The Sky is Falling

It would be easy to sit here and say the Raiders suck or something like that in a different variation of words. It is easy and people do it all the time. What is harder to do is look through the 45-7 shellacking to what really ails the Raiders and what doesn’t.

I believe it was Tom Flores who said if you lose badly, your aren’t as bad that bad. If you win big you aren’t that good. He was talking about the regular season, not the preseason, but I think it still applies.

So although this was a game to forget, you can’t put a lot of stock into the final score in the preseason. The Raiders lost to the Cowboys starters, 3-7. They beat the 49ers starters, 10-7. They lost to the Saints starters, 0-21 and in a lot of ways their backups beat our starters for another 17.

It is also easy to dismiss this as “just preseason” trying to write-off how bad the Raiders played and move on. The Raiders and the fans shouldn’t do this. This kind of thing happens for a reason. A wake-up call? Hopefully.

One thing that maybe hasn’t been said enough is how young the Raiders are. Most of the offense has three or less years of experience. This is not an excuse, but a reminder that these young players have a lot to learn and this game is the kind if game you can learn a lot from.

I guess you expect less of that to happen on a more veteran defense. These guys should have already learned these lessons. The defense is still what ails the Raiders. Although the offense had some problems, it was hardly to the degree of the starting defense.

The secondary was late to arrive, even Asomugha at times didn’t look himself. Perhaps that is because of the chip in his wrist, but lets not make excuses just because he is Nnamdi. Obviously, Asomugha was the least of the defenses problems.

The linebackers were getting abused, this time they were in the correct gaps and still got beat. Anyone think Morrison is going to lose his job, think again.

Eugene couldn’t hang in coverage and couldn’t tackle. Routt was okay, but toed the line on pass interference and was called for two in a row. Chris Johnson, Michael Huff were transparent because they only made a few major mistakes each. Not what you want to hear.

The defensive line was…out of shape. The defensive line should be running gassers for the next two weeks. Sands is finally going to be cut, but that leaves guys like Desmond Bryant to try and fill a void when Kelly and Warren need some air, which is frequent.

There were positives. Russell is continuing to make progress. Murphy looks like a late round find (just needs to learn how to secure the ball). Overall the passing game Tom Cable has worked hard to develop is coming along.

There is some question remaining whether the Raiders will be able to flip a switch and run the ball again, but the line has only turned over one member and is experienced in the system and so are the runningbacks and fullbacks. I wouldn’t expect that to be an issue.

The weird thing about preseason is that it rarely gives us great insight into how a team will do in the regular season. I think what is lost with the Lions were 4-0 in preseason in 2008 argument, was that they were also 4-0 starters vs starters.

So it wasn’t just backups beating backups that made them 4-0.

In recent memory notable preseason meltdowns:
Preseason 2008, Week 3: Panthers 47, Redskins 3 (34-0 in the first half). Redskins finished 8-8 and Panthers 12-4. Preseason 2006, Week 3: Bengals 48, Packers (34-7 in the first half). Both teams finished 8-8.
Preseason 2002. Week 3: Redskins 40, Bucs 10. Redskins 7-9. Bucs 12-4 and Super Bowl Champions.

A loss like this can be a valuable learning experience. Lets hope the Raiders can learn from it.

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