing time this year, and hopefully this will indeed come to fruition, as the majority of us here wishing him inked to that extension (literally) last Sunday, last month, or pick a day since I believe it's overdue. 

Pending an incredibly horrific meltdown reminiscent of the 1964 Phillies or Greg Norman’s 1996 Master’s final round, one AFC wildcard will be scooped up by either divisional foe Kansas City or Denver, leaving one spot available in the conference.  At least four if not five wins will be needed to attain the remaining spot, and wins SPECIFICALLY against the Titans, Jets and Chargers will need to be earned mandatorily to even begin discussion of a playoff appearance. 

(Cue Jim Mora’s memorable ‘Playoffs?!?!?’ rant here…) 

But let’s not go there, because truly the adage one game at a time is indeed all the Raiders need to think about, starting with this Sunday’s game against the Titans.  Tennessee, much like our Raiders, has been consistently inconsistent this year – either looking like world-beaters or 98lb beach weaklings depending on the week.  Let’s play and beat the Titans first before we entertain further thoughts of grandeur. 

While we’re discussing our upcoming contest against Tennessee, the next question to be answered is who will be manning the quarterback spot for the Raiders the next few games if not the rest of the season? And therein lies the rub, as quite a few members of our Raider Nation are scrambling to jump off the TP2 train and hitch themselves to the Matt McGloin wagon as quickly as possible. 


Seriously?

/articleimages/rivera-jennings-tds.jpgHey, I’m quite happy the ‘scrappy chip on the shoulder forever’ McGloin proved his worth in our game this past Sunday.  I’ve often said – tongue planted firmly in cheek mind you – that I wouldn’t care if Josef Stalin was throwing touchdown passes to John Wilkes Booth out of the backfield on a circle route or if Genghis Khan was sacking the opposing quarterback causing a fumble picked up by Al Capone to run in for a touchdown… all the while these despicable men wearing the Silver and Black… as long as we won the game. 

(Cue Herman Edwards, as I’m sure he has something to say about playing to win the game...) Don't worry Coach, we play the Jets in December, as well as a rematch with your Chiefs later the same month...

Sorry, one game does NOT a 'give him the keys to the Ferrari and start him for the rest of the year' make. Yes, Pryor still needs work on his mechanics – did you notice it’s taken Cam Newton three full years playing to really become the force he has been this year? And don’t tell me Pryor has already had his three years because you aren’t going to have the same exposure he’s had since he’s only played in NINE NFL Games!! – And affirmative, McGloin played a terrific game Sunday. 

However, the main reason we won against the Texans was because our Defense came up big when it was needed… AND WE RAN DOWN THEIR THROATS.  There's a reason the Texans had the #1 Pass Defense in the league, it was because EVERYONE RAN ON THEM!! Remember a few years ago when the Raiders had the #1 (or maybe top 3) Pass Defense? It's because the stats were skewed as nobody passed on us...why would they when they could just RUN RUN RUN and blow us out.

And by the way, it certainly helped we were getting healthier across the offensive line as well, as it wasn't the 'same line' out there getting boat-raced.  Both Pashos and Watson were back which helped, and Brisiel was in/out with Gurode in/out too.  Having Pashos manning the right tackle spot was a boon for our team as it kept out most of the day (although he DID get his two sacks) J.J. Watt. Barnes surprisingly played a better than good game, and hopefully the injuries Brisiel, Watson and Gurode suffered this past Sunday won’t linger, as we’re due to get ‘The Hulk’ back at left tackle either this week or next. 

/articleimages/mcgloin-pryor-wins.jpgDo we have a ‘quarterback controversy’ in Oakland.  Not really. I wanna see what McGloin can do Sunday against the Titans... and for that matter, I'm really wanting to see what I believe could be our quarterback of the future in Tyler Wilson if Terrelle Pryor doesn’t pan out, but I think with more reps and seasoning  Pryor, along with McGloin and Wilson will do just fine and quite capable for the rest of this year and into the next when we may yet again find a free-agent thrower or an early round draft gem to compete for the starting job.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhh… decisions decisions, but I’m getting ahead of myself. 

What I can say is Pryor a nice centerpiece to have with a better O-Line and a rested knee as well... and after his debut showing, I have a better feeling and non-lump in the throat of what McGloin can bring to the table.  Dennis Allen himself stated McG14’s showing added him to ‘the discussion’ of who will ultimately win out as the starting quarterback, but WE as Raider Nation shouldn’t be distressed as to who is throwing the ball, who is running the ball, who is catching the ball, who is making the tackles, interceptions, fumble recoveries, goal line stands, punts, kicks, etc. et al. 

WE root, cheer, scream and totally support whoever is out there wearing ‘the colors’ for our Raiders.  This Sunday, I’m cheering, hollering and (sometimes swearing) at the quarterback who is leading this offense to scores as well as the defense to stop the opposition when it counts the most, and this Sunday it’ll be MAC14 and our marauding defenders under Tarver and his crew. 

I’d be remiss though if not to remember Raiders’ linebacker Thomas Howard, Jr., who died in a horrific car accident this past week.  Our hearts should go out for his family – who I met a few years ago coincidently in Houston – and the family of the other gentleman who lost his life in the tragic event.  I’ll always remember Howard as the speedy, tough and dynamic force teamed with Kirk Morrison, and I’ll hold that memory until I pass to greet him…

Until this Sunday when we see if we can win another game and get closer to .500, the Captain remains in the Caribbean and bellows his weekly “YAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!! Raider Nation!!!”



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