Monday, September 20, 2010

Ski - The Game Changer

Raiders 16 - Rams 14

Cable made a bold move at half-time to make a game changing and perhaps season altering switch at QB.

The Raiders offense was completely listless in the 1st half of action with Campbell under center. Scoring a measly 3 points in spite of good overall field position was the impetus for Cable's decision. Down 7-3 at half-time and facing the possibility of being buried at 0-2, Cable decisively called Bruce Gradkowski's number.

Truth be told, Cable owes Ski a debt of gratitude for more than likely saving his job last season. If it wasn't for Ski's come from behind victories vs. Cincy and Pittsburgh, Cable would have been facing a 3-13 season and unemployed. Once again, Ski saved Cable's bacon by getting the Raiders offense back on track.

Ski instantly changed the outlook and vibe of the game by coming in, taking total command of the offensive unit, and leading the Raiders to a FG and TD in his first 2 drives.

The spill-over affect of Ski's insertion into the game and a Raider 13-7 lead pushed the energy level up a few extra notches. The crowd became alive, loud, and animated yelling "BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUCE!", the defense got their mojo back by gang tackling Stephen Jackson, and the Raiders offensive skill players played with more confidence. Darren McFadden demonstrated his ability to be a work-horse back by accounting for 30 carries, 145 yards, and a 4.8 average. WRs Louis Murphy (6 receptions, 91 yards, 1 TD, long of 27 yards) and DHB (6 receptions, 80 yards, long of 33 yards) were in rhythm and on the same page as Ski.

The difference between the energy and confidence level of the team with Campbell and Ski was quite noticeable. The intangibles that Ski brings to the table such as moxie and an iron will passes the simple "eye-ball" test every time. It is as clear as day that the players respond positively and rally around Ski.

Added Bonus Video:
This play by rookie LB Rolando McClain might have earned a 15 yard "unsportsmanlike conduct" penalty but it is the type of play of pure aggression that has The Assassin beaming from above.


Blogger Danna said...

Hey CJ, here's my take..and I may not know a lot about the technical side of the game, but the intangible you speak of seems to be that Grad gets the ball off a lot faster..with the O-line the way it is, he's more of a 3 step unload kind of player rather than 5 steps like JC. Which works to his advantage...sometimes..but did you notice the 3 INT's he threw? 2 were dropped luckily, but I'm just saying..I think a little magic wears off the longer he's in...also, the players respond better? That should make us nervous. Thought they would be professional and support whichever QB they are given(with the exception of Russell of course). If Grad gets injured, then, what, the team will just give up? I don't think Campbell is a Jamarcus. Seems like he was having an ineffectual game, and coach did the only thing he could do, switch him out. I'm in the minority saying this, but I'm not 100% on Grad yet. I say give JC one more game to work out the kinks, cause in the end, I feel he's the better QB. There I said it.

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beyond the mediocre talent and the pathetic coaching the one thing the Raiders have been missing since the Super Bowl is leadership. 2000-2003 there were tons of leaders (Woodson, Romo, Gannon, Brown, Rice, Kennedy etc.)

Currently the Raiders have only two leaders Namdi and Seymour.

When Bruce plays QB the Raiders have a leader on offense and at the most important position on the team=QB.

Campbell has better physical skills (but not by much) as a QB but Bruce has all the intangibles, in my opinion that is way more important.

CJ don't you agree Bruce should be starting just on that basis alone?


Florida Raider

4:51 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Danna - Not only does Ski get the ball out quicker, he also gets the unit in out of the huddle faster. The tempo rises, the rhythm improves, and most importantly, the chains move forward. The big question is whether or not Ski can keep it rollin' AND stay healthy. Some of his best attributes are ideally suited to the current Raiders suspect OLine: He is decisive, gets the ball out quickly, and his improvisational skills when the pocket breaks down.

FLR - Great points. I believe the Raiders should continue to start the "hot-hand" and keep the positive mojo rollin' with Ski.

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Laz Jastrow said...

CJ - Thanks for the bonus video - best body slam since the Andy Kaufman/Jerry Lawler fight.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Laz - When I watched the McClain slam at my local watering hole, all I could think was "It's about damn time!" Our D needs to play with ferocity and a consistent level of aggression. If a WR comes over the middle, there needs to be a price paid, footsteps heard, and alligator arms. Love it!

9:07 PM  

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