Thursday, October 15, 2009

Know Your Enemy - OAK

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The Eagles have a tough task at hand this week. Kenny Stabler is having a very good year. Cliff Branch is still an elite deep threat. Wait...what year is it? 2009? Oops. Yeah, the Raiders are terrible. Owner Al Davis lives in the past so I thought I'd join him for a moment.

The Raiders started the year off looking okay. They could have easily won the opener vs San Diego. Oakland showed a lot of heart in that game. They won the following week, beating KC 13-10. That's 1-1 without a truly bad showing. Could they maintain that torrid pace?

Not exactly. They lost by 20 to Denver, by 23 to Houston, and then bottomed out vs the Gmen. That game was 44-7...and it wasn't even that close.

The immediate thought is that this Raiders team is awful and headed in a really bad direction. They are bad, but I have to admit to being nervous about facing them coming off such a beating. We are a substantially better team, but I hate to face someone coming off a curb-stomping like that. The Raiders are bound to have some guys whose dignity will kick in. I'm hoping that number is about 4, as opposed to 53.

The Raider offense is 32nd in yards and 31st in scoring. The defense is 31st in yards allowed, but an impressive 26th in points allowed. Well done, gents. Clearly this is not a good team. They lack talent, heart, leadership, and just about every other key area you can imagine.

LAST WEEK

The Giants had a 28-0 lead with 12:37 left in the 2nd quarter. Think about that. The Raiders did outscore them 7-3 in the rest of the quarter. That showed...nothing. The TD came after a muffed punt gave OAK great field position. The Giants had more sacks and takeaways (9 combined) than the Raiders did points. Horrid showing.

Early on I thought the Raider defense played hard and looked okay. The Giants still moved the ball, though. The Raider offense was dreadful and I think that wore on the defense. The Giants used a vertical passing offense to get big chunks of yardage. They had 3 completions of more than 30 yards and just missed a 4th.

JaMarcus Russell was 8 out of 13, but he got sacked 6 times and fumbled 3 times as well. He had 2 completions of more than 20 yards. The rest of his throws were pretty short. WRs were a non-factor in the game, catching 1 pass for 2 yards. Pinky and Thrash think that is pitiful.

PLAYERS

* QB JaMarcus Russell --- I won't say much. We've all seen and heard his critics. Russell is not dedicated to the game. Last one to arrive at work, first to leave. Has all the talent in the world, but has awful habits. Makes dumb decisions. Isn't accurate. Very talented, but a complete waste right now. Kevin Kolb has more passing yards in 2 starts than Russell all year long.

* RB Michael Bush --- Big, bruising runner. Should be the kind of guy we handle well. Bush got healthy last year and showed flashes of tremendous ability. Downhill runner that packs a punch. Darren McFadden is hurt, but Bush can easily handle the workload.

* TE Zach Miller --- Leads the team with 15 catches. Excellent receiver over the middle of the field. Knows how to get open and has very good hands. Doesn't have a TD yet in '09, but he does average 14.3 ypc. Very good in the deep middle.

* WR Corps --- Rookie Louis Murphy has 15 catches. The rest of the WRs have 5 combined. Ouch. The Raiders will test you deep, but they don't complete many of them. The biggest challenge for CBs may be not falling asleep due to the lack of throws coming out wide.

* OL --- I haven't really had the chance to study the Raiders OL much. Circumstances have put these guys in a bad situation. They have to play from behind a lot, meaning other teams know the Raiders will likely be passing. Russell holds the ball too long and doesn't have good pocket presence. The sack total has as much to do with him as the OL.


* DE Richard Seymour --- Came up big in the opener. Had a hand in 6 tackles and racked up 2 sacks. He hasn't gotten to the QB since. He is strong, tough, and knows how to get off blocks. Lacks the quickness and agility that made him so tough in his prime.

* DE Greg Ellis ---- Greg is doing okay in the AFC. He leads the team with 4 sacks and still has the burst/motor to pressure QBs on a consistent basis. I'm happy he's no longer in Dallas, but I can't say I'm looking forward to seeing him.

* MLB Kirk Morrison --- The leader of the defense. Solid player who gets to the ball throughout the game. Not the biggest or fastest. Just a good player. Not much in the way of a playmaker this year. Has 7 INTs in the last 3 years, but he's only been a tackler in 2009.

* LB Thomas Howard --- Speedy OLB who can make plays all over the place. Tied for 2nd in solo tackles. Also has a sack and 5 TFLs.

* CB Namdi Asomugha --- Okay player, who would probably be our slot guy. I'm certain he'd beat out Ellis Hobbs for the #4 spot. Okay, that may be a little biased. Elite cover corner. Great size/speed combo. Very skilled guy. Doesn't get many throws his way. Usually, a good tackler, but he will have his Deion moments here and there.

* CB Chris Johnson --- Talented CB, but lacks the consistency of his partner. Some plays CJ looks really good. Other times he looks pedestrian. Gave up an easy TD to the Giants on a simple route. Seemed like Johnson just lost the receiver. He does have an INT this year.

* Special Teams --- Up and down. The KOR unit only averages 18 yds per return. The long punt return is only 19 yards. To be fair, you have to stop someone on defense to force a punt and that is a problem.

P Shane Lechler is still great. He's averaging 52.4 per punt. Wow.

SeaBass is still the PK. He has yet to miss in '09 and has a long of 54. Pretty good.

MISC

* Oakland has the lowest average of plays per game in the league (53). We run 62 per game. That is an extra 50-60 yards for us.

* Raider tailbacks average 3.2 ypr this year. Long run is 17 yards. Bad blocking has a lot to do with that. They have a speed runner in McFadden, a power guy in Bush, and a combo guy in Fargas. When none of them have success...the OL needs help. They have had success with End Arounds. Higgins is 1-19 and DHB is 1-20.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/teams/stats?team=oak
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7 comments:

The Old Buffoon said...

Tommy,

Thx for another good write-up. btw, your last sentence under the Jemarcus Russell section was cut short.

I really hope the Eagles come into this game trying to establish a week ahead of time the intensity and execution that they will need against WAS and NYG. No more stupid penalties. No more 3 and outs. If we do that, we should be up 20+ pts by halftime, and I hope we see very little of McNabb and Westy in the 2nd half.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Sentence finished.

Agreed on the importance of playing well. We can't play down to them. We need to learn from the Giants and focus on us. Play to our standards. We've done pretty well with that this year, but Sunday is a big test. We're on the road against a team coming off a dreadful showing. This is the kind of opponent that could easily bring out the worst in us. A good performance would give me a boost in the confidence I've got in this year's Eagles.

Stephen said...

"The Raider offense is 32nd in yards and 31st in scoring. The defense is 31st in yards allowed, but an impressive 26th in points allowed. Well done, gents. Clearly this is not a good team. They lack talent, heart, leadership, and just about every other key area you can imagine."

lol, this quote reminded me a lot of a Rich Mckay (first head coach of the expansion Buccaneers, team that lost its first 26 games in a row) quote I saw on a NFL films special. He's standing on the sidelines and is mic'ed, and says something like "well we can't catch, we can't block and we can't tackle but aside from that we're ok." Here's some more really funny quotes for those that aren't familiar with him.

“We didn't tackle well today but we made up for it by not blocking.”

On Tampa Bay ending its 26-game losing streak: "Three or four plane crashes and we're in the playoffs."

When he heard that one of the kickers during training camp, Pete Rajecki, had mentioned he was nervous kicking in front of his coach, McKay asked that the press “Tell Mr. Rajecki that I plan to attend all the games.”

"If you have everyone back from a team that lost ten games, experience isn't too important."

“We’ve broken down the expansion teams and they’ve averaged winning 2.7 games their first year, which to me is rather difficult. I figured out the 2, but the .7 has got me wondering what the hell is going on.”

"We stunk. We blocked bad, we were terrible on defense and our kicking game made up for it by being absolutely horrible. I saw nothing that delighted me, we ran on the field fairly well." - November 25, 1979 (After 23-22 loss too Minnesota)

It's not heavy." - December 29, 1979 (When asked about Riicky Bell carrying the ball a playoff record 38 times)

"It will be good to go on the road. I think the fans have seen enough of us." - October 23, 1983 (Following a 24-21 looss to the Saints)

On training camp: ``It's shattering when a player loses interest in camp. When you lose your desire to stand around and eat steaks, you lose everything.''

Cliff said...

How about we the run ball this Sunday, guys? Take the opportunity to get Westy and McCoy and the OL in to a groove before we hit DC.

I have a feeling the WAS game will be a typical, NFC East slugfest. The Redskins usually make us play down to them and I think we'll need to be able to run the ball. WAS is #5 in total yards allowed and #3 in passing yards allowed. Now, I know they haven't played anyone so those stats should be taken with a grain of salt, but hey, that same thing could apply to our team.

Oh crap, this is a post about the OAK game and all I can talk about is next week. Hope the team doesn't have the same mentality.

Stephen said...

I'd love to for once kick the snot out of the Skins like the inferior team they are. For some reason they give us trouble year in and year out but you'd never say they have the more talented team.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Great John McKay quotes. Good coach and a very funny guy.


RE: WAS

Oakland is a good warmup. The Skins have physical, press corners. So do the Raiders. Donovan, DeSean, and Maclin will need to get in sync this week.

Stephen said...

I didn't know a thing about Mckay till I saw that NFL films special. I have a great deal of appreciation for the job he did now, a sense of humor is probably the only thing that kept him going on that miserable team.

I'm glad he was somewhat vindicated by leading them to the playoffs after only 4 seasons, thats pretty impressive for a squad that was so abysmal for the first couple of years. Plus they had to wear those creamsickle uniforms with the winking pirate on the side of the helmet. I'd have trouble taking myself seriously if I had to play football wearing that.

One of the most notorious players to come out of those late 70's early 80's Tampa teams was Doug Williams. I'm sure Doug was glad to be rid of the creamsickle orange too!

Washington makes me mad, why can't they remember that they're just not that good when they play us? It's almost like they forget that they're a perennial 8-8ish squad year in and year out and think they're a legitimate super bowl contender.

I think they have the wrong owner and the wrong coach right now, Jason Campbell might be good under all that poor play if they didn't change the offense on him every single season.

I haven't watched much Washington this year but their secondary looked sad against the Giants in the opener, they couldn't tackle to save their souls and I think thats something we can exploit definitely.