Monday, September 24, 2012

Victory Six Pack

Pittsburgh 31- Oakland 34

A six pack of Guinness Beer -- observations for a stout, full-bodied Win.

1. Total Team Effort
A much needed and well deserved team victory was achieved with an efficient offense, opportunistic D, and solid execution by the special teams unit.

2. Carson Palmer - Field General
CP3 did a nice job using the no-huddle offense and audibles at the line especially in the 2nd half. His efficiency and command of the offense resulted in 34 points against one of the better defensive units in the NFL. CP3 Stats: 24/34 (70%) for 209 yards, 3 TD passes, 1 INT.
3. Opportunistic D
During critical junctures of the game, when it could stretch to a 3 score deficit, the Raiders defenders kept the game close or within striking range. Raider defenders Wheeler, P. Lee, and Bryant accounted for 4 stripped fumbles with the Raiders recovering 2. On the Steelers last 2 possession of the 4rh quarter, the D raised their game to cause a fumble and punt.

4. Run DMc and Raiders Offense Back On Track
Going into Sunday's contest, many Raider fans were rightfully concerned about the newly installed west coast offense and zone blocking scheme. OC Knapp has been getting hammered by many fans as a guy who is a poor playcaller and how his scheme doesn't fit the personnel. The biggest change to the Raiders productive offense on Sunday was a balanced, diversified, less predictable offense. 9 different players had at least 1 reception (3 TEs, 4 WRs, 2 RBs). Part of this change was #20 finally getting into open space on both runs and passes. The other significant change seems to be Palmer having more latitude to change the play and utilize the no huddle offense more to change the tempo.

5. Scoring More With Less
The Raiders only had 4 possessions in the entire 2nd half. The Steelers had a nearly 2:1 ratio of time of possession. In spite of few possession and a paper thin margin for error, the Raiders scored on all 4 2nd half possession (TD, TD, FG, FG). The key to the offensive efficiency in the 2nd half was committing only 1 penalty, ball security (0 turnovers), pass protection (0 sacks allowed) and converting crucial 3rd downs.

6. Wild, Wild West
It is difficult to get a handle on the Raiders this year let alone the ups and downs of the NFL as a whole. One week folks are crowning the Donkeys the King of the NFL (after beating Pittsburgh in week 1) and the next week writing off the Raiders as done (after a listless beat down by the Fins in week 2). The AFC West was completely re-calibrated after week 3 as 2 win less teams (Raiders & Chiefs) had stirring comeback victories while the "favorites" (Chargers, Donkeys) came back to earth.
Chargers 2-1
Raiders 1-2
Chiefs 1-2
Donkeys 1-2

Up Next: Raiders go to Mile High vs. the Donkeys. Let's see if the Raiders can establish a consistent level of effort and execution from 1 week to the next.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Special" Teams Lays An Egg

Chargers 22 - Raiders 14

The Raiders special team's catastrophic errors tipped the balance, momentum, and game context on it's proverbial head. A tightly contested game concluded the 1st half with the Chargers in the lead at 10-6. When Raiders regular long snapper Jon Condo got his bell rung and wasn't able to answer the call in the 2nd half, 3 blown punts led to 9 cheap points.

MAJOR kudos to the D in preventing the Chargers getting into the end zone on 5 occasions working from a short field and little rest.

The question that I have that has been BUGGING me all last night and today:

Why isn't Parson or Wiz the backup long snapper?

Think about it ... both these guys are PROFESSIONAL centers who are experienced at snapping to include shotgun snaps, experienced at line calls, experienced at blocking, etc.

Tell me this: Do you honestly think a backup LB is more suited or qualified to take on this duty?

This is so painfully obvious that it make me violently ill.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Our 2012 Raiders - A New Era

The new era in Raider football is upon us. With the passing of Al Davis last year and a wide range of organizational changes, this year has a different vibe. From the perspective of a fan, I've noticed how the Raiders have become more accessible and media friendly. It has been a breath of fresh air to have an entire offseason without any hint of drama, soap-opera episodes, or controversy. The focus has been where it should always be -- on football.

Front and center in leading this team into the new era are Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen.

McKenzie has seamlessly transitioned the Raiders into the new era while spearheading a drastic overhaul of personnel. With his hands tied due to serious cap restraints and limited draft picks, McKenzie has done a remarkable job in assembling the final 53 man roster.

Allen in a few short months has demonstrated that intangible "it" leadership quality where the players respect and buy-in to his vision of a smarter, tougher, more disciplined and accountable football team. With a new offensive and defensive system installed and many new starters on the field, it will be interesting to see how quickly and effectively the Raiders get up to speed in executing the game plans.

One of the more exciting elements to the new era is the brand new, modernized, aggressive and dynamic defense. The vanilla, predictable D has been tossed on it's head for mixed coverage and blitz schemes and multiple fronts.

For the 1st time ...

- The Raiders have a new GM
- Hired a Head Coach with a defensive background since Madden
- Won't rely on man to man as it's base coverage
- Head Coach has complete authority of what happens on the field and with his staff
- Head Coach, who signed a 4 year contract, isn't look over his shoulder

I'm jacked up to open up the new era, new season at home on Monday Night Football vs. our rivals San Diego.

I'm feeling minty fresh about the possibility of the McKenzie/Allen partnership leading the Raiders to a successful, sustainable new chapter in Raiders football.