Blog Entry

Offseason Checkup: Oakland Raiders

Posted on: March 17, 2011 2:06 pm
Edited on: March 20, 2011 3:03 pm
Posted by Will Brinson

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For every single team in NFL history, sweeping the division has resulted in a playoff spot. As it should -- that’s six wins and an incredible headstart on the postseason race.

Then the 2010 Raiders came along.

They won all six of their division games and yet still somehow managed to go 2-8 in the remaining contests on their schedule. That resulted in Tom Cable’s firing and a lot of angry confusion in the Bay Area.

A much worse trait’s percolating around the Black Hole though: cautious optimism. Since Oakland’s fall from grace following their 2002 Super Bowl loss to the Bucs, Oakland hasn’t just been a lost cause. They’ve been the poster child for bad management.

2010 didn’t change that, but Raiders fans will probably try and tell you otherwise. Hue Jackson moving from offensive coordinator to head coach will give Jason Campbell some much-needed stability, and it should bode well for both the continued improvement of Darren McFadden and Oakland’s stockpile of burners at the wide receiver position.

But personnel losses on the other side of the ball -- Nnamdi Asomugha, mainly -- and a focus on scoring points might not exactly guarantee any more success in 2011.

Delusion, Stopping the Run

Part of the Raiders second-ranked passing defense was Asomugha’s ability to shut down half of the field. But part of it was also their inability to stop opposing offenses from piling up yardage on the ground; running backs averaged 133.6 yards per game (and 4.5 yards per carry) against Oakland.

That was good for 29th in the NFL and it’s pretty clear that “losing games” and “not stopping the run” go hand-in-hand. Chris Johnson (142 yards), Arian Foster (131), Frank Gore (149), Ricky Williams (95), Rashard Jennings (109) and even Dominic Rhodes (98) all put up pretty big numbers when Oakland lost.

Oddly, not once in a Raiders’ win did an opposing back tote the ball more than 20 times. Many times -- though not always -- that was because Oakland jumped out to big leads early.

And it’s possible that Jackson can continue that trend into 2011, but improved defense against the rush will avoid the need to make big and sometimes luck-driven leads a requirement.

1. Secondary
Stanford Routt’s the new No. 1 in Oaktown with Asomugha now departing to, um, somewhere. (We don’t know where yet, but he’s probably not coming back to Oakland.) Routt and Chris Johnson can work well together, but there’s a pretty good chance that losing Nnamdi will expose other areas in the secondary as teams work the entire field against Oakland. It’ll also stretch their safeties even thinner than before, something that could become a problem if Michael Huff and Tyvon Branch can’t step up their game.

2. Front Office Contract Guy
No, but seriously -- the fact that Asomugha and Kamerion Wimbley somehow BOTH managed to end up with funky as all get-out finales to their contracts is pretty indicative that something ain’t stirring the Kool-Aid in the front office when it comes to the guy who draws up the deals. Either that or Oakland really wanted to dump Nnamdi this offseason. Which makes less sense than accidentally messing up a pair of big-time contracts.

3. Outside linebacker
Branch and Huff were the leading tacklers for Oakland in 2010, which is good, because tackles are nice. It’s bad because it means that teams were pretty easily getting to the furthest layer of the Raiders’ defense. Letting people break big plays (the Raiders allowed 17 rushes over 20 yards, third-worst in the league, and 51 passes over 20 yards, 11th worst) was a nasty little problem for Oakland last year. And even with "franchise" player Wimbley sitting on the outside, Oakland needs some more run stuffers.

There'll be optimism in the Raiders' fanbase, because there always is. But there's not that much of a reason for it. They're losing one of the top two cornerbacks in the NFL, there's no guarantee that McFadden can continue his much-delayed breakout, there's a 100-percent certainty that Richard Seymour is a year older, and they're still starting Jason Campbell.

Oh yes, and they're still the Raiders too.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 9, 2012 2:32 pm

Offseason Checkup: Oakland Raiders

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 4, 2012 3:30 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 4:00 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 4:29 pm

Offseason Checkup: Oakland Raiders

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Since: Jun 20, 2009
Posted on: April 1, 2011 5:05 pm

Offseason Checkup: Oakland Raiders

I'll bet you 100 dollars the Raiders don't make it back to .500.  You sound as dumb as a freaking Redskins fan

Since: Mar 21, 2011
Posted on: March 21, 2011 10:34 am

Offseason Checkup: Oakland Raiders

I think your giving Nnamdi a little to much credit for the Raiders success last year against the pass. It was Routt the offensives where trying to attack with very little success because of a Raiders fierce pass rush keeping QB's off balance. DO YOU GET WHAT I'M SAYING?  If an average CB like Rout can have a better year than Nanmdi which he did in 2010, just look at the stats, it must have something to do with the pressure up front. Any CB in the league can play behind a pass rush that gets after the QB and the Raiders front 7 will only get better against the pass with all of the young talent they have. Seymour's level of play will not drop off and Houston will be even twice as good and the something can be said about Shaughnessy. Wembley going into his second year with the Raiders will play better and McClain will be a beast in his second year. All the Raiders have to do is go after one outside linebacker to complete the front 7.

Raiders can't stop the run? Look what the Raiders did against the #1 rushing team in the NFL in the last game of the season against KC in Arrow Head where the Chiefs were unbeaten all season because of their rushing attack. For every team the Raiders gave up rushing yards to, they also held some great backs to less than medicare days. They held KC, SD, ST. Louis and Seattle's running games to squat. SD have the 3rd best running game in the league and KC was #1. ST. Louis has Jackson and Seattle's rushing attack got them into the playoffs and and playoff win. Yes they Raiders have to be more consistent against the run, but lookout NFL once they get there.

Don't make me laugh about McFadden going backwards after his breakout season in 2011. The kid was injured in his first 2 years with turf toe. You ever try to play the game of football with turf toe? It wouldn't heal because the Raiders kept playing him. Same thing happened to Charlies Woodson when he was with the Raiders, he fought a turf toe injury for 2 years. McFadden could possibly lead the league in rushing this year if he stays healthy. He did lead the league in yards per carry over any back. All that means is if he had the same amount of carries as the league leaders,  he would have been the best back in football. It's about winning not about McFadden winning the rushing title.

For everything negative you say about the Raiders, there's more positive and your just hoping they slide back to the bottom of the league because your nothing but a raider hater. This team is not going backward even if the lose Nnamdi and what makes you think Nnamdi won't be playing in Oakland anyway? We all know who gives out the big contracts. Davis just didn't want to pay Nnamdi 17 million this year, that doesn't mean he won't make Nnamdi the highest paid CB in the league at 13 or 14 million. You writers don't know Davis that well, you just want to see Nnamdi out of Oakland.  I'm going to laugh at all of you when Nnamdi signs back on with the Raiders.

Since: Mar 18, 2011
Posted on: March 18, 2011 3:32 pm

Offseason Checkup: Oakland Raiders

Thanks for the pessimistic take on the Silver & Black... and the smart arse closing line... It was a decent article until you voiced your unwanted opinion..

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