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Get ready for battle of rookie quarterbacks

The Raiders and New York Jets still are in playoff contention, despite being well below .500 through 12 games. Both staked their fortunes to a rookie quarterback, which is something that worked well for the Seahawks and Redskins last season.
The jury’s out on Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin and Jets counterpart Geno Smith. However, both are expected to start for their respective teams Sunday, with the team that loses all but certainly eliminated from playoff contention.
Jets coach Rex Ryan is on his second rookie quarterback since he became the team’s head coach. First it was Mark Sanchez, a first-round draft pick. Now it’s Smith, who was selected in the second round.
“We’ve experienced some ups and downs and things, but the best way to learn is the player gets out and plays,” Ryan said in a conference call with Bay Area media.
That philosophy worked well for Terrelle Pryor, who started one game his first two NFL seasons but entered this season as the unquestioned starter after a sterling training camp.
His reign lasted all of eight games before he was sidelined with a right knee injury and ultimately replaced by undrafted rookie McGloin.
Like most rookies, they are prone to mistakes, Raiders coach Dennis Allen and safety Charles Woodson said.
“He’s like most young quarterbacks that come into this league and are thrown into the fire right away,” Woodson said in an interview with NFL Network. “He’s going to for the most part let you know where he’s going with the ball and teams are able to get their reads on him pretty quickly.
“People have been getting to him in the rush and making him make bad decisions back there in the pocket. Our game plan is really what everybody else has been doing: try to get pressure on him, make him antsy back there in the pocket and hopefully he’ll deliver that ball to us.”
Avoiding those pitfalls is a strenght of McGloin’s. In his three starts, he has been decisive, quick to get rid of the ball and avoid sacks.
“I see a guy that makes a lot of quick decisions with the football,” Ryan said. “He’s accurate and he’s very poised. I see a guy that has outstanding fundamentals and plays smart. It seems like it’s coming out quick and he knows where to go with the football.”

– Rashad Jennings prides himself on being in tip-top shape, doing everything he can to ensure that he is as fit as possible and making the most of every opportunity.
Yet, even he can’t do much about avoiding or speeding up the recovery process from a concussion. To that end, he’s still questionable for the Jets game.
“I never in my life have been in a locker room and not planned to play,” Jennings said Thursday. “And never in my life have I made that decision whether I’m playing or not.”
That’s the key point here. Whether or not Jennings plays Sunday is contingent upon his passing a series of league-mandated tests. Allen said Jennings has cleared some in the week since Jennings suffered the head injury.
If Jennings can’t play, Allen said, the Raiders will go with a “running back-by-committee” against the Jets. In other words, you’re apt to see Marcel Reece, Taiwan Jones and Jamize Olawale.

– Strong safety Tyvon Branch made it through his first day of practice Wednesday without any setbacks in his return from a severe ankle injury. That enabled him to push it a little more Thursday, which he did without any lingering effects.
Even so, Allen said Brandian Ross is going to start against the Jets, with Branch entering the game at some point as a means of easing him back into the mix.
“You have to see what he’s able to do,” Allen said. “If he’s able to go and can function and be productive we’ll put him in there and let him keep playing.”

Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson ought to take up juggling as a side job given how well he has dealt with so many injuries and lineup changes the first three months of this season.
That mixing and matching began in training camp, carried right into the regular season and hasn’t abated. Worse, Olson has been forced to alter his plans at every position — quarterback, offensive line, tight end, wide receiver and running back.
Naturally, the Raiders offense has been disjointed at times and far from a juggernaut.
“Lack of continuity, certainty, isn’t a recipe for success when you’re doing that, we’re finding that out,” Olson said. “They’re competing and we’re giving ourselves a chance to win games, we just have to find a way to win them in the end.”
Consider, Olson is working with a starting quarterback that wasn’t projected to make the 53-man, opening-day roster. Terrelle Pryor, Matt Flynn and McGloin started games so far this season.
He also went 11 games without left offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, hasn’t had access to tight end David Ausberry at all, has coached games without wide receivers Andre Holmes and Denarius Moore, and now is working with a running backs corps so depleted that Taiwan Jones converted from cornerback.
“When you look before the season started and what are the Raiders, where are the Raiders going to be? Certainly our goal is to score more points,” Olson said. “Has that happened? Have we scored more? No, we have not done that. I believe that part of it is lack of continuity, part of it is lack of depth.
“When you look back at the beginning of the season, and where we’re at, everyone has injuries. Those teams that may not be as talented, when they have injuries during the season, it takes a bigger toll. That’s been a big part of it is the constant turnover and the constant changes in the lineup.”
This might come off as self preservation coming from someone else. In Olson’s case, he’s simply stating the facts.
For example, the 49ers went all of last season and most of this season with their offensive line intact. Olson hasn’t had his projected starting offensive line on the field at one time yet this season.

– Woodson’s dealings with Bay Area media is limited to postgame interviews. Yet, he is a regular guest on national shows during the week.
So, the best we can do during the week is to pass along things Woodson says elsewhere, while his teammates handle the day-to-day interviews.
Here’s Woodson’s take on the Raiders being in playoff contention, as told to NFL Network:
“It’s crazy to be here at 4-8 and not completely be out of the race,” Woodson said. “That’s pretty amazing to me. We have four games left and we want to do this thing right for the rest of the season. We’re looking forward to going in there and playing the Jets this Sunday.”

– Credit Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston for his candor based on his assessment of his play against the Cowboys.
In that game, Houston got shut down in pretty sound fashion by left offensive tackle Tyron Smith. Houston recorded two tackles out of the 67 snaps he played.
“I don’t I think I did too well,” Houston said. “In certain situations, I probably should have used different rushes. I don’t think I was picking my moves well. My timing was off. The aiming point with which I was coming at the tackle was bad. I should have studied more and thought about the depth of the linemen. That was really effective for them.
“It wasn’t a good game overall for me. So I’ve got to definitely show improvement this game and bring it, because that was probably the worst game I think I’ve played in my life.”

– Olson offered this rather telling nugget, when asked if McGloin has separated himself from Pryor.
“I don’t know if you would say that,” Olson said. “I just think that right now, that he is continuing to improve. Again, we always talk about the opportunity. He was given an opportunity when Terelle got hurt and he’s running with it right now.”

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Steve Corkran

  • R8erEduc8er

    12th

  • RaiderLen

    We’re all in the same Raider Boat.

    Let’s hope that we have some “Good Times” to gloat over in the near future.

  • http://www.cosmicdanceband.com/ SilverandBlack666

    CODE HEATHEN!!!!

  • 10centsworth

    0let me say this. I see progress on this team as a TEAM. By inference, you are trying to attack the people who made that pick. The value is yet to be determined, IMO. You know too much about what we faced coming into last year’s FAgency/draft to be harping, if YOU too see progress. We are TRULY looking at bringing in 3/4 quality FAs, on each side of the ball, to augment our core. I AM happy with that.0

  • Dakota

    If Reggie can’t draft any better than Al Davis, then we are fooooked. He seems better at managing the cap than Al, but let’s see what he does with $55-70 million in cap space next offseason.
    If he sucks at both, then I will start to miss Al…..at least his craziness kept things interesting around here.

  • The_Civilian_James_Trapp

    There is Scot McCloughan….give Gamble his shot

  • Gdog

    The best part of his game used to be his pass catching… there was talk of converting him to WR IIRC. Something happened in his head. Lotsa people blame his foot for sucking now, I blame the other side of his body.

    A change of scenery might be perfect for him. I wish him well…

  • 10centsworth

    0and a 2nd rnd pick we didn’t have.0

  • BOKNOWS

    Hey England….Hows the weather like over there right now…?

  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    First off buddy, Al had some spectacular drafts–didn’t Al draft Snake, etc?; second anyone can improve on the cap when they get rid of 9 guys out of 11 on defense.
    You’re right on the last point though. Let’s see how the guy does with all that money.

  • DutchRaid

    So if you could back and time you would have picked the same players? Or sombody different? Just curious…

  • 10centsworth

    0foggy and rainy. Don’t live there and I can tell you that.0

  • Howard Benner

    Rashard Jennings traveling coast to coast in a pressurized aircraft might be enough to determine if he is able to pass the remaining concussion protocols. . .kinda a joke. . .but if there is a doubt in your mind that he can’t pass the necessary remaining tests the last thing you would do is put him in an airplane & let him travel six hours. . .what if he doesn’t pass the tests or suffers from the trip? You send him via train?!

  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    Warmer than it is in northern California.

  • BOKNOWS

    Flying out to Mansfield tomorrow…first time over there…

  • The Big Banana

    Lol! That’s what the interwebs are for.

  • 10centsworth

    0so is antartica.0

  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    Who are you again?

  • RaiderLen

    Sweet!

  • http://AdvoCare.com/ Till death do us part

    Gore is Jesus brother, except he walks on people

  • 10centsworth

    0nah. that’s just England in December.0

  • Sir Raider Duck, OMS

    I was in favor of Star all along. Most of the people here were hyping Sharif Floyd or Chance Warmack, both of whom have been disappointments. The first three guys in the draft have all disappointed. So did the other CB selected in the first round (Milliner).

  • Howard Benner

    . . .and that is true for any of our fellow Raider fans. . .debate can be stimulating, necessary & a good way to exercise extra testosterone. . .or angst. . .but when we get too personal. . .well. . .

  • BOKNOWS

    Do they broadcast all the games over there?

  • RaiderLen

    Star and Warmack were my guys.

    Never bought into Floyd.

  • ENGLANDRAIDER

    Yeah, but who needs them since the internet has been invented.

  • 10centsworth

    0Ha. I’m still growing in the patches of hair you pulled out when we first “discussed” something.0

  • RaiderLen

    LOL

  • Howard Benner

    I used to be antispy3, but when the new format emerged I signed up via Facebook & it assigned me my name. . .so no more obscuring my true identity. . .

  • http://www.cosmicdanceband.com/ SilverandBlack666

    I love the progress I see out there this year. The improvement on defense is amazing the improvement on Special Teams is really impressive.

    I would not say or think this one single draft pick is the reason for improvement of the overall team…..But I hear you man!

  • BOKNOWS

    Ive never accessed games on internet….never had to

  • http://www.cosmicdanceband.com/ SilverandBlack666

    LMAO so true!

    I still have not heard your Hendrix story…

  • RaiderLen

    IMO Reggie has to sign at least one Premium FA. While re upping the keepers on one year deals, as well as Veld and Houston. I expect He’ll keep the financial house “In Order” but how he structures contracts and stretches the dollars will be of interest to me.

  • Dakota

    I don’t care what Al did in the 12th century!

  • 10centsworth

    0I don’t see Hayden one way or the other. I do believe, in effect, we were talking about management. I think the Raiders (and by that, I mean FANS and team) are gonna be gettin’ some pride units back, starting…next year. For the first time EVER in my 40 years as a fan, I AM EXCITED about this coming FA and draft. Yeah. First time.0

  • The_Civilian_James_Trapp

    He took a guy that ended up on IR which is shocking(sarcasm) when you see the medical red flags Hayden possessed. But don’t worry, he will become great because Al didn’t draft him

  • Gdog

    Warmack was my guy too. He isn’t playing great, but at least he is PLAYING. And Nix cost us the Indy game with his whiff of Mathis… Plus is the NFL’s worst player.

    Warmack might have us in the playoff picture yet… how cool would that be??

    The bottom line is, after sucking for so many years in a row, we needed our third overall pick to help NOW. Al, I mean Reggie, picked players to help us down the road. I will be happy later but will still remember how painful this season was…

  • BOKNOWS

    Hahahaha

  • Dakota

    If we lose out we have a legit chance at the #2 overall pick. Right now we are sitting at about the 8th spot. If we win a game or two we could be picking around #15.
    FML

  • 10centsworth

    0ok, need the Wooley Beast breeder on same time.0

  • The_Civilian_James_Trapp

    He hasn’t already. He drafted a guy that can’t play Guard in the 3rd round. Al found a franchise LT. Grimmce can’t hold Al’s jock from the 20th century and that’s not good

  • Davy Jones

    This just in, those who believe in conspiracy theories are dumbasses. Film at 11.

  • 10centsworth

    0the reasons for it still exist, Howard. I happen to like spies. The rest of you folks are fluckin’ boring.0

  • http://AdvoCare.com/ Till death do us part

    Nation, who is the top DT coming out

  • BOKNOWS

    http://www.draftdaddy.com has excellent updated info and links….

  • 10centsworth

    0ok, just kidding, I’ve grown to like, admire and respect all of you fellow tied by loyalty Raider fanatics. Cough. Apoplexy. Stroke. There, two quick shots of cognac and … what was I saying? Oh. Eat crap, all of you.0

  • R8erEduc8er

    ME!!!

    Truitt from Notra Dahm? Or is he returning to school?

  • roger

    I think Reggie sits on the 70 million Packer style. Prepare for the letdown nation

  • plunkhead

    Screw the # 2
    I say win out and challenge for the playoffs till the end. make this a season to remember and keep the DA and the rest of them for some continuity

  • RaiderLen

    some rough math tells me he has to spend at least 63 million.