My First Raider Game

My pilgrimage to the Mecca for Raider Nation was everything I had ever imaged. A place where I can be loud and drunk in favor of my R-A-I-D-E-R-S what else could I ask for? To make things even better, the Raiders got the W over the Buffalo Bills. Here are somethings I noticed on my trip.

The O.Co Colisem

With all the controversy over the Raiders trying to find a new home, you would think the Coliseum is a horrible place. I did experience the toilets flooding by aesthetic wise, the arena isn’t any worse than Dodger Stadium. Sure, it doesn’t have the same upgraded big screens but outside of that the Coliseum isn’t ugly. I never noticed the green seats though, #A’scity. Either way, their wasn’t a bad seat in that whole house.

Raider Nation

Words can not express how enthralled I was to be immersed within Raider Nation. It felt like home being amongst people with the same knowledge and love for the Raiders as I. Our fans get such a bad rep but it is not even necessary. I did not witness a fight now did I even hear a curse word. Not to mention it was new seeing white Raider fans opposed to the minority Raider fans I am used to seeing in So Cal.

Derek Carr’s improvement

From seeing Carr against the Cowboys in Training Camp til now, the improvement was exponential. Carr went from looking like an NFL QB and playing like a college QB to being the intangible franchise quarterback of this team. He did miss some open receivers but overall he showed much improved footwork and comfort in the pocket which was one of his biggest knocks coming out of the draft.

Bill’s young receivers

If you have read this blog before, you might recall my man crush on Sammy Watkins. It was a privilege seeing him play as he is the real deal. His explosiveness is as advertised and he should be a cornerstone for the Bills. Robert Woods also looked good. Meanwhile, Kyle Orton looked like Kyle Orton.

Raiders finally learning to win

From the get go, the Raiders never seemed intimidated by the potentially playoff bound Bills. The Raiders looked like a team with enough confidence to beat them. Then when it seemed like the Raiders might blow it, the Defense made the plays to stop the Bills including a Brandin Ross interception. Not to mention some of the big plays the Raiders put together on Offense via McFadden, Murray, and Rivera.

Credit Tony Sparano for getting this team to believe in themselves. Don’t look now, but the Raiders losing culture seems to be on the downswing. Maybe, this rookie class and home stretch is enough to save Reggie McKenzie’s Job.

Finally, it was one of the best days of my life. I will always remember my first Raider Game, and I am glad it was capped off with a win!

This is a Giant Game

If I scroll down my bleacher report team stream far enough I can see stories from two weeks ago about how good the Raiders Defense was playing, and how they had hopes for the playoffs. Scroll up a bit and the Raiders collapse against the Eagles has taken the headlines.

At first glance the raiders big loss could be attributed to the Raiders overlooking a struggling Eagles team. Frankly, The Raiders just didn;t match up with the Eagles well.

At the beginning of the season many picked the Raiders to be the least talented team in the league. Well the Raiders are stacked with intelligence and work ethic, even I wouldn’t argue they are stacked with talent. The Eagles on the other hand are a struggling team with tons of speed and athleticism.

I think the Raiders were just over matched all over their field. On defense, players had their hands on their hips. They failed to get any real pressure on quarterback nick foles. The Defensive backs were stumbling all over the place. And the worn out defense failed to stop the run and limit big plays.

On offense a make shift offensive line could not provide Pryor any real time. The recievers and playmakers of the raiders failed to counterreact the high octane Offense of the Eagles. While they were able to get yards, there defense just couldn;t get any real help. But its a new week and the Raiders have no time to waste as they face another struggling athletic team.

I don;t think anyone would argue that Eli Manning and his two superbowl rings are more consistent than Nick Foles. Combine that with the big physical receivers of Hakeem nicks and Victor cruz and there are elements for a similar debacle if the Raiders don’t bring an A game. On the Defensive side the Raiders will also have to do a much better job at pressuring Eli, so that he can be forced into interceptions.

Offensively the Offensive line face Jason Tuck and Pierre Paul. They have the speed and explosiveness to pressure Pryor and keep hm contained. Pryor needs to recognize blitzes and get the ball out. He needs to not have happy feet trying to perserve the play. Manelik Watson will make his starting debut, and pryor should be able to trust is offensive line. Running lanes should be there if he chooses to scramble but that should only be after his first or second read. Lastly, someone is going to have to step up and make a play for pryor. 2010 Mcfadden is not going to be on the field, so the raiders will take playmaking ability from anyone. It is time for one of the Rookie tight ends to step up and make a play. Otherwise Reece or Moore seem the most capable of providing the offense a needed spark.

This game against the Giants will tell a lot about Dennis Allen and this Raider team. Allen has already been quoting as saying this team won’t collalpse like last season. Well this will be an indicator of progression or regression for this Raiders team. The Giants have won two games and  are playing every game to win like a scrappy boxer. If the Raiders don’t want to knock the hope out of their playoff pipedream than they need to have an A game against the giants.

Just Roll Baby!

Last week, there was some talk about the Raiders interest in Josh Freeman. Initially, I thought why hes a far less dynamic version of Pryor. Then I thought about the last disgruntled quarterback they went after, Carson Palmer, and how that quick fixed failed. I thought about why would you look to a quick fix after Pryor has injected so much hope into the team. Then i heard talks about the Mcfadden injury and I asked myself, why are the Raiders concerned so much with the quarterback when it should be the least of their worries. I hadn’t heard any talk about pursuing offensive line help, a pass rusher, reciever, tight end, running back, or any other position where the Raiders are lacking playmaking ability.

Then Sunday came, and the Raiders showed up underneath the lights. They played a bitter rival, The Chargers, but still seemed more inspired then there opponent. Even with a late rally, the team kept playing hard and managed to pull out a win rather than falter like previous teams. Therefore, I don’t want to talk about who is not in a Raider uniform. I don’t want to talk about the star safety, running back, and left tackle that are absent from the active list. I don’t want to talk about the free agent quarterbacks they might sign or ended up releasing. I don’t even want to talk about the players the roster is lacking at various positions. Rather, I want to talk about the team as it is constructed.

CHarles Woodson

He absolutely balled the last game and all season. If you think it is a coincidence that he recoved a fumble or got an interception than your dead wrong. Woodson has been getting to the ball all season long, so it was only a matter of time until they started creating turnovers. More importantly, you could see his leadership skills to rally a defense that seemed worn out as the Chargers tried to make a comeback.

DJ Hayden

I’ll admit I was pretty hard on the rookie all game. No means did play perfect, but his interception in the fourth quarter couldn’t have come at a better time. He finally showed some of those playmaking abilities when he broke on the ball and intercepted it. It is promising to see a kid get beat all day and then comeback and make a pick. To be a successful DB in this league, you have to posses that confidence and swagger. I know he missed a lot of training camp, so I hope this is an indication that he will continue to get better as the season goes on.

Terelle Pryor

After a tough game against the Broncos, and talk about Josh Freeman, Pryor was able to come out and ball. In the first half, lacking his dynamic backfield partner, Pryor was able to piece together nice drives. His speed and elusiveness were showcased as he was able to outrun linebackers and dbs to the corner. Even as his offense sputtered in the second half, he held his composure. I think this game really cemeted Pryor as a starting quarterback, because he was able to showcase his physical abilities and leadership qualities. I also seen his ability to throw on the run, and the receivers are beginning to adjust to Pryor’s timing and accuracy. I think as they get in more cohesion, Pryor and his receivers can only get better. Streater caught a nice ball in the first half, and Moore caught a few good passes to keep the drives along.

In closing, Pro Football talk moved this team up to number 18 in the power rankings. As they get healthier and as they continue to get better I can only imagine how far this team will go. If Pryor continues to show improvement week to week, then his team will as well. For the first time in a long time, it seems like the coaches, media, and team are starting to buy into the Raiders Starting Quarterback. Hopefully it means the team will end the playoff drought, but either way it is nice to see the Raiders compete in every game, and have an once of hope that their Quarterback can make a play when its time to.