Monthly Archives: August 2014

Cowboys Raiders practice gets chippy

Fortunately I attended today’s practice and got the live effect of Raidernation. Our fans were probably the most spectacular position group on display. Besides regular chants of Raiders, fans cheered for every big play and hit.

From my vantage point, defense was my main focus point. The defensive line impressed me with a variety of moves. Pat Simms showed some good pad level against the Cowboys’ offensive line. Antonio Smith also showed some great hands and secondary pass rush moves. On the other hand Khalil Mack showed he needs to add some size on his frame. Macks’ reps I saw featured him getting washed into and past the quarterback.

Nick Roach, Miles Burris, and SIo Moore did not fair much better in the screen drill. All of them beat in pass coverage and that carried into the team position.

The team defense never seemed in position to make plays against the pass. Brandon Weeden and Tony Romo both carved their way through the defense. Luckily they were able to make a stop in the end zone, and also made an interception.

On offense, the Raiders scored against the Cowboys’ defense on a strike from Matt Schaub. THey also scored to end the team position. Mostly, Schaub showed poise in the pocket despite a few badly placed throws. Derek Carr also lead a drive despite displaying his happy feet.

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Also, our running backs continued showcasing their big play ability.


Old Faces New Places

Before the second week of Preseason Football begins, I want to take one last look at some of last years contributors who are no longer on the team. As these guys make roles for themselves, I think it is important to have one last memory of them as Oakland Raiders. I know I tend to route for former Raiders regardless of their current teams, because remember once a Raider always a Raider.

Lamar Houston, Defensive End, Chicago Bears

Jared Veldheer, Left Tackle, Arizona Cardinals

Terrelle Pryor, Quarterback, Seattle Seahawks

Jacoby Ford, Wide Receiver/ Returner, New York Jets

Mike Jenkins, Corner Back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tracy Porter, Corner Back, Washington Redskins

Depth Chart Battle Continues

The Raiders unofficial depth chart revealed Matt Schaub having new targets on offense, as well as veterans continuing their hold on the starting line up.

Andre Holmes surprised a lot of people in camp by establishing himself as a starting wide receiver. I hope he can continue the progress throughout the preseason, as he will not be facing the corners he has in camp. James Jones listed at Number two should still be a veteran alternative, but Denarius Moore listed on the third team could mean the play-makers’ tenure with the team is in jeopardy.

David Ausberry captured the starting tight end position, before suffering an undisclosed knee injury. Luckily his number two, Mycheal Rivera has shown promise and growth in his second season. It will be interesting to see who is the other tight end if Ausberry misses extensive time.

Maurice Jones Drew dethroned Darren McFadden as the number one back on the depth chart. McFadden is too good, with too much to prove to not have a role on this team. MJD is a hard runner and competitor, but I am not sold on his big play ability like McFadden. Hopefully this will light a fire under McFadden and force him to step his game up.

Incumbent starter Khalif Barnes is currently listed as the starter at Left Guard. His battle with Gabe Jackson should persist throughout training camp as the young guard gains experience. Either way, this is a testament to the tenacity Barnes possess as he continues to prove himself on one year deals.

Defense was full of less surprise. Sio Moore has beaten out Miles Burris as the starter OLB opposite of Khalil Mack. This should be another on going battle, but considering Moore has more upside he should capture all the reps. The competition will be good for both players development.

Further, Tarrell Brown and Carlos Rodgers are still listed as the starting corners, despite good play from young guys like Chidekwa, Carrie, McGill, and Jones. Ideally, Hayden should push those starters sooner rather than later, but any development in the D Block is needed.

For more on my opinion on the new depth chart, listen to the podcast:

Defensive Backs creating a Culture

Dennis Allen is most notably connected to the New Orleans Saints Championship Team. What did he coach? Defensive Backs, and it seems like he is finally transferring that knowledge to the silver and black. That Saints team was noted for takeovers in the secondary, but the only thing the Raiders secondary has been noted for is giving up records, having a revolving door, and of course injuries.

Dj Hayden being hurt is not news, but it has still been the news of training camp. In his place, Chidekwa and T.J. Carrie have been capturing Raiders fans’ hearts. Combined with veterans Tarrell Brown and Carlos Rodgers, it seems like the Raiders defensive backs can be a building block of the future.

From top to bottom, this group has a lot to be excited about. Taiwan Jones has already carved a niche as a special teamer, and rookie Keith McGill looks to do the same. Safeties Ras-Dowling, Brandan Ross and Usama Young look to compete for playing time and a roster spot, as well.

We already know how good our starting safeties are with Tyvon Branch and Charles Woodson. The knowledge and intangibles of the four veterans in the group seem to be trickling down, and should stay with the team as it continues to grow a winning culture. Evident by the level of competition from Carrie and Chidekwa, it seems that the Raiders could have a legion of boom brewing. The Seawhawks most notably developed their infamous secondary mostly from mid level draft picks.

As long as the Raiders continue to inspire a culture of competition, I expect to see the late round draft picks continuing to develop into contributors able to utilize their potential. Either way, I am glad to finally see Dennis Allen’s specialty coming to the Raiders.