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Oakland Raiders: The way I see it

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November 24, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; General view of the line of scrimmage as Oakland Raiders center Stefen Wisniewski (61) prepares to snap the ball against the Tennessee Titans during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

This will be a weekly segment in which I provide my opinion on the state of the Oakland Raiders.  I encourage each, and every reader of this blog to comment or ask questions, whether you agree or disagree with the opinion I provide. 

I hate stats.  I’ve never been a guy that bases his opinion off of statistical figures.  Don’t get me wrong, stats show production “On Paper,” but the way I see it, you don’t need a lot of stats to win football games.  What a team needs is a big beefy offensive line that does two things; 1. They push the defensive line back on running plays, and 2. They create a pocket for the quarterback to operate within (Football 101).

This is what the Oakland Raiders lacked in 2013.  Although the Raiders ranked 12th among NFL Teams in rushing, they ranked 24th in passing.  Simply put, it really wouldn’t have mattered who the quarterback was, they would have been sacked 68 times nonetheless.  This was due mainly in part to a lack of consistent offensive guard play and a shuffling at the left and right tackle positions.

Injuries plagued the Raiders early in training camp.  OT Menelik Watson dealt with a foot and ankle injury, and he never started in 2013.  LT Jared Veldheer had to get triceps surgery in August of 2013, and he didn’t start until the last 5 games of the season.  OG Mike Brisiel never seemed healthy, and he struggled to show any type of consistency throughout the season.  OL Andre Gurode filled in well, but he was more of a band-aid type player than anything.

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Tags: Austin Howard Donald Penn Featured Matt McCants Oakland Raiders Popular Reggie McKenzie Stefen Wisniewski Tony Sparano

  • Rob Perrotte

    Really good read and I agree with you about McCants but I cannot believe the Raiders paid Howard that good contract and you don’t see him in the starting line. MY thought is Penn LT – Boothe LG – Wiz C- Howard RG- Watson RT …….. unless Watson can beat out Penn then Watson at LT Howard at RT Barnes/McCants at RG

  • Chris Schroeder

    Shane, I agree that the Raiders will trade down to acquire more draft picks. It sucks because you know there will still be a play maker on the board at number five, and even though they have many holes to fill I think they need a top five playmaker. Having traded away the 5th and 6th hurts. At some point the Raiders need to make a splash, and with their jobs all on the line this year I would think this isn’t the year to play conservative like last year. I have mixed feelings, and sure glad I’m not in Reggie’s shoes. Dream scenario is to trade down and still pick up a Watkins, or Robinson with the OL in mind.

    Who do you see the Raiders trading with, and who do you think their first pick will be and why? It’s all speculation, so I won’t hold you to it but still value your opinion.

  • TomaterRaider

    Hi Shane, good to see you back at it and making “optimism” a reoccurring theme with your articals – Lord knows Raider Nation needs it.
    I have to first qualify something before going any further – I like Pryor. I thought he did a great job when he could manage a game, but freaked when he thought he was the only player on offense.
    With that said, McGloin was racking up points in games but the defense couldn’t hold on to any leads – more points were put on the board in the third and 4th quarter when he was in as well. No blame there either – the Raiders Starting D-line last year had a lot of players other teams would have considered backups (they played well though). Goes to show you the scheme on defense was working (IMO).
    Really though, the O-line was clicking when McGloin was in, but I think it was too difficult to provide Pryor protection when he was ad-living the plays.
    So looking forward to see how the Raiders fair this year – I am hoping for 8-8.

    Thanks for your efforts.

  • K Hendricks

    In your opinion Shane,do you think we have the make up to be the road GRaiding Cal-Trans O-Line I’ve been praying for?

  • Brad

    You think they signed Howard to that contract and he wont be starting? Lol.

  • DanfromVegas

    Solid once again. I look forward to your posts Shane. Great analysis and insight.

  • Raider Grant

    Hate to say it; But since we keep giving our draft picks up, we need to trade down to acquire another soild draft pick. We don’t want to trade too far back though if we want Matthews or Robinson. Definitely time to start to build this team for the future, and picking up a couple solid o-linemen early in the draft would be a great start. I would hate to pass up on Sammy Watkins though. Passing wasn’t all the o-lines fault, and we’ve already addressed the QB for this year so adding a playmaker at WR with better line would be conducive as well. I don’t want another draft pick on a QB either. We’ve wasted enough draft picks & money trying to force the issue. Rumor has it Mark Davis could be forcing drafting a QB on McKenzie, which I find humours & sad. Any hoot, Go Raiders!!!

  • rob

    Why sign Austin in FA with a monster contract (money like a LT) if they don’t start him? Shane, you think he will be injured before the first game or that Boothe is better?
    The Raiders need to add draft picks, period. They will have to trade down at least once, if they can. They do not need to draft an OL in the first round. Instead, why not think a little outside of the box and draft Marcus Martin – arguably the best center in the draft and potentially a long-time starter at center. Move Wiz back to guard. This will allow the Raiders to draft the best available defensive player with their first pick (e.g., Donald). It will also create excellent depth and versatility.
    I am assuming that Watson and Mack are already gone by no. 5 anyway. The Raiders should be able to trade down, take Donald and pick up a second or third round pick. The second pick in Round 2, then could be for a QB or receiver. The third round would also be a QB or receiver, depending on who they got in Round 2. The first four picks should see at least two starters, and two good back-ups. Alternatively, they can trade #36 down for an additional pick in either Round 2 or 3.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    Yes, he received a big contract, but I think that Sparano put in the good word for him, and I honestly believe he will be worth it in the long run.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    I think Boothe would get hurt first. As far as Howards contract goes, it is big, but there are a lot of incentives for him to play well. Yes, we need draft picks, and I believe they will come.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    Agreed, no more draft picks on QB’s!!!

  • Shane Schilperoort

    Yep, he’ll be starting.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    Grade A Road grading O-Line, yes.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    Pryor’s biggest downfall was his slow release, or the inability he showed to make a quick decision and get rid of the ball. I hope he improves. McGloin had a quicker release, but in the end he made rookie mistakes. Defense definitely needs to stop giving up points, but that will come with the improved pass rush.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    I would say most likely with the 49ers. 49ers need a couple strong offensive weapons, including a big time receiver. I could see them going after Mike Evans or Sammy Watkins if he was available. Wouldn’t put it past them to go after Khalil Mack if he is available at #5 too. There are other teams who have a lot of draft picks and could trade with us, but the 49ers seem like the most friendly team to give us a couple extra 2nds, 3rds, or 4ths.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    Thank you again…

  • CRUZdaddy

    Shane if Watkins is available (and assuming mack and clowney are off the board) the Detroit lions will give up at least 3-4 picks for Watkins and we just can’t say no to that. Also don’t for get rams have multiple picks and can give 4-5 picks to move back up for Watkins essentially taking Mathews/Robinson with there first pick and putting us in the Donald/Barr sweepstakes. Last but not least the jets move up for Watkins’s and give us the house and that includes there future 1st round pick plus this years and a 2nd and 3rd and will put us in the lewan/martin/Timmy sweepstakes.. All I’m saying is we MUST trade back and Watkins would be our best asset. I’m really tired of hearing people over rate Watkins so so but Soo much. I mean he’s pretty good but do u know he had baby randy dandy taking away over the top coverage. M. Bryant IS the only 6’4 215 running a 4.3 40! I just don’t get why so so but Soooo many people including analyst and Reports look over this FACT. on draft day , if we take Watkins I won’t be upset, but we need to use him for trade bait, there’s no better bait for the lions,rams or jets. Thanks for reading my rant. 2nd round pick we still can get Jordan Mathews which actually owns most records in the SEC (6’3 225) easy math! shieet I wouldnt be mad if we took Bryant in the second.

  • bigninaross

    Once again, I concur. Great insight, Shane!

  • KloverJane

    It would seem that the offensive line is shaping up to be formidable finally. Based on your analysis. A little more quality depth like the Hawks and it’s going to be a better year for us in the division. Raiders above 500 all year!

  • ZacBob

    It all starts in the trenches! Great Read and couldn’t have said it better. Thats why I was so upset that Veldheer left.

  • Terrence Healy

    After doing some Reading about our current starting QB Schaub, I have some lingering questions. He has had a lot of Injuries and been beat down pretty bad. I have to wonder how good is Mental state as a Quarterback. Who knows how well he is going to be this next Season. Beyond from a better Offensive line and possibly having a better Team surrounding him. What is he doing to fix being a mental failure last year. What steps is he taking to regain his confidence. The Raiders Management can wish and hope all they want, but if this guy gets slammed in the first game and shows that he is shell shocked, then what. MCGloin is currently Plan B and even if we got a QB in the Draft, that is still not the answer.

  • Terrence Healy

    Schaub, has had serious injuries every year for years, he got beat down pretty bad last year. What happens if he slips back into shell shock?

  • Terrence Healy

    What Guarantee do you have that Schaub is not a complete Mess. Did you talk to his Doctor, wife?
    What makes you think we don’t need a QB??

  • Raider Grant

    What guarantees you have Schuab won’t be capable of leading Raiders down the field? Exactly, there are no guarantees either way! If Schuab fails we still have McGloin,Edwards, and TP to fall back on. Why invest further into the position when Raiders have other holes to fill? Nothing like doubling down & coming up bust again. You can’t build a team up if your constantly wasting draft picks on QB’s? An average QB can perform adequately with a solid team behind them. You know for fact McGloin,Edwards, or TP are not going to be better players this season? You want to draft QB with every pick just to ensure we have enough ? Wouldn’t you want a solid team to be in place for that franchise QB we all dream bout? I hope we pass on QB this year! Go Raiders!!!

  • Terrence Healy

    We did not get the Best players in Free agency, and My vote was for the Raiders to trade down twice to get as many bodies as possible, and Reggie will pick up a whole bunch of undrafted players. I was surprised when he did that last year and actually found a few good players out of the bunch. I am thinking the Raiders are looking at grooming MCGloin for the long term solution. We have a really tough pre-season, we will see.

  • Lar Dog

    I agree about McGloin. He just needs to be refined, trained and learn for a season or two

  • Lar Dog

    Major upgrade at either RT or RG. Watson should be ready to man RT and maybe even LT at some point. Penn will get LT unless he plays bad. REG had the money to spend and he invested in the OL. As we had some many injuries and terrible depth. Better not have them this year.

    We need Watkins, big time. Hope he is there at #5

  • Lar Dog

    RAIDING For Raiders. Road gRAIDING. Better be, DMAC, MJD and Latavious will be running wild. Reese too

  • K Hendricks

    That was my point.take care and go Raiders

  • Shane Schilperoort

    I like it, and yes, a couple more pieces needed.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    McGloin surprised so many people when he walked on at Penn State and earned the starting job there. He walked onto the Raiders squad last year and earned a roster spot over two drafted QB’s and one that was given a contract (Flynn). He definitely needs time to learn, and I think he has a shot at becoming a starter. If the Raiders do take a QB in the 2nd or 3rd round, then there will once again be rumblings about competition and who will start, etc… The good thing right now is, the Raiders have a starting QB in Schaub. The others can learn and grow behind him. That’s what the Raiders didn’t have last year.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    Then the Raiders will be scrambling to find their starter, again. It’s a risk, I agree, but there are more upside risks than downsides. Schaub’s incentive based contract will provide the motivation for him to bounce back.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    I’m sure the Raiders will draft a QB. My “wasted draft pick” comment was about Tyler Wilson last year. The Raiders have wasted picks on QB’s with no return investment over the years. If and when they draft a QB in 2014, they need to do so with the mindset that the QB they pick will be a future starter. With the addition of Schaub, it looks like the Raiders are lining up to do just that, draft a future QB. 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th round pick, but not in the 1st round. McGloin is a viable backup, and that’s because he knows the system and the receivers. As far as what Schaub is doing, well, he has already been in contact with McGloin and all his receivers (Streater, Butler, Moore, Holmes, Jones, etc…). I imagine he will be throwing with them somewhere, an undisclosed location. Hey, it’s the off-season, and Schaub will have to prove to himself and Raider Nation that he can bear the load. That will happen during Training Camp/Pre-Season, or we will see the fall of yet another QB. Too many unknowns, I know, but we have to have faith in what our team is doing. I have faith that this will work out better than the naysayers predict.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    Yes, Veldheer is gone, but there are some decent replacements in his stead. Time will tell if it was the right or wrong move.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    Oh I completely agree that the Rams and Lions will be in the running to give picks away to the Raiders. This puts McKenzie in a very good position. The hard part is the decision to drop down and lose the ability to get a player like Mack, Clowney, or Watkins. However, with the deep draft, it puts the Raiders in better position to get quality players this year.

  • John Thomas Hurdle II

    Shane you see it the way I see it. Al Davis style. Big beefy front line. I also wish Pryor would stay he needs to have time in the same offense once in his career so he can be critique, better than he was without a front line. Now I do not care for Dennis Allen. I was not crazy about Reggie McKenzie, but I now see he is doing the right things like bring in some contract one to three year vets before retirement to teach the draft rookies or 2nd contract players how to study how to play with pride and heart. So I think he might be on to something. But I feel Dennis is not the coach for the Raiders. We need a coach that is not afraid to say what he wants and the Gm. is to get it. All I see is Reggie like this and that I am glad that it was Greg Olsen who wanted Matt Schaub. He is a great QB but just like Pryor his front line was weak. So I just wish they give Pryor a chance to show he would be a better back-up than the others. I hope we get a head coach with fire to stop these stupid penalties. That was at least 3 losses last year.

  • John Thomas Hurdle II

    Even with Schaub low percentage from last year he is a better passer than these Rookies. Johnny Manziel is nothing more than a short Terrelle Pryor when he was running the Ohio State to bowl games. So Why not just keep Pryor before you draft a unsure.

  • John Thomas Hurdle II

    I feel Pryor was better than McGloin as he was in High school and College. Pryor beat Mylett who is back-up to Brady. So you guys think Pryor was bad. But Flynn and McGloin was sacked and had more 3 and outs.

  • John Thomas Hurdle II

    I was saying the same thing Schuab starter, and Pryor and McGLoin could learn from him. Trent and no others needed. et Pryor and McGloin battle for back-up. They both is better than the ones coming out. If we draft a QB I say Mettenberg or Boyd. in the later rounds.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    To be completely honest, if this ship doesn’t start heading in the right direction when the season starts, I believe we will see Tony Sparano at the helm after Allen is fired. However, if Allen finally grows up, and a pair, and starts acting like an NFL coach, then we will see mountains moved.

  • CRUZdaddy

    I believe we can still trade back twice and still have a star, that’s how deep this draft is . all while loading on 2,3 and 4th picks.. If we get close to the 20 range chances are theres Hageman, shazier, verret, and my two favorites Taylor lewan and CJ Mosley will still be available.. We must trade back! Taking a 5th over may be nice but we have veterans for two years to help these young draft picks than we can get by trading twice.

  • Mark from Section 122

    Great article and you already know my thoughts on team building. First year: 1. Build the biggest baddest offensive line you can first. 2. Build the Defense, LINE FIRST. Every solid structure depends on the foundation. Second Year: 1. Continue to build the defense, if they can’t score on you, they can’t beat you. 2. Now that you have built a line, get a QB. Year three: 1. Groom what you have built, shore up the weak spots. 2. Get some impact offensive threats.