Holla At Me Raider Nation!
-sniff, sniff- You smell that? Close your eyes, take a deep breath. -sniff, sniff- You can't smell that? It's the autumn wind; Carrying the sent of Raider Nation, tailgating. -sniff, sniff- Smells like some sort of smoked meat. It could be Jaguar; In anticipation of the Raiders home opener.
Despite Oakland's season opening loss to the Colts, the energy around the team remains positive. With good reason. Last week, the defense performed well. More importantly (despite expected rookie mistakes) quarterback Terrelle Pryor performed well. I made sure to mention "quarterback" because, despite the rise in band-wagon ridership, there was a time when people were calling for Pryor to play tight end. Play wide receiver. Play running back....
As I've said from day zero, Terrelle Pryor is a quarterback - period- . However, as I've also said: Pryor is not the savior of the Raiders, or their offense. Pryor's success hinges on the weapons (or lack there of) that surround him. The NFL quarterback position may be evolving into more of a weapon; Never the less, the fact remains his primary role is still that of facilitator.
If the Raiders, and their offense want to have any type of sustainable success then the people around Terrelle Pryor need to step up their game! This means YOU Darren McFadden!! Now, as many of you know - I don't do stats. However, when you look at McFadden's career numbers two things stand out. 1.) McFadden has had only one 1,000 yard rushing season; He ran for 1,157 yards back in 2010. 2.) The number of seasons in which McFadden has played all 16 games, comes to a big fat zero.
Drafted 4th in 2008, McFadden's time in Oakland quite frankly has been more disappointment then dominate. Last season injuries, and the failed "zone blocking scheme" left McFadden averaging a career low 3 yards a carry! This season, with McFadden looking for a contract extension, and with the return of the Oakland "power blocking scheme", the Nation has high hopes for the teams running game, and running back.
Last week Pryor ran for 112 yards on only 13 carries. If you were to extrapolate that total over 16 games Pryor would end up rushing for well over 1,000 yards! Terrelle Pryor, while being a gifted athlete CAN NOT lead this team in rushing! If the Raiders and Pryor are going to have a functional offensive system more is required from McFadden; Then the 48 yards on 17 carries he managed to gain on the ground in last weeks season opening loss to the Colts.
Terrelle Pryor is basiclly a rookie quarterback. The Raiders offensive line is in a state of flux. The team has serious questions at wide out, and tight end. Therefore, it is expected for Pryor to continue to need to run A: To save his life and B: To extend plays. It's vitally important for the Oakland offense to be able to depend on their running backs. If the Raiders want to avoid disaster, the team is going to need McFadden to provide some explosion(s).
I can not say this enough people; Terrelle Pryor is basiclly a rookie quarterback. This man is NOT Tom Brady! He's not going to guide sub-standard talent to victories; At least not at this point in his quarterbacking career. Therefore, the Raiders can not allow the opposing defense to dictate the rules of engagement.
We need McFadden to run early, run often, and make big plays!! Wear down, and distract the other teams defense; Which will only free up oppurtunities for Terrelle Pryor to play more comfortably. Furthermore, everyone knows that in the NLF today you throw the ball to get the lead; However, you need to run the ball in order to keep it!
Are you looking for the Raiders to limit the potential for Terrelle Pryor making major mistakes? Do you want the team to help him avoid injury? Then the Raiders are going to need McFadden to step up his game! The Raiders want to establish tempo? Then the Raiders, and McFadden need to establish the running game!!
Keep Ya "EYE" On.
As I wrote a line or two ago, you don't need me to tell you that this is the first home game of the season. We all know that this game is going to be sold out; Which means that THE BLACK HOLE will be in FULL EFFECT!!
Other than the performance of Darren McFadden I'm going to be interested in watching the game plan that (Dennis) Allen and company have devised. As I stated - we all (even Dennis Allen) know that this is the first home game of the season. I'm (for some strange reason) expecting Allen and company to have the team come out blazing.
I know the (quote un quote) company line is that the Raiders are "under new management." However, truth be told (which is what I do) these new Raiders seem to me to want to be a lot like the olde school Raiders.
Let's go all the way back to draft day. When The God Father Al Davis was with us, draft day could be - shall we say - unperdictable. Well, if you had the Raiders (new management) picking D.J. Hayden -- YOU need to holla at me (because I didn't see that coming). However, in looking at the pick, one would have to say that it is a Raider move. What has Oakland always been known for? Taking so called "risky" picks, and turning them into RAIDERS.
Let's move ahead, and look at how new Raider management deals with the media. We all know that when Al was alive the media knew less then nothing (although they pretended otherwise). Well, I've got a question for you brothers and sisters. Did Dennis Allen come out and publicly state that Terrelle Pryor was going to be the starter for week one?
You should all know the answer to my question is: No. Dennis Allen did not speak to the media and announce that Terrelle Pryor would be the starter for week one. What did the media do? They do what they ALWAYS do - pretend they know what their talking about. That's why you heard - Maybe it's this guy? Or maybe it's that guy? (idiots!!)
When Al Davis was alive would we have gotten, or needed a public announcement of Terrelle Pryor as starter for week one? HELL NO! We would have gotten exactly what we did get. Terrelle Pryor starting week one.
While we're on the topic, let's look at week one. The first thing I've got to say is how annoying it was to watch Andrew Luck use his legs to get the game winning score. Talk about using what we want to do against us! Quarterback mobility / athlethisim is the way of the future (and the future is now) people (but Al Davis already knew that). Quarterbacks like Peyton Manning are a dying breed.
Side Bar: Look for Denver to make a very strong Super Bowl push. Peyton Manning is part of a dying breed. He knows it. Moreover, do not under estimate the power of sibling rivalry! Peyton does not want to walk away from the game with his little brother owning more Super Bowl rings then him (if he's got anything to say about it). It may sound crazy, but as I said: Don't underestimate the power of sibling rivaly (if you've got a brother or sister then YOU know what I'm taking about)! Keep an eye on Peyton and Denver this season; We'll revisit this topic later.
Back To RAIDER BUSINESS.
Week one the Raider took their shots. We get a play or two, here or there, and we spoil opening day for the Colts. Historically this is what the Raiders do. We take our shot DEEP! Run the ball with POWER; And punch you in the mouth on defense.
One of the problems the Raiders have had presently on offense has been a dis-connect between Pryor and his receiver on some deep passes. It will be interesting to see if Oakland, on opening day, in front of Raider Nation, reintroduces: The Bomb!
One last thought on our running game: If McFadden is unable to provide the spark the Raiders are going to need to have in their rushing attack look for Marcel "The Beast" Reece to be unleashed! However, no matter how this game plays out as long as we Just Win Baby! -- You won't hear me complain (at least not too much).http://raidernationtimes.com/article.php?id=9748