Well, the Cable era didn’t exactly get off to a very good start.
The Raiders had two weeks to prepare for this? Granted, there was the whole coach firing thing, but still. The team looked flat and listless.
The Raiders went up 3-0, after once again failing to score a touchdown in the red zone. Then, I kept waiting….and waiting….and waiting…for some sign of life from that offense.
It never came. The Raiders never scored again and lost 34-3.
Funny thing is, they were just down 10-3 halfway through the third but the defense just couldn’t get off the field and the offense was impotent.
Here’s where I have to mention my concern about Jamarcus Russell. Granted, he’s little more than a rookie, but look at other rookie QBs like Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan. No one’s making excuses for them and they weren’t the number one overall pick in the entire draft. I love the guy’s coolness and leadership and, of course, his raw physical ability, but one word sums up my biggest concern about him….
To be a successful QB in the NFL, you gotta have accuracy. Drew Brees has it and unfortunately it was on display today. Who cares if you can throw the ball 70 yards from your knees if you can’t hit someone with the throw? Russell missed Miller for a probable early touchdown. Later, Russell missed a deep throw to a wide open Schilens. He could have underthrown the ball by ten yards and still gotten the TD. Instead, he overthrew it terribly. These were not isolated instances. His lack of accuracy was on display all day as he only completed about one of every three throws. He could have, indeed should have, had at least five balls intercepted. Yeah, everyone has bad days, but JaMarcus has been missing guys all season long. The offensive line protection was pretty decent all day at New Orleans, so no excuses there.
I can already hear people saying, “but his wide receivers aren’t very good and his timing with them is off”. I don’t buy that. An open receiver is an open receiver. He’s had a full camp and the timing with these guys should be there by now. It’s week five.
I just hope that he improves, but I hate to say that accuracy is usually something you either have or you don’t.
Until he hopefully improves that critical part of his game, he needs to get better in a several more areas: ball protection, running when it’s there to run, and throwing into coverage. He needs to wrap up the ball when he gets hit. Most of his fumbles were just due to carelessness, not violent hits. Today, against New Orleans, he had at least two chance to run for big yards and instead forced the ball downfield. I just hope the coaches aren’t telling him not to run. He’s a big, 265 pound man. He can take a hit and probably deliver some to those small DBs. One more thing, why is he sitting back on the bench when the defense is on the field? At least the cameras always catch him there. Shouldn’t he be watching a guy like Brees to see how he operates to learn something? Just saying.
“You have to use him as a model if you are the Oakland Raiders,” said new Oakland coach Tom Cable, who took over last week for the fired Lane Kiffin. “That’s where we want (Russell) to get.”
I don’t mean to diss on JaMarcus so much, but these things really concern me. I’m obviously going to root for him to succeed but I’m just a little worried.
My concerns about JaMarcus are mirrored on the defensive side of the ball by Michael Huff. What’s with this guy? Besides letting journeyman tight ends get behind him, he doesn’t even appear to have the speed he was touted to have coming out of college. Could he be on the way to bustville like Fabian Washington, Derrick Gibson, Phillip Buchanon (now starting at Tampa, by the way), and Stuart Schweigert?
My favorite defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, had another magnificent game today. I lost count of how many three man rushes he called on passing downs. I don’t think that worked very well (again!), Rob. Brees was 26 of 30 for 320 yards. He was without his best pass rusher, Derrick Burgess, and he still played soft. Brees was comfortable in the pocket all game. Brees reminds me so much of the last, great Raider quarterback, Rich Gannon, it’s maddening.
“I wasn’t feeling pressure all day,” Brees said. “We knew the type of pass rush this defense could bring. I felt like we held most of those guys at bay.”
Lastly, what about Al Davis’ brilliant waste of a first round pick – Sebastian Janikowski. I don’t care if he owns all the Raider kicking records. He was picked that high so he could make those 50+ yard field goals. He missed two today. And he’s lost many more games by missing chippies than he has won. Look it up.
Hey Al, Tuesday is the trading deadline. Can we order a wide receiver that can get open?