After last game I felt that the Raiders offense need to step it up and stop relying on the defense and special teams to save their bacon. And you know what, that’s exactly what they did! Powerful run game, and solid catches by our new WR’s put many points on the board. Problem was, defense looked horrible. Talented players were in position to make plays and they didn’t. How they fix that, I do not know, but coaches this week will have plenty to work on. Agonizing as it was to lose, this game showed another aspect of how good the Raiders CAN be when they put it all together.
Part of that growth as a team is becoming clear. Starting from Week 17 last year, you can see that the same team came to play in Week 1 this year. The strengths of a powerful pass rush, great run game and intelligent play by QB Campbell are all still there. Weaknesses of run defense and non-Nnam cornerback play, missed tackles, and lack of clutch playmaking on defense are also still there. With no offseason, we are two weeks past Week 17 last year, and this team continues to develop and grow. Patience is not a virtue among the Raider Nation, but we have to recognize it’s not coming overnight. We went from Garbarge in 2009, to Average in 2010. To become Good in 2011 will take the burning heat of a bonfire…
One way I see growth is the way Coach Woodson is getting our secondary in position to make interceptions. Now, they haven’t made them yet. But at Denver and at Buffalo, Raiders secondary were in position to make 5 or more turnovers per game. They weren’t able to follow thru, but each time they are getting closer. Woodson is getting through to these guys, within a few weeks I expect to see Raiders breaking the game wide open with these opportunities.
This loss was/is a horrible and painful experience. This was our game to win, and only defensive play that was historically bad allowed the Bills to come back and win it. However, it’s Week 2 and I see a Raider team that is ready to play against ANY TEAM in the NFL. We are competitive again, and we are dangerous again, and the Raiders are back baby. No one can pencil us in for a win anymore, and in 2009, early 2010 you couldn’t say that. Hue Jackson is taking this team in the right direction.
Some compare this game to Jacksonville in 2010 and that is an apt comparison. Because we are only a few weeks past that game as a team. Raiders are learning, and building off of their strengths from last year.
Right now, the key is to stay healthy. We may give up a few more painful losses, but by the end of this season, if we can keep our guys in the game, this Raider team will be strong as others fall apart. And the AFC West Division Crown will be ours !!!!!!!
The parts are in place. Iron Sharpens Iron. Bring on the Jets, Bring on the Pats, this Oakland team will give them a fight they will NOT forget! Even as the underdog, it’s clear that Raiders can win these games. This team is getting better each week and will continue to. If we have to learn some lessons, early in the season, it will only make us stronger when we hit the playoffs at the end of 2011!
F THE JETS!!!!