Monday, August 14, 2006

Calico Jack's Observations

Raiders 16 – Vikings 13
- The Raiders started off with a strong electrical spark from special teams ace Jerrod Cooper. Cooper jacked up Troy Williamson on the opening kick-off return causing Williamson to fumble the ball which was recovered by Ryan Riddle.

- Aaron Brooks looked erratic and never seemed to settle into any type of comfortable rhythm. His only completion in the game was a 16 yard strike to Moss. Although the 1st unit O-line is partly to blame for Brooks’ ineffectiveness, he needs to start making some positive plays when the protection scheme breaks down.

- It is imperative that Brooks starts to establish himself in the next exhibition game in order to build some confidence going into the regular season. Right now Brooks is getting the benefit of the doubt as the #1 starter due to his experience but he needs to pick it up (and soon) if he wants to remain the starter.

- The defensive units played well overall but it seemed to be a bend, don’t break style of play. I would like to see DC Ryan cut his defenders loose more in the pre-season by trying out some different blitz packages. Guys like Huff, Howard, and Williams need to get their feet wet with a few pre-season blitz attempts.

- Andrew Walter seemed much more comfortable in the pocket tonight although the results were mixed. His long bomb completion to Johnnie Morant looked effortless. Unfortunately his lack of experience showed by throwing 2 interceptions where he didn’t make the right read progressions. Walter & Morant seem to be developing a good connection.

- I don’t see Tui climbing the depth charts. Tui coughed up the ball twice with the Vikes recovering 1 of his fumbles. In the Raiders vertical offense, Tui is a fish out of water. Tui is a #3 insurance QB at best. I would like to see Brooks & Walter each play a complete half for exhibition games #3 and #4.

- The 1st unit O-Line didn’t take any real noticeable strides in progress in comparison to their 1st exhibition game performance. The pass protection broke down quite a few times and the run blocking lacked any real consistent push. RT Walker needs to move his feet more quickly in pass protection to seal off the outside rush lane. The Vikes DE beat Walker badly rushing the passer from a 3 man front. Is it just me or does Walker seem to lack the nasty disposition and aggressiveness to dominate his opponent?

- Could Sims find his way back to OT? Should McNasty slide over to RT and move Badger back to RG? I’m not convinced that the current starting O-Line is set. Both Walker & Gallery seem rusty and a step slow. Not a good combination.

- Both the O-Line and D-Line committed too many stupid offside penalties to count. Minimizing the number of pre-snap penalties has been a point of emphasis by Shell since day 1. What’s it going to take to iron out these transgressions? Running laps and doing push-ups for practice miscues is a good starting point. However I think that the players who continue to make these silly errors need to be taken off the field for a series or two.

- I was disappointed that the Raiders didn’t utilize the TE as a primary weapon in the offense. Total receptions: 0. In the Raiders newly installed offense, it is critical for the TE to be a featured weapon over the middle of the field to open up the outside areas of the field for the receivers.

- Overall the special teams played very well. Carr had a nice 60 kick off return and Sea Bass was 3/3 converting on a 55 yarder. Shane Lechler looked game ready averaging 53.4 yards on 5 punts with a long of 69 yards. The coverage teams did well with the exception of the run back by Kasper.

- The star of the night was Johnnie Morant who had 5 receptions for 108 yards and 1 TD. Will Buchanan had another good game with 4 receptions. With JP’s status uncertain, Ronald Curry’s health a question mark, and Carlos Francis on the shelf, Buchanan seems to have a legitimate shot at making the final 53 man squad.

- Next week: Sunday, August 20th vs S.F. 49ers


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Great analysis as usual.

You seem to be generous with the O-line even considering your comments. Gallery looks horrendus, he makes Walker look like Jackie Slater, perhaps this why Brooks is struglling so badly. McNasty does seem able to move the pile. I hate to even type this sentance but is Gallery a bust?

Florida Raider

5:47 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Florida Raider -

I wouldn't give up on Gallery. He has been shaking off some of the rust from being inactive with the quad injury.

Shell, Slater, and Eatman should be able to eventually get the best out of Gallery. Shell's faith in Gallery's abilities should also give you hope. It is just a matter of time before it starts clicking for Gallery.

I think Shell needs to consider playing the starting O-line unit more (3 quarters) in the game in SF on Sunday. The starting O-line needs as many game reps. as possible to establish a cohesiveness. I would expect Gallery to perform much better in our 3rd exhibition game.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

An o-line shakeup might indeed be in order if we don't see progress next week.

The atrocious o-line play is problematic for the obvious reasons, but it's also really screwing up our QB evaluation at a crucial time. It's difficult to truly evaluate Brooks under these circumstances.

I agree with you, CJ, let's give Brooks and Walter each a full half. Walter got minimal work in the preseason last year, but seem intent in giving all three QBs significant preseason snaps this year. To what end? Could that mean that Tui is actually still in the mix?

I agree about TE, too. Let's get some quick strikes to TE going. The seven-step drops, combined with the shaky o-line, are going to kill us at this rate.

7:44 AM  

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