Oct 16, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; General view of Oakland Raiders helmets with a decal in the memory of owner Al Davis (not pictured) and the NFL pink breast cancer awareness ribbon logo on the field during the game against the Cleveland Browns at the O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders: Five Observations for the Rest of the Season

Oct 2, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; General view of an Oakland Raiders helmet and NFL football before the game against the New England Patriots at the O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 2, 2011; Oakland, CA, USA; General view of an Oakland Raiders helmet and NFL football before the game against the New England Patriots at the O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders are in the middle of their bye week and will come back on the October 27th to take on the Steelers at the Coliseum. Lets recap their first six games, and more importantly, look ahead to the rest of the season and what the team needs to work on going forward.

 The Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda’s (WCS)

The team currently sits at 2-4, at the bottom of the division, and does not look like it will make the playoffs. If you haven’t been paying attention, you would say “Same old Raiders”. Realisitcally though, the team has played tough, been competitive in  five of their six games and is slowly starting to build a reputation for themselves. Especially on the defensive side.  They took care of business against the Jaguars and played their most complete game in a long time against the Chargers (that 2am drive home was worth it). In their losses, it was the little things that broke down that cost them the games.

WCS#1 – Colts

If Janikowski coulda made an earlier field goal, then the Raiders wouldn’t have needed Pryot to go for a game winning TD that was eventually picked off. This woulda been a great way to start the season, especially against a playoff team.

WCS#2 - Redskins (Can I still call them that?)

If Pryor hadn’t suffered a concussion from a blatant helmet to helmet (no fine or penalty by the league) against the Broncos, then Pryor woulda started against the Redskins and that early 14-0 lead woulda  been maintained if not improved upon and there would be no need for Flynn to start and lose the game. At the same time if that didn’t happen, Flynn would still be on the team. Go figure.

WCS#3- Chiefs (I’m guessing this will soon come under fire from the PC police too)

Most of the first half was a complete domination. Pryor was looking efficient, the defense was stifling the run game, and Alex Smith was looking flustered if he wasn’t getting sacked. Seabass shoulda made that field goal and the team goes into the half with a lead. In the second half, if the O-line coulda stayed healthy, the Chief defense wouldn’t have been as effective and we never see 3rd and 48,terrible.

To Do List

Ok, no crying over spilled milk. It is what it is and now the team and the fans have to move on. If you constantly look in your rear view, you’ll never see the road ahead. Lets look at five things the team has to do to start putting wins together and dig themselves out of the cellar.

#1- Get Healthy

This is their biggest need right now. Their bye week couldn’t have come at a better time in terms of getting healthy. Most of the players that need this bye week are the guys on the O-line.  In the KC game, Oakland had to rely on third string line players that had never played the position they were filling in for and not to mention they had never played before as a unit. It’s anticipated that most if not all of the O-line will be ready by the next game. If all goes as planned, the following week, LT Jared Veldheer should be ready to go.  Another unit that benefits greatly from this weeks bye is the back field. Darren McFadden, Rashad Jennings and Marcel Reece all stand to gain from this time off as each of them is coming off leg injuries.

#2- Learn to Finish

The team has been in every game this year, mostly due to their defense. Now the offense as a whole has to step up and learn to finish their drives. Not with field goals either. The best thing about about being an underdog is that no one expects you  come out fighting. If the offense can learn to finish, then that will compliment the defense, give them rest and force the other teams to play from behind. The talent is there and so is the hunger. It comes down to execution and keeping those drives alive. Someone on the offense needs to step up and become that go to guy. In the preseason, Coach Allen talked about needing someone to become the number one go to guy. While Pryor is doing  all he can, someone else on the offense needs to step up and become the go to guy.

#3- Continue to Let Pryor Develop

Pryor showed some regression in the KC game in the second half, but then again so would most QB’s after a ten sack day. In the first half he was efficient and guided the team to the games first score. Greg Olson and the rest of the coaching staff  needs to continue to put Pryor in situations that give him confidence and every now and then open up the playbook for those long throws. I’m happy with his development so far, keep in mind  it’s only had five starts. His athleticism, confidence, level of maturity and ownership of his mistakes have made him the teams unquestionable offensive leader.

#4- Second Half Adjustments

The games are never won in the first quarter. The coaching staff needs to do their part and make those second half adjustments that will get the W. In the last three games, the team has not made the necessary changes to keep them in front or not scrambling to hold on to any lead. This was very evident in the San Diego game. The Raiders were in complete control going into the half, but the Charger offense did enough in to make it a game. Luckily the defense stepped up and put the game away with two picks. Second half adjustments are critical to keeping the momentum on your side if you are ahead.

#5- Figure Out the Field Goals

In the past, Janikowski was known for being automatic from most areas of the field. This year, that has not been the case. It could be Seabass and King still getting used to each other, or is it all mental for Janikowski? Whatever it is, those missed opportunities have come back to bite the team in major ways. As fans, we often overlook  the importance of field goals until it comes down to the wire. So far Janikowski is 7/11 in this young season, Last year he only missed three all season. I’m sure that this will work itself out as the year progresses as both King and Janikowski have stated that they are both trying to adjust to each other. Unfortunately this is something that can only be fixed with time and reps.


Overall, I think the team can rebound and end up with more wins than last year. As it stands today, the rest of their schedule will pit them against 8 teams that are .500 or below, with KC and Denver the only teams with winning records left on the schedule. It’s my thinking that most of these games are winnable because of the what the defense has been able to do. It would be nice if the other side of the ball gets it together and makes a push for a respectable finish. I’m not ready to predict a playoff berth at this point, but I will re-iterate what I’ve been saying since preseason. The Raiders WILL get more wins than last year and finish better than expected.

What do you think? Leave your comments below or follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Raider Nation, given the rest of the schedule,how many more games will the team win this year?

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Tags: AFC West Bye Week Darren McFadden Oakland Raiders Raider Nation Sebastian Janikowski Terrelle Pryor

  • Phil Mokate

    Keep up the good writing, but keep an eye out for editing before posting. I was watching when Howie Long was drafted out of Villanova in 81 and barely remember SB XV. It’s nice to read something from old school Raider Nation! Good piece.

  • Raider_Riff

    I agree with everything. Except your point about halftime adjustments. No such thing.


    Raider Riff,
    Thanks for reading my post. Thanks for agreeing with most of it. I appreciate that.
    However, I can’t agree with you about second half adjustments. They are needed, overrated-maybe. In the Redskins game, the Redskins came out with a no huddle approach after the half and that is what contributed to their points on the board. In the SD game, the SD defense honed in on Pryor running to his right, limited him doing that, and that caused a couple of three and outs and allowed SD to get the ball back and make it close. It’s not always a whole game plan scrap in the second half…minor things mostly.


    Thanks for reading my post I appreciate the support.
    I try my hardest to edit my posts thoroughly before releasing it but sometimes things do slip by. What did you notice? Let me know.
    I can’t call myself old-school as I have been called out and have had interactions with fans that have been there since the team was playing at Kezar Stadium. To them, me and you are the “young whipper snappers”. I love our teams history and appreciate the fans that support the team from generation to generation no matter what.

  • Raider_Riff

    You dont have to thank me for agreeing with you. If you write the truth, you deserve credit for it. But when you dont speak the truth, expect the same honesty on my part.

    The Redskins were no huddling in the first half. It wasnt a halftime adjustment. It was already in the game plan.

    The SD defense didnt do anything differently in the second half. Pryor had his foot stepped on by a rusty backup center who hadnt played the position in a while. It affected 3 of our possessions in the 2nd half.

    Again, you obviously havent a clue as to what goes on during halftime between the players and coaches so please stop trying to pretend you do. You wrote a otherwise spot on article. But to think that teams actually change their gameplan in the 2nd half is nothing more than a fan myth. Football coaches are far too conservative for that sort of thing.

    Football is 99% execution. Nothing is a surprise on tape or come gameday in the first or second halfs.


    I can’t recall the Redskins using no huddle in the first have, and I wasn’t aware of Pryor being stepped on in the SD game. I was giving it from my point of view in the stands and what I could recall from the games. I’m not a football expert, just reporting my observations because I have an outlet with which to do so. As I am not part of the coaching staff or a player, I- like you, wouldn’t have any clue about what happens during halftime. Were both outsiders at this point.

  • Phil Mokate

    Yeah, well we’re getting to be ol’ school. No big deal on the writing I make mistakes too. #2- 4th sentence, and the last sentence in #3 ?? Also placing a comma before the word “and”. Those ol timers who think we’re whipper snappers? I have been called old school by younger whipper snappers. I liked your piece thouth. You should do one on old school ettiquett, We don’t boo our team and we commit to excellence with pride! Win, lose or die our colors never bleed. Old Nation would never boo our players like the new Nation. We are not like other teams and need to show it! Just Win Baby! (RIP)

  • Phil Mokate

    You don’t change the game plan. Only the protection or coverage packages with some tweaks to stop or move the ball. Come on man! Never played college ball huh? Well now you know. They can game plan last week’s game all they want, but the other team knows that, and shows up with different looks. Sometimes a half time tweak is all that’s needed. We have not done well in our protection adjustments on either side of the ball!

  • Phil Mokate

    so R&R is losing about half time adjustments? He did not say game plan. He said adjustments. No coach in their right mind changes the game plan before or during the game unless your Bill Callahan getting ready to take the field in the superbowl against Tampa and Chucky. Then look at what happens according to Jerry Rice and Timmy Brown!

  • phil s

    good article, i agree with you on it all. you know i really hope they start to throw in some screen passes, runs to the outside, ect. this would help the long throws and the pocket protection. also put in a few extra calls at the line in case TP needs to change the play. nothing crazy (KISS) keep it simple stupid. we can win just play smart and most of all run the clock down when in the lead you dont snap it with 10+ seconds on the clock left snap at 5 or 2 or 4 or 3 you get my point every second counts in our favor come on coach.

  • cerrone sanchez

    I feel that the raiders could be 7-4 by Thanksgiving Day to play the Cowboys with a record of 7-4, I hope that’s the teams goal… just win baby


    After your post I went back to look and found all the ones you mentioned. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.
    I think sports in general have changed, from the players to the fans. To me it’s an individual preference if a person wants to boo. But when a player is injured, especially on the team you root for- that’s just low. I understand the players make great money to play a game, but I would never root for any of them to be injured and possibly become permanently disabled. When a player gets injured on the field, it’s a while before anyone would know the extent of the injury.


    Thanks for reading my post Cerrone.
    At the end of the season, I would be happy with at least a 6-10 record with many of the losses being competitive. That tells me their improving. Anything better than that tells me they’ll be over the hump the next year. I’ve said before that the team will be back in 2015, one year early would be better. We’ll have to see.


    Thanks for reading my post Phil. I appreciate the support.
    I too think they should work the outside. DMC cannot get past the line running so why try. Use his speed and pass catching to do the screens and get him out there in space. This would also work for Reece (totally under used to me).
    For the changes to come at the line, Pryor needs to learn to read the defenses better. That’ll only come with game time experience. I do wish Pryor would be more engaged in learning that aspect when he’s on the sidelines, not just sitting down and waiting. I see P. Manning doing that all the time and I think Pryor could elevate his game even more if he reviewed the formations while the D was on the field.
    To me, the best way to keep a lead is to wear down the clock by running. Unfortunately our O-line and RB’s aren’t healthy enough to do that at this point. We’ll see how healthy they come out of the bye week.

  • Phil Mokate

    I agree. Instead of booing how would it feel if the stadium just went dead silent? Silence is golden and persecution is tasteless. We are Raider Nation and we may not agree with every decision made, nor will we, but we got to show some class, and set an example of what Raider pride is all about. ” Its the mark of an intelligent mind to entertain a thought without excepting it” Commitment to Excellence…!!

  • Raider_Riff

    Save me the “played college ball” crap. I played as well.

    Fans want halftime adjustments as if they are playing XBox. It doesnt work that way and you know it (if indeed you did play college ball).

    In the first half of the last 3 games adjustments WERE NOT needed. We were dominating.

    No halftime adjustment in the world is going to make a 3rd string offensive line come alive against KC’s dominant defense.

    Get a grip. This isnt a coaching issue. It’s a lack of talent due to injury issue. You want “protection adjustments”? Did you not watch the game? DMC and Jennings were both held in to try and block for Pryor. Both RBs were playing injured and never should have seen the field.

    Adjustments were made. The game is 99% execution. We didnt execute.

    Stop blaming the coaches.

  • Raider_Riff

    Umm… you dont have to play for the Raiders to know what goes on during halftime of football games.

    Like I said, your article was good at stating the issues we have moving forward. You dont have to be a “football expert” to see what ails us. We are injured and we’ve let a few games we should have won slip away. It’s obvious what our issues are.

    I simply had to comment on your “halftime adjustment” speak. Because its a fan myth. And in doing so Ive flushed out the fact that you were unaware of our backup C stepping on Pryor’s feet multiple times during the SD game and unaware that the Redskins were running no-huddle from their second/third possession.

  • Phil Mokate

    It actually sounds like we agree? You just said it yourself that adjustments WERE made. That’s all I was saying. It falls on the coaches to make the correct adjustments, and your right It does come down to execution. I think I may have misunderstood your comment as changing the game plan from game time adjustments. I don’t play xbox so you got me there. I think we have the best coaching staff in 20 years actually and a Damn Good GM!

  • Raider_Riff

    Yes. You did misunderstand me.

    The adjustments that are made by coaches and the adjustments that fans call for are two different things. What fans call adjustments are really gameplan overhauls. And they expect this to be done at halftime. Which is why I told the author that he’s off base with that comment.

    Further evidence of the fan madness is the fact that the author thought the no-huddle by the Redskins was some sort of halftime adjustment. Or the fact that the author thought that SD had made some magical adjustments in the 2nd half of the Charger game. The truth is, by the 3 quarter we had no reason to change our game plan. We were few inches from another Denarius Moore TD that would have blew the game open early in the 3rd. Combine that BS penalty with the fact that our center was rusty and the fact that we were “off script” and our offense was lucky to not do worse than it did.

    SD didnt do anything special in that 2nd half. We simply didnt make the plays that were there.

    But fans dont see that typically. As evidence by the admittance that the author never knew Pryors feet were stepped on coming out from under center no less than 3 times effectively killing 3 drives.

    Our coaches are good. They are doing the best they have with a team that has have little to no draft picks pan out over the last 10 years. It’s a impossible task. The only draft pick that is worth anything on this team is the guy playing QB. Who happens to be the equivalent of a rookie QB that is carrying this team on his back and doing a fine job developing under such harsh circumstances.

    It’s gonna take time. Reggie has to start hitting on his draft picks so that DA & Co have some ammo to work with. Reggie has been good at trimming the fat and signing FA’s but his drafting skills have been crap and that is putting it nicely.

    So when you take that all into consideration, it’s why I find it laughable that fans want the coaches to do even more with what little they are given. As if a “halftime adustment-small tweak-shift in protection” is all of a sudden going to get Veldy healthy and turn Huggy Bear back into DMC.

  • Phil Mokate

    well written and good valid points. I certainly was hoping for better draft pics these two last year’s. I don’t know who is running the scouting program but it has failed. Atleast next year we will have some cap space to throw around a little, but those draft pics have to be like gold. I’m sick of that already. Nothing has panned out or proven worthy. Who do you think is next cut? and Dmc?

  • Phil Mokate

    also if you go back and look at the replays of Pryor stumbling out of the blocks I only saw one time Briesel stepped on his foot. Pryor just got his feet tangled trying to pull out to quick. He played a real ugly game, but it was a team loss no matter how or who people are blaming. Let’s just come out firing on all 2 cylinders tommorrow and see if we can squeak one out!

  • Raider_Riff

    Who is the next cut?

    Anyone who isnt playing. Reggie gives DA players and if DA doesnt think they are worth a crap, he puts them in his dog house. It’s up to them to get out in a hurry (see Taiwan Jones for example) or Reggie will be quick to dump them and find a replacement.

    Criner is the first to come to mind. We need help at the WR badly. For whatever reason, he isnt seeing the field. That says a lot considering our WR corps shouldnt be that hard to crack and the fact that Criner is such a nice physical specimen.

    But considering how TPryor was initially treated and Ausberry has been dissed, not everyone is sold on DA’s talent evaluations either. So we dont really know what Criner’s deal is.

    All we know is that everyone we’ve gotten rid of, hasnt amounted to crap elsewhere. DHB still Drops-Hella-Balls and Mike Mitchell is inconsistent.

    I think the entire Offensive Line is on notice. If you cant stay healthy you cant help a team. Theyve hurt our program tremendously. Watson hasnt made it through one single week of practice! Bergstrom is not a PBS lineman. Wiz is a better LG than Center. Everyone else is hurt and somehow Barnes and Briesel are our two most dependable guys. Aint that a b!ch. Theyre both garbage yet they look like gems amongst our mash unit. The O-Line crew needs a major overhaul next year and Sporano needs a fat raise.

    Fix the O-Line and then I can properly judge DMC.

    I’ll tell you this about him… we miscast him. He was never a every down back in college. He was the home run guy. Hillis was the bruiser. Felix Jones was the grinder. And DMC was the guy that got the highlight runs after the defense was worn down.

    We tried turning him into something he wasnt and he hasnt been able to handle the beating. It’s like getting mad when you go offroading in your Ferrari and it breaks down. It’s irrational.

    He cant stay healthy. We dont have a good supporting RB cast around him anymore. When we had Bush then DMC had his best years.

    It’s probably time to trade him, but I dont trust Reggie’s drafting. I dont like giving up talent like DMC either. But his talent is all for not since he doesnt play.

    Trading a guy is fine, but you better have a better alternative. We dont. Its a clear step back.

    I dunno. I have a lot of indecision when it comes to DMC. My heart says keep him. My brain says trade him immediately.

  • Phil Mokate

    Me sediments exactly. Why in the hell tie up roster spots to keep a guy sidelined the entire game? Kasa played well pre-season and is a huge red zone target who had shown catching and athleticism or why take him? 6’6, 265? Bro
    he is a big man that stands there. Taiwan too limited to ST. What the hell happened to checkwa? DJ can’t stop a pass yet but can tackle AFTER the catch! Wiz does need to move to guard. He gets stuffed in the middle by the nose. Too Damn small. The whole O line should be on notice! Again we were firing on all two cylinders in the second half and squeeked out with a win but again not one either. We can’t finish games. Were a first half team with a D that saves our ads. To me it’s still a mess. D looks better but we are vulnerable in the secondary.O looked horrible in 2nd half only 1 first down? We are playing the game not to lose instead of playing to win. That is our biggest weakness and a few more minutes on the clock and we would be 0-8