In two games played they’ve racked up double digits in penalties twice, can’t stop the run and have been blown out by 34-points on the road. Normally, these are the types of results you’d expect from the Oakland Raiders. In actuality, we’re talking about the 2010 Arizona Cardinals.
For the Raiders to get their second win in a row – a first in nearly two years – they have but one mantra: Play the game the right way.
Forget about the week long QB controversy. This issue of benching the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL in favor of Bruce Gradkowski is controversial only in the short amount of time Jason Campbell was given to earn his keep. Gradkowski is the better option given the circumstances and oh, by the way, the Raiders did win last week.
Of course that win was against the St. Louis Rams. By coincidence, the lone win the Cardinals have enjoyed this season came in their opener against those same Rams.
The Raiders and Cardinals share a little more in common than victories over sub par competition.
Both teams have found great success running the ball early this season.
Darren McFadden has been running with conviction, last week punishing the Rams with a career best 145 yards on 30 carries. Though Run-DMC has yet to find the end zone, he is giving the Raiders precious time of possession in turn helping the defense to rest and making the offense move.
The Cards feature the speedy Tim Hightower and his gaudy average of 7 yards per carry, an NFL best. In addition, Arizona will be getting Beanie Wells back this week as he is finally healthy enough to make his season debut.
Both teams also have had their share of problems stopping the run.
While the Raiders did look greatly improved in slowing Steven Jackson during the second half of last week’s win, they still rank 29th in run defense. Luckily for Oakland, they have the Cardinals and their 31st ranked run defense to break their fall.
There is a simple formula for success here. Play the game the right way.
There is no need for the Raiders to devise a complex gameplan. No reason to switch quarterbacks at halftime again. No excuse to constantly swap offensive linemen.
Run the rock, dominate the clock, no turnovers and defensive execution is what it will take to get the Raiders back to winning ways.
That’s right! A win in Arizona gives the Raiders a winning record. Even if it’s just three weeks in, a winning mentality is the first step and results will follow.
Things can’t get much better for the Raiders. The NFL schedule makers have given them a shot at redemption following an embarrassing loss to begin the season with two very winnable matchups is a gift, for sure.
The last time the Raiders won consecutive games was back in 2008. Those two wins helped Tom Cable to get his job. A win this week will help Cable to keep his job. A loss only makes the rumors get louder and the QB situation an even bigger elephant in the room.
Two wins in a row would certainly make Cable appear as if he has righted the ship. All he’s got to do is get his men to play the right way.