Yes, I fully realize that this is just the preseason. But if what you’ve seen from the Oakland Raiders, specifically the defense, over the course of the first three exhibition games doesn’t alarm you in some way shape or form then you must be from the George W. Bush school of reading the warning signs of a dwindling economy.
Even in victory over the Cowboys, the first team defense couldn’t stop the run. In a one point loss to the 49ers, the defense allowed 275 yards on the ground to the second, third and scout team running backs. Most recently, the first team defense couldn’t stop anything the Saints did.
Not all is lost. This team still plays in the AFC Worst and there is reason to be optimistic. The good news is that the Chiefs are already hitting the panic button now that Scott Mitchell Matt Cassel is injured. The Broncos got abused by Jay Cutler and the Bears, making one wonder just how much worse off the Donkey defense is than Oakland’s. The bad news is that the Silver and Black are still in a six year drought against San Diego.
With all that being said, here are 5 quick fixes Tom Cable can implement immediately to keep the Raiders in the hunt for the AFC West crown.
5. Bench Cornell Green – How he still has a starting job is amazing. Green is a penalty machine who couldn’t pick up a blitz if he found it at the bottom of a Krispy Kreme box. Khalif Barnes might have been unwilling to play right tackle, but when he returns from injury Cable should leave him no choice. Either play on the right side of the line or stay home.
4. Start Desmond Bryant – Is it a bad sign that your best defensive tackle is an undrafted free agent who was second team All-Ivy League at Harvard? Not if he’s the only guy on the line who goes all out on every snap it’s not. I don’t care how much money Tommy Kelly is making. Gerard Warren was a bust when Cleveland let him go five years ago. No more scholarships. Play the best players. Period!
3. Trevor Scott is not an every down player – He led all rookies in sacks last season. Good for Trevor. But all that proves is he can rush the passer. Against the run, Scott disappears like LeBron James after being eliminated from the playoffs. Start Bryant at defensive tackle, move Kelly to the end and utilize Scott on passing downs only. Scott is like that car sitting in a redneck’s front yard; he can’t get off blocks.
2. Electroshock therapy for JaMarcus Russell – To be fair, Russell has played some great ball in the preseason. He’s made a few errant throws, but has looked confident in the pocket and is getting better and better each day. The problem is he still holds onto the rock too long. Attaching a few electrodes to that WMD on his right shoulder will learn him to get the ball out in three seconds or less. Quick decisions, confident throws, being aware of the pressure; these are the keys to quarterback supremacy.
1. Give Darren McFadden the rock all day everyday – I hate to sound like a broken record with this but I don’t care how you do it, Cable. It doesn’t matter who bitches at you on the sideline because they’re not getting their touches. Run-DMC is poised to pop every time he gets his hands on the pill. He’s as big a homerun threat as any name you’ll find in the BALCO client rolodex. Get him involved early and often. Trust me, once he gets going, the whole playbook opens up. Just one word of advice: if Cornell Green is in the game, don’t run McFadden to the right side of the field.
Five very simple solutions that might not equate to another Lombardi in Al’s trophy case, but it will prevent suffering anymore 45-7 embarrassments.
The time is now, Coach Cable. Barbeque or mildew?
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Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Cornell Green Darren McFadden Desmond Bryant George W. Bush Gerard Warren JaMarcus Russell Jay Cutler Khalif Barnes LeBron James Matt Cassel Scott Mitchell Tom Cable Tommy Kelly Trevor Scott