Well Raider Nation those 6 weeks of football sure seemed to go by pretty fast, didn’t they? Here it is Week 7; the Bye week is here and quite frankly it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Raiders are banged up and I think the Chiefs kind of knocked them down a bit. I don’t think the Raiders expected that on Sunday. KC did a good job containing Pryor to say the least. However, even after that ambush at Arrowhead, I still came away feeling good. Well OK, maybe not until Sunday evening or so but still. Looking back through the first 6 weeks of the year, it has been unlike any others in recent memory. Oh sure the preseason started off like usual, sure. From the horrible prognosis, to Pryor exploding on the scene in Indy, to an overachieving defense, injuries, Flynn. The first part of the year has been eventful! Below are my top story lines from the past 6 weeks and the effect they could have on the rest of the season:
Number 1: Terrelle Pryor
Obviously Terrelle Pryor has been and will remain the biggest and most talked about story of the year for the Raiders. Of course thanks to a dead arm on Matt Flynn (more on him later) Pryor got the start at Indy to open the season much, much earlier than Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen wanted him to. I’m sure they wanted to see what Flynn would actually bring to the table first. Then the rest is history, TP out plays Andrew Luck and almost single–handedly beats the Colts. Sure he threw 2 picks, but he learned, the Raiders learned, we ALL learned something from that game. TP just might work out here. He went on to win his first home start of the year, which he did not play as well but still got the win and made Raider Nation even hungrier for more Pryor! Then Denver happened. More specifically Broncos LB Wesley Woodyard happened. Pryor gets concussed and knocked out of that next weeks game against Washington.
Number 2: Matt Flynn
Lets flash back to the off-season. April 1st (April Fools Day to be exact……of course it was…..). The Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks announce that they have made a trade involving Matt Flynn. Raiders give up a 2 conditional draft picks a 5th Round in the 2014 Draft and a conditional 5th round pick in 2015. At the time I liked the trade. I thought it was Reggie doing his best to set up the Raiders with a QB he thought they could win with or at least he gave them the best chance to win. The Raiders were going to go into camp with a playbook full of West Coast slants and crossing timing patterns of no more than 7-10 yards. Perfect for Matt Flynn. I was on the fence about Pryor and I felt that this was the smart play. Matt Flynn and McKenzie knew each other from Green Bay and the contract was half of what Palmer was going to cost. So yeah, I liked the move, so there. Wanna fight about it? Well I know where it all went wrong….might have been me shaking his hand and getting my picture taken with him at a season ticket holder event at training camp this year. I seem to be a jinx like that. Now I will say one thing about Matt Flynn. He was very gracious and he was one of 4 players that stayed longer than the required time to make sure everyone got a picture and an autograph that wanted one, which gains a lot of respect with me. The other 3 were Marquette King, Tyler Wilson and none other than the King of Raider Nation Charles Woodson.
In a way I really feel for Matt Flynn. He goes to Seattle, then Russell Wilson happens. Then comes to Oakland and almost the exact same thing happens. Now he’s a Buffalo Bill and the Raiders are down a 5th round pick for next year but regain the 5th round pick from 2015.
Number 3: Defense! Defense!
So, How do you like that Defense? I like it. I like it a lot! Jason Tarver has those guys flying around to the ball. So much better than last year. All year I have been thinking how well the Raiders are rushing the QB. I have had this perception of this team as a blitzing team. They are and they do; however, after doing a little research I see that the sacks are middle of the road tied for 13th with 16.0. Not bad at all, in fact comparing to recent history, say the last decade; VERY Good! Then I take a look at the rushing defense and I am surprised to see the Raiders doing very well not allowing many big runs. The Raiders have yet to allow a run of over 19 yards. They are top 10 in avg at 3.8 yds per carry and in the top 10 in yards allowed per game at 99. Defense is definitely headed in the right direction. Although there is still much work left to do.
Number 4: SeaBass Struggles
Sebastian Janikowski’s struggles are surprising to me. I did not figure Shane Lechler leaving would effect him so much, if that is really what it is. Who’s to say what could be wrong, if anything at all. Maybe we are just all spoiled with how good and automatic he had gotten. On the other hand, let’s not forget the easy one he had in 2010 in Arizona he shanked from 32 yards For the game winner. In fact he missed 3 FG’s that game and the Raiders lost 24-23. Remember that year? The year they went 6-0 in the division and missed the playoffs by 1 game? Yeah me too. I still remember where I was for that game when he missed that Field Goal.
With all that said, I think SeaBass will be fine. He’s been too good not to be ok and makes too much money not to be. He loves Raider Nation and the Nation loves him. I hope that relationship continues.
Those are just a few of the story lines that pop out from the first six weeks of the year. Now with all this being said. The Raiders sitting at 2-4, last place in AFC West, an Offensive line is just….well lets see how the bye treats them. I still come away feeling pretty positive and upbeat about this team. They are a fun bunch to watch, they will stay in most games and they are going to keep fighting for Dennis Allen. Who, BTW I think is doing a good job, but yet nobody is really noticing that. Everyone is noticing how well the people and coaches around him are doing. Tarver, Olson, Sparano, Special Teams Coach April; maybe that what he wants us to do. Who knows? All I know is he has quietly assembled one of the deepest and best staffs in the AFC and it is showing with how well the coaches are doing with this roster.