If I scroll down my bleacher report team stream far enough I can see stories from two weeks ago about how good the Raiders Defense was playing, and how they had hopes for the playoffs. Scroll up a bit and the Raiders collapse against the Eagles has taken the headlines.
At first glance the raiders big loss could be attributed to the Raiders overlooking a struggling Eagles team. Frankly, The Raiders just didn;t match up with the Eagles well.
At the beginning of the season many picked the Raiders to be the least talented team in the league. Well the Raiders are stacked with intelligence and work ethic, even I wouldn’t argue they are stacked with talent. The Eagles on the other hand are a struggling team with tons of speed and athleticism.
I think the Raiders were just over matched all over their field. On defense, players had their hands on their hips. They failed to get any real pressure on quarterback nick foles. The Defensive backs were stumbling all over the place. And the worn out defense failed to stop the run and limit big plays.
On offense a make shift offensive line could not provide Pryor any real time. The recievers and playmakers of the raiders failed to counterreact the high octane Offense of the Eagles. While they were able to get yards, there defense just couldn;t get any real help. But its a new week and the Raiders have no time to waste as they face another struggling athletic team.
I don;t think anyone would argue that Eli Manning and his two superbowl rings are more consistent than Nick Foles. Combine that with the big physical receivers of Hakeem nicks and Victor cruz and there are elements for a similar debacle if the Raiders don’t bring an A game. On the Defensive side the Raiders will also have to do a much better job at pressuring Eli, so that he can be forced into interceptions.
Offensively the Offensive line face Jason Tuck and Pierre Paul. They have the speed and explosiveness to pressure Pryor and keep hm contained. Pryor needs to recognize blitzes and get the ball out. He needs to not have happy feet trying to perserve the play. Manelik Watson will make his starting debut, and pryor should be able to trust is offensive line. Running lanes should be there if he chooses to scramble but that should only be after his first or second read. Lastly, someone is going to have to step up and make a play for pryor. 2010 Mcfadden is not going to be on the field, so the raiders will take playmaking ability from anyone. It is time for one of the Rookie tight ends to step up and make a play. Otherwise Reece or Moore seem the most capable of providing the offense a needed spark.
This game against the Giants will tell a lot about Dennis Allen and this Raider team. Allen has already been quoting as saying this team won’t collalpse like last season. Well this will be an indicator of progression or regression for this Raiders team. The Giants have won two games and are playing every game to win like a scrappy boxer. If the Raiders don’t want to knock the hope out of their playoff pipedream than they need to have an A game against the giants.
Monday night, The Oakland Raiders will take on Division rival Denver Broncos. Not only will the game be against all-time great QB Peyton Manning, but it is on primetime television for the world to see.
This is a huge game not only for the Raiders but specifically Terrelle Pryor. Oakland faces its first test against a stout Denver defense. This will either showcase Oakland’s flaws or affirm one of the leads most potent rushing attacks.
For Pryor, this is the first time a lot of fans, coaches, and players are going to Pryor in Action at the NFL level. This is the Raiders opportunity to prove that they are what everyone thought they were by folding or getting blown out by the Broncos. On the other hand, this is Oakland’s opportunity to prove Reggie Mckenzie and Dennis Allen’s message that this team can compete and win games.
Historically, I have watched many games over the years were the Raiders have been in games only to commit a stupid turnover or penalty that kills the momentum. In the NFL, the margin for error is so small that these are often the difference from winning or losing a game. These stupid penalties or mental mistakes often bite the Raiders in the butt (week 1).
For Terrelle Pryor this a monumental game. This is the first time a lot of fans are seeing him since his Ohio State scam. Monday Night offers Pryor an oppurtunity at redemption. This is his coming out party, to show he isn’t the same imature quarterback. This is his chance to show himself as a leader and veteran not afraid of Manning. Lastly, he needs to show the world that he is not a gimmick or product of the read option. Rather, Pryor needs to show that he can be a passing QB at the highest level.
This game will answer a lot of questions about the rest of the Raiders season, regardless of the outcome.
Can The Raiders weather the storm?
If Peyton Manning comes out and puts points on this team, will they fold like they have in years past? Do they have the heart to fight back, or are they the team to roll over for next years draft?
This boils down to Terrelle Pryor. If Pryor turns the ball over or struggles against the defense, then the offense will feed off of Pryor’s body language and composer. If he is able to hold it together, and keep fighting then I hope his team will follow.
As for defense, this Raiders team addition of Charles Woodson gives them the swagger they need to go out there and make plays even if they get down Swagger aside, this Raiders defense is gonna have to make turnovers and redzone stops to hold a chance.
Can the playmakers make plays?
As a Raiders fan I constantly hear about the Raiders’ playmakers throughout the Blogosphere. I’m tired of hearing about it, I want to see it. I want to see the Raiders get the ball into Marcel Reece’s hands. I want to see Mcfadden get established early and often. The Raiders need to utilize their speed and the defenses aggressiveness by utilizing screens.
I know what Pryor can do, but I want to see him manage the game, and allow the people around him to make plays. Moore is gonna need to put it together and make that x factor play that keeps the defense offense.
Lamar Houston has a favorable matchup with Ryan Clady out, so I want to see him get after Manning. I want to see Hayden or Woodson get a pick.
This is a superbowl calibur team, so the playmakers ability will indicate rather these guys really have the talent and game coaches and fans think they do.
Will the Oline remain consistent?
I’ve heard much talk about the makeshift offensive line being the surprise of the Oakland Raiders. Tonight is a real test for the running and passing assignments. Mcfadden has historically had success against the Raiders, but Manning’s high octane offense may force Mcfadden out of the game-plan if he starts scoring early.
Ideally, a defense can only cover receivers for so long, hence giving Pryor as much time as possible will be ideal to getting the ball down field.
Mcfadden is the key to this game. He needs to get going early, and he needs to be the safety net for Pryor’s protection, and in the dump offs. More importantly, Mcfadden needs to change make the game changing play to keep Manning off the field. Hopefully the will open things up for Pryor in the passing game.
Can the Special teams be special?
The Raiders are going to need a big play from their special teams. Rather its a block, a turnover, or a return, the Raiders must make a game changing play on special teams. The special teams needs to remain consistent. They can not afford any missed field goals or shanked punts, so King needs to get his young head in the game.
Tomorrow we will have a new perception on this Raider team. The Raiders are the same old, undiscipline, and overmatched team; or the Raiders are the surprise of the league. One way or another, this primetime opportunity will give the Raiders National attention they need, but only results will indicate rather its good or bad. Either way, tonite the teams character and the character or it’s QB will be tested tonite, and i will be reading into this game far more than just the box-score.
Either way, I’m ready for some football… Please Raiders Prove em Wrong! This is what the game is about, winning when no one else thinks you have a chance!