Monthly Archives: July 2016

Oakland Raiders three keys for the Playoffs

The Oakland Raiders have steadily become everyone’s favorite cinderella pick for the playoffs. This should come as no surprise. Teams in the AFC West took a step back.

The Denver Broncos lost key players from their Super Bowl run including QB Peyton Manning. Don’t forget the Kansas City Chiefs lost their best corner, Sean Smith, to the Raiders and Justin Houston is recovering from a knee injury. Added, the Chargers did nothing to improve drastically.

Therefore, the Raiders are serious contenders in the AFC West. Still, here are a few keys for them to turn potential into a postseason run.

1. Improved secondary play

The Raiders invested a lot into the secondary this year via free agency and a first round draft pick. Besides taking S Karl Joseph at No. 14 in the draft, they also signed Reggie Nelson and Sean Smith. Not to mention, the young secondary benefited from lots of reps a year ago.

This season, Oakland must rely on their secondary to make plays. An improved defensive live should also increase pressure on the play and help the Raiders get takeaways.

Either way, the Raiders biggest advantage over the Chiefs and Broncos is at the quarterback position. The secondary must remind people of that by making the Broncos’ Mark Sanchez and Chiefs’ Alex Smith look pedestrian.

2. Consistent running game

Speaking of offseason investments, the Raiders also invested in the offensive line with Kelechi Osemele. The offensive line was already improved in 2015, and that was evident by Latavius Murray passing 1,000 yards. However, the running game was inconsistent throughout the year.

At the end of the season, Murray lost a lot of his explosiveness. He did not even pass the 100 yard mark. The Raiders will need Murray to play consistently all year. Oakland must control the clock with Murray and improved defense. This is how they protect wins and get victories in close games. That is something they struggled with a year ago.

3. Ride the Carr

When it comes to the Raiders taking the next step, their quarterback must also take the next step. Carr enters this season with the same offensive coordinator and key skill players. Hence, there is no excuse for him to play successfully.

Towards the end of the year, Carr’s production dropped. His interceptions went up as he tried to do too much and saw more pressure. This upcoming season, Carr will get more protection. It is time for him to prove he is among elite quarterbacks.

In the end, the playoffs are in reach for the Oakland Raiders. They finished 7-9 last season but lost several games by one score. Oakland can get over the hump by completing these three keys.

 

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Raiders Rants: Gabe Jackson, Jack Del Rio, David Amerson, and receivers

Gabe Jackson

  • CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco ranked the most underrated player on each team.
  • Jackson earned the recognition for the Raiders.
  • Prisco wrote that he gives the Raiders a nice guard tandem with Kelechi Osemele.

My Take: I’ve said this since the Raiders drafted Jackson. He should transition to the right side well this year.

Jack Del Rio

The Raiders head coach released a statement on the death of his former head coach.

“Dennis Green created an outstanding environment for his players and I was privileged to spend four great years under his guidance in Minnesota,” said Del Rio via SB Nation. “He was a real trailblazer and his impact on the game continues to live through the many successful coaches that he mentored. One of his phrases, or ‘Denny-isms’ as we call them, is ‘We’re going to plan our work and work our plan.’ I still use that ‘Denny-ism’ today. Coach Green is going to be missed dearly by everyone that was lucky enough to know him.”

Del Rio was the starting middle linebacker at Green’s first head coaching job with the Vikings.

He spent four years playing for Green in Minnesota.

My Take: During a time when there was not a lot of black coaches, Dennis Green was for reals a trailblazer. Even know, there is a misrepresentation of black head coaches in football at the NFL and NCAA levels. More importantly, Green went way before his time. RIP.

Wide Receivers

CSN Bay Area’s Scott Bair dove into the Raiders receiver position.

  • He cites that Amari Cooper lead the league with 18 dropped passes. Drops were not an issue in training camp, according to Bair.
  • Andre Holmes was also the No. 4 receiver, as his offensive snaps dropped. Bair writes that he should find a role in special teams coverage and provide injury protection.
  • Bair lists Joes Hansley, Max McCaffrey and Johnny Holton as receivers who stood out in the offseason program. He suggests that one of them could end up as the fifth receiver behind Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Seth Roberts, and Holmes.

My Take: I think Bair hit it on the nail. Doubt the Raiders would add a veteran to the position. They seem set at the position with nothing to add.

Tight Ends

Bair also dove into the tight end position this week.

  • He says that Walford flashed real potential last season, and he needs to build on last year’s effort to become a legitimate threat in the middle of the field. Bair also cites that injuries have impeded his process.
  • Mychal Rivera suffered some trade rumors this offseason. Bair writes that he was phased out last season. However, he still brings injury protection.
  • Gabe Holmes also has potential, acording to Bair. Bair says the 2015 undrafted free agent could push for the No. 3 roster spot.

Ricky Williams

Willams saw a Raiders game on TV, when he was retired at age 27. At that point, Williams wanted to return to the league by changing his name and joining the Raiders, according to NFL.com.

My Take: This story is definitely worth a read. Light read which will give you a nice laugh.

David Amerson

The Raiders corner who was cut by the Redskins 10 months ago got a four-year contract extension worth $38 million, with $17.5 million in guarantees.

My Take: I’m always happy to see a player get money. Amerson proved himself as a starting corner last year. Now, he will have to continue proving himself. He should see more targets playing opposite Sean Smith. Plus, Amerson has all that guaranteed money to live up to.

Raiders Rants: DeAndre Washington, Michael Crabtree & Las Vegas

More updates on the latest headlines from the Oakland Raiders.

DeAndre Washington

Apparently, the Raiders see rookie DeAndre Washington as a potential starter.

  • OC Bill Musgrave complimented his work ethic and said he earned reps with the first team.
  • CBS Sports reports that Washington is a lot like starter Latavius Murray. He is also a good catcher.

My Take: I like the comparison to Murray. They were both taken late in the draft. We will see what happens, but personally I am pulling for Taiwan Jones as the No. 2 back. Jones is too explosive not to have a role on our offense.

Michael Crabtree

Pro Football Focus ranked Crabtree as the worst contract in football. Their conclusion is based on analyzing his stats with the market value.

My Take: Anyone who watched a Raider game knows Crabtree’s value extends beyond the boxscore. Derek Carr is comfortable looking for him in clutch situations. He has helped Carr and Amari Cooper develop. Not to mention, Crabtree averages an almost sideline catch per game. Get those feet down Crab. Otherwise, I love Crabtree’s deal and production.

Jack Del Rio

The Raiders head coach wants to honor Raiders legend John Madden by wearing a suit. However, Nike and the NFL have a deal that puts coaches in their apparel.

My Take: Let Del Rio honor someone who changed the game as a coach and broadcaster. Plus, Del Rio could become the freshest coach in the league.

Kirk Morrison

Ex-Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison spoke to the Raiders’ rookies. This was part of Oakland’s first rookie transition program.

Morrison talked about the pressures to buy jewelry, and he talked about having his life threatened over that chain.

My Take: Morrison was one of my favorite Raiders. These days he is one of my favorite media personalities. Glad he can carry on his Raider legacy with these rookies. People forget that Morrison was a bright spot for some of those horrible years.

Las Vegas

A few weeks ago the Raiders sent a detailed survey to the residents of Las Vegas.

They showed how serious they are about the move by emailing an 83-question survey to 10,000 residents.

The survey company that did the Raiders survey also took part in a similar exercise for the NHL Las Vegas franchise.

My Take: Atleast the Raiders are actually looking at the interest of the market, and not just throwing a billion dollar franchise at a small market.

 

 

 

Raiders Rants: D.J. Hayden, Mario Edwards, Karl Joseph, Matt McGloin & more

The Oakland Raiders finished minicamp a couple of weeks ago. Here is my take on the biggest headlines since then.

Matt McGloin

Raiders QB Matt McGloin started minicamp as the No. 3 quarterback, behind Connor Cook.

My Take: It should not come as a surprise. McGloin was drafted by the previous regime. He is a game manager at best. Let’s see what we got in Cook. All reports indicate he looks good.

Karl Joseph

  • Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said this secondary is more talented than last season’s crop.
  • Norton Jr. said Raiders rookie Karl Joseph is a stick of dynamite, because of his explosiveness via film.

My Take: Norton Jr.’s comments are in line with what everyone has said about the Raiders secondary. However, they need to get healthy. We gotta see it on the field, because they haven’t played together yet due to injuries.

D.J. Hayden

Speaking of the Raiders secondary, head coach Jack Del Rio said D.J. Hayden had a good spring. He said he was excited about Hayden’s development.

My Take: I’ve made it a point to defend Hayden. I’m glad the Raiders are doing so as well. It is clear he will have the first shot at winning the slot corner position.

Max McCaffrey

My Take: Max McCaffrey made a name for himself this spring. That is a lot considering he is the son of a Broncos great and brother to a Stanford great. McCaffrey should be one of the leads to breakout as an UDFA this year. Think Seth Roberts, Andre Holmes, and Rod Streater mold.

Read more on dude here.

Pro Football Focus

  • The popular stats website graded Khalil Mack as the No. 6 overall player in the league.
  • Other Raiders like Amari Cooper and Derek Carr also made the list.

My Take: Shout out to the Raiders finally catching some respect.

Kick Returners

  • Apparently, the Raiders will keep the status quo at the returner positions.
  • T.J. Carrie is expected to keep his job as the punt returner, while Taiwan Jones will return kickoffs.

My Take: No surprise here. Both Jones and Carrie could see reduced roles at their normal positions. Carrie is no longer a starter at CB and Jones could lose his spot as RB No. 2. Both dudes are athletes who should make great contributions on special teams still.

Mario Edwards Jr.

Mario Edwards participated in minicamp. His status was questionable with an undisclosed neck injury.

My Take: Good for Edwards. He should breakout with more talent around him on defense. He balled as a rookie, until injuries cut his season short.