The Raiders have a second chance to make a first impression. After laying a JaMarcus Russell sized egg against the Titans, the Silver and Black welcome the St. Louis Rams to the East Bay for the 2010 home opener.
Too bad the battle of former Los Angeles teams won’t be televised locally.
Perhaps a sign of the times, more than likely the inability to sellout the home opener is a direct result of what Raider Nation suffered through in Tennessee last Sunday.
But this Sunday is going to be different, right?
The St. Louis Rams have been the most inept franchise in pro football for the past three seasons and that’s saying something when you mix in an 0-16 effort by the Detroit Lions. The Raiders enter the game as three point favorites but that means little.
By now Tom Cable has hopefully put the fear of Al Davis into every player on his roster. Releasing Yamon Figurs was as much a necessary roster move as it was a message.
No job is safe.
Speaking of safe, if the Raiders want to win then their safeties are going to have to be up to the task of containing Steven Jackson all afternoon. Jackson isn’t Chris Johnson but he is certainly capable of dominating a game and for a run defense that couldn’t stop a paraplegic that is bad news. In the NFL all it takes is one mistake to change the tide of a game. When Tyvon Branch took a bad angle last week, he sprung Chris Johnson for a 76-yard house call that effectively ended the game in the first half.
Rookie QB Sam Bradford is entering into a hostile environment for the first time of his professional life. Oakland’s front seven needs to set the tone early by getting to Bradford and making sure he goes down and goes down hard.
However, the most important factor of all is the aptly named ‘offensive’ line. The O-line was a bigger mess than an Amy Winehouse drug test last week. Jared Veldheer looked every bit a rookie learning a new position. Mario Henderson continues to regress before our eyes. There is no quick fix but there has got to be more effort and more focus if this unit ha any desire to protect Jason Campbell and open holes for Darren McFadden.
Hue Jackson’s offense was completely out of sync in Tennessee. Perhaps the time has come to simply open up the playbook and abandon the script. Get McFadden involved in as many ways as possible, no ridiculous trick plays and above all else no more pre-snap penalties.
Momentum is a fickle mistress. She comes and goes like a Brett Favre retirement with less sentiment. For the Raiders, this could very well be a momentum building moment.
Which way that momentum carries the franchise will be determined Sunday.
A win will help to rebuild confidence. A loss will almost certainly send Mr. Davis back to his projector where a letter with Tom Cable’s name might be seen overhead.