Oakland Raiders Regular Season Awards

The Oakland Raiders regular season ended way earlier than any of us had hoped.

We would all rather watch our team in the AFC Championship. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

Instead, we’re forced to review the regular season. Here is my take on the key players for the Raiders season, as well as a bonus award.

MVP

Derek Carr is the MVP and it is not even close. Oakland’s score in the combined two games without Carr did not surpass the Raiders’ per game total.

Added, he was the emotional leader of this team via multiple fourth quarter comebacks. Carr may also have a claim to the league’s version of this award. He is also the obvious choice for Offensive Player of the Year too.

DPOY

Khalil Mack was one of the lone bright spots for a Raiders defense that ranked towards the bottom in most categories. Mack graded as the best defensive player per Pro Football Focus. He also registered 11 sacks and four turnovers.

Rookie of the year

Jalen  Richard wins this award for his contributions to the running game and return game. He provided sparks for this offense in the playoff game via a return and during a touchodown that occured on his first professional carry.

Moreover, Richard started the year behind fellow rookie DeAndre Washington but Richard finished the season with more rushing yards.

Best Newcomer

Kelechi Osemele came over from the Baltimore Ravens. He brought a nastiness to the guard position and the entire offensive line. Osemele is the one of the biggest reasons the Raiders had a top offense. He should anchor one of the best lines for a while.

Reggie Nelson and Bruce Irvin also contributed as newcomers. However, Osemele completely changed the culture of the offensive line. This earns him the row. Not to mention, the offense was superior than the defense.

Biggest Flop

Dan Williams deserves this award, despite being one of the best character guys on the team. Williams was one of the Raiders most consistent players in 2015. This year, he entered the season as a backup behind Justin Ellis. Williams eventually got his spot back, but he was not a gamechanger.

The Raiders cycled through multiple players at defensive tackle all season. A lot of that was Williams’ inconsistency. The Raiders struggled generating rush and stopping the run. Williams deserves a lot of the blame.

I published a similar version of this article on Inquisitr. You can read more about the Raiders awards on the website.

 

 

Oakland Raiders: Turn up or Turn Down from Week 4

The Oakland Raiders secured their third road victory of the 2016 season via a defeat of the previously undefeated Baltimore Ravens. Here are more lessons from the 28-27 victory.

Turn Up: 3-1 overall record for the 2016 season.

Forget the fact that Oakland won all three games by a single score. The Raiders have their best start since 2002, the same year they won the AFC title.  Not to mention, the team seems poised for their first winning season since that year. That all sounds like  cause for celebrations.

Turn up: The Special Teams

Marquette King registered the best-graded game ever rated by Pro Football Focus. Jalen Richard also added a 47-yard punt return. Special teams really gave the Raiders an edge in the one-point contest versus the Ravens. Especially when Devin Hester sparked his team with a few nice returns, the Silver and Black needed to execute on special teams.

That is exactly what head coach Jack Del Rio said in Monday’s press conference.

“All three phases playing complementary football, impacting the game, and it’s about us and our team, and what we’re able to do when those three phases work together like that. That’s a great example of it.” Del Rio said.

Let’s see more sparks via corner punts and long returns as the season continues.

Turn Down: The talks about an elite offense

Oakland played an efficient game on offense. Derek Carr threw four touchdown passes and went 25 of 35 for 199 yards. The leading rusher was DeAndre Washington with 30 yards on five carries. Plus, the unit only converted a quarter of their third down attempts.

Obviously, the Silver and Black will take the win. However, we need to see more from the rushing attack before this unit becomes elite. An example of this includes Baltimore winning the time of possession category by more than 9 minutes. It could help not having a rookie like Vandal Alexander at right tackle. Some of his penalties killed the team. An improved rushing attack also makes for more easily managed third downs.

Either way, Oakland still ranks in the top 10 as far as offensive averages for rushing and passing. They just need a little better execution to become an elite unit.

Turn Down: Defensive hype

 

Yes, the Raiders defense came up with a four-and-out stop in the final two minutes before winning on the road. Yes, Bruce Irvin got a strip-sack and Khalil Mack got his first sack of the year in the fourth quarter. Plus, the team pressured Joe Flacco all day.

https://twitter.com/blackhanside/status/783100760800178176

However, Ravens running back slashed through the Raiders defense for 113 yards on 21 carries. Joe Flacco also got 298 yards, even if it took him more than 50 attempts. Also, 37-year-old Steve Smith caught 8 balls for 111 yards and 1 touchdown.

Clearly, Oakland has a long way to go before the unit is actually good. They still rank last in total yards and average per pass. They are also second to last in opponent rushing yards per game.

It is great that the Silver and Black can rely on their team to make plays when it matters. Nonetheless, it would be great if they made plays through the entire game.

Turn Down: The Penalties

Overall, the Raiders have had too many penalties. They are No. 1 in offensive penalties with 43. They are in the top-five as far as defensive penalties too.

The margin for error is so low in the NFL. Oakland can not keep winning these one score games if they consistently lead in the penalty category.

Blame it on the Raiders-bias if you want. However, the Raiders need to look themselves in the mirror and execute better. This is especially true for an offensive line that is too good for holding calls and false starts.

Turn Up: D.J. Hayden in the nickel corner.

Hayden played 70 percent of the team’s snaps despite not starting in the base defense. He made six tackles and defensed one pass. Not to mention, he made some hits.

We’ve grown so much, man,” Hayden said. “As far as our execution; we’re playing smarter. We’re just out there playing. We’re not thinking, we’re just reacting.”

Considering how many fans were ready to write him off, we should definitely celebrate that Hayden is coming into his own  via the inside corner spot.

 

Oakland Raiders versus Tennessee Titans: Turn Up or Turn Down

The Oakland Raiders (2-1) played a better defensive game as they held onto a road victory over the Tennessee Titans (1-2). Here are some reactions from the week three win.

Turn Up: The Secondary

Rookie safety Karl Joseph led the team in tackles during his debut as a starter. Meanwhile, free agency acquisitions corner Sean Smith and safety Reggie Nelson both registered interceptions. Not to mention, D.J. Hayden made some key tackles. T.J. Carrie made some plays in coverage on the final game. Also, David Amerson led the team with four pass deflections.

The Raiders secondary finally showed some ability. They still need to turn up their abilities to make up for the first two games, where they gave up more than 400 passing yards. However, this game showed a glimpse of their potential. Oakland will need the secondary to improve because they invested a ton of money into the unit during free agency.

Turn Down: Opponents’ Rushing Yards

Oakland got exposed in the running game, again. This time, Tennesse registered 181 rushing yards. The Silver and Black struggled tackling the Titans’ big running backs DeMarcco Murray and Derrick Henry.

Rookie linebacker Cory James showed some positives in his first start. However, the team still requires improved play in the middle of their defense. That starts up front with defensive tackle play. The Raiders’ under-sized linebackers need the big defensive tackles to eat space. This way, James and others can use their speed to get downhill and attack the ball.

Turn Down: Dropped Passes

The Silver and Black only scored 17 points, but it was a successful outing on the offensive side of the ball. Oakland could have dominated the ball more with better execution from their pass catchers.

Quarterback Derek Carr completed 21 of 35 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown in the game, but his team went scoreless in the second half. Some of that goes on the shoulders of receivers who dropped too many balls. Amari Cooper, Clive Walford, Andre Holmes, and Seth Roberts all took turns at failing to complete receptions. Some of them were bad throws or good plays by the defense, but they need to make the catches when the ball is in reach.

Turn Up: The Rushing Attack

Again, Oakland still dominated the line of scrimmage by registering more than 100 rushing yards in the game. Nonetheless, most of that success came from a 22-yard run from Latavius Murray and a 30-yard run from DeAndre Washington. Take those away and the unit was much less effective. Just look at Murray’s pedestrian 3.7 yards per carry.

Either way, Oakland’s rushing attack should get better once they get one of their top-three tackles back from injury. Starting right tackle Menelik Watson went down with another injury in this game and Vadal Alexander put together a solid outing in his first extended performance during Watson’s absence. Regardless, it would be nice to see this unit stay at full strength.

 

Raiders Rants: DeAndre Washington, Michael Crabtree & Las Vegas

More updates on the latest headlines from the Oakland Raiders.

DeAndre Washington

Apparently, the Raiders see rookie DeAndre Washington as a potential starter.

  • OC Bill Musgrave complimented his work ethic and said he earned reps with the first team.
  • CBS Sports reports that Washington is a lot like starter Latavius Murray. He is also a good catcher.

My Take: I like the comparison to Murray. They were both taken late in the draft. We will see what happens, but personally I am pulling for Taiwan Jones as the No. 2 back. Jones is too explosive not to have a role on our offense.

Michael Crabtree

Pro Football Focus ranked Crabtree as the worst contract in football. Their conclusion is based on analyzing his stats with the market value.

My Take: Anyone who watched a Raider game knows Crabtree’s value extends beyond the boxscore. Derek Carr is comfortable looking for him in clutch situations. He has helped Carr and Amari Cooper develop. Not to mention, Crabtree averages an almost sideline catch per game. Get those feet down Crab. Otherwise, I love Crabtree’s deal and production.

Jack Del Rio

The Raiders head coach wants to honor Raiders legend John Madden by wearing a suit. However, Nike and the NFL have a deal that puts coaches in their apparel.

My Take: Let Del Rio honor someone who changed the game as a coach and broadcaster. Plus, Del Rio could become the freshest coach in the league.

Kirk Morrison

Ex-Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison spoke to the Raiders’ rookies. This was part of Oakland’s first rookie transition program.

Morrison talked about the pressures to buy jewelry, and he talked about having his life threatened over that chain.

My Take: Morrison was one of my favorite Raiders. These days he is one of my favorite media personalities. Glad he can carry on his Raider legacy with these rookies. People forget that Morrison was a bright spot for some of those horrible years.

Las Vegas

A few weeks ago the Raiders sent a detailed survey to the residents of Las Vegas.

They showed how serious they are about the move by emailing an 83-question survey to 10,000 residents.

The survey company that did the Raiders survey also took part in a similar exercise for the NHL Las Vegas franchise.

My Take: Atleast the Raiders are actually looking at the interest of the market, and not just throwing a billion dollar franchise at a small market.