A Playoff Push Starts With Indy

Did the Raiders win the game or did the Jets lose last week on the final play? It probably depends who you ask.

Mainstream media and the Jets mainly blame the play caller Greg Williams who was fired after the winless Jets stayed that way. However, Vegas pass protected, made the throw and completed the pass.

Either way, you probably screamed as Ruggs III went in for the game winning touchdown. It was a high feeling that came in a game where we all wondered WTF. There’s a universe somewhere not too far where these Raiders gave the Jets their only win. So much for talk about playoffs.

Still, the Raiders are lucky they can still talk about playoffs after that narrow victory. Sure, they played with a lot of injuries including Josh Jacobs sitting out.

Regardless competition goes up this week as they take on the Indianapolis Colts. Indy is duking it out with the Silver and Black for Wild Card position. Damon Armette and Jeff Heath are out, Daryl Worley enters from free agency. Josh Jacobs and Jonathan Abram are both questionable after missing last week too. Isaiah Johnson could also be out which makes the secondary even more depleted.

What the Raiders do got going for them is a familiarity with QB Philip Rivers as he was in their division a long time. Jonathan Hankins was already talking smack after the Silver and Black dominated Rivers twice last year when he was with the Chargers. Colts starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo could also be out with a questionable designation.

Speaking of, Clelin Ferrell battled COVID for a few weeks and came back with aoms new pass rush skills. Ferrell was crucial in two fumbles versus the Jets. That’s exactly the performance the Silver and Black need him to build on in this playoff fight down the stretch. Vic Beasley continues getting hyped up too. Let’s see what they do versus a hobbled or backup Colts tackle.

The secondary will need all the favors they can get. Hopefully, the d-line can convert sacks. We know Rivers will make mistakes but the secondary must capitalize on them by getting ints.

This Colts group doesn’t have nearly the same imposing size and speed on the outside as the Jets. They do have more speed and explosiveness out of the backfield which means the Raiders LBs are on notice. Playoff football means stopping the run and the Colts offer a good foe there.

Offensively, the Silver and Black have their hands filled with a Colts defense that gave up the 8th fewest passing yards and 5th fewest rushing yards. Indy is also top-12 in sacks and top-10 for interceptions.

A lot of that is attributed to Colts linebacker Darius Leonard. He’s one of the best defensive players in the whole league. He does a lot for them all over the field.

The Raiders are also familiar with the Colts front four. Denico Autry continues producing on a modest contract after leaving the Raiders for the Colts in free agency. DeForest Buckner continues is producing in his first year in Indy. Buckner is nursing a hip injury but should play. The point is, the Raiders interior line will have their hands full with this rotation. Long-time Chief Justin Houston has 7.5 sacks with the Colts this year. He is another former division rival with experience giving the Raiders hell.

Nonetheless, the Raiders will need to keep being who they are. These days, a good offense beats a good defense. Vegas needs to run the ball to neutralize the upfield aggressiveness of the Colts. Getting Jacobs back can only help that cause. They can also sprinkle in some screens.

Then, it’s up to Carr to find his receivers deep. The Raiders receivers have a speed advantage on the outside. This is the week the Raiders got to execute those big plays. The Silver and Black need to be themselves. Run the ball and take shots deep. That is Raiders football.

Expect this game to be physical. Both teams are indoor teams and fighting for a playoff spot. Each team has two division games and another potential playoff team remaining on their schedule. Point is, neither team wants to lose. The Colts have one less loss and are still in play for the division crown so they have a little more room for a loss.

A win for either team pads the playoff resume while a loss just makes it that much harder. Don’t forget it is a short week for the Raiders as they play the Chargers Thursday. That means Execution needs to be all that more crisp with less preparation and recovery after this matchup vs the Colts.

If Vegas comes with the same intensity and urgency they kept versus the Chiefs, they can get a statement win. However, they come out like they did the past two weeks versus teams with nothing to play for and their season could be over. Hopefully, being at home helps them overcome any slow start. No east coast travel fatigue to blame either.

The Raiders goal of making the playoffs is within their reach. They just gotta do their part by winning the next four games.

Vegas needs to execute by finding ways to create turnovers and force Rivers into mistakes. They got to stop the run and also control the clock with their own o-line and running back play. Don’t forget a big play in the pass here and there. If the Silver and Black do that in this four game stretch they can make the playoffs. However, that starts with this huge test versus the Colts. Nothing else matters without handling business versus Indy first.

Time to rev the Carr

If the Raiders play like they did Sunday it will be a long season. Oakland came out with a 3-and-out faster than you can imagined. The defense wasn’t much better. The Raiders got beat as soon as they got off the plane.

Now, they’ll go into Indianapolis. The Colts are well coached and still strong enough to beat the Raiders.

Derek Carr also needs to play better. His statistics are fine. Carr is playing efficient.

Unfortunately, he’s far too comfortable over matched. Carr is also reverting back to bad habits. The Raiders quarterback is bouncing in the pocket unnecessarily. His footwork hasn’t been the best even when the pocket is set.

Still, he has been a strong leader. Carr has been accurate. He just hasn’t taken enough chances.  The ones he has haven’t been fruitful. I guess this is the narrative on Carr.

The Point is, Carr is the one player who might actually give the Raiders an advantage. He’s got the talent to be a top 10 player at a position. It is his time to take games over and stop optimizing his way to mediocrity.

On defense, the Raiders play more discipline than years past. That’s the problem. They need some game changers who can dominate one-on-one matchups consistently. Oakland has some players who can win in spots. They need more than that.

Indianapolis is 2-1 and they aren’t giving up on the playoffs. The Silver and Black can win this game. However, they need Derek Carr to outplay Jacoby Brissett and the Raiders need their defense to make more than a play.

Are the Raiders the Worst in the NFL? Battle of the Bay, no trades before Halloween and more

I can’t believe I’m happy to say that we competed versus the Indianapolis Colts last week. It’s truth though. Last Sunday was the first week I enjoyed watching the 2018 Raiders.

Their adjustments and talent weren’t great, sure, but I finally saw young players like Gareon Conley and Karl Joseph playing. Were they great? No, but you want to see young talent playing from a rebuilding team.

More importantly, Derek Carr played hard. He didn’t let all the distractions effect him. He looked like he was finally having fun again. That’s a long way from the dude who was ‘crying’ only a few weeks ago.

It was honestly the first time I felt like Gruden’s plan was in the process. I felt the buy-in from the squad even if it didn’t result in a win.

Are the Raiders the worst team in the NFL?

Only two seasons ago we were talking about them being the best and now we’re talking about them being the worst. SMFH.

Either way, the Raiders are among the worst teams in the standings. They look like by-far the worst team in the AFC West. Moreover, they aren’t really set at any position. They’re filled with wholes at the key positions including RB, QB, OL, DL, CB, LB and damn near every position. QB is the only position you could say the Raiders have set but even that depends on how he plays and meshes with his coach moving forward this season. Oh yeah, there is LT too with Kolton Miller and some of the OL depending what happens after this year.

Outside of that, they barely beat the Browns who fired the coach this week. Cleveland has 1.5 wins more than Oakland. They also have already found key players on the d-line, in the backfield, at receiver and in the secondary.

Further, comparisons to sorry teams don’t fall in the Raiders favor either. Buffalo has one more win for Pete’s sake. The Colts also beat us even if they looked like trash in the process.

In the NFC, there’s the Cardinals. Sure, they only have one more win but they have a QB, RB and possibly a WR to build around. There defense was also great not too long ago and still has a lot of players with name recognition.

Even the Giants, who have the same record as the Raiders, appear better. New York at least has a franchise savior at RB and WR. Their defense is grossly overpaid and overhyped but still has more talent than Oakland.

Then you have the 49ers…. Even they have a QB sort of. Jimmy G has a limited sample size of success but don’t tell that to 9ers Stans. They also have key young players throughout the defense that give them a nice nucleus for the future. They’ve also been in the lottery a lot more than some of the other sorry teams this season mentioned earlier.

Battle of the Bay

Well, we will certainly find out this week, tonight, versus the 49ers. Oakland has another toilet bowl on their schedule as both teams enter the game with only one win.

Sure, it’s the battle of the bay and supposed to be a rivalry game but does anyone actually care outside of the bay? Again, who knows.

I’d expect a physical game even if it isn’t a good game. The Raiders should win consider the 49ers are depleted by injury and starting a third string QB whose name I can’t even recall.

On the other hand, a loss here would be horrible for the Raiders. If you win one game this season it better be versus the 49ers. Moreover, we all know who wins the fight after and the drinking battle before, #RaiderNation.

No trades at the deadline

Apparently, the Raiders biggest trades already happened. We all know the squad already moved franchise cornerstones Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack but they were expected to keep making trades anyways. Derek Carr, Karl Joseph, Gareon Conley and others were rumored to get moved. It made sense if the Raiders were going all-in for tanking. Besides, one team’s trash is another persons treasure.

However, nothing happened and it is okay. I don’t know if I could have stomached another trade. It is a little disappointing that guys like Rodney Hudson, Bruce Irvin and Kelechi Osemele are stuck playing for a sorry team this late into their career. However, they’re all compensated well and professionals. It will be interesting to see how they and other veterans factor into the Raiders plans after this season.

Nonetheless, I’m sure Oakland tried to move those players. They just couldn’t find good value and figured they’d be better off saving those chips and letting them play out. Who knows, maybe young guys Karl Joseph and Gareon Conley can turn their careers around and get Gruden to believe in them.

Ultimately, a team can only take so much change. The Raiders couldn’t afford to make another deal just for the sake of it. Their team is another roster move away from being the laughing stock of the league so keeping their talent should’ve always been a priority.

What Terrelle Pryor means to the Raiders

What Terrelle Pryor means for the Oakland Raiders

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If this Raiders team is as bad as everyone is making them seem, than they need all the play-makers they can get. Terrelle Pryor gives them exactly that from the quarterback position. Pryor gives the Oakland Raiders the best chance to win, because defenses have to account for his arm and his legs, but defenses must respect his play-making ability. Pryor might not have the same accuracy or football I.Q as Matt Flynn, but Pryor’s god given instinct and ability make him the better choice for this Raider team.

Yes Terrelle Pryor is fast, strong, and athletic. In The Raider’s preseason games Pryor proved that he is capable of translating his athleticism at the next level. However, the most promising thing that can be taken away from those games is Pryor’s willingness to take on the big moment.

With all respect towards Flynn, the Raiders have no where near the amount of talent and play-makers that a game manager like Flynn would need to be successful. Instead, the Raiders need another play-maker that the defense must respect besides Darren Mcfadden. Forget the fact that the zone option with Mcfadden and Pryor is scary; Pryor any time on a bootleg is just as threatening. Then you add a shaky offensive line and the Raiders need a quarterback, like Pryor, who can move just to stay up right and keep drives alive. All offseason I’ve heard multiple sources talk about how Greg Olsen is willing to tailor his offense to his player.Well here is Olsen’s chance.

[Bold: What Pryor gives the Raiders on offense]

Pryor’s game changing ability will open things up for all of the players on the Raiders offense. Even though the Raiders do not have an every down, dominate player outside of Mcfadden they have plenty of guys who possess the versatility and explosiveness to be effective. Guys like Ausberry, Reese, Ford, Moore, Kasa, etc. all posses such unique skill sets that the Raiders would benefit from a more spread style offense were they can get the ball into various players hands and give them opportunities to make plays. Pryor, has experience with this type of offense as does Mcfadden, and we have seen other teams in the NFL with half the explosiveness, use this type of offense effectively. Pryor can then key on the various mismatches the Raiders create with all of the size and athleticism at the skill positions.

[Bold: Why Pryor is ready to be the starter]
Entering Ohio State as top recruit carries it’s own expectations, and Terrelle Pryor handled that well on the field. Off the field, Pryor had his own well documented issues with maturity and signs of that showed early in the pros. However, Pryor has matured and that is evident with this entire off-season. Terrelle knew that he was the dark horse to be the starting quarterback, but he said all the right things and when his opportunity came, he was was ready. Even with his struggles, he showed a resilience and a want to get better. All that aside, the fact that Pryor has put so much work into refining his game the past to seasons shows that he isn’t the same immature guy he was at OSU, instead showing he isn’t taking the opportunity for granted. Pryor didn’t show us anything we didn’t know in the preseason. We knew Pryor, was fast, big, and had a strong arm. However, he did remind us that he is gamer and competitor who has been playing on the biggest stages since high school. Further his advancement at making reads and audibles shows that Pryor is taking responsibility for maturing his game at the NFL level.

[Bold: Why the Raiders need Pryor to be successful}

Finally, the Raiders need Pryor to be successful, because every teams number one goal is to SELL TICKETS. Not only, is Pryor an explosive player who is fun to watch, but he is also a fan favorite. Pryor is going to get fans and people around the league excited for the Raiders again. Pryor is the hope for this fan-base and the organization, so the Raiders must play him just to exhaust every option.

Pryor has similar athleticism and accolades to Cam Newton and RG3 who are responsible for injected life into their respective franchises, as rookies. While Pryor may not be the same type of prospect these guys were, you can not convince me that Newton and Griffin as rookies were better than Pryor is now after three years of NFL experience. If those two can have such an impact as rookies than I think it is fair to have similar expectations for a third year Pryor.

Either way, even if Pryor fails, at-least then he leaves the door open for the number 1 pick next year. In that case, we won’t even have any debate about what position to draft with that #1 pick. In any event, playing Pryor at least makes it look like the Raiders aren’t tanking for #1 pick…