Monday, September 17, 2007

Wanted: The Closer

Game #2

1st quarter07
2nd quarter310
3rd quarter70
4th quarter103

This game caused the full range of emotions for the Raider Nation. There was some serious frustration with the 1st half offensive ineptitude. Bewilderment was brought on by the 2nd quarter suspension of the game due to lightning storms. Elation and sense of pride were felt for a stirring 2nd half 17 to 3 comeback. Ultimately the game ended with shear dejection for failing in overtime.

The offensive, defensive, and special teams units each did enough good things in parts of the game to put the Raiders in a position to win a divisional game on the road. However, each unit also failed when given the opportunity to accomplish the most important aspect of a winning team ... to close out a game.

Offense: The Raiders offense followed the formula of the Lions game; start slow, turn the ball over (2 INTs), make some half time adjustments, and get into gear in the 3rd quarter. Although the passing attack was futile throughout most of the game (53 net yards), a robust rushing attack (200 net yards) and a big TD pass play to Jerry Porter for 46 yards had the Raiders on the cusp of another victory.

Offense's Time To Close: With the game tied at 20 to 20 with 2:18 on the clock, the Raiders offensive unit had a golden opportunity to march down the field, score the go ahead points, and get on a plane victorious. With :32 left in the game from the Raiders 41 yard line, McCown overthrew a WIDE open Jerry Porter streaking down the sideline for a certain game winning play.

Defense: After allowing the Denver offense to score a touchdown in the 1st and 2nd quarters, the D played inspired football in the 2nd half. Not only did the D hold the Broncos to a mere 3 points the entire half, it also accounted for a safety (Gerrard Warren) and a touchdown (INT grab by LB Thomas Howard). Rob Ryan's D led the charge in getting the Raiders back into the game in the 3rd quarter.

Defense's Time To Close: Immediately following the Raiders taking a 20 to 17 lead midway through the 4th quarter, the defense allowed the Broncos to sustain a drive which led to a tying field goal. It was very important from a psychological standpoint after the Raiders took the lead for the D to shut down the Broncos offense.

Special Teams: The Raiders special teams played their best overall game in a long time. The Broncos had a total of 6 return yards for the entire game as SeaBass blasted kickoffs out of the end zone in the mile high air and Lechler pinned the Broncos inside the 20 on 3 of 4 punts. SeaBass also made a 38 yard FG in the 2nd quarter. In the 3rd quarter the Special Teams unit successfully executed a key onside kick recovery.

Special Teams' Time To Close: In overtime, the kicking unit had the chance to ice the victory with a 52 yard field goal attempt. Instead SeaBass was iced by Shanahan. The 1st attempt by SeaBass was pure money. Unfortunately, this attempt did not count since Head Coach Shananhan had called a timeout a few seconds before the snap. The on field officiating crew (unaware of the timeout) let the play continue since Shanahan called the timeout with one of the side judges. The 2nd attempt was a low snap, a botched hold by Lechler, and a kick by SeaBass that hit the upper left upright.

Although this loss definitely stings BIG TIME, there are some very positive traits to this Raiders team that will eventually pay off. The half time and in game adjustments made by Head Coach Lane Kiffin and executed by the players is very encouraging. This team’s ability to overcome adversity and fight their way back into the games shows the will to win. In game 1, the Raiders overcame a 17 to 0 3rd quarter deficit to take a short lived 21 to 20 lead late into the 4th quarter. In game 2, the Raiders overcame a 17 to 3 3rd quarter deficit to storm back to a 20 to 17 lead only to fall short in overtime.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

QB Controversy Brewing: Lane Kiffin has given the nod to McCown to start again in game #3. Although I have admired McCown's fighting spirit & effort to help lead the Raiders to 2 short lived comebacks, Culpepper deserves to start. McCown has been a poor game manager which was suppose to be his strong suit. In 2 games he has 5 INTs and 1 fumble. His mobility and passing style is best suited for short routes while on the move but not for longer patterns from within the pocket. This limits what the offense can do and the ability to use the entire field. Culpepper gives the Raiders the best chance to win. He has a far superior skill set in comparison with McCown. Culpepper's combination of experience, leadership skills, arm strength, passing prowess, accuracy, and mobility should make him the #1 signal caller.
Up Next: Cleveland Browns in Oakland


Anonymous Travis said...

can anybody tell me why mcown is still playing quarterback?

he isn't good at all!

he doesn't have a strong arm, he isn't accurate as he missed several receivers including a wide open jerry porter, he doesn't look confident or poised. Culpepper is so much better then McCown in all of those aspects why isn't Daunte the man right now?

the other thing that pisses me off is that McCown was all banged up before this game and he had to tough it out. why send a guy who is toughing it out out there when you have a more talented guy already in Culpepper.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Raiders O still is crap. They scored 12 points and that includes the 2 point conversion. McClown looks lost when he is in the pocket, for the life of me I can not understand what has gotten into Kiffin. I have read rumors that it is a power struggle with Davis who wants to start Culpepper.

The D has looked average at best with little to no pass rush. I do not want to push the panic button yet but if they do not beat Cleveland Sunday it will be a miserable season. Bottom line though they seem slightly improved they still may be the worst team in the league.

Florida Raider

P.S. The only interesting thing about Jano's miss was if that kick was on line it would have been good from 72 yards, what a leg that guy has, too bad he is so unreliable and a chocker in pressure situations

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If McCown doesn't produce in the Cleveland game, Culpepper will start the next time. He will be up enough on the offense, which is what's holding him back. And the defense should be a little better. They have trouble when they go to dime coverages.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Old School Raider Fan said...


Why don't the Cleveland Browns have an emblem on the sides of their helmets?


The NFL ruled that it would be inappropriate to have a picture of something floating in a TOILET BOWL on the side of helmets.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Calico Jack, it's Raider MAK from the old Raiderworld forum. I really miss that forum and haven't found anything close to it. Do you know of any good ones? Anyways, I always enjoyed reading your analysis of the games and remembered you had this blog, so here I am. You have some great points on the first 2 games. I think there are a lot of positives we can look at with this team that simply weren't there last year. For one, we actually have an OFFENSE this year. And our guys are competing this year like a TEAM compared to last year where our offense was in complete disarray. Like you mentioned there was some good things we saw in all facets of the game. Now we just need to put it all together for the whole the game. But we're close! Just like you and most of the NATION, I also feel that DC gives us the best chance to win. However, I do have faith in Kiffin and I think this is McCown's last chance to get it done or Daunte will be our man. I'm still "IN" and even though we are 0-2 I feel we are moving in the right direction. That's a lot more than I could say at this same time last year. Now lets get it going and beat the Brownies this week!!!

Raider MAK

4:28 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Great take! You nailed it. Kiffin is certainly a huge step in the right direction for the Raiders, but the QB mystery is becoming an “Emperor's Clothes” story. Kiffin has to see that McCown isn't getting it done (even concedes as much in his press conf), but for some very strange reason, he is unwilling to make the switch.

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Calico,
3 negative quick thoughts - McCnown shouldn't be starting, he continues to make too many bad decisions, he's a back-up; get rid of Jano; defense was over-rated last season, and is a top 15 not a top 5 D.
3 positive thoughts -
O=line much improved, gallery has found his home, we have a much improved running game just two weeks away, coaching and offensive play calling is stellar

5:15 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Travis: I believe Culpepper should have been the starter since day 1. I expect Culpepper to start vs. the Fins.

FL Raider: The Raiders offense is much improved. Our rushing attack is head & shoulders above last year. 200 net yards rushing on the road vs. Denver is nothing to sneeze at. The pass protection is much better. The playcalling is much better. The number of sustained drives, TOP, and overall production is better. There are clear indicators that Kiffin has the offensive unit pointed in the right direction. All we need is 1 more playmaker and more consistent play from QB to continue the progress. Getting Rhodes back in week 5 will help.

As far as the D, be rest assured that this unit will shine. Holding Denver to a FG in the 2nd half shows what this unit is capable of doing. Getting a safety and TD was HUGE. What the D needs to do starting on Sunday is put together a complete game.

Anon 2:35
I agree about your point about the dime coverage being weak. Fortunately, the dime coverage won't need to be employed very often. The Detroit offense of 4 WRs is the exception not the norm.

Old School Raider Fan:
Thanks for the humor!

Raider Mak:
Check out It is an excellent Raiders forum that I highly recommend. I also appreciate how the team is competing and there seems to be very good chemistry and comraderie amongst the different units. I would love to see all the hard work pay off with a victory over the Brownies.

NY Raider: The only logical guess I have for why Kiffin is sticking with McCown through week 3 is that the Raiders are being extremely cautious & conservative with Culpepper to make 100% sure he is completely healthy & ready. I expect Culpepper to start vs. the Fins. We shall see.

Anon 5:15
I agree with all of your points. In particular, I have been amazed at the quick turnaround Tom Cable has made in turning our OLine into a competent unit.

7:47 PM  
Blogger x said...

I am totally baffled by Kiffin's dedication to McCown. And he starts the dude when he's not 100% and there's a veteran, former Pro Bowl QB waiting to play.

Check out Jerry McDonald's blog (Sep 18th post) and read what McClown says - evidently, the success of Jordan and the Raider running game threw his passing game off. Yeah, that makes sense (not!).

8:45 PM  
Blogger Leighraider said...

I agree with the clamour for Culpepper totally, but do understand why Kiffin went with McCown last week after making him his starter.If this week starts like the previous two first half showings, and the boo's return at the H.O.T. then it will be a brave man who sticks with him through three full games.Daunte to start in Miami?Maybe that was the plan all along and we would find out McCowns worth in games 1 to 3, well we pretty much know that now.

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Home game will define McNown. Altho, I think we win this game regardless of who starts, the team is united and hungry to win, and pissed off at the "bug eye Fukk" Shanahagans, and the Browns are floating after their delirious 50-point game. The win will make it harder for Kiff to pull Josh, but he's gotta.
Watch MY MAN Sands to have a STAND-out (SAND-OUT) game!!!
CB, we should be going this Sunday!! Fly up and we snag some tix

11:39 AM  
Blogger John said...

Lets bring in Bill Parcells - and start winning with some good players

1:17 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home