Another Sunday, another NFC East opponent and once again the Raiders are a two-touchdown underdog. If this sounds familiar it’s because this was pretty much the same scenario the Silver and Black faced one week ago in East Rutherford where they played a half hearted scrimmage against the New York Giants.
This time around, it is the Philadelphia Eagles who have been given a bye week from the NFL schedule makers.
To the surprise of none, the Coliseum will not be sold out and once again the Black Hole has been blacked out.
Had the animal rights activists who plan to protest the arrival of Michael Vick from outside the Coliseum actually chosen to do so inside, then maybe Roger Goodell would have lifted the blackout. Somehow, I don’t think this was way the NFL had hoped to push ticket sales though. Vick has already refused an invitation to visit 10 dogs that were at one point under his care but now call the Bay Area home.
While Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook are the headliners, it is the breakout performance of Jeremy Maclin one week ago that has become the newest way to rub salt in the open wounds of Raider Nation.
Darrius Heyward-Bey has just three touches in 5 NFL games. Maclin, the third wide receiver selected in the ’09 draft, caught 2 TDs a week ago. In fact, last Sunday was a great day for the rookie receivers of the class of ’09 not named Darrius. Hakeem Nicks caught a TD against the Raiders, Percy Harvin netted 66-yards receiving and Maclin had a banner day with 142 yards on 6 catches. DHB took the goose egg…again.
In defense of Heyward-Bey, he’s playing on the worst offense in football. This unit is so bad that it is starting to make the 2006 Raiders look like an offensive juggernaut.
Greg Ellis has come to grips with where the Raiders stand in the NFL. He’s not alone. If anyone in the locker room has any pride left, then they’ll show up on Sunday with something to prove. Tom Cable has gone on the record saying that the Raiders need three wins in a row to restore the faith. Being that the Raiders have been outscored 96-16 over their last three games, it would seem that only a miracle from God could reverse the trend over the next three. Cable might have blind faith, but Randy Hanson thinks he’s just a liar and wants to prove it.
A ray of hope appeared to creep its way into the East Bay this week when Chaz Schilens returned to the practice field. Unfortunately for JaMarcus Russell, he’ll be without his security blanket once again as Schilens is unlikely to go given the stunning news of Javon Walker actually being activated for the game. If Walker has things his way, it will be the final time he puts on a Raider uniform.
The offensive line is still in shambles. The linbacking core is being held together by string and the special teams just hopes to get better.
There are no moral victories in the NFL, but the Raiders sure could use a morale booster for pro football’s most ridiculed franchise.
As for Heyward-Bey; he just needs to get going and in a hurry. At this rate, Michael Crabtree will be the next receiver picked in the first round to lap him in the race for contract justification. DHB is currently the NFL’s highest paid sprinter. For the sake of JaMarcus Russell’s future, he’d better become an underpaid pass catcher soon or else this has the makings of an epically awful season.
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Topics: Brian Westbrook, Chaz Schilens, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Donovan McNabb, Greg Ellis, Hakeem Nicks, JaMarcus Russell, Javon Walker, Jeremy Maclin, Michael Crabtree, Michael Vick, Percy Harvin, Roger Goodell