by Scott Davis Los Angeles Raiders
The Oakland Raiders were unfortunately the single AFC West team that lost in the season opener. To top it off it was an ineffectual effort that surprised many of those who have given the Raiders big props going into the 2015 season. They lost big by a score that was an accurate reflection that mirrored true gravity of the final outcome. The final score was 33-13 on the Raider’s home turf against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals. The Raiders fielded a team and coaching staff that bore a striking resemblance to the 2014 Raiders. Not good. The last thing they need is to be faced early on with the rants about them being the worst team with the worst record this early in the season. It’s much too early to jump ship but let’s briefly look at what happened. The Raiders did not, by any means, battle a strong opponent in the grand scheme of the entire league but nevertheless you would have thought so. They were playing at home and got their arses handed to them.
The team as a whole performed poorly. Neither the offense nor the defense showed signs of life…More like they needed life support. On the positive side they were given a hoard of in-your-face things that need to be worked on. And the fixes have to happen quickly as they take on the Ravens this weekend.
The defensive line fell way short of what they are capable of. What gives? Whatever it is it could not have been a pleasant week at the Raiders practice facility. Raider running back Latavius Murray failed to shine and has to step up in a big way in game two and beyond. Some are saying they just need to find their rhythm. Well that’s what the preseason is for. We saw plenty of teams who have rhythm to spare coming out of game one. It will not be a good place to be should the Raiders fall to 0-2 right of the bat and struggling to rise from the bottom of the barrel so soon. The mental state of the team has a big impact going forward and this team, with plenty of new faces, can’t afford not to gel as soon as possible. If they don’t it could get ugly fast as the season rolls on.
The rest of the AFC West looked pretty darn good in week one and the Broncos won again last night taking their 2015 season to 2-0. Bam
By Scott Davis - Former Los Angeles Raider
It's that time of year again when head coaches have to make tough decisions about finalizing the regular season roster. The Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio is at that point and is confronted with plenty of difficult decisions as his Raiders have their first regular season game coming up at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. The deadline to get down to the required 53-man roster is tomorrow the 5th of September.
The Raider have won only 1 of 4 preseason games but the key and ultimate goal throughout is finding the right mix of athletes to kick off the regular season. Preseason is about testing and assessing guys who vie for a position on the team. That pretty much it although it is a key time for starters to get timing down and their game legs back in order. it's true that preseason record has no direct bearing on the regular season however, for psychological reasons, wins can be somewhat helpful.
Last weeks final preseason game was therefore a final opportunity for some guys to shine and convince the coaching staff they are qualified to be part of the final roster. So Del Rio has a lot on his plate so to speak over this past week. Some notable position decisions worth mentioning are as follows:
The Battle of the Backup Quarterbacks
Backup is not a term to be taken lightly as the first backup is your go to guy should the starter become unable to play. In this case it's the primary position in terms of moving the team forward should Oakland Raider starter-apparent Derek Carr not be able to take the field during the season. throughout the past four games the numbers favor Matt McGloin as he shined in his on field performance. Christian Ponder? Not so much. McGloin has clearly been performing better and most likely solidified his quest to take the second string spot with his play against the Seattle Seahawks. Neither QB had the best o-line to work with but McGloin was able to do more with what he was given as compared to Ponder.
McGloin passing stats amounted to 16-24, 186 yards, 2 TDs and he accomplished them with poise and focus in light of little consistent protection from the offensive line set before him. Ponder a former first round draft selection was on the other hand 7-11, 99 yards, and no TD’s. He too had to work with the same deficit of talent provided on the offensive line. In the end the Oakland Raiders will do well to have a talented and capable go-to backup. If anything it keeps a lot of pressure in the starter Carr which as we all know is a great motivator to keep starters performing optimally.
By Scott Davis
Scott Davis is a retired Oakland Raider and writes several blogs and produces several social content sites
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