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Raiders still can’t muster passing grade

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 at 8:26 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Sixty percent. Six out of 10.

It’s not that much to ask in today’s NFL. Check out the league stats and 20 teams are completing 60 percent of their passes, and 20 teams were at 60 percent or better last year. In 2008 it was 19 in 2007 it was 18.

It’s pretty much the minimum requirement for any team that has a legitimate passing offense. When you’re talking about the elite quarterbacks in the league _ Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, or Philip Rivers, who faces the Raiders Sunday, you’re getting closer to the 70 percent.

The Raiders haven’t completed 60 percent of their passes since 2002, when Rich Gannon checked in at 67.5 percent and was the league’s Most Valuable Player.

The best Oakland has done since then is 2007, Lane Kiffin’s first year, when Josh McCown, Daunte Culpepper, Andrew Walter and finally JaMarcus Russell combined for 57.6 percent.

A viable passing game was the big hope this season when Hue Jackson came aboard as offensive coordinator. Nnamdi Asomugha talked in training camp of seeing pass routes in practice he hadn’t seen in years. Simplicity was gone. The Raiders have joined the NFL.

With opponents loading up on the run against the Raiders, coach Tom Cable was asked Monday if the Raiders could survive through the air.

“I think we can. That’s the one thing where if you say to us, where are we different offensively, it’s throwing the football from the last couple of years anyway,” Cable said. “That’s really not what we want to do but if we have to, yeah, we’ve shown that we’re capable of throwing the ball.”

The Raiders have indeed improved their passing game. They’ve gone from pathetic to poor.

Ranked 29th last season with 159.8 yards per game through the air, the Raiders are all the way up to 27th this season at 196.1.

Their passer rating has gotten better (71.2 as opposed to 62.0) even if they’ve dropped two spots from 28th to 30th. Only Arizona and Carolina are worse.

Either the Raiders are going to suddenly reverse a trend which is into its eighth season or they’re again going to be on the outside looking in at the playoffs, and perhaps even saddled with another season of double-digit losses.

The Raiders have identified themselves through 11 games as a team that can control a game when it’s running well, mixing in the pass when it suits their purposes. All their opponents have watched the Pittsburgh and Miami film closely, although it’s fair to say they don’t necessarily have the same type of personnel.

The word is out at this point _ load up on the run, dare them to pass. It’s not as if this is any big mystery, but there’s knowing something and there’s knowing it beyond an absolute certainty.

Bruce Gradkowski is out with a third-degree separation of his throwing shoulder. It’s unlikely he’ll play again this season.

So the Raiders will go back to Jason Campbell, who is already a bit confused as to why he’s essentially been told to take a seat on three different occasions after being compared to Jim Plunkett by Al Davis during training camp.

Campbell was a 62 percent passer over his last three seasons in Washington. All it took was to join the team that forgot how to pass years ago to drop him to 54.7 percent.

There are not a lot of reasons to think the Raiders can suddenly get things going through the air. If Cable and Jackson had confidence in Campbell, he’d have been the quarterback all along. When looking for highlights in the passing game, thank goodness for rookie fourth-round pick Jacoby Ford, who has 16 catches for 320 yards and is the only bright light of late among receivers. The other positive development was completing seven passes to Darren McFadden out of the backfield against Miami.

But otherwise, the outlook is not good.

Consider the following:

– Tight end Zach Miller, the one truly reliable receiver since 2007, has five receptions for 23 yards over the last five games, one which he missed due to injury. Miller has been battling a torn plantar fascia and now has what Cable called a severe leg contusion.

– Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was 0-for-November. His last catch came on Oct. 31, when he had five catches for 105 yards and his first breakaway play, a 69-yard touchdown catch, against Seattle.

– Louis Murphy has not made the Year 1 to Year 2 leap the Raiders had hoped. He’s the most productive wideout with 28 catches for 435 yards, but has been prone to drops and mistakes. His only touchdown catch of the season came in Week 2.

– Johnnie Lee Higgins has 29 catches for 369 yards in his last 26 games and hasn’t caught at touchdown pass since 2008. Both he and Murphy were called out by Cable Monday for mistakes which helped stymie the passing game late against Miami.

– Nick Miller has apparently lost his job to Higgins as a punt return specialist, possibly or fielding a punt inside the 5 against Pittsburgh, and was inactive against Miami. He has three catches for 40 yards.

– Chaz Schilens is currently playing ping-pong between a knee on one leg and a foot on the other, hasn’t suited up on game day yet this season, and there’s no guarantee he will.

With this kind of passing game, getting on another streak and making a playoff run would seem unlikely.

The odds are probably less than 60 percent.

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  • RaiderRockstar

    JFB,

    I’m not looking forward to playing against you in FF this week. I have Aaron Rodgers against the 49ers – who got blanked against the Bucs less than 2 weeks ago, but this could be one of those “trap” games that looks good on paper. SF has a legit pass rush so he could end up throwing for less than 300 & 3 TD’s

    the Packers OL is much improved from last year, but SF is hungry and actually does have a shot to take the NFC West

  • RaiderWill

    We have played some of our best games against the Chargers the last few years, and I really think we are going to pull this one out.

    This will be Campbell’s third game against the Chargers in the last 11 months. I think he will play well, maybe a 19/31 for 208 yards and 2 TD’s.

    Our D will give up a lot of yards, but we will get at least one crucial turnover, and our 24+ points from our offense.

    Raiders 27 Chargers 23

    ***

    JFB! glad i’m not the only one who thinks we can beat the depleted Chargers on Sunday

    ——————————————————

    Its not that I dont believe. Its that divison opponets are tough as it is already. You see them twice a year so they gameplan tougher against you. We already beat them once already. There coming ready this time. That all out blitz that saved us the first game aint gonna save us this game. We gonna have to put up some points to beat them this Sunday. Its all on the O-line if they play good we will have a chance.

  • bcz24

    Thats what I meant Jhill… when I said “I saw a lot of this” I meant the rest of my comment, not the comment I quoted. Sorr for the confusion.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Rockstar,

    Here’s what you should expect when playing me in FFL.

    Getting a quick lead, watching as my team slowly drags along, than around 1 pm MST every Sunday, my team rallies, your stops scoring, you will get guys hurt, and come Monday morning I will have a 8 point lead.

    That’s been the script all year. I have the least amount of points out of the 12 teams, yet I already clinched the playoffs, lol.

  • J Hill

    Sorr for the confusion.

    ——————————————————

    It’s Cable and Hue that’s responsible for the confusion, lol.

    And let’s nor forget Marshall.

    If we come out this weekend in our Normal man to man coverage with 2 of our top 3 corners hurt, we’re going to have a long day.

    How about a few zone blitzes?

  • RAIDERMAN99

    All the scheming and brilliant play calling in the world isn’t going to matter if JC plays like JaJason.

    You know what ? Even if JC once again has a JaJason game, I’m not going to be that disappointed or surprised. In fact, if he has even a decent game and shows some life and any spark, I’ll be content.

    But if he folds and starts sitting on the bench, looking like a beaten dog with his patented zombie like stare — well, that’s just about unbearable for this Raider fan.

  • J Hill

    Just watched them break down SDs running game.

    Let’s just say I can’t wait to scrap this zone blocking BS. Or at least get a guy in here who knows how to run it.

  • M Lonetree

    corrections for venturing to North Tijuana

    rid lackluster offensive approach
    rid lackadaisical pass defense
    rid lackawanna effort
    rid lachrymal quarterbacking
    rid lacunal run defense
    rid time out coordinator of all responsibilities due to lack of competence.

    piece o’ cake! victory is at hand! hand the ball to Bush 33 times and it’s game over!

  • RaiderWill

    J Hill Says:
    December 1st, 2010 at 9:12 am
    Sorr for the confusion.

    ——————————————————

    It’s Cable and Hue that’s responsible for the confusion, lol.

    And let’s nor forget Marshall.

    If we come out this weekend in our Normal man to man coverage with 2 of our top 3 corners hurt, we’re going to have a long day.

    How about a few zone blitzes?

    —————————————————

    We just can all out blitz without our best corners. They can’t hang on playing man to man. The slant killed us this past weekend. Every time we went all out. They audibled to a slant. And that was Henne you can imagine what Rivers is gonna do to us if we go all out with no corners.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Here’s what you should expect when playing me in FFL.

    ***

    JFB,

    I’m not all that confident in my team with 2 starting WR’s & Pierre Thomas out. hopefully those guys will give me some use in the playoffs

    Mendenhall, Brown, Jacobs, Breaston, Thomas, Mason & Keller combined for just 2 TD’s last week!

    and I only got 4 points from the Packers D!

    Rodgers once again has to put this team on his back and will it to victory 8)

  • OAKlifer

    Morning NATION,

    I think we are in for a long day against sandyeggo. If we cant muster a run game and figure out a way to make JC more reliable our division hopes will be dashed this is a must win IMHO!

  • RaiderRetribution

    Raiders have one legit WR, Mr. Ford.

    You could tell those rookie legs were running out of gas in the 4th qtr though,

    Hell look at his numbers and how hard he had to work to earn them. starts off with 101 KOreturn for a TD, how many times did we see him blocking at the line of scrimmage (between teh tackles- don’t get me started on that boneheaded playcalling)- makes another huge catch saving Mr. Gradkowski as he did Mr. Campbell, extends with a 100% effort (Louis, Johnnie, Darrius you need to follow his example) to make great actch breaking for another long gain for a TD, ran a reverse, returned how many KO, because teh D didn’t stop anybody.

    Entire Coaching staff deserves an F and unless they win at least two more division games they should all be fired. I do mean all.

  • RAIDERMAN99

    Wondering who the Raids will pick up or add to the roster as the 3rd QB.

    Be surprised if they don’t IR Grads and announce the newest Raider either today or tomorrow.

  • J Hill

    There is not ONE successful QB out ther that plays under C behind a crappy Oline.

  • OAKlifer

    Just in case this was missed…nice work P!

    12.priesttj Says:
    November 30th, 2010 at 9:31 pm
    Chaz schilens is killing us we didn’t get a vet WR because he is on the roster but here we are at week 11 and he hasn’t played a down. Chaz would never suit up again for me if I were his coach. If I’m Mr Davis Chaz is an afterthought I go get 2 WR’s better than him last we suffered trhough the year with 2 rookies because of him this year not much better.

    Beyond QB, WR is a desparate need on this team and until those are filled I don’t even think of another position and I feel the same way most of you do about the lines. But you simply cannot keep this up.

    If I’m Cable I look at this season as my fault because I think that stat is very telling. Especially when you have a RB like DMC coming out of the backfield. he should have 45 rec by himself at this point. The coaches are derolic for that not t be the case. DMC should be a dominant factor in the passing game EVERY GAME. That alone would fix that stat. that alone would help this offense. Zack and DMC should end the year 70+ rec’s every year. If I’m Mr Davis that is my first indictment against this coaching staff because it’s inexcuseable. There is absolutely no reason for it if both are healthy.

    What’s worse is that Bush is a great rec out of the backfield as well any coach worth his salt is very concious of that. DMC should be used exactly the way Marshall Faulk was used in every aspect of the passing game deep intermediate and short. Michael Bush shuld be the hammer on offense used to make the defense stop him from running up the gut for big yardage. DMC could’ve taken a lot of the sting of not having Chaz away if the coaches had a clue. But they don’t they have beat up DMc with between the tackle runs and under utilized Bush to the point of LUNACY. And they wonder why we can’t move the ball.

    It should be DMC on wheel routes, screens crosses and every imaginable route you cana think of with Mike Bush running the ball 20-25 times a game. Now yoou can add Ford to that scheme as well but lessen DMCs carries to 10-15 and keep him healthy and sharp. Against certain teams you can run him more especially if he’s going good. But by in large my horse would Bush.

  • RaiderDebo

    RAIDERMAN99 Says:
    December 1st, 2010 at 8:53 am
    We’ve often heard the adage that ‘missing on a high first round QB sets a franchise back 5 years’.

    There’s a lot of truth to that mainly because a team will waste 3 or more years hoping that QB will emerge as a good player and if he doesn’t then more time and picks must be invested in the QB quest.

    No doubt the JaMoron whiff has cost this franchise dearly and the ramifications will continue for a while to come.

    In fact, until the Raids secure themselves a QB capable of carrying the team, they’re doomed to be an average team at best.

    How did it get this bad and stay this bad for all these years now ?

    Simple.

    It’s not only the JaMoron whiff, it’s been the continual whiffing on virtually every high first round pick starting with Bob Gallery.

    It’s hard to imagine less production from a group of top 10 draftees than what the Raids have gotten from theirs recently.

    Gallery, Huff, JaMoron, DHB, and until this year McFadden.

    Sure, the JaMoron pick hurts the most, but overcoming the combined non-production from all these high picks is virtually impossible.

    Combine poor early drafting with a lack of contribution from the free agent front and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

    Honestly, with the front office (read Al Davis) ineptitude since the SB appearance, the Raids are fortunate to have been at least respectable this season.

    But the season isn’t over yet.

    This could turn into a death spiral reminiscent of previous years.

    I hope not.

    The team has to play hard this week.

    Win and there’s still a remote hope to contend for the playoffs.

    Lose and the hopes of contention are through.

    Either way, these guys have to play and play hard.

    This shouldn’t be about a pay check.

    And if the playoffs are out of the question, it becomes a matter of pride and professionalism.

    It’s one thing not having the horses to get the job done. It’s another thing not to have any heart.

    I’ll be watching on Sunday.

    I hope I’m not disappointed.

    Sometimes I wonder if I care more than the players do.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    I agree. I hear all the time on this blog that JR set this franchise back 5 years or whatever. That’s bulschitt! Oakland set itself back. Is it JR’s fault that AD hired and fired Kiffin in a 1-year span? Then what were we left with? Tom fckin Cable??? When you draft a QB #1 overall, you do everything in your power to make sure he’s successful (see Sanchez, Flacco and Ryan). The Raiders, on the other hand, draft DHB at said to JR, “Now that you’ve played well during the last six games of 2008, we’re giving you a rookie project as your #1 WR, another rookie as your #2, you’ll have a running game that is inconsistent at best, bad starting field position because we have no return game, no pass pro, no defense, and Tom Cable as your OC since we let Knapp leave for Seattle. Oh and we’re gonna undermine you by bring in Jeff “I wanna Start” Garcia”. We know how things turned out. Bur e ven after all that, he showed up at minicamp ready to fight for his job like he did in his junior year at LSU. Then he gets cut in favor of JC and…… can’t even bring myself to say the scrub’s name. The only answer now is to clean house on this staff and start over which should have been done a year ago.

  • J Hill

    Wondering who the Raids will pick up or add to the roster as the 3rd QB.

    ——————————————————

    Doubt we pick up another QB. Some teams roll with just 2 QBs.

    Heck, I’m still waiting on a backup C, lol!

  • RaiderRockstar

    imagine what Rivers is gonna do to us if we go all out with no corners

    ***

    expect man2man coverage with Huff & Routt at corner.

    we’ll do some big nickel to get Mike Mitchell on the field too, since he held his own against Gates last time (1 catch) and Gates isn’t fully healthy this time around

    Al Davis loves to rely on his front 4 to create pressure and I think ShoNasty, Seymour, Kelly & Houston can get there … as well as stuff the run

    Rivers wont have 425 yards passing this week and Floyd wont have 200 yards receiving (even if Nnamdi sits this one out)

    Print That

  • Chris in NY

    Raiders, 24-17.

  • RaiderRetribution

    We just can all out blitz without our best corners. They can’t hang on playing man to man. The slant killed us this past weekend. Every time we went all out. They audibled to a slant. And that was Henne you can imagine what Rivers is gonna do to us if we go all out with no corners.

    ******************

    Completely agree, especially when we are leaving our rookie corners solo on a veteran WR.

    We need to remember our corners and safeties practice against our WRs during the week, which one, exposes them and two, just makes you wonder how good they would really be if they had some competion Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday through Thursday,Friday, and Saturday.

  • RaiderRetribution

    I’m still waiting for a starting Center.

  • SilverNBlackPA

    Raiderman99 @ comment 191…excellent stuff!

  • inonewordraider

    We need our D to play like they did against Seattle. We need our oline, running game, and playcalling to play like they did against Denver. We need Jason Campbell to play like he did in the fourth quarter and in overtime against KC. We need DHB to play like he did against Seattle and Louis Murphy to play like he did last year in the season opener or last year against Pittsburgh. We need Jacoby Ford to play like he did against Miami. We need Shane Lechler to be Shane Lechler. We need our special teams as a whole to play like they did this year against the Chargers. The ingredients are all there to win this game we just have to put them together.

  • J Hill

    LOL at the 9rs being 1 game out at 4-7.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Doubt we pick up another QB. Some teams roll with just 2 QBs.

    Heck, I’m still waiting on a backup C

    ***

    Cable might wait for Grads to hit the rehab HARD and come back from that sep throwing shoulder like he did last year after Bruce shredded both knees against the Skins, LOL

    Dont even wait for the MRI – just place the dude on I.R. and sign Joey Harrington, call it a wash

  • SilverNBlackPA

    My guess is Grads to IR today or tomorrow and the placeon his roster will depend on how injured Nnamdi or ZMiller is. If either of them are really bad off, I look for a corner or tight end. Maybe a receiver.

  • SilverNBlackPA

    “the place on his roster”

    Jesus, I wish I could type.

    His place on the roster

  • RaiderRetribution

    completely agree with the preceding note:

    Or if it’s impossible to move into the 1st round, draft Austin Pettis out of Boise State (6′3″, 201 pounds, good hands) in the 2nd, then go hog wild on lineman

  • RaiderRockstar

    we are leaving our rookie corners solo on a veteran WR.

    ***

    who?

    Legadoo Nannee? Seyi?

    Jackson & Crayton are OUT. Buster Davis is on I.R.

    Floyd has a hamstring injury and didn’t even catch a pass last week against Indy. If we plays and Nnamdi plays on that bum ankle too it’ll be like watching the game in slow motion

  • RaiderRetribution

    We have Lechler to qb or even DMAC in an emergency;

    I’m telling you we have been working on our secret weapon, combining the best of Bruce G. & J. Campbell =

    Bruce Campbell as our starting QB.

  • davidon

    Someone wake me up when Al’s gone

  • inonewordraider

    For as much as Cable has talked up Meyers, give that dude the ball.

    yeah he made some grabs when he started over Zach, looks much better than a hurt Zach

  • RaiderRetribution

    229

    W. McFadden was completely solo on that TD score he gave up when we blitzed 7-8 players and did not get to the qb.

  • J Hill

    We HAVE to get some WRs in here.

    There is no way we can go into next year with Charles as our #1 WR and DHB #2.

    We have to stop with this non sense about the QBs not getting them the ball.

  • RAIDERMAN99

    Huff at corner, huh ?

    Could be.

    But knowing the Raids…

    Even after his torching last week…

    It’s McFadden.

    Sink or swim, kid.

    Can’t believe how bad he looked last week.

    Looked like a player pre-season.

    He can’t be as bad as he looked last week.

    Can he ?

  • RaiderRockstar

    We have Lechler to qb or even DMAC in an emergency

    ***

    I forgot about that!

    LOL

    Actually, Bruce Campbell should be our Fullback and Marcel Reece should be our Tight End imo

  • RaiderRockstar

    W. McFadden was completely solo on that TD score he gave up when we blitzed 7-8 players and did not get to the qb

    ***

    Walt will not be on an island this weekend unless there is some miscommunication in the secondary. Same with Ware imo

    Cable & Marsh don’t trust the rookie corners Al Davis drafted!

    Sd will go 3 wide and try to attack a certain player. Rivers isn’t afraid to go after Nnamdi, so if he plays he better be close to 100 percent – or covering Floyd all game, because he isn’t full speed yet either

    If Nnamdi doesn’t play AT ALL, Huff should start at corner … but that leaves Walt or Jeremy in the slot against Seyi (interesting)

  • M Lonetree
  • olinesux

    have you seen bruce campbell block on special teams? guy is huge but blocks like a 185 pound reciever….,

  • SilverNBlackPA

    Thanks, RaiderRetribution. I think Pettis would be an excellent pick in the 2nd round. Could be a great possession receiver.

  • SilverNBlackPA

    RaiderRetribution Says:
    December 1st, 2010 at 9:34 am
    We have Lechler to qb or even DMAC in an emergency;

    I’m telling you we have been working on our secret weapon, combining the best of Bruce G. & J. Campbell =

    Bruce Campbell as our starting QB.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You think you’re kidding, but it wouldn’t be the first time recently we’ve had a 6’6″, 310 pound starting QB. :)

  • RaiderRockstar

    have you seen bruce campbell block on special teams? guy is huge but blocks like a 185 pound reciever

    ***

    no, I haven’t

    he looked ok at RG against scrubs in the preseason!

    I would like to see him hit a LB with a full head of steam, clearing the way for a big run by McFadden :)

  • RAIDERMAN99

    One thing you can count on is miscommunication in the secondary.

    Never seen a team that can’t play zone like this one.

    How many times do we have to see guys staring at each other, wondering who screwed up, while the opposing team is getting ready to kick the extra point, to realize these guys just can’t zone up effectively ?

    Screw it. Just go man to man.

  • SilverNBlackPA

    I would like to see him hit a LB with a full head of steam, clearing the way for a big run by McFadden

    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    I think that’s one reason he’s been put in at guard; a guy with his size and athleticism could be a devastating blocker in the open field when pulling.

  • olinesux

    but he wont do it…even cable who is soft on his line says that he needs to play with violence…look for him on spt…he is not hard to miss…the big guy running around not hitting anything….

  • http://blackhillsphoto.com/sturgis-weddings/black-hills-weddings.jpg Dakota

    209.M Lonetree Says:
    December 1st, 2010 at 9:16 am
    corrections for venturing to North Tijuana

    rid lackluster offensive approach
    rid lackadaisical pass defense
    rid lackawanna effort
    rid lachrymal quarterbacking
    rid lacunal run defense
    rid time out coordinator of all responsibilities due to lack of competence.

    piece o’ cake! victory is at hand! hand the ball to Bush 33 times and it’s game over!
    +++++++++++++++

    Hand Bush the ball 33 times? LMAO…you have more lung capacity than Michael Bush M! He would die right there on the field after the 20th carry.

  • http://blackhillsphoto.com/sturgis-weddings/black-hills-weddings.jpg Dakota

    U of Miami want Gruden.

    Just say no Jon! Hold out for the ND job!

  • RAIDERMAN99

    You’d figure a guy with his size and athleticism could at least hit the field.

    Especially with the all-stars we’ve got in front of him.

    I must be missing something.

  • SilverNBlackPA

    Dakota Says:
    December 1st, 2010 at 9:53 am
    U of Miami want Gruden.

    Just say no Jon! Hold out for the ND job!

    +++++++++++++++++++

    No way, man! Gruden needs to hold out for the Raider j…..HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. Sorry, couldn’t keep a straight face.

  • olinesux

    i know he is missing something—huevos. he has the left tackle mindset of pushing the rusher past the qb….