Some of you may know me as a pats fan. But (cue surprise face) I am also a big, big Raiders fan. So with that out of the way, one of your bloggers made a post on our site talking about the Raider's last matchup, and how the Bill are this year. I'd like to do the same for the Raider's. Some of the things I say may seem homerish, but believe me, I am a very objective person, and I stay away from homerism as much as possible when I evaluate or talk about my team.
Last week it was my understanding that you crushed the Chiefs. This makes me very happy. I know that you guys have an improved front seven. Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams, and Edwards look to be a solid front 3. You improved your LBs with Nick Barnett. McKelvin is good, and bad, and good again. In other words I believe he is inconsistent (?), and McGee seems like a solid #2 guy. Byrd and Wilson provide a solid safety group.
Fitz looks to be a much improved version of our previous backup QB Bruce Gradkowski. Plays with passion, helps make and extend plays, seems to have chemistry with the offense. All I know about is Stevie Johnson, who is going into consideration to be a top 10 WR if I do say so myself. Fred jackson and Spiller provide a solid tandem, and if I am not mistaken both can catch in the backfield. Your OL, to me, looks to be about.... average. But I honestly don't know the names of your guys, or how truly good they are in both run and pass protection. Some questions before I talk about my team:
1) How is Shawn Merrimen, and the rest of the LB look?
2) What are your #3 and #4 CBs like?
3) Did I make a fair assessment of the Bills? What have you to add? What have I not talked about?
4) Tell me about your OL?
5) How is your TE, and other WRs?
Now onto the Raiders:
QB) Jason Campbell, to me, should not be underestimated. He is a solid passer, except when he passes deep (which is okay at best). he has above average pocket presence, and is a smart thrower. he also runs it if need be, but he doesn't do it unless he has to.
WRs) Last game 2/3 of our starting WRs were not playing: Murphy, and hagan. Our other starting WR, Ford, went out injured early in the 3rd. Hopefully all 3 would be able to play Sunday, although I'm sure DHB (Hey-Bey) Will start anyways to stretch the field. Speaking of Hey Bey, he played decent, and looks much improved over his mediocre self the past two seasons. He went up against Champ Bailey, and did fairly well against him. Hagan (and this is going off of preseason because I have nothing else to go off of now) looks to be a great possession WR for us, and a graet route runner. He was a consistent WR for us in preseason, making great catches, while also getting very good yards after catch. Murphy is a solid WR. Last year he had a small case of the dropsies, but if I were to compare anyone with him, it would be Hines Ward. Murphy is an average route runner, good hands, and a monster at blocking. he seems like another possession WR, who was our most consistent the past two years at WR. Our wildcard guy, Schilens, has tremendous potential, but injuries plagues his career. He is a 6'4 4.3 speed WR, who made Jamarcus Russel look decent. If he starts, I'll be excited, but it will likely not happen. Denarius Moore, our rookie WR, has been spectacular in camp and preseason. Campbell has to get into chemistry with him however when he starts.
RB) McFadden needs no introduction. he has been an excellent back for us. Michael Bush, our #2 guy, is a powerful runner with good quickness. Taiwan Jones was also sort of a preseason start, and we can't wait to see him in action. All 3 can catch.
FB) Don't sleep on Marcell Reece. our FB Reece was a WR in college, and he can play like one at FB. He is our 6th weapon of the offense if we run 2 RB, 1TE, 3 WR formations (which I think we do frequently). Good runner, very consistent for us.
TE) Last game, Boss was out. That's right, our 3 starting WRs and starting TE were out. Boss does not have as good a catching ability as Miller did with us, but he is one of the best blocking TEs in the NFL according to BigBlueView, the head writer I believe on the Giant's blog. If he plays, our Run blocking will be much more improved. Myers is an okay #2 TE. Good blocker, okay hands, okay route running.
OL) Our OL is underrated as well. Campbell was hardly touched against the monster pass rush on papar that the Bronco fans were advertising. Veldheer, our LT, has been rising in the LT ranks looking to be solid in pass protection, and a good run blocker. Wiz our rookie LG, has been having great games in preseason, and followed it up with another very good game against the Broncos. He is small, but packs a punch. Solid in both pass and run protection. Satele, our center, is basically in the same boat as Wiz, only he has been consistent for us, when for the last couple years. Our RG and RT spots look to be alright. Cooper at RG is okay, but not awesome. Barnes is a good RT, but gets called for penalties all the time. Its kind of what he;s known for.
---Offensively, the Raiders have a LOT of potential, but there is one word which we would like to see from them: Consistency. They all have talent, but we need a consistent offense to be ran. Somehow, there are penalties that kill our drives sometimes, which hurts us (some are holding on a WR or OL. Some DPI, it varies). If The raiders are able to run the ball effectively, and not turn the ball over, things usually bode very well for our offense. Penalties are our main enemy. lol
DL) Top 3 in the league. Bar none. Seymour and Kelly in the middle are tremendous. Both can rush the passer, and stop the run. Shaugnessy, our RE, is in the same boat, he can rush the passer, and stop the run. Houston is pretty well rounded himself, although I wish he can get stronger, than he'll be awesome. Last year he was our star rookie on defense, who may have made a DRotY if Suh and McCourty weren't ahead of him, and if the media knew about this kid. 41 tackles(31 solo) and 5 sacks last year.
LBs) The only great LB we have is McClain, who looks to have great potential to be a Ray Lewis-like MLB. he hits hard, and has a nose for the ball (reason why McClain only had one tackle last game is because our DL alone stopped Denver's pathetic running game, and Orton did not target McClain in the passing game). Wimbley is a great pass rusher on the outside, and decent against the run and pass. Groves is our MAJOR weakpoint on defense, despite him playing alright (just alright) in our last game. He is average against the run, and dare I say not very good rushing the passer, or in coverage.
CBs) Don't sleep on Stanford Routt. Here is a link which records last year:
Routt displayed why he should be noticed. He was great last game, but dropped an INT due to the heavy downpoor that was going on. He is a very good CB. I know what happened to Flowers, but I think Flowers is alright. had a great rookie year imo, but for some reason he doesn't impress me very much with his play. Routt will be a tougher matchup than Flowers, but whether he CAN stop Stevie remains to be seen. Chris Johnson is a solid #2 guy. Our slot guy, Huff though, is average at slot corner.
Safeties) Branch is a solid safety. good against the run, good against the pass. Giordano, our strong safety, was impressive last game, and looked to be a very good playmaker, displaying vision and awareness.
---I believe that's all I have to say about the Raider's D. Our weakness is mostly letting the big play happen (mostly the runs) every so often, but most of the time, they do pretty damn good. Our red zone D is excellent though.
Hope I provided enough information for you guys. :)