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Raiders ‘becoming a football team’

Veteran safety Charles Woodson knows a thing or two about what a Super Bowl-caliber team looks like. He played on one for the Raiders and Green Bay Packers during his illustrious career.
So, when he talks about where this Raiders team stands after seven games and on the heels of an impressive victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s worth listening.
“We are becoming a football team,” Woodson said. “That’s a good way to put it. We have some good players that have been assembled on this team, and we’re learning how to play together. We’re learning each other and what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are. We’re just making some plays out there.”
People made plays throughout the game, from the outset. It started with quarterback Terrelle Pryor rambling 93 yards for a touchdown on the first offensive play of the game. It ended with Rashad Jennings securing an on-side kick.
In between, there were interceptions by Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins, five sacks of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, a blocked punt by Jennings, two touchdown runs by running back Darren McFadden, two key third-down receptions by Denarius Moore that yielded first downs and so much more.
Added up, it’s what coach Dennis Allen talks about all the time, when he says that the key to turning the corner is putting yourself in position to win games time and again and then learning how to close out those games.
Sunday’s game is one the Raiders would have lost almost every time the past 10 seasons, if not earlier this season. Sure, it came against a 2-4 Steelers team, but it still counts as progress.
The Raiders can build on that with a victory over the reeling Philadelphia Eagles on this Sunday. The Eagles are 3-5, playing without starting quarterback Michael Vick and bearing little resemblance to the team that started off so fast under first-year coach Chip Kelly.
And if the Raiders get to 4-4 with a sweep of the Pennsylvania teams, who knows? Winning the AFC West is a long-shot, given the Kansas City Chiefs are 8-0 and the Denver Broncos 7-1 — the Raiders lost to both teams already this season. A wild-card berth is wide open.

– Fullback Marcel Reece averaged three touches per game before the Steelers game. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson again, during the bye week, talked about the importance of getting Reece more touches.
So, naturally, Reece got only three carries against the Steelers and nothing has changed. Hard to find fault during a victory, but it still begs the question why the Raiders paid Reece so much money if they don’t have any intention of making him more of a focal point of the offense.

– Steelers kicker Shane Suisham missed two short-range field-goal attempts Sunday. Entering the game, he converted all 15 of his attempts on the season.
How fortunate were the Raiders to have Suisham miss not just one from inside 40 yards but two? Of 245 such attempts this season, only 15 missed the mark. Two of those came from Suisham on Sunday.

– Jacoby Ford fumbled a punt return, fumbled away the ball after a short reception and came close to having a punt bounce off his leg and into the hands of a Steelers player.
In other words, Sunday wasn’t Ford’s best day as an NFL player. It remains to be seen whether his glaring gaffes cost him playing time moving forward.
The Raiders tried Taiwan Jones at kick returns Sunday after Ford handled that role the first six games. Make of it what you will, Ford needs to start making plays and soon.

– Rookie linebacker Sio Moore recorded two of Oakland’s five sacks. He has three on the season and is looking more and more comfortable in the Raiders defense each week.
Along with Nick Roach and Kevin Burnett, the Raiders linebacking corps is as strong as it’s been in years. Throw in Kaluka Maiava and Kaelin Burnett, recent addition Martez Wilson and the potential return of Miles Burris and the Raiders have admirable depth, to boot.

– The Raiders impressive run defense turned in another sterling performance by holding the Steelers to 35 yards on 19 carries.
The Steelers longest run netted only 8 yards. Therefore, the Raiders still haven’t allowed a run longer than 19 yards all season, something that no other team can boast of the first half of the season.

– Allen gave the players the day off today, something that isn’t uncommon on the heels of impressive victories. They also are off Tuesday.
The players hit the field Wednesday for practice in advance of the Eagles game. It’s a safe bet that this game is going to sell out, too, given the Raiders are a win away from reaching .500 and thrusting themselves into serious contention for a wild-card berth.

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Steve Corkran

  • rifflicks

    explain how screens would work against a Defense that is committed to playing the run and doesn’t respect the pass

  • DKnight007

    We do have a QB….we have an OC who is scared to call plays that will covert into 1st downs and doesn’t make adjutsments in the 2nd half.

  • alex7

    or why you want a raw QB and 3rd string O-linemen running a play that requires timing, timing, timing, and repetition.

  • SilverNBlackPA

    Ideally, when (if?) everyone’s healthy, we can get a Veldheer-Barnes-Wiz-Brisiel-Pashos line which has promise.
    Think the best thing for Watson would be as swing tackle/extra tight end in heavy packages and practice his azz off to make up for lost time.

  • the electrifying dr robert

    Lol. It’s the qb, stupid.

  • alex7

    the announcer said, after a play, “And it’s backyard football when Pryor is involved!” He meant it as a compliment. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

  • the electrifying dr robert

    That s ore wasn’t cuz of great offense.

    Did u watch the game?

  • the electrifying dr robert

    Moore and streater are both legit.

    They’re waiting for a qb.

  • R8drTahoe in SF

    I don’t know if that’s totally true. It is the context of the game as a whole that you have to look at. Your point of view is one way to look at it. Another would be to say that he has to extend every play because there is a defender coming after him every play. Both are true to a certain degree, and neither is totally correct IMO. I personally won’t conclusively say he looks to scramble every play until he has the true NFL caliber OLine.

  • alex7

    I am Mr. Positive this week!

    Kudos to Olson! For those of you asking for screens, remember that a screen play involves timing, timing, timing, more timing, and lots of repetitions to get the timing down. Our QB is also raw and his footwork is lacking.

    We have 3rd string linemen who haven’t practiced enough for the OC to be comfortable running a screen that might stop the clock, when safer plays are available.

  • rifflicks

    and what you fail to see is that Pryor can’t read a defensive set before the snap and change the play

  • DKnight007

    Screens work because it keeps defenses guessing and keeps them honest. It’s also a matter of execution. Just need two fat Oline guys in front of Reece and DMC and you gain at least 5-8 yards if not more. At least Olsen could have run more read options with TP also. I liked how he had wildcat formations with DMC though. Not getting the ball in Reeces hands in the short passing game is ridiculous.

  • dplunk

    How many 4 or 5 receiver sets did the Raiders PACTICE running in long yardage situations this OFF-SEASON, AND CAMP with Pryor as QB

  • Raider-In-PA

    It seems like the coaching staff tells Pryor to stay ‘home’ in the second half of games and continue to look downfield instead of just taking off with the ball… If it aint broke, …..
    Also, why continue to try to pound the ball up the middle? DMAC is best around the end… and where in the heck was Reese?

  • the electrifying dr robert

    Let’s see if we can understand this:

    1) we have the NFL’s WORST passing attack
    2) it’s the OC’s fault
    3) it’s the OL’s fault
    4) it’s the WR’s fault
    5) it’s NOT pass-challenged qb that all scouts agreed was an extreme long shot

    So it’s EVERYONE ELSE’S fault but pryors.

    Yeah that makes sense.

    Wtf. Do u guys seriously want to slurp on his wiener or something?

  • alex7

    Mr. Positive says:

    Olson didn’t take the foot off the pedal in the 2nd half.

    Our big plays in the 1st half were a punt block, and a 93-yard read option play (which we ran throughout the game, just not as effectively because….you know…Dick Lebeau is kinda smart).

    It’s not like we were running all sorts of successful long play drives and suddenly stopped in the 2nd half. Olson played to our team’s strengths (defense) and not our weakness (passing game).

    In the 4th quarter, one 3 and out series consisted of 2 passing plays, showing Olson was willing to not go conservative. We just missed an open sideline pass to Moore.

  • DKnight007

    Running screens is not all that difficult if you freakin practice it. Practice…what a concept. Screens are a valuable weapon for an offense. Olsen needs to practice it and get the SCREEN game going this week versus the Eagles.

  • Raider-In-PA

    *ReeCe

  • The Beeeeech Dawg

    YO YO THE BIG DAWG REPRESENTIN’

    Whut up goobers

    The Beeech Diggity is getting set to rehearse with his ocean smooth reggae band Rasta Ganja. You’re probably totally stoked to learn we’re still together, huh

    After yesterday’s sweet win, the Dawg smoked a few bowls and went to see Gravity. That flick is a hella trip. Plus plenty of S. Bullock in booty shorts with plenty of tight crotch shots

    Anyway when the Dawg got home he smoked some more KGB and started writing reggae jamz in the hot tub

    Really feelin’ good about my new lyrics, I’ll drop them on the blog right after I spank the Lawg (for the 10th time) to Bullock in them booty shorts

    WHUT WHUT N THE POOTBUTT

  • rifflicks

    screens also rely on the defense committing to playing the pass and rushing the QB ….they’re not…..they’re playing run all the way….stacking the line and daring Pryor to beat them with his arm

  • alex7

    Troy Polamalu lurks near the line of scrimmage! Screen passer beware!

    Due to drops, bad footwork, and inaccuracy, we only completed half our throws yesterday with a couple of INTs, and Pittsburgh’s D clamped up well after the read-option mess, so a screen throw isn’t that safe.

  • R8drTahoe in SF

    The blame lies on a combination of all of those things actually. WRs dropping balls, Oline letting Defenders through, a lackluster running game, and conservative play calling, all put together with a very raw QB that is still working on developing mechanics do not build a great passing attack.

  • alex7

    exactly, so many of these NEW LINEMEN haven’t had time to practice those plays often.

  • DKnight007

    TP not kowing the whole playbook that was drawn up with Flynny in mind as the starter? haha…How about Olsen making in game adjustments accordingly? How about practicing and executing a SCREEN play using your two weapons who excel at screens with DMC and Reece?

  • the electrifying dr robert

    It is true. I record the games. I freeze them when he starts to scramble. Many times there is no need. Real qbs step up or to the side, always looking downfield.

  • alex7

    this man gets it!

    It’s not like we have a solid core of playmakers on O that never turn the ball over.

  • alex7

    you know who practiced screens 100 times? Our injured linemen who haven’t played much.

  • the electrifying dr robert

    Umm. Then why the heck did we go with Pryor as our qb? He’s no a starting quality nfl qb.

  • Scourge of the East

    Yo, B-Diggs, whuddup?!

  • rifflicks

    nice try…but screens require time to develop and the defense to be playing pass coverage….not a defense that is stacking the line, and sealing the edges

  • alex7

    do you really want to give our QB multiple options in the passing game? It’s something he’s never had going back to OSU, for a reason.

  • DKnight007

    Calling a play action roll out and 8-10 yard quick out play to Reece or Rivera or Moore is a play that TP can’t execute?? TP and can’t execute a screenplay? I thought these guys were pros? Nah….it’s more Olsen falling asleep at wheel and playing waaaaay too conservative.

  • Scourge of the East

    Sandra Bullock should inspire some great rhymes, B-Diggs, but she’s the big plastic-booblied stripper you favor.

  • The Beeeeech Dawg

    Yo S Brah, the Dawg is in the middle of spanking the Lawg to Sandra Bullock’s booty in Gravity. You gots to check it out, shorty throws down mad crotch shots

  • alex7

    yes, this is why Pryor only had 13 yards rushing in 8 carries after the 93-yarder.

    They stacked the line, especially the edges with Troy.

    I don’t want a screen being thrown when Troy P. is in the area.

  • dplunk

    I think we’ll see a much refined Raider passing offense next season..If the coaches goes “All in ” with Pryor during training camp next year.

  • rifflicks

    Pryor isn’t a Rookie…..he can’t remember who’s running what routes, or where the routes in the play are going……not practice….IQ

  • the electrifying dr robert

    At one point, they showed a replay and Gannon said to look at what a mess pryors footwork was, immediately shifting around, looking to run, not looking downfield.

    And there wasn’t any pressure.

    This is the nfl. Pryor is not an nfl qb.

  • alex7

    Troy was stacking the edge for most of the game after the 93-yarder.

    You want to throw screens and bootleg near Troy? Ehhh, a little too dangerous when you have a 21-3 lead and our passing game isn’t that meshed.

  • tuckrulefool

    AMEN (except that it’s DA snoozing not Olsen imo)

  • DKnight007

    TP does need to step up in the pocket more instead of scrambling backwards. Then again, this goes back to the OLine pass pro being below average.

  • alex7

    he ran for 13 yards in 8 carries after the first one.

    It was broke. The Steelers D adjusted. Lebeau is kinda awesome.

  • Scourge of the East

    Hey, Doc! You causing trouble, again?

    My cioncern with Pryor is one of these times he scrambles hes gonna get caught and hurt. Then where will we be? And the more he becomes confident he can get get away with scrambling and running, the greater the risk for injury becomes.

  • Standsintherain

    How can you win in the NFL ,if your not an NFL qb ?

  • the electrifying dr robert

    In the preseason, I told u guys Pryor, DMc, and ford stunk.

    I told u guys Moore was the deal.

    I told u guys the defense would be better than its parts.

  • Scourge of the East

    Er….sorry to interrupt, B-Diggs.

  • the electrifying dr robert

    Everyone else playing well and having a 93 yd Td RUN.

  • Jayhawk_Raider

    Really? HMMMM. Pryor went 93 for a score on that first possession, then DMC scored the other two… makes me wonder if you know the difference between offense and defense…

  • Carl weathers

    Calvin Johnson should have been drafted first overall in 2007

  • Scourge of the East

    RIP…you in Centre County?