Category Archives: Oakland Raiders

Ravens versus Raiders: How Oakland wins again

The Silver and Black have the privilege of beating the Baltimore Ravens the past two seasons. That means both teams have plenty of tape on each other. There won’t be a ton of surprises but the Ravens are hungry to avenge the past two narrow defeats. Here is how Oakland can win another close one at home.

Tailor the offense to E.J. Manuel 

Let’s get one thing straight, E.J. Manuel came into a hostile situation and played well last week. This week he should be more mentally and physically prepared to play. Hopefully, his receivers and offensive line won’t live him out to dry this week. 

Still, it would still be a mistake to call the same game plan with Manuel as we would with Derek Carr.

We always here how offensive coordinators tailor their game plans to the personel, but now is the time to see it. I’d love to see Oakland experiment with some zone reads to neutralize their inconsistent tackle play as well as the over aggressive edges on the Ravens. The Raiders should sprinkle in some reverses, shovel screens and jet sweeps to keep Baltimore’s run game on its heals. They probably load the box so it would be awesome to hit on a big play that they do not expect. 

In the passing game, the Raiders should start with some screen passes to Amari Cooper. Cooper desperately needs some confidence and this might help the Raiders take the top off the defense later. Oakland should also call their backs out for routes a lot too. Between Jamize Olawale, Marshawn Lynch, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington, the Raiders have plenty of good pass catchers out of the backfield. Manuel should throw to these guys early so he can gain some confidence. Let’s see what they can do in space.

Give the TEs the ball

Baltimore’s biggest liability is their safeties. Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson are known playmakers but they’ll fail on gambles too. Oakland should rely on their tight ends as big targets with the catch radius to make plays for Manuel’s passes. 

Clive Walford should get a bigger opportunity with some three and four tight end sets. These sets are good for establishing the run, protecting the QB and getting mismatched with the plat action pass. Don’t forget Manuel has a rapport with Lee Smith from Buffalo. He should see some opportunities to move the chains. 

Create turnovers 

If your defense is creating turnovers, they’re not giving up points. Our defense reminded us of that last week by keeping the Broncos from putting up points in the second half. They found ways to keep the game close. Oakland needs to do that again this week.

Last season, Bruce Irvin came up with the strip-sack fumble that turned the game for the Raiders. Who will do it in Oaklan this year? 

Jor Flacco will take chances as he’s shown over his career. Even if their offense is more run focused with a back by committee situation, Baltimore is able to hit big plays with their receivers. This could be the game Jeremy Maclin or Mike Wallace gets off this season. Both players have burnt the Raiders at times. 

The defense needs to bend and not bold. Find ways to make plays and get off the field. You know the stereotypical things defenses do. That gives Manuel and the offense a chance to win the game.

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Raiders Versus Broncos: How to win Week Four

To be honest, I wasn’t really sure why the Raiders and Redskins were in prime time. I didn’t think it would be a competitive game other than it pitting the Racists versus the Renegades (I’m talking team images of course).

Either way, the country watched as our Silver and Black got smoked mostly due to Derek Carr deflating our team’s offense from the get-go. A fact that Carr has even admitted.

Nonetheless, the Raiders must rebound versus a division opponent. Here is how the Raiders can beat Denver on the road.

Forget last week’s loss

All season long, I’ve talked about the Raiders building a championship winning attitude. Part of that attitude includes responding to the adversity that comes with a big loss. Not to get all football cliche, but Oakland needs to move on from last week’s loss. The worst thing they can do is have a hangover from the blowout loss last week.

Oakland’s receivers especially need to have a bounce back game. It is no secret that the Raiders receivers struggle with physical corners. Josh Norman proved that last week and the Denver Broncos proved that twice last year. Now, the Silver and Black get another physical test versus the best corners group in the league.

The great thing about playing receiver, it only takes one big play to re-gain your confidence. If Carr can connect with Cooper or Crabtree for a big gain, that could be the confidence booster to put this team back in rythme.

Otherwise, the offensive line had their worst game in a few seasons. The Raiders got exposed on national TV and they haven’t been all that great at tackle this year. Some of that falls on the team adapting to Donald Penn holding out. However, the offensive line will continue getting better as the season goes on, especially in the run game. Still, the line has to get it together since they’re facing Von Miller this week.

Khalil Mack’s breakout game

Don’t get me wrong, Khalil Mack has done his thing this season. He’s impacted games even if his stats aren’t stuffed.

Nonetheless, the Raiders defensive line is incredibly mediocre. They’ll rely on Mack to take over the game versus former Raiders tackle Menelik Watson. Expect the reigning defensive player of the year to get a couple of sacks and a turnover. Hopefully, Mack’s presense trickles to the rest of the defensive line. Oakland desperately needs a Bruce Irvin sighting. Ideally, one of the defensive tackles should break out if our Edge players can make some plays too.

Stick to the formula

I’ve already touched on this, but it is that important. The Raiders do not need to change their gameplan. It is simple. Take some shots to get a lead. Run the ball to kill the clock. Give your defense a lead so they can take some chances and get some turnovers. That plan should not change after a fat L last week.

Ultimately, we will learn a lot about our Raiders this week. It is our first AFC West opponent and the Broncos are playing better than people expected. This physical divisional game should let us know if the Raiders are a real contender. Can they beat a tough opponent that their familiar with on the road?

Moreover, how will the Raiders answer after a big loss. This team is more experienced and has more swagger than they have in almost a decade. Will that be lost after one big loss? The answer better be no. The Silver and Black must stay swaggy and confident if they want to beat Denver and continue on their Super Bowl quest.

 

How the Raiders can scrape the Jets

As someone who has written a lot of sports headlines, I usually reserve scraps for the worst of the beatings. The Raiders have a good chance at applying that sort of beating on the Jets today. New York is clearly tanking and rebuilding while the Raiders have Super Bowl aspirations. Still, Oakland has to take care of business. How can the Silver and Black give their home crowd a victory? 

Apply pressure 

Can you name a Jets offensive lineman? Exactly.

The Raiders defensive line looked good against a great Titans offensive line. This young group did a good job of holding the line of scrimmage and getting off the ball. 

However, they need to finish on the quarterback this week. The Jets have the offensive line and quarterback that should give Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack a chance at multiple sacks. I’d love to see one of the defensive tackles cement themselves as the starter. The Raiders kept a steady rotation last week but that should tight up as the season moves along. 

Eddie Vanderdoes looked good but he still has a lot to work on in terms of his pad level, hands and play recognition. Jelly Bean Ellis also played well. It looks like he’s finally in shape. Mario Edwards Jr. seemed like he’s fully recovered from last year’s injury. Either way, the starting DTs will be critical moving forward. Hopefully, they can get some pressure,

Protect Derek Carr

For all the things that the Jets lack, they don’t lack a strong defensive line. Between Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams, the Raiders offensive line faces a great test in run and pass assignments.

Last week, the Raiders offensive line played really well in the run game. They held double teams well and got up to backer which helped out Marshawn Lynch a lot. 

Still, Oakland had a few lapses in pass protection. Overall, they played well in blitz pickup but there were some stunts that caught the Raiders slipping.

This week, I expect New York to revisit some of this stunt and twists. The Jets use a 3-4 defense like the Titans so New York will also try to create some confusing blitzes. Additionally, the Jets should use their safeties in run support as well as blitzes. Oakland can’t let these safety looks confuse them. They’ve got to protect the QB no matter where the blitzes come from.

Winning mentality

Again, the Raiders Xs and Os aren’t going to change much from week to week. Nonetheless, the Raiders need to enter this game the same way as if the Jets were relevant. It’s the home opener and Oakland deserves to see an ass whooping considering the team will leave in plus or minus three years.

Hence, Oakland can’t come out slow or soft cause the Jets are sorry. This is the type of game that can help the Silver and Black build momentum. It is the type of game that will haunt them in playoff positioning if they are upset. This is the biggest favorite the Raiders have had in a long time. It’s up to them to have that winning mentality that exceeds those high expectations.

Gareon Conley Update

Hooray! Gareon Conley was not indicted on rape or sexual assault accusations. It was all smiles from GM Reggie McKenzie as he was asked about the news. His first round pick agreed to a contract with the team after the legal issue was resolved.

After the Raiders selected Conley in NFL Draft, I wrote a piece that said this entire situation should make Raiders fans uncomfortable. Of course, Conley was always innocent until proven guilty but this entire ordeal perpetuated the Raiders stereotype for drafting players with questionable character. Granted, this has changed over the past few years but that was the mainstream perspective.

On a deeper level, we can’t act like this did not happen either. At the very least, Conley is guilty of bad judgment. All accounts say that he is a great guy with great character but he allowed himself to be put in that situation. Hopefully, this is one small blemish on a perfect public persona. Conley should learn not to trust everyone or every situation. Otherwise, another mess up could completely destroy his public image.

At the end of the day, this is a very sensitive matter. Conley could easily be our brother, best friend or son. The same is said for the woman who accused him. She could be our daughter, bestie or sister. Either way, we wouldn’t want someone close to us to be on either side of the spectrum. Conley will lose the benefit of the doubt due to these false accusations. The woman will receive all types of threats and hate for these accusations.

Ultimately, this woman needs help if she made up these accusations. IF something did happen, even if the court dismissed any illegal mishappenings, she still needs help and support. Conley will need some help with his image but good football play will overcome these dismissed accusations. Just ask Ben Roethlisberger. And if Conley did get off on something than he may need help  too.

Nonetheless, it is great that this ugly chapter is finally behind Conley, the Raiders and us. We can all stop talking about this and allow the two young people to continue their lives. Hopefully, they can both recovery from this situation.

 

Cash Carr: Derek is worth the fat extension

Forget the yards per attempt. Forget the happy feet in the pocket and the leg injury. Derek Carr is worth every penny and he hasn’t won the Raiders a championship or NFL MVP, yet. Carr and the Raiders seemed poised for both until Trent Cole sacked the Raiders QB and ended hopes for either.

But this 5-year, $125 million extension isn’t about Carr’s past. It isn’t about Carr being the Raiders most stable quarterback since Rich Gannon or the most promising prospect since Kenny Stabler. It isn’t about Carr’s comeback wins or low interception rates. It isn’t even about the viable comparisons to Aaron Rodgers.

This extension is about Carr’s future as the unquestioned face of the Raiders franchise. I know he will share that title with Khalil Mack for most of their careers, but Carr plays the position that touches the ball the most. He will be a Raider until 2022 which means he will lead the team to their relocation to Las Vegas.

Carr is already renowned for his community work as well as sharing his beautiful family on social media. Just look at all the respect he got from opposing players and coaches. Todd Gurley and Kyle Long both congratulated him. This is because the California native is the face of the modern Raiders era. He understands what it takes to be an NFL quarterback because he watched his brother flame out but he also understands what it means to be a Raider on the field and the community.

For Raiders fans, we’ve witnessed Andrew Walters, Aaron Brooks, Dante Culpepper, Jamarcus Russell and so many other QBs who were not worthy of the Silver and Black. On countless Sundays, we watched the most important position let us down. For decades, we cringed as QBs couldn’t keep us in games or bring us back. Therefore, you can’t put a price on the intangibles that Derek Carr brings.

Many people have called this one of the best days in Raiders history. Many have broken down the contract and found that it is a fair deal for many. In fact, Carr might not even be the highest paid player for much longer if Kirk Cousins cashes out.

Either way, Carr is worth every penny. You can dive into the stats like everyone else. However, every Raiders fan can tell you he is worth it. You can’t put a price on feeling like your team has a chance against anyone. You can’t put a pricetag on knowing that your team is never really out of a game. This is the effect that Carr has on the Raiders and it is a wonder that he fell into the second-round.

Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie understands how lucky he was that  Carr turned out alright on and off the field. Like Raiders fans, he does not take that for granted. He locked up Carr and now it is time for the Raiders QB to deliver on his side of the bargain with an NFL MVP and Super Bowl.

Nonetheless, props to McKenzie and Carr for getting the deal done before we all sweated about it into the season. This is how contract negotiations should go on both sides. Teams should play their players and good players should want to stay with great franchises. Then again, we shouldn’t be surprised. Carr has been a textbook franchise quarterback since he landed in Oakland.

God Bless DC and the Raiders. Just Spend Baby!

 

Just Sin Baby!

The Oakland Raiders officially announced that they are relocating to Las Vegas. NFL Owners agreed on the proposal via a 31-1 vote. .

It’s stunning considering the Owners rarely agree on anything with that much conviction. The Miami Dolphins were the one team to vote no for whatever reason.

Clearly, the proposed $750 million in approved public funds had an influence on the decision. That is a lot of free money from a market, especially when you consider the East Bay was not putting any public funds out there. 

However, this is devastating for a community that embodies the Raiders’ mystique. The two are a perfect match due to the social and civil rights hisory of Oakland as well as the trailblazing, renegade culture of the Raiders. That community needs the team to give the hope. To inspire the community. To work with the kids and reach out to the Oakland community.

As for Vegas, some fans have reasons to be excited. Las Vegas is fun and new. More importantly, the Raiders are getting the shiny new stadium that they’ve wanted for decades. 

However, there are some major flaws in this whole ordeal. Does it really make sense that the Raiders would leave a top-5 market for a top-40 market? Not to mention, the Raiders need to take out lots of loans just to make this happen. 

Then you factor in Vegas’ legal prostitution and gambling. Is this really an environment for a winning football team? Does the NFL want their brand associated with a city based on the very things that they disapprove.

From a fans’ perspective, do you really want to tailgate in 100 degree weather? Would you rather be among drunken idiots at a football game when you can be around beautiful women at a party? Plus, are fans going to be priced out of the stadium by rich tourists?

Overall, this Vegas relocation creates a ton of questions… Like the financing. The Raiders are relying on loans from Bank of America and the NFL to make this happen. How can this team afford to pay more money in relocation fees and leave added money from the NFL? All because of their quest to leave Oakland?

I get that the Davis Family has wanted a stadium for decades. I get that he has that in Vegas, but should it be at the expense of Oakland? 

The fans have supported him through thick and thin. Why should the NFL ignore the wants of their fan base for the third time in 15 months. It is even more disgusting when you factor in all the investment money that is happening in the Bay.

Why can’t the Raiders get those funds? Guess, the City will have to settle for a baseball stand and some condos. Does gentrification win again?

Ultimately, the Raiders’ relocation to Oakland raises more questions than answers. One thing is for sure, the move to Vegas is happening. It’s about the one thing we know for sure. They still got to work out the details on a lease, but it is happening if we like it or not.

For now, it is a time for us to mourn. Oakland will always be the Mecca for Raider Nation, and it is sad that the team is leaving that. 

Regardless, Raiders fans will endure. We always endure. We’ll go to and celebrate Las Vegas. It won’t be the same, but we’ll make it happen.

It’s a risky move that could pay off or flop horribly. At the end of the day, what else do we expect from Vegas or the Raiders?  

Just Sin Baby!

Is Marquette King Good or Bad for the Oakland Raiders?

It all started with some harmless dancing after a Marquette King punt. Somehow, that turned into a few 15-yard penalties.

Head coach Jack Del Rio couldn’t even understand it. He said he went without a single unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The head coach said he had no problem with King expressing himself, but the punter needed to not cost the team on the field.

Then King’s expression took on new life at the Pro Bowl.

At first, it seemed harmless. A few viral videos of King making up with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelcy after the two had a public back and forth in the media.

Then there were some harmless videos of King playing horse with the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. King even posted a video of him kicking and catching his own punt. Dope, right?

Then there was this:

King posted a video of him mocking an incident where Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree got his chain snatched.

Teammate Bruce Irvin commented on the photo by saying King had no loyalty. The punter responded with a social media post that basically said everyone was overreacting.

Either way, are King’s visibility and brand an asset or detriment to the Raiders?

On one hand, King is only having fun and increasing the visibility of his team and personal brand.

During his time in Oakland, King has been one of the most approachable Raiders in the media, community and social media.

On the other hand, King is only a punter who sees the field a few times per game. Therefore, his antics could be seen as a distraction.

Not to mention, the off-field antics only brings attention to himself, not his team.

Tell me what you think via the poll above.

Oakland Raiders: The D is for Development 

Say it with me, “Development.”
That’s the keyword headed into the Raiders offseason. 

Many of us wish Oakland was playing in the upcoming Super Bowl, but they are not. A lot of that blame falls on the Raiders depth. 

At the end of the season, they cycled through three quarterbacks. The left tackle and tight end positions saw multiple starters in 2016. The receiver and running back packages rotated at various times, due to minor inconsistencies and injuries.

On defense, the Raiders cycled through three starting middle linebackers, three starting strong safeties, two nickel backs and multiple defensive linemen.

This is not a bad thing. Good teams use a variety of players for any given situation. They also rely on depth when injuries happen.

Not to mention, Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio has preached competition at every level since he took over. He is also a proponent of the next man up theory, as are most coaches.  

Hence, many of us will spend time addressing position upgrades via the draft and free agency. There is nothing wrong with that, because it is better to have one dominate starter than a few solid role players at any position.

Still, the Raiders need development from their recent draft picks. Players like Justin Ellis, Menelik Watson, and Denico Autry need to make up for the steps back that they took in 2016. Meanwhile, younger players like Vanai Alexander, Karl Joseph, Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and Cory James need to keep building towards their potential. 

Even young stars like Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, Gabe Jackson and Amari Cooper have room for development into superstars.

Oakland has no room for steps back in 2017. In order for the Raiders to keep ascending, they must maximize the experience of players already on the roster. That’s how you build a perennial Super Bowl contender. 

Everyone who watched NFL football this season can tell you that the Raiders were close to being the best team in the league. Now, they must prove it by continuing to develop the talent already on the roster. 

Forget adding any one free agent or top draft pick. Sure, the Raiders could use an infusion of playmakers all over the roster. However, they’ve also accumulated enough talent and experience to have one of the deepest rosters in the league.

The Raiders have already built a foundation for continued success via their farm system of finding bargain free agents and solid late round draft picks. 

Therefore, capitalizing on the development of Oakland’s young players is the key to this upcoming offseason. As these young players get better, they will perform better when they step in for injured starters. They will also force older players to improve or lose their jobs. 

This how the Raiders can continue developing the competitive culture that will make them into one of the best teams in the entire NFL.

Simply put, the Raiders need their young players to get better after making the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons. 

Oakland acquired the winning experience in 2016. In 2017, he Raiders’ next step requires development of young players across their roster.

Just Develop Baby!

Oakland Raiders: It is time to believe in Reggie McKenzie

Just a few seasons ago, you could scroll through a Twitter search to find lots of fans calling for the job of Reggie McKenzie.

Now, the Oakland Raiders General Manager seems poised for his first executive of the year award. It is well deserved considering he helped this team develop from 4-12 seasons to 12-4 seasons.

Guess, what Raider Nation?

It is time to put even more faith, hope and positive energy towards the efforts of McKenzie.

Oakland will be without quarterback Derek Carr. Plus, they will be without left tackle Donald Penn. Both players have been cornerstones in the Raiders return to greatness.

Therefore, it seems easy to say our team is done. I’ve already written a piece that says the Raiders are not dead, yet. Meaning the team must belive in themselves and not make excuses.

Beyond that, Raiders fans must believe in the personnel skills of McKenzie.

Rookie quarterback Connor Cook and tackle Menelik Watson must both fill in for the crucial Carr and Penn.

Cook will become the first rookie to make his first pro start via the playoffs. Therefore, he is a dark horse. We know he won a lot of games in college with Michigan State. Otherwise, we must believe that McKenzie saw a starting quarterback when he traded up in the draft to get Cook.

As for Watson, he has started 17 games. He made five starts this season at right tackle, but he will start on the left side Saturday.

Watson has been a mixed bag. He has battled for the starting posistion, and he has fought injuries since coming into the league.

Per Pro Football Focus, Watson has played 255 snaps this season. The subscription service gave him a 70.0 grade, which ranks him around the 40th best tackle in the league. Hence, Watson has proven to be capable.

Now, we will see him in a playoff setting versus Pro Bowl defensive end Jadaveon Clowney. Clowney was taken No. 1 overall in the same draft as Khalil Mack and Carr. He has six sacks this season.

Therefore, Watson has a good chance to prove himself. on Saturday.

Either way, we got to trust McKenzie’s selection of the second round right tackle.

McKenzie selected Watson and Cook for a reason. It is time for both young players to prove themselves.

Don’t lose the fiath in Cook, Watson or McKenzie. Keep the faith Raider Nation.

 

The Real Aldon Smith Question

The only news surrounding Raiders suspended end Aldon Smith is that there is no news.

The pass rusher has served his year-ban and awaits reinstatement by the NFL. Smith has met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other executives.

Smith has posted videos about his return. He even commented that he was back on Khalil Mack’s periscope.

However, multiple reports cite that their is no time table on his return.

Not to mention, Smith still needs to get into football shape and gel with his teammates.

I’ve maintained that he Smith is an x-factor for Oakland. His pass rushing ability and athleticism could easily help a Raiders defense that ranks towards the bottom of most categories.

Granted, Smith has to get reinstated before he can impact the Raiders defense.

Now, you can argue if he will return this season. You can argue if he deserves this cold shoulder treatment based on his history of being an offender of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. You can even if argue the Raiders need him as they gear up for their first playoff run in 14 seasons.

Nonetheless, my question remains. If the Raiders were not No. 2 in the AFC and leaders in the AFC West, would this even be a discussion? 

Does the Raiders’s success hurt or help Aldon Smith’s chances for reinstatement?

Would the NFL be more eager to announce a decision on the Edge rusher’s future, if Oakland was not in the middle of a playoff run?

I don’t know. Maybe, the Raiders’ recent success has no impact on Smith. Maybe, it does.

I’m not one for conspiracy theories. Just a thought. Let me know what you think via the Twitter Poll.