Hue Jackson has been beating a drum this offseason. He wants his team to bully opposing teams. It’s reminiscent of something Mike Singletary would say. Big talk from the coach doesn’t always translate to the team.
On Saturday at Candlestick, the Raiders were bullied. The offensive line couldn’t intimidate a 7-year-old girl. The reserves on the defensive line were pushed around like a grocery cart with a crazy wheel.
It was bad, but it is never as bad as it looks. Particularly when it is the reserves getting pushed around. Next week against a superior Saints team will be the best sampling of the Raiders progress under Jackson. Next week, the starters should play an entire half. Drew Brees will expose any weaknesses on the Raiders defense and Gregg Williams isn’t likely to make it easy for the Raiders defensive line.
The game did highlight some areas of great concern, but there were bright spots early.
Darrius Heyward-Bey – Could he finally be a useful weapon? If he keep catching the ball and getting open like he did Saturday he will have an impact for the first time in his career.
Denarius Moore – Things turn to gold when Moore is around the ball. He has been too good for the Raiders not to keep him in the mix, even if he isn’t announced as a starter.
Kevin Boss – If he stays healthy Raider Nation may forget about Zach Miller. The only issue is that he strained his knee during the game. It’s not a major injury, but the Raiders would like to keep him out of the trainer’s room.
Michael Bush – Aside from one missed blitz pickup, he played well. Bush was picking up extra yards despite an offensive line that was getting very little push. He picked up the blitz well when he got a second chance.
Lamarr Houston – Houston held the edge very well and the 49ers were not picking up big chunks on the ground when Houston was in the game.
Matt Shaughnessey – Did a great job selling his rush and dropping into coverage on a zone blitz. He was rewarded with an interception. He’s definitely a player to watch this season.
Daniel Loper – Gone is Robert Gallery and Loper is the starter at left guard. If you couldn’t figure out why Stefen Wisniewski was getting snaps at left guard we figured it out on Saturday night. Loper was terrible against Ricky Jean Francois. Jean Francois isn’t even a starter and Loper couldn’t block him. I don’t think Loper won as single battle all night. He was bullied by a backup.
Jarvis Moss – He should have a role as a pass rush specialist, but he was consistently losing his contain on the outside. Not only did he lose his contain, but the offensive line was able to manipulate him out of running lanes. Not swag.
Trent Edwards/Kyle Boller – The backup offensive lines fared a little better, but Boller and Edwards were inaccurate at best. Too many bad decisions from the backups.
Reserve DL – Jamie Cumbie, Tommie Hill and Mason Brodine might as well have been a blocking sled.
The Sophomore Scene
Walter McFadden – He was beat by Braylon Edwards on a long pass, but it was good coverage. A great throw and great catch. That’s about all we saw of McFadden on the night. Rebound for him.
Bruce Campbell – Plays way too high. His natural strength helps him from looking terrible, but he loses the point of attack battle far too often. Inconsistent at best. Cooper Carlisle doesn’t have much to worry about at the moment.
Jeremy Ware – Aside from one blitz we didn’t see much of Ware in coverage. The 49ers second team was content to run and throw short passes to the flat.
Travis Goethel – The defensive line in front of him was getting thrown around making his performance difficult to evaluate. He’s shown enough in practice and during games that he’s likely to get a shot at outside linebacker once camp breaks.
Rolando McClain – Struggled to get off blocks at times and was slow to read a run near the goal line. Not much to worry about with McClain. He doesn’t make the same mistake twice very often, but does need to keep defenders away from his body.
Jared Veldheer – Allowed a sack. It was pure speed rush and the linebacker went very wide. Veldheer was able to keep him deep, but the linebacker made it around him with excellent bend. Jason Campbell’s first read was not open and he didn’t read it fast enough to avoid the sack.
Demarcus Van Dyke – Played with the starters. On the only play he could be evaluated his footwork and technique was all over the map. He got turned around and allowed an easy reception. Too early to make much of Van Dyke and you can’t put much stock into a single isolated play. He’ll take his lumps as all rookies do.
Stefen Wisniewski – Played consistently as the backup center. Not overly impressive, but didn’t make any glaring mistakes. Samson Satele may have been the most impressive starting offensive lineman which could mean Wisniewski remains a reserve. Snap reaction would be that Wisniewski’s best chance to start could be at left guard.
Chimdi Chekwa – Tight coverage and came up to support the run. It was his first game back and he should continue to get expanded opportunities. Looked solid.
Richard Gordon – For being a blocking specialist he sure did get handled on a couple blocks. He’s probably a safe player to stash on the practice squad.
David Ausberry – Not much action for Ausberry. This happens quite a bit when the team knows what they think of a player. Time to hide him from the film.