The Raiders are one of the most up and down teams in the NFL, but with good reason. At the beginning of the season, they rose with the Autumn wind, fueled by the emotion of the passing of Mr. Silver and Black himself. They looked unstoppable; that is, until Campbell got hurt. The team, who still has no real, official front office leadership, had to make a snap decision about what to do since the signing deadline was looming. This landed Carson Palmer squarely into the black hole, and the rest of the team started looking like just that: a black hole. Then the Autumn wind picked up again and the team is cruising steadily. Though they’re headed in the right direction, there are still some massive things to look out for, both good and bad.
Raiders’ Biggest Obstacles
It’s still no secret that the Raiders are the most penalized team in the NFL, which is not unique to this season. This seems to be something that needs constant work and attention. Even a casual Raiders fan can think of at least one game that was lost on a penalty. This remains their biggest obstacle.
Hue Jackson is seemingly trying to fill the shoes of Head Coach and Al Davis, one of which he is new to and the other is impossible. You could see the desperation and over-confidence in his face when he prematurely threw down the challenge flag last week. Hue Jackson, while doing a good job overall, tends to get in his own way. His ability to out-think himself and put the weight of the Raider Nation on his shoulders is most definitely an obstacle.
While they did a pretty good job last week, the O-line is the scapegoat for a lot of problems. If a quarterback has no blocking, he can’t throw; it’s as simple as that. If he gets sacked, he gets hurt, and Boller goes in, which NO ONE wants except maybe his mother, unless she’s a Raiders fan. The O-line needs to protect their quarterback. If he has time, plays happen and games are won.
Raiders Biggest Weapons
The Run Game
Even with DMC out, the Raiders have been able to generate a ton of yards utilizing the run game. Michael Bush is a number two running back, but when given the chance, he always rises to the occasion. This is a weapon the Raiders use effectively and consistently. Taiwan Jones brings up the next weapon.
Sure, coaches have had half a season to get a look at some of these Raider rookies, but not a good one, which works to the Raiders’ benefit. Denarius Moore lit up the field last Thursday and quickly took Who’s-Yo-Mamma’s place as Palmer’s number one receiver. Taiwan Jones played a very valuable part and averaged 5.6 yards per carry against the Chargers. The ability of their rookies to step up, play where needed, and excel is a huge benefit.
A Veteran Quarterback
While many questioned the signing of Carson Palmer for two weeks (three if you count the bye), they were silenced on Thursday. Taking a closer look at Palmer’s initial play would show you there was nothing to worry about and he just needed to fall in sync with his players. He now provides the team with steady veteran leadership, which they haven’t had from a quarterback since the Gannon years.