Buffalo Bills Miami Dolphins New England Patriots New York jets Baltimore Ravens Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns Pittsburgh Steelers Houston Texans Indianapolis Colts Jacksonville Jaguars Tennessee Titans Denver Broncos Kansas City Cheifs Oakland Raiders San Diego Chargers Dallas Cowboys New York Giants Philadelphia Eagles Washington Redskins Chicago Bears Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers Minnesota Vikings Atlanta Falcons Carolina Panthers New Orleans Saints Tampa Bay Buccaneers Arizona Cardinals St. Louis Rams San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks
Raiders #31 Oakland Raiders
News :: Transactions :: Schedule :: Roster :: Player Stats :: Team Stats :: History
Raiders Pulse

Raiders - Playoff Bound but Not Confident



With our week 17 victory over the Chiefs we finished the season with a mediocre 8-8 record. The same record as the reigning champs the Broncos, but due to our stronger divisional record (5-1 vs 4-2) and a better return from our split games we managed to steal the division title from their grasp at the last hurdle and head into the playoffs. Our divisional title grants us the #4 seed in the AFC bracket but our season record makes us the worst rated team in the race, with the 5th place browns sitting at 10-6 and the #6 seed fought out between teams with 9-7 records (Ravens and Bills). The next ranked team in the AFC is the Broncos at #8, whilst in the NFC the lowest record to get in was 10-6 from the Buccaneers #6 seed and Cowboys #4 seed, with 3 teams with 9-7 records not even getting a look in.

So with those numbers in mind we are not hopeful of our fortunes in 2022 of making a difference, although playoff teams we have faced already this season include in the AFC #1 Titans (lost by 3) and #5 Browns (lost by 3), and for the NFC the #2 Packers (lost by 15). Our highest rated victory for the year came against the #12 ranked Lions in week 12 that saw us break our 5 game losing streak, a game we contained the Lions to 13 points and kept Sutton to 57 yards, but with a team that only rates well in rush offense and defense, plus one of the worst rated pass defences in the league for yardage allowed we are facing a mountainous uphill battle to overcome the Browns straight up. We are not giving up and rolling over, but the odds are not in our favour as there are only 2 other teams in the history of the GZL to make the playoffs with a .500 record (Vikings in 2015 as the NFC #6 seed and Dolphins in 2016 as the AFC #4 seed). The Dolphins did manage to win their Wildcard game before falling in the divisional round, whilst the Vikings made it all the way to the conference championship before being ousted by the Seahawks. This does give us some hope, combined with our playoff experience, that we might not just be cannon fodder for the Browns (has that ever been said in the history of professional football? Laughing )

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 07/04/2017) Replies - 0 :: Views - 14
Raiders - Week 17



The final week of the 2022 season had a lot at stake, but our fortunes did not rest in our own hands. For us to reach the playoffs we required the broncos to stumble in their final home game against the Bears, whilst we had to beat the Chiefs on their home turf. Fortunately the Broncos game was played before ours and we were buoyed when the Bears triumphed and left the gate open for us. With our hopes raised we entered our contest with the Chiefs possibly a bit distracted and came out rather flat as the first quarter had us relegated to 2 field goals whilst the Chiefs added 10 points. By this stage the Chiefs were freely moving the ball down field into the redzone and we were only halfway too matching them. The second quarter was a turnaround as our defense got stuck in to starving our opponents of opportunity and restricting the production of Kaepernick through the air. We also managed two major scores for the quarter and the halftime scoreboard of 20-13 had us back on track. The second half was a tail of two quarters as we added another touchdown in the third and shutout the Chiefs, but the fourth was a complete reversal where they scored and we didn't. In the end our 2nd quarter spurt was enough to give us the edge in a 27-20 victory.

Positives:

Offense - RG3 was a continual threat all game both in the air and on the ground, passing for 2 touchdowns and running one in himself. His QB rating of 101.7 was one of his best for the year coming from 233 yards and a 51% completion rate. He was supported by napoleon Kerr with 113 yards abut he struggled to get constant positive yards and had to fight tooth and nail for his yards all day.

Defense - at the end of the day we kept the Chiefs to 9 total first downs and 2 from 12 third down conversions. We also managed to keep 2 of their 3 redzone trips to field goals only which kept us in the game early on. Two turnovers also added to the pressure with Jon Bostic collecting a pick early in the game whilst Chester Truman picked up a Flint Murphy forced fumble in the third quarter to keep the pressure on.

Disappointments:

We did allow Josh Gordon to collect 149 receiving yards, including a 69 yard touchdown, so our pass defense still isn't at its best.

Next Week:

We sneak into the playoffs and square off against the Browns, a team we already faced in week 7 and narrowly lost to. We'll need our defense on song in this one if we hope to have any chance of being more than a number filling a spot in the playoffs.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 07/04/2017) Replies - 0 :: Views - 12
Raiders - Trade Deadline Moves



In an otherwise dead week, the Oakland Raiders made some last minute moves in an attempt to make something of their faltering season, whilst still maintaining an eye for the future. With no other trade discussions tabled, the Raiders made two separate moves to bring in new players to provide longevity at respective positions.

The first move saw the Packers 3rd round pick (acquired in the trade of Terrence Williams last offseason) traded to the Bengals for WR Christof Thompson. At 6'3" and 91 speed, Thompson is a challenging matchup in the passing game and in only his third year he provides a long term option behind the regressing Ryan Broyles. Drafted in the second round of the 2020 draft he failed to see significant time on the field for the Bengals with only 29 receptions and 1 score over 2 and half seasons. He is still a raw talent but we're looking forward to developing him into a versatile asset.

The second trade involved the Raiders 3rd round pick headed to Tampa Bay for RT Deon D'Angelo. We had made moves early last season to acquire D'Angelo but had been stymied by the Buccaneers high demand for the backup, however this year after they drafted another future star at the position he became affordable and acceptable to our offer. As a mobile offensive tackle he is a bit under strengthed to many, but considering our failings over the past couple of years to lock down the spot with a bigger body it's worth a shot.

A free agent was the final addition in week 13 as LE Cornelius Washington was signed to a 3 year deal. For anyone following the acquisitions of the Raiders since the offseason (or a quick glance at their roster) you'll realise that there are now 5 starting calibre defensive ends (rated 88 or higher, 4 of them 95 or higher) on the team. With at least 2 of them on short term contracts and playing out of position it looks like this was the year of experimenting in Oakland after almost a decade of stable growth under GM Pearce. Washington was a highly sought after free agent in 2020 and only recently cut by the Browns, but at age 31 and 7 years played can he really provide a spark for the struggling Raiders?

To make room for all the new additions, TE Tyler Eifert was placed on injured reserve whilst WR Claude Howell, RE Hugh Woods-Clark and LT Daniel Vinovich were all cut.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 06/05/2017) Replies - 0 :: Views - 16
Raiders - Defense Does the Job



Back-to-back divisional games are always tough, even more so at the start of the year. At least in this instance we were hosting both games after our first round loss. The Chiefs defense looked solid coming into this one and we knew we'd have trouble moving the ball against them. On the flip side we had faith we could do some containment on their ability to gain yardage and both cases proved true. It was slow going to begin the game with only a handful of field goals between the two teams before Russell Wilson's first pick of the day was returned for a score. Half time saw us up 16-6 and controlling the clock as we liked. The 3rd quarter was a shut out both ways before Wilson's second mistake of the day saw another pick 6 added to our score. Wilson left the game shortly after with a broken elbow and his replacement, Brandon Allen, managed a convincing 90+ yard drive into the 2 minute drill for the Chiefs only touchdown of the day. It was too little too late as we held on for a 13-23 victory.

Positives:

Offense - Napoleon Kerr managed 93 hard fought yards without any success to keep us moving and help control the clock.

Defense - this is where the game was won, with Vernon Hargreaves giving us our first touchdown with his 57 yard pick 6 before Sylvester Spence added his own 53 yard effort in the fourth quarter. Both starting corners outscore the entire offense in this game and it's their efforts that secured the win. Also notable as a team effort was the run stopping on Todd Gurley, limiting the feature back to 25 yards from 13 carries. He had 13 yards from 12 carries before finding a bigger gain on the Chiefs biggest scoring drive late in the game.

Disappointments:

Our passing game was a stinker this week as Mitch Trubisky struggled to get anything going, especially in the redzone. His two interceptions (one in the redzone) did the team no favors and he'll need to work on his game to effectively help out the beleaguered Kerr and the running game.

Next Week:

For our third home game in a row we face the re-vamped Vikings coming off an early bye week. We had success over them in the pre-season but with a full time starting outfit behind Cam Newton we'll need to make sure we can score and not have the defense do all the work or they'll be worn out too quickly.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 03/28/2017) Replies - 0 :: Views - 15
Raiders Offseason Trades


Raiders 2021 Offseason Trades


WR Terrance Williams + 7.30 to GB for 7.29 + GB Future 3rd - without the ability to exclusively resign Williams, if we allowed him to hit the match eligible market we knew he'd likely be poached beyond our ability to pay him. We'd shopped him as a tag'n'trade option to various teams but they mostly balked at his tag salary demands, citing their own pressing cap demands. In the end Green Bay decided they could do with his services and offered up a future 3rd for him which we thought was a decent return at this point. Whilst Williams was our best yardage receiver last year it is a tough call to lose him, but it means that Ryan Broyles can step back into the starting role alongside Amari Cooper. Our depth at the position suffers now as our pair of Howell's are far from GZL ready.

2.30 to DAL for LE Ya'rahAffini - after plugging our defensive end spots with older (and more expensive) players over the past few years we scouted out some younger options, finding Affini buried on the Dallas depth chart. When his availability was immediately indicated we went to work on a trade, only to see much too-ing and fro-ing done because of other trade talks. Eventually our original talks were settled and we welcome Ya'rah to Oakland were he'll get the chance to start.

Amnesty: RT Russell Okung to WAS for 7.05 - needing to free up cap room saw the veteran Okung face the amnesty market. In the last year of a 3 year contract, saving $3M in cap next year was important to us. Russell has since been traded on to Seattle who need to restock their own depleted offensive line.

QB Landry Jones + 4.30 to SEA for 3.29 - another cap casualty, Jones has provided some decent relief for injured RG3 over the years, but in recent times we have seen more vet minimum players fill this need. After failing to carry on with our good start in the AFC Championship game, it was time for Landry's expiring contract to be moved to free up valuable cap space.

CB Jake Meadows + 3.30 to NO for RE Flint Murphy + 5.13 + 6.09 - with our shots at match eligible free agency thwarted we finally had a little wiggle room in the cap this year and could see an option in Murphy that we could work with. It was the Saints own GM's media discussions that inspired us to make this move, which in reality could have seen us pick him up straight for our third. They were after Meadows at the same time so we combined the deals for us to afford Murphy's tag cost this year whilst forgoing what we see as Meadow's last viable year of play. After a good defensive year it will be a tough play to replace Meadows in the secondary, but we got some value in return for him along with cap room.

OAK 5th to MIN for LT Owen Hartley - with Okung moved on and no decisive player for right tackle, adding the raw Hartley for a 5th rounder gives us some capability and options for this year if we can't find a higher calibre player


Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 02/15/2017) Replies - 0 :: Views - 9
Raiders Offaseason Transactions


Raiders 2021 Offseason Transactions


Releases:

  • K Blair Walsh - with a lot of cap struggles forecast for the 2022 season, Walsh's high salary for a kicker was not something we could tolerate, especially with Hakim Smith developing alongside. The minimal cap hit also made this a go to decision, even though we've been happy with the years of effort that Blair has given us since we snapped him up from free agency after the Cardinals cut him in his rookie year.

  • LE Andre Branch - Branch has struggled with injury the past 2 seasons, so we've been forced on numerous occasions to bring in a costly replacement. When on the field he has done a fine job ever since coming over from New England, however with a youth injection at the position it wasn't viable to keep him on any longer.


Not Resigned:

We had some tough calls to make this year as our cap situation got steadily worse with the back loading of aging players coming into play.

  • DT Jacques Bailey - after finally making it to his first pro Bowl, Bailey's expiring contract and excessive resign demands could not be accommodated, especially as he'll start declining in skill by next season.

  • HB Mark Ingram - this was the toughest decision of all as we wanted to keep Ingram on the team until he retires, providing valuable mentorship to our young running backs in the process. We'd been managing his position on a year-by-year basis but couldn't afford to keep up that process, hoping that we could bring him back on different terms later in free agency. Unfortunately the Dolphins saw his value and he's likely to retire wearing an awful teal coloured uniform.



Free Agents:

  • DT Sheldon Richardson - with a need for a second starting defensive tackle, we tried numerous trade options to fill our hole but were thwarted at every turn. In the end it turns out we can pay a decent wage to Sheldon for the next 3 years after the pre-draft free agent period. He doesn't have the explosiveness of departed Bailey, but he's a stronger unit with good speed and mobility which should pair nicely with the nose tackle skills of Jesse Williams.

  • QB Tony Bohannon - in our first efforts to get a young QB to groom we saw Bohannon released into free agency after only 2 seasons in Washington. At 6'4", 89 THP and 67 AWR he is nothing spectacular, but after Colt McCoy showed us his worth in the past finals campaign he has the same sort of skillset, just needing a bit of work.

  • TE Tyler Eifert - in a move to bolster the running game, Eifert is brought in to provide some top level tight end blocking capability after plying his trade in Dallas for the past 9 years. Not known as a speed receiving option, he still possesses a nice first step, mobility, strength, and most importantly, high blocking skills. He's also a failry tall target at 6'5" and is not easily pushed around. With him as an option beside the receiving abilities of Brennan Thompson we hope to re-invigorate our running game with Napoleon Kerr.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 02/15/2017) Replies - 0 :: Views - 11
Raiders Draft Review


Raiders 2021 Draft Review



  • 2.09 QB Mitch Trubisky: 6'3", 220lbs, 71 AWR, 90 THP, 84 THA - we'd be searching for a young QB to groom all offseason, chasing the likes of Jared Goff or Patrick Towles, but in the end we waited at the ninth pick of the second round and Trubisky was still hanging around. After contemplating moving this pick for draft options, we decided that Mitch had what we were looking for in a quarterback, especially high awareness for a rookie. With RG3's injury history and lack of performance the past year, having a solid successor is needed.

  • 3.29 CB Taylor Lockhart: 6'3", 193lbs, 87 SPD, 62 STR, 57 AWR, 88 AGI, 87 ACC, 50 CTH, 90 JMP, 65 TAK - we'd been keeping our eye on Lackhart for the entire draft, knowing that a 6'3" corner is a hard find, but also knowing that his 87 speed and acceleration were well below standard. With progression time and effort we could see him achieve 90 in both those attributes, which would be acceptable and usable in our defense, so a late 3rd rounder isn't wasted. Fortunately his scouting report was off on the low side, with speed, agility and acceleration all rising to make him an even better pick. With Jake Meadows recently moved on, Lockhart now has the potential to become our new lockdown corner for those taller matchups.
    [Skew Result: +2 SPD, -2 STR, +3 AGI, +1 ACC, +1 CTH, +1 JMP]

  • 5.13 FS Allan Douglass: 5'11", 187lbs, 89 SPD, 65 STR, 62 AWR, 82 AGI, 88 ACC, 66 CTH, 85 JMP, 65 TAK - we needed depth and hopefully playable depth at both safety spots and thought Douglass had enough skill to fulfil our need. After playing a lot of the AFC Championship game with both backup safeties this position can't be overlooked (even though we're waiting to the 5th round). Whilst Douglass isn't super-fast, he has nice strength and awareness for a rookie at this pick and his hands and tackling aren't bad either. His skew results have shown him to me faster than reported, but not as strong and with a smaller vertical. Still he'll be a valuable depth player at free safety.
    [Skew Result: +2 SPD, -4 STR, +2 AWR, -4 JMP, +1 TAK]

  • 5.30 SS Treyvon Watts: 5'10", 196lbs, 90 SPD, 63 STR, 63 AWR, 90 AGI, 89 ACC, 63 CTH, 80 JMP, 62 TAK - it looks like Watts' height and lack of jumping may have scared some potential suitors off, but at this point in the draft he looks to be a valuable depth player for us. He's shown better abilities in training camp in a lot of areas, although his jump was overstated significantly which may hurt his prospects in the future.
    [Skew Result: +2 SPD, +2 STR, +2 AGI, -1 CTH, -4 JMP]

  • 6.09 HB Darryl Johnstone: 5'7", 200lbs, 88 SPD, 75 STR, 60 AWR, 81 AGI, 86 ACC, 85 CAR, 82 BTK - apart from being 5'7" tall and only 200 pounds, Johnstone has a nice set of skills that trend towards a power back. We like strength in our halfbacks and Johnstone brings that to the table, along with decent hands and break tackle which may see him get some playing time. After coming into camp to prove himself, he has shown a greater turn of speed, more strength, agility and better hands on the ball, he's now pressing for some decent playtime.
    [Skew Result: +2 SPD, +2 STR, +1 AGI, +1 CAR]

  • 6.30 CB Maurice Hermann: 5'1", 186lbs, 94 SPD, 61 STR, 55 AWR, 93 AGI, 91 ACC, 51 CTH, 89 JMP, 47 TAK - we keep trying for a diamond in the rough from corners in every draft, because you can never have too much depth at that position. Hermann is our second attempt late in the past 2 drafts but already comes with a decent physical skill set. He's turned out slightly better than scouted, so combined with Lockhart gives us plenty of depth at corner this year.
    [Skew Result: +1 SPD, +1 STR, +1 ACC, -1 CTH, +1 JMP, +2 TAK]

  • 7.05 LT Keith Ericcson: 6'6", 300lbs, 57 SPD, 86 STR, 52 AWR, 56 AGI, 72 ACC, 71 PBK, 73 RBK - we needed depth at offensive tackle and Ericcson didn't look shabby on the physical stacks, even though his blocking skills leave a lot to be desired. His camp results have been all over the place, so he won't find himself operating outside of a roster filler.
    [Skew Result: +3 SPD, -3 STR, -1 AWR, +3 AGI, -5 ACC, -1 RBK]

  • 7.29 MLB Dieter Mills: 6'0", 242lbs, 76 SPD, 70 STR, 45 AWR, 69 AGI, 74 ACC, 70 TAK - Mills was not signed after being drafted for the sake of completing the draft
    [Skew Result: N/A]

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 02/15/2017) Replies - 3 :: Views - 23
Raiders - Week 17 and Playoff bound



For the final game of the regular season we headed to Seattle with our playoff status in our own hands. After the Broncos failed to overcome the Rams earlier we had already secured the divisional championship but we needed a win here to maintain the #2 seed in the AFC. The Seahawks got on the board early after Colt McCoy was wayward in his passing and turned it over twice, however Napoleon Kerr got us back in front with the first major score before McCoy hit up Amari Cooper twice in the second quarter for a 21-6 halftime lead. Not willing to take the foot off after giving up our first touchdown to the home team in the 3rd, both Kerr and Keith Jordan ran in another touchdown a piece to seal the game as we finished convincing 41-13 winners.

Positives:

Offense - McCoy took a while to get going but he ended up with 335 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus a big bonus was only 1 sack. Napoleon Kerr had his first multiple touchdown day for us on 109 yards and 2 scores. Amari Cooper's 189 yards and 2 receiving touchdowns was a career best as well.

Defense - with 5 total sacks laid on Cam Newton the unit as a whole is getting great backfield pressure, especially combined with the 9 tackles for loss. LE Dee Ford had 8 tackles, 4 for loss and a sack to lead the field, Da'Quan Bowers had 2 sacks from right end whilst Khalil Mack and Neal Green had a pick a piece. The Seahawks only converted 2 of 13 third downs and neither of their 2 fourth down attempts. All up only 205 yards of offense were allowed with a fourth quarter shut out sealing the deal.

Disappointments:

Colt McCoy's two early interceptions was not the best way to start the game and gave the Seahawks the early edge. We have put our faith in McCoy the past few weeks over RG3 purely from the stand point of being safer with the pass and getting more yards. Unfortunately we're still undecided on who is going to be the best option in the playoffs as we can't afford the current level of turnovers if we want to go deep this year.

Next Week:

This win secured us the #2 seed and a wild card bye so we'll be running tape and extensively working out our QB's in an effort to rectify our passing shortfalls.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 12/06/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 11
Half Back Shuffle



After failing to establish a solid running game in the first 6 weeks it was time to shake things up. After scouring the league for talent we landed upon a relatively unknown and underused running back for New England in Napoleon Kerr. We immediately took a liking to his physical skills, seeing him as the next generation of Mark Ingram with his size and strength. Kerr was only drafted this year and has gone under the radar because of minimal playing time behind Giovani Bernard. Committing strongly to this investment we pulled the trigger on a deal that saw us part with our first round pick for a player drafted at pick 9 of the second round. We will focus a lot of training camp attention on the rookie when we can to further develop his skills, size and durability to establish a long term solution at half back.

The acquisition of Kerr immediately put a cloud over TJ Yeldon's future in Oakland. In a contract year he has failed to impress as the primary back, possibly daunted by trying to fill the shoes of a future hall of famer. Little time was wasted in finding a new suiter for Yeldon as the Saints were still keen on acquiring the young back. Previous season's discussions as well as talks for Curtis Saldi this year meant he was still on their radar and with little work a deal was reached that saw Yeldon head to New Orleans for their 2nd round pick.

A side effect of these trades is an improve salary cap situation for next year. Yeldon's resigning requirements, which would have been contested in match-eligible, were significant compared to his current contract. By replacing him with the rookie contract of Kerr (signed for 4 years) we have one less problem to worry about next offseason.

Whilst Kerr decides on a jersey number to wear he'll meet up with the team in Tennessee ready to take on the Titans this week.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 09/19/2016) Replies - 1 :: Views - 23
Raiders 4-2 after 6 weeks



It was a rough start to the year as we sat at a precarious 1-2 position 3 weeks in, losing back-to-back close games. We fought back with two divisional victories and a win over the Dolphins to get us back into contention. We now sit atop the NFC West once again with a slim divisional record separating us from the Chiefs

Positives:

Offense - not a lot has been positive about the offense, but at least Terrance Williams has been giving us a consistent target, notching up 531 yards (3rd in league) and 2 touchdowns. His 4 drops seem to be systemic as there is a total of 13 across the team to only 9 touchdowns. Greg Robinson is getting the pancakes at LT (41 for 3rd in league) but even he is uncharacteristically letting through sacks. Our quarterbacks are being efficient (RG3 with a 90.4 QB Rating) with only 2 picks given up, but it's been a struggle to find the endzone.

Defense - points allowed has been a major factor in our performances so far and we lead the league in that category with 11.2 points per game allowed. This has been achieved by tightening on the yards allowed, sitting at 2nd in passing (174.0 ypg) and 8th in rushing (94.8 ypg) to be overall 2nd for defensive yardage with 268.8. A big help has been our turnovers with an equal league best 16 (15 interceptions, 1 fumble recovered), 3rd best redzone defense (9 trips allowed, 1 touchdown, 7 field goals) ad 13 sacks (11th best). Sylvester Spence is having a breakout year with 6 picks (league leading) so far along with 10 deflections to 7 catches allowed.

Disappointments:

Our week 2 and 3 losses were on the back of some poor offensive production, registering 20 and 12 points respectively in each encounter. Unsurprisingly we aren't registering in the top 10 league wide for any offensive category with our running game taking a massive dive in output since Mark Ingram handed over the reins to the youngsters. Yeldon and Jordan have not been able to get decent average gains, let alone a long run or multiple endzone trips (1 for each halfback). We are also allowing too many sacks, having both quarterbacks sacked 21 times and 15 of those can be attributed directly to an offensive lineman. We'll need to tighten the line if we want better offensive production to capitalise on the good defensive work.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 09/19/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 8
Raiders 2021 Training Camp


Raiders 2020 Training Camp




2020 Season Review - Super Bowl XI Champions


Last time the Oakland Raiders were World Champions was in 1983. With 2 previous visits in the GZL it has been third time lucky with a 23-15 victory over the Green Bay Packers. It was an arduous road to reach the pinnacle and we can only reflect on what we achieved to reach this goal in 2020. Injuries again were a major factor in our play this year, especially down the stretch as we lost key playmakers on both sides of the ball at critical junctions. We matched last season's record of 12-4 and somehow managed to obtain the #1 seed over the Ravens when they fell in their week 17 clash to the Browns. Our season started inauspiciously with a week 1 win over the Chargers followed by back-to-back losses and a tough 1-2 record. We regrouped however to win 8 straight before the Chiefs knocked us down a peg and the Giants gave us a thrashing 3 weeks later. We did overcome our bye week voodoo of losing early in the second half of the season as our winning string was strung out evenly on both sides of the break.

Mid year we were presented the opportunity to trade in some talent at the cost of our first round pick. San Francisco had a couple of quality players on the market and we could've chosen from C Fernando Wilson, CB Jamar Taylor or WR Terrance Williams. Taylor's contract was too much for us to pay so he was quickly removed from consideration, so it was between an athletic center and a tall quality receiver. With Nick Mangold aging and our finance department citing his contract as a likely form of cap relief next season we chose to Wilson as the future of the position rather than the receiving services of Williams. As centers of his athletic capability are rare each draft and we were already banking on a late draft position we thought it wise to obtain Mangold's replacement now rather than wait for expired contracts.

Injury wise we lost DT Jesse Williams for the year in week 1, along with a 4 week layoff for FS Neal Green. We had a large chunk of the season go by after that injury free before week 13 hit us hard, side-lining MLB Jon Bostic, LE Andre branch and CB Jake Meadows for 3-4 weeks each. Branch at this point was near the top of the sack leader board and didn't get his mojo back after the time off, and Meadows was our best defensive back and could be relied upon to shut down one receiving threat per game. To cover in their absence we were lucky to have signed MLB Bruce Carter in week 7 for a veteran minimum salary, Jonathan Massaquoi played the left side whilst Lucius Crane had a start at right end for 4 tackles, 4 for loss and 2 sacks in his week 14 outing, and lastly rookie Vernon Hargreaves moved back into the starting line-up to cover in the secondary. Our injury fortunes didn't stop there though as week 15 took from us the services of RG3 (broken jaw for 12 weeks) and DHB (broken elbow, out for season). This time we were forced to go to free agency to fill the voids, bringing in QB E.J. Manuel and WR Jock Sanders to take us into the playoffs. The RG3 situation is very similar to last year's scenario that had him benched from injury for the last few weeks and the playoffs, making us doubt his staying power or if we should rest him late in the year. We'd need greater faith in our second string quarterback to achieve that though.

We thought Manuel would be a like-for-like replacement for RG3 but his only good game came in the Divisional Round shoot out with the Titans, everything else his passing game stunk. We snuck by both the Titans and then the Ravens to see ourselves crowned AFC Champions and facing the vaunted Green Bay Packers in Jacksonville for Super Bowl XI. The game started well as after only a handful of plays E.J. Manuel was able to scramble to the outside and run the ball 5 yards for the score. We held this lead until early in the second when a highly accurate Mike Glennon was able to finish a drive with a short touchdown pass and tie things up. The scoring was low and infrequent as we next added a field goal deep inside the final 2 minutes of the half to go into half time with a 3 point lead. The second half didn't feel like it at the time but it was mostly in our favour as we forced turnovers out of Glennon (1 interception to CB Hargreaves and LOLB Mack each, DT Joseph forced and recovered a fumble) which put us into position to add 3 more scores (2 field goals and a touchdown run to FB Schuab). Constant holding penalties kept the Packers on the back foot and even though Glennon was completing a lot of passes he just wasn't picking up that vital yardage to keep the first downs coming. Eventually he found his marks to drive the Packers in for another score late in the game and then the Packers recovered the onside kick to ensure a nail biting finish. With one 2 point conversion already in the bag the Packers only needed another touchdown to possibly tie it up, but they couldn't finish the march and the Oakland Raiders were crowned the 2020 GZL Champions! Khalil Mack earned Super Bowl MVP honours with 8 tackles, 1 sack and 1 48 yard interception in a game that was ever so much a defensive battle.

Offense:
Our offense wasn't the same down the stretch and as a result we suffered on the overall stats compared to the league. We were down in most categories, finishing the year 14th for points scored (down from 7th) with 23.8ppg, amassing 338.6 yards per game which was only good enough for 22nd (down from 11th) with pass yardage (198.8) dropping to 29th (down 1 spot) and our running game falling on the way side (139.8) to 5th (down from 1st). RG3 did manage his best QB rating of his career with 89.7 and Mark Ingram had his last year as a starter with 1452 yards and 7 touchdowns. TJ Yeldon once again backed him up nicely with 405 yards at 5.13 ypc and 5 touchdowns. Our receivers weren't in the best shape and it's a wonder RG3 did so well considering Cooper had 16 drops, Broyles 6 and Thompson 9, but really it was the lack of interceptions thrown (6) that was the greatest boon in this department.

Defense:
Our secondary seemed to bleed yards this year and that is reflected in our standing for pass yardage, but we managed to rein in the points we gave up, largely due to a strong showing in the redzone for a change. We were ranked 4th for redzone defense (up from 2nd last), allowing 17 touchdowns and 17 field goals from 45 entries, which for us is a major positive. As a result our points allowed per game was 19.7, upping us to5th overall in the league (from 12th last season). Even our total yards allowed was an improvement (362.8) at 22nd (up from 28th), but of course our pass yards allowed (268.7) has us ranked dead last in the league (down from 27th) and our rush yards allowed (94.1) went down to 5th (from 2nd). Conversely we were up in sacks to 4th (from 14th) with 42 and were ranked 4th (up from 16th) in total takeaways with 32 (21 interceptions, 11 recovered fumbles). Finally, even with massive yardage output we had the 10th best ranked opposing passer rating with 73.77, forcing 21 interceptions to 23 touchdowns allowed. Jake Meadows was the best of our defensive backs with 4 interceptions and 17 deflections to 22 catches allowed, which is a stark contrast to Sylvester Spence (20 vs 47) and rookie Vernon Hargreaves (9 vs 32).








Pro Bowl:

With 11 players suiting up for the 2020 Pro Bowl we've had a quieter year on that front, possibly due to injuries across numerous defensive positions, resulting in only 5 players being selected this year:

  • TE Brennan Thompson - starting for the first time after Aaron Hernandez's departure, Thompson stepped up to the plate and delivered in the receiving game. He was second on the receiving yards list with 903 and our most prolific scoring threat with 7 touchdowns to equal the tally for both our starting wide outs. He also added 49 pancakes and 0 sacks allowed in blocking support.
  • LT Greg Robinson - surpassing last year's mark, Robinson led the league in pancakes with 110 and allowed only 2 sacks at the same time for his second straight Pro Bowl
  • LG Bruce Campbell - Campbell's followed on from his 2019 return to the Pro Bowl and continues to do a stellar job at left guard again, this time adding 76 pancakes to 4 sacks allowed
  • ROLB Chris Carter - Carter goes to his second consecutive Pro Bowl on the back of a 76 tackle, 9 tackle for loss, 6 sack, 2 forced fumble, 9 deflection season.
  • LOLB Khalil Mack - our outside linebacker duo do it again with Mack joining Carter at consecutive Pro Bowls. Mack had 64 tackles, 13 for loss, 3 sacks, 3 recovered fumbles, 2 interceptions, 13 deflections and a touchdown for his years work.



Coaches and Contracts


Coaches:

All coaches were retained after our Superbowl appearance. Tom Cable and crew have made some strong improvements across the board but we're still expecting bigger things in our pass defense results considering there is only one way we can go...up.

Resigns/Restructures:

C Fernando Wilson - we had our sights set on an early restructure for TJ Yeldon, but when Wilson was brought in we had to re-work his expiring contract to lock him up for the long term. By seasons end he had yet to take a snap for the team but with Nick Mangold declining in skill he's eyeing off the starting center spot for 2021. We've already worked to improve his blocking skills and he should be a different player come the 2021 season.
WR Ryan Broyles - using our exclusive resign on Broyles sees him continue in a Raiders uniform for another 3 years after taking the mantle as starter from DHB this year. He did struggle to get the numbers we wanted but we still se plenty of upside in him for our title defense
LE Andre Branch - placed into the match eligible pool Branch was not troubled by other teams and will return for 2 more years to Oakland to build upon what was a pro bowl calibre season if not for injury
HB Mark Ingram - the leagues career leader for rushing yards is pas his rushing prime but we want to see him retire in a raiders uniform, even if it is only as a mentor and depth position
RFA's: FS Archie Battle and SS Brian Myers both received minimum offers to stay for another year and both will fill depth positions

We have yet to determine the target of our restructure for the year as we weigh up between Khalil Mack and Greg Robinson. Whichever misses out will likely get the exclusive resign next year


Retired:

Nil retirees. After winning a Superbowl, who wouldn't want a chance to go again?

Releases:

WR Darius Heyward-Bey - the veteran had originally expressed his impending retirement early in the year but a Superbowl ring has changed his mind. Unfortunately we cannot handle his $8M plus salary in this year's cap so we were forced to let him go.
HB Connor Snell - Snell was relegated into the fourth string role alongside special teams return duties and with over $4M going to his salary this year we felt that wasn't the best use of our funds and decided to cut short his contract to avail ourselves of the trade market
P Timothy Griffin - forced into the match eligible market and elicited an offer from the Chiefs. After tough deliberations we decided that the required matching offer would place too much strain on our tight cap situation so he will be moving to Kansas City. It may be the cheapest and only way the Chiefs can taste championship success, so we'll give them their jollies.

Whilst QB E.J. Manuel, DT Linval Joseph and WR Jock Sanders provided solid injury replacements we were unwilling to extend their services another year due to healthy starters (we hope) and a tight cap situation. RG Clint Newton, CB Cyrus Nicholson III and veteran MLB Bruce Carter were also not tendered offers to return whilst LE Lucius Crane was released to free up cap room.


Free Agency and Pre-Draft Trades


Trades:

C Nick Mangold to KC for 5.29 - after acquiring Fernando Wilson mid-season as the projected long term starter at center, Mangold was ripe for a trade in the last year of his contract and we took what we could for him even if it meant trading to a divisional rival. The Chiefs might be loath to admit it but our offensive line has been a source of their ire for years and coupled with our success running the ball they are quite happy to take our castaways to learn the secret to our success.

SS Mike Greenfield to SEA for 5.23 - after acquiring Chester Truman last offseason we tried shopping Greenfield back then but had no luck. He provided solid depth across both safety positions this year and with a need for some cap relief we sent him on his way to Seattle where he gets another shot at starting.

3.23 + 3.24 + 3.32 to SF for WR Terrence Williams + 7.17 + 7.24 - with DHB aging and cut for excessive salary we were on the lookout for the next generation of receiver to round out our squad. We made a couple of passes for Williams before handing of over 3 third rounders was deemed reasonable and we get a 6'3" receiver in his prime to couple with our speedsters.

7.17 + 7.24 + 7.32 to STL for 6.17 - we had no chance of using all those later picks, let alone affording their salary so we move up into the 6th round instead.


Match Eligible Free Agency:

No significant cap, so no offers made

Pre-Draft Free Agency:

LE Dee Ford - Ford is highly athletic even if he lacks the prototypical size and strength for a defensive end, looking more like a linebacker, but with both our ends aging we're willing to take the chance on Ford. This acquisition has pushed out Jonathan Masaquoi from a starting spot, who on the last year of his contract and with 8 years under his belt is a tough call to move on from, but if Ford can prove effective it will save us some significant cap room in the near future.
K Hakim Smith - looking to the future we see that retaining Blair Walsh may be a hard task as he'll likely be forced into match eligible again, so we're looking at Smith as his understudy to develop his accuracy before he's called upon to start.
We also failed to secure a new punter (Josh Carbonne) and were truly outclassed in the bidding war for MLB Nixon


The Draft


  • 2.32 P Phi Pahn: 5'11", 190lbs, 70 AWR, 96 KPW, 84 KAC - after losing Timothy Griffin to the Chiefs in match eligible free agency and then failing in our free agent bids and trade offers, Punter was our greatest need this year and Phan is the best punter in the draft. Once we're done progressing him he'll have 99 KPW and a long career ahead of him

  • 5.23 CB Gibran Hamden: 6'1", 212lbs, 88 SPD, 54 STR, 60 AWR, 99 (-1) AGI, 86 (-2) ACC, 53 (-1) CTH, 90 JMP, 54 TAK - Hamden was the first of our random hopes for a diamond in the rough but was a complete fizzer. He went down in most attributes that matter and didn't get any better in the likes of speed that we were hoping for. He's not likely to see much of a career anywhere in this league other than depth.

  • 5.29 CB Maruice Smiley: 5'10", 200lbs, 91 (+1) SPD, 53 (+2) STR, 59 (-1) AWR, 92 (+2) AGI, 94 (+1) ACC, 57 (+2) CTH, 99 (+2) JMP, 59 (+2) TAK - Smiley is the complete opposite of Hamden and turns out to be a decent pick up late in the 5th. Whilst his top end speed of potentially 94 isn't super it provides a great nickel option and reasonable depth as needed

  • 5.32 MLB Jake Faircloth: 6'2", 250lbs, 77 SPD, 74 (-2) STR, 60 AWR, 75 (-3) AGI, 78 (-1) ACC, 78 TAK - we needed depth at MLB and was hoping Faircloth would give us what we needed but he proves to be nothing more than a depth filler

  • 6.17 LG John Griffin: 6'5", 280lbs, 54 SPD, 86 (-1) STR, 50 (-2) AWR, 55 (+1) AGI, 76 (-3) ACC, 76 (-1) PBK, 71 RBK - another depth player he has some decent athleticism but lacks blocking ability at a level that could see him get some playing time

  • 6.32 WR Enos Howell: 6'5", 211lbs, 83 (-1) SPD, 49 (-1) STR, 52 AWR, 85 AGI, 81 ACC, 77 (-2) CTH, 87 (-1) JMP - another shot in the dark that didn't pan out, Howell has great height but the rest of his athleticism tends more to a tight end then a wide out, just without decent strength, weight or the ability block.



Post-Draft Activities


Releases:

RE Jonathan Massaquoi became a cap casualty after failing to trade him prior to the draft, the free agent pick up of Dee Ford made him surplus to the establishment and his and his $8.63M salary with no cap hit was needed to allow for rookie signings.

Free Agency:

With our balls to the wall with cap room we made no further acquisitions at this stage

Trades:

No further trades have been made at this time


Offseason Training


We'll start here with the key issue that has been plaguing this team for the past couple of seasons: RG3's durability. Once again he was in the hands of doctors and physio's for much of the pre-season, along with specialist coaches to work on his ability to stand up to bumps and tackles and keep going. We can ill afford another year where he can't finish out the season and we rely on mercenary replacements to get the job done. The other member working on his own physical conditioning is HB TJ Yeldon who knows that he doesn't have the biggest tank and has been working to increase his stamina for game day. If he wants to be the primary back he knows that he can't be subbing off the field every second play so the more gas he has the better.
It may be a coincidence but 2 former Bengals players have teamed up and hit the gym and diet club to increase the body mass for the upcoming season. Jonathan Schaub and Dee Ford both missed out on this ability whilst in Cincinnati and are making up for lost time. This is especially useful for Ford who is a bit light on to mix it up in the front lines but at least now his 262 lbs is an improvement whilst Schaub is now and even bigger bowling ball clearing the way for our runners.
We have seen some solid improvement in physical athleticism from some of our youngsters as they endeavour to improve their abilities to elite GZL levels. Rookie punter Phi Phan has set to work quickly to increase his kicking power with the goal in mind to become one of the strongest legs in the league. Sophomore corner back Vernon Hargreaves has hit a raft of his capabilities in a big swoop, seeing increases in his speed, agility and acceleration as he too aims for the limits of human capability. Tail back Keith Jordan has undertaken a similar regime of training and conditioning as he too hit all 3 primary skills to begin his second year. With an eye on the prize of #1 back in Oakland (a very coveted position) he's putting his best foot forward to earn the role.


Player Spotlight/Position Battles

Position: CB - Even with a Superbowl under our belts we still know we can improve in our pass defense and cornerback is the primary position to get this done. Vernon Hargreaves has matured since his turbulent rookie campaign and he looks more viable for the speedster role that we drafted him for, however with Jake Meadows showing great composure last year and the versatility of Sylvester Spence it may be a rotating policy based on match-ups every week.

HB - With Mark Ingram no longer in the picture as the legitimate starter it's now time for TJ Yeldon or Keith Jordan to stake their claim to be the #1 back in Oakland. Both had time starting last season and it was a mixed bag to say the least. Hopefully pre-season will show us who is going to be our focal point as we look for the next generation 2000 yard rusher

WR - The addition of Terrence Williams is another weapon in our arsenal and gives us an exciting collection of receivers to play with. The extra height of Williams can offset the speed of Cooper or Broyles depending on the matchup and allow us to go deeper into wide out sets than we have before. This trio gives us the potential to focus more on the passing game then has ever been seen under GM Pearce's management, but can it be successful?

LE - When we picked up Dee Ford in free agency we didn't know how it would affect our defensive line. Sure he comes in at the expense of Jonathan Massaquoi at right end but that doesn't necessitate a move by him to the right side. Andre Branch had a great year last season when he wasn't injured, but he is more suited on paper to the right side. We'll trial them out in both spots during the pre-season and see who works best left or right and hope we have a matching pair.



2021 Season Outlook


With the Mark Ingram era coming to a close with a Superbowl victory there is not time to relax and celebrate as the Oakland front office wants no drop off in performance in 2021. No Superbowl hangover is allowed as we strive to keep our record intact under GM Pearce and return to the playoffs for the 9th straight season. With the age factor having seen 2 stalwarts of the franchise either relegated to a mentoring role or moved on for younger blood it's been marginal change elsewhere in the hope that we don't drop off performance wise on the field. Offensively we're looking for a new dynamic behind a different rushing attack and our receiver combination has diversified (Cooper, Broyles and now Williams) which may push us into a more pass orientated offense if we can get them to click on field. At a minimum we can work a balanced attack, but it's still a rough change not knowing how your team will fair now that the centre piece of the offense from the past 8 years is no longer there which creates a lot of uncertainty in any of our predictions. If Yeldon or Jordan can continue with a strong running game it would be a godsend, but perhaps now is the time to diversify ourselves on offense. The right side of our offense line has been a sack problem for a while, but that is half to do with a scrambling QB. The latest addition of C Fernando Wilson is an immediate downgrade from Nick Mangold last season but he'll give us longevity at the position which is something we need now.
If our pass defense can get better (it can't get any worse) then we like our chances to stay competitive again this year. Our change in DE is another unknown factor, but if Jesse Williams can stay healthy at DT this year it will be a good sign with a strong front 4 backed up by some All-Pro level linebackers. A lot does rest on our ability to keep the passing game in check and we'll be working hard to get that factor of our game right without losing too much in run defense.
Our competition is still stiff as always, with the Chiefs trying their 3rd quarterback in as many years it's hard to pick how they'll go. The Broncos haven't made any major changes except improve their own players, whilst the Chargers added another string to their secondary, but we've faced those odds since day 1 in this league. It'll be another tough year in the AFC West but we've faced these odds before. It's only our new era of football that can hold us back, so our destiny is in our own hands for 2021.


2021 Projected Starting Lineup

  • QB Griffin III
  • HB Yeldon*
  • FB Schuab
  • WR Cooper
  • WR Williams*
  • TE Thompson
  • LT Robinson
  • LG Campbell
  • C Wilson*
  • RG O'Neal
  • RT Okung

  • LE Branch
  • RE Ford*
  • DT Williams
  • DT Bailey
  • LOLB Mack
  • MLB Bostic
  • ROLB Carter
  • CB Sylvester
  • CB Hargreaves III
  • FS Green
  • SS Truman

  • K Walsh
  • P Phan*

* Denotes new starter

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 07/20/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 9
Raiders Super Bowl XI Champions

We Are The Champions



It's been 37 years since the Oakland faithful saw championship glory back in the NFL days of the league, but 2020 is the year of the Raiders with victory over the Green Bay Packers in a game dominated by defense.

We went with a different offensive scheme that showed promise, but apart from an early scramble by Manuel it gave us very little time with the ball or yardage. The pass game couldn't get more than 50 yards to its name with a grand total of 204 yards of offense for the game. When you consider 55 of those yards came from Manuel with about the third play of the game we were extremely light on for the next 40 plus minutes. The one shining light was that we didn't turn the ball over, even if we showed nerves on punt returns and also fumbled after a heavy hit on Mark Ingram.

But with our offense shut down the Packers managed to get a solid pass game going, the only problem was they killed their own momentum with penalties and came up short on the long downs when it mattered. To top it all off we forced 3 turnovers out of Mike Glennon which resulted in 13 points for us from the great field position and extra 68 yards they accumulated on the returns. Khalil Mack was the star of the show with 8 tackles, 1 sack and a critical pick from the redzone in the fourth that he took back 48 yards. Rookie Vernon Hargreaves overcame any jitters with his own pick after a light season in that category, whilst free agent fill in Linval Joseph laid an impressive tackle late in the game that forced a fumble from Glennon that he picked up, leading to our game winning touchdown (run in by fullback Jonathan Schaub on his only carry).

Even up 23-7 with under 2 minutes to go the Packers rallied with a late score plus 2 point conversion, followed by recovery of the onside kick to put the pressure back on us and threaten for overtime, but the comeback didn't succeed and we were crowned Super Bowl XI champs 23-15. This also marks the first occasion that an AFC team other than the Chargers or Steelers have been crowned champions.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 06/06/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 16
Raiders - Conference Championship



This one had all the makings of an epic battle but turned out to be a real fizzer. The biggest winner of the day was the defenses who allowed a total of 25 points for both teams. Third down conversions were tough for both teams but the raiders did manage 5 to 2, but the number of turnovers committed by Manuel almost killed any hope we had of winning this one. With Amari Cooper collecting the only touchdown pass of the game in the second quarter we had the 10-3 advantage going into the second half but only 4 field goals could be obtained in the last half and the raiders were able to take a 1 point victory, 13-12, and head to the Super Bowl.

Positives:

Offense - Amari Cooper amassed 125 yards and the only touchdown of the contest to be the only bright light in an otherwise dismal offensive performance. Greg Robinson had 8 pancakes but allowed 1 sack

Defense - the whole unit allowed 338 yards and no-one really stood out as we got behind the line to lay 9 tackles for loss and kept Matt Ryan to a completion percentage of 39.39%. Neal Green picked up a fumble and Jonathan Massaquoi laid our sole sack to get the job done.

Disappointments:

Our passing game was back to its dreadful worst with Manuel throwing 3 picks to 1 touchdown for a QB rating of 46.6.

Next Week:

We face off against the Packers for only the third time in the history of the GZL with a dubious record of having never beaten them ever. For Raiders fans this is the third Super Bowl trip in the GZL and both previous attempts have been unsuccessful. Can we pull off the unthinkable for third time lucky?

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 06/03/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 8
Raiders - Divisional Playoff



We came out flying in this game and after a few field goals Bruce Carter collected a 19 yard pick 6 to have us up 13 zip with less than 4 minutes played. The Titans then shot themselves in the foot as the ensuing kickoff was taken to the house but brought back on a holding penalty. We quickly added another touchdown to be up 20 to nothing with 8 minutes left in the first quarter, but things change quickly and the Titans were able to come back with a couple of touchdowns and the half saw our lead back to only 9 points. From there the Titans clawed their way to the lead with some power running by Rodgers and consistent passing by Henderson with the Titans grabbing a tenuous 1 point lead just into the 2 minute drill. Manuel stepped up to the plate though and drove us downfield and secured the game winning touchdown plus 2 point conversion to go up 41-34 with just under a minute left.

Positives:

Offense - E.J. Manuel finally stepped up to the plate with 3 touchdown passes to 3 different receivers whilst Mark Ingram posted 98 yards working hard to keep the chains moving.

Defense - Intercepting off Christopher Henderson 3 times was a saviour, especially the early pick 6 to get us going, but apart from that we got 7 tackles behind the line yet gave up over 100 yards and could only land 1 sack.

Disappointments:

We gave up 521 yards to the Titans including 406 through the air as we were constantly torched once they got a head of steam

Next Week:

We face off against the #2 seed Ravens in a game we are lucky is in Oakland.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 06/02/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 8
Raiders - Week 17



After our disgusting display in New York last week it was good to get home, yet finishing the year against a divisional foe is never an easy way to round out the season. With Mark Ingram relegated to a supporting role to rest his old body for the playoffs TJ Yeldon kicked things off for us with a 37 yard touchdown run. We couldn't add any further points in the first half whilst the Broncos add field goals towards the end of each of the first 2 quarters and we head into half time with a tenuous 1 point lead. The second half was a lack lustre affair as the broncos were shut out from scoring whilst we add a couple of field goals before Connor Snell seals the deal with a short run for a touchdown and the 20-6 Raiders victory.

Positives:

Offense - TJ Yeldon held his own with a 121 yard day at 6.37 yards per carry and a score, whilst getting solid blocking from Greg Robinson with 9 pancakes. The passing game from E.J. Manuel was non-existent who only managed to throw a pick in the endzone instead of adding a score. Seems he still needs to figure out which team he's actually playing for after nearly an entire season out of the game.

Defense - the second half shut out of the broncos was legendary but it was 3 critical fumbles we recovered that kept them in check. Jonathan Schuab did the work on special teams when our backs were to the wall and the punt from the endzone kept the ball in our own territory, whilst Chester Truman knocked one loose for Khalil Mack to recover at games end. Mack also had 4 deflections to keep Tannenhill honest in the second half.

Disappointments:

Again E.J. Manuel has failed to deliver since being brought in to replace the injured RG3 which has placed the burden squarely on the aging frame of Mark Ingram. This week we were able to switch that load to Yeldon's back, but if we want to succeed in the post season then we'll need some passing magic.

Next Week:

Wild Card week and we've secured a bye and after the unexpected loss of the Ravens we have managed to sneak into the #1 seed for the AFC for guaranteed home field advantage and much needed rest.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 06/02/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 12
Raiders - Week 16



This one was an absolute shit fight and we'd like to apologise to any Raiders fans that made the trip to New York to watch this disgusting display of football. We started off poorly by turning the ball over early and giving up the first touchdown, but then continued to fail on offense and bleed yards everywhere on defense and were as far back as 24 to nil before finally hitting the scoreboard late in the 3rd quarter. After that we still couldn't sustain drives and land another point whilst still giving up more to the Giants as Manziel could hit anyone in traffic that he liked and Medina trucked over our entire defense at whim as we failed miserably 7-30.

Positives:

Offense - I've never seen a team fall so far behind and then turtle deeper and deeper into a failed running game. The coaches will need to pull their heads out of their asses next week as constantly running nowhere on every 1st and 2nd down when you're behind 14, 21 and 24 points is ridiculous. Even down by 20 late in the fourth and you're still sticking to the run is mind boggling stupid and so against the normal approaches to football in this league we wonder if Tom Cable and his offensive co-ordinator want a job next year

Defense - Johnny Manziel's ability to hit lone targets smothered by 2 or defenders was phenomenal and we know that our pass defense has not been good this year but watching these plays just happen non-stop was ridiculous. We've got talented playmakers across the board but no-one could get pressure onto the quarterback or even keep a guy covered to avoid having a pass thrown their way. Then we have a 215lbs back busting tackles and pushing piles all day long without a care in the world as we couldn't force any sort of penetration on the line to make things difficult for the Giants so it's back to the drawing board again

Disappointments:

Let's just hope we've managed to get that crap out of our system ready for the playoffs as we don't want to rock into the post-season sporting anything resembling this farce. Manuel will have little time to adjust in this offense as we're already at seasons end and we need him to take charge quickly or we're toast.

Next Week:

After possibly our worst performance ever we're in a tough battle to hold onto the division, likely needing to beat the Broncos this week to avoid giving up the lead to the Chiefs. With our offense in the shitter and defense unable o hold it's own we're unsure how to proceed in this upcoming divisional decider and what it will take to turn it around ready for the playoffs (which we should be able to get into as a wild card in the worst case scenario).

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 05/04/2016) Replies - 1 :: Views - 11
Raiders - Week 15



After tweaking our game plan for a very similar matchup (through practice we found our current books weren't going to cut the mustard) we had hopes this one against the Redskins might turn out better then last week. It was a slow first quarter with only 1 field goal to us, but we followed up with a touchdown in the second before RG3 left the game with a broken jaw. With the score 10-3 in our favour at the start of the second we were buoyed by an early pick in enemy territory to start the second half and we run it the first of 2 third quarter running touchdowns to give us the eventual 24 point winning score. A pick of our own by Landry Jones gave the Redskins their first touchdown of the game before they manage 89 yards in 2 passes during the last minute to get up to 17 points, but we hold them off for the win.

Positives:

Offense - Amari Cooper's 107 receiving yards is exactly the same as RG3's passing yards and the only real highlight of the offense. Somehow we score 24 points from 249 yards of total offense from a very ineffective running game and back-up QB.

Defense - Khalil Mack had 8 tackles and a sack, NealkGreen had 7 tackles, 1 for loss, a pick and 2 deflections whilst Bailey and Greenfield also managed to get their hands on the quarterback once each

Disappointments:

The running game was another dead effort even if they did score 2 touchdowns. Ingram had 67 yards at 3.53 ypc whilst Yeldon almost went backwards, 7 attempts for 3 yards and a 0.43 yard average. RG3 with a broken jaw has effectively ended his season whilst DHB is out for the year also with a broken elbow. This really is shades of last season as both players suffered late year injuries that jeopardized our playoff chances and we'll need to find replacements quickly

Next Week:

We head to New York for our third straight NFC East matchup and 2nd of this road trip. The Giants are leading the division and have been putting on a strong showing with Johnny Manziel behind center. They don't tend to be big scorers but look to have a tight defensive unit that we will now have to cobble together an offense to overcome. With the need for a new quarterback and receiver to finish out the year it's going to take some quick work to integrate someone new into our scheme, which could mean serious trouble.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 04/27/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 10
Raiders - Week 14



In what turned out to be a slugfest in the final quarter for a combined total of 868 yards of offense between the two teams, we were able to pip the strongly finishing Cowboys 38-35. The scores were 28-27 in favour of the Cowboys with 2:35 left in the game before the Raiders scored a touchdown plus 2 point conversion for the 7 point lead with under a minute left. The Cowboys weren't to be outdone with a 71 yard pass that levelled it again but the remaining 43 seconds was enough for RG3 to connect with Broyles to get into Cowboys territory, Yeldon then runs it in closer and we kick the winning field goal.

Positives:

Offense - we passed for 336 yards, most of that RG3 for 2 touchdowns and a QB rating of 123.2. Jones covered in a short period with 2 from 3 for 22 yards and 1 score when it mattered. TE Brennan Thompson had the biggest receiving day of his career with 148 yards and 2 touchdowns to be the cream of the receivers

Defense - with Andre Branch injured we retooled the defensive line, moving Massaquoi to the left side and backup Lucius Crane starting at right end and both came to play with 2 sacks each. Crane also had 2 tackles for loss and forced a fumble that Khalil Mack picked up and returned for a touchdown. The defense sacked Connor Cook 7 times and collected 2 turnovers

Disappointments:

RG3 getting injured again in the crunch time is becoming a bad tradition that is too costly for us each week. Giving up 374 passing yards to a rookie is also a recipe for disaster and we'll need to put the screws on this otherwise we'll get toasted even more. I don't know how we'll get this under control as I've struggled to get low pass yardage defense going in quite a number of seasons

Next Week:

We face another NFC East team in the Washington Redskins who also look to be blooding a rookie QB for the future. We'll need to change up our game plan to try and prevent a last minute shoot out again as Goff has all the tools to replicate Cook's efforts, but the presence of Bull Griggs in the backfield for the reining champs needs to be accounted for as well.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 04/27/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 10
Raiders - 2020 Week 10



We started out strong in this one posting 14 points in the first half to 3 by the Jets. The Jets seemed to be plague by injuries all day, especially as Ezekiel Elliot missed half the encounter even though his running game was stomped on. We kept their offense to 202 yards in the first half but lost our composure after the break as Higgins lit us up for 3 touchdowns as he tried to carry the Jets over the line. We were let off the hook by a couple of dropped catches in the endzone and squeaked out a nail biting 28-26 win in unspectacular fashion.

Positives:

Offense - Mark Ingram kept his foot on the gas all day for 151 yards at 5.39 ypc. Unfortunately for hi his hard work was trumped by T.J. Yledon taking the glory with 2 touchdown runs in close. RG3 managed a respectable 202 yards and 2 touchdowns, completing 63.64% of his passes

Defense - the entire Jets running game consisted of 28 yards from 14 attempts, with only 2 tackles for loss, which pushed the entire work load onto the passing game. Chris Carter was the best of the defenders with 6 tackles, 1 for loss and 1 sack

Disappointments:

Penalties were a major bummer for us on this, with our defense giving up 2 facemasks, roughing the passer, encroachment and offside all in the second half to feed an already fired up Jets offense. Not to mention holding calls on special teams returns pushing us deep towards our own goal line. The other major concern was again our pass defense that went from being stars to duds as Higgins carved them up. We couldn't get the right kind of pressure onto the passer to force bad throws and then our defenders were just no in the right place to interrupt critical plays. After keeping the Jets out of a third down conversion for most of the first half they racked up way too many first downs for our liking. A real Jekyll and Hyde performance on defense

Next Week:

We host the Dolphins in the game of the week as they come off a heavy loss to the Saints. They have only lost to some highly ranked teams so we expect this to be a tough affair and will need to get our secondary to step up its game for a less stressful day out.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 03/23/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 9
Raiders - 2020 Week 9



After the bye week we were apprehensive about getting our game flowing again as it's historically been tough for us after a week off. To change things up we decided to enact a trade we had ben contemplating with the 49ers, securing the services of young center Fernando Wilson, dealing out our 1st and 4th round picks in exchange for him and the a pair of 3rd rounders. With Nick Mangold aging we are looking at Wilson to give us a long term option in the middle after this year.

As for the game this week, we had a decent start against the Broncos, posting the first touchdown of the game in the first and not allowing any points in that quarter, unfortunately we gave up 20 to 9 in the second quarter and the momentum had strongly shifted in the Broncos' favor, especially after allowing a long touchdown pass in the last 3 seconds of the half. We make a lot of play action calls in this one that are totally ineffective and result in a few sakes on RG3 and considering that by the end of the third quarter Mark Ingram has run the ball only 8 times it seems we are well off from our original game plan. The only way we managed to pull out a tight 29-23 victory in this one is because Tannenhill spent most of the fourth quarter trying short passes instead of airing it long where he had more chance to get some first downs.

Positives:

Offense - RG3 threw for 301 yards at 60% for 2 touchdowns and a 107 QB rating, making most use out of TE Brennan Thompson who caught for 117 yards and a score. Amari Cooper also cracked the ton with 101 yards to his name.

Defense - Jon Bostic had a lot of work to do with 11 tackles, 3 for loss and 2 deflections. Khalil Mack and Chris Carter both had 3 deflections each helping out in the secondary and Jake Meadows had the 1 turnover for us with a 6 yard pick to go with 7 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 deflection and 2 catches allowed. We also managed to prevent 2 critical fourth down attempts in the last quarter to keep our slim lead alive.

Disappointments:

Once again our redzone failures made this a stressful event, managing only 1 touchdown and 3 field goals from 4 attempts. Even with a couple of turnovers and starting inside the redzone we couldn't capitalise, let alone pushing ourselves back with penalties all the time to kill any hope of moving the chains. Also all the PA calls when our run game was non-existent were painful to watch as nobody bought the fake hand off at all.

Next Week:

Week 10 sees us travel to New York to face the .500 Jets. Whilst they aren't flashy they do have the #1 overall pick Ezekiel Elliot back and bolstering their offensive production and we'll find it tough matching up against the 6'7" monster in Aaron Drogan as well. They have a talented secondary that will make our own offensive efforts a tough call as we look to end this 2 game road trip on a high

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 03/22/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 8
Raiders - 2020 Week 7



Prior to this game we signed veteran MLB Bruce Carter to a 1 year veteran deal and he'll replace the RFA contract of Maxwell Eforn as the number 2 middle linebacker for the rest of the year. Unlike most linebackers of his age, Carter is yet to regress in his skills and will provide excellent depth and ability this year.

The Browns have been showing glimpses of greatness this year with some massive offensive outings that we knew our defense would need to step up for. We took an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter before it was brought back to a 3 point lead by the end of the half. Things remained tight from there as we couldn't open a decisive gap, managing to force some crucial turnovers to prevent scoring opportunities that enabled us to sneak out a 23-20 victory.

Positives:

Offense - Mark Ingram ran for 110 yards but couldn't find a score and RG3 passed for 192 yards at 60.71% for 2 touchdowns and a pick. His interception came after a thorough drive into scoring range before a bad called had us passing on the goal line instead of running it in as we'd succeeded in the entire drive.

Defense - we forced 4 turnovers out of the Browns with a pick apiece to Sylvester Spence and Jon Bostic, whilst Andre Branch and freshly signed MLB Bruce Carter picked up a fumble each. Jacques Bailey had the lone sack whilst Khalil Mack recorded the only other stat behind the line with a tackle for loss as we kept Boston mallet to 201 yards and no touchdowns and had Le'Veon Bell well contained for the first half.

Disappointments:

For 4 redzone trips we only scored 3 times and 1 of those was a field goal sees our past rearing its ugly head to haunt our endeavors this year. Letting Le'Veon Bell break loos in the second half gave the Browns more of s niff at this one then we'd have liked and the fact that our defense failed to penetrate behind the line on all but 2 occasions is concern.

Next Week:

The bye is up next week for a timely rest. We can only hope that we don't fall asleep after the time off as history has us coming out flat after a bye week.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 03/14/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 8
Raiders - 2020 Week 6



A divisional matchup is always a highly important week and the team stepped it up for this one against the Chargers. Whilst we didn't control possession we did control the scoreboard, posting 17 first half points to 9 and the shutting out the Chargers in the second half whilst adding another 17 points for the emphatic 34-9 victory. Our defense was solid, preventing 5 redzone attempts from returning any touchdowns and only 1 field goal for the Chargers.

Positives:

Offense - RG3 was everywhere in this one, throwing for 229 yards at 68.42% and 2 touchdowns, plus running in another 2. Ryan Broyles caught 130 of those yards and 1 score whilst Mark Ingram posted another 100 yard day with 114 yards but had the spoils stolen by RG3 in the redzone. Surprisingly our offensive line only gave up 1 sack for the day (Greg Robinson was the culprit) which is a good day in my books.

Defense - whilst Gabbert threw for 313 yards he couldn't manage a score and gave up 2 picks to Jake Meadows and Khalil Mack. Both were active in the passing game, knocking down multiple passes as well while Andre Branch recorded 2 sacks on Gabbert and rookie Joe Nava collected another. Chester Truman also picked up a fumble for the third turnover of the day.

Disappointments:

Allowing 313 yards is never a positive sign, even if we can prevent the major scores. We're still allowing a lot of passes to be completed and as such we are working harder in the redzone to counter the yardage allowed. As much as we admire their hard work to stop the scoring it would be easier just to stop the initial yards that get them in range in the first place.

Next Week:

The volatile Browns are our next assignment in a game that will again test our secondary to keep a powerful quarterback from going nuts on us.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 03/14/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 9
Mark Ingram Hits Record Book



In this weeks outing against the Philadelphia Eagles, Mark Ingram ran for 220 yards and 4 touchdowns. His career yards now stands at 14,165 yards, eclipsing the previous career record of 14,024 set by Ryan Mathews and elevating Ingram to the top spot for career rushing yards. It was looking a slim hope by the end of last season that he would reach this tally after injury robbed him of any chance in the last 3 games, along with the presence of youngsters T.J. Yeldon and Keith Jordan champing at the bit to get their shot. But with a 189 yard game and now a 220 yard game in the space of 3 weeks it looks like he's not giving up his mantle anytime soon, possibly aiming for 15,000 yards before he hangs up his boots. He is also the leader for career rushing touchdowns at 89, 6 clear of second place LeGarrette Blount (retired) and 21 ahead of Doug Martin, the only active player likely to reach the mark soon. Martin is also the likely man to finally overtake and claim the rushing yards mantle from Ingram as he'll have 2 or 3 more years to overcome the 2,000 yards separating them at the moment.

Ingram wasn't aware of this milestone being reached until it was mentioned in the post game press conference and he later released a statement thanking the fans for their overwhelming support since his move to Oakland, the opportunity provided by the Raiders organization to give him the chance to play, and also to all the offensive linemen, full backs and tight ends who put in the tough yards throwing down the important blocks that allowed the magnitude of yards he's achieved.

With the season barely a third complete and Ingram still showing signs of life we look forward to seeing what he can achieve before the year is out.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 02/16/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 18
Raiders - 2020 Week 4



Early in this game we couldn't shake the sense of déjà vu compared to last week as no-one could score in the first quarter and it took until deep into the two minute drill for the Chiefs to get a field goal on the board. The Chiefs pressure at the line was immense, foiling most play action attempts and keeping the running game from getting any ground. Only the occasional long pass got us into Chiefs territory by this point and RG3 was struggling to get going as well. An early turnover in the third quarter started us well inside Chiefs territory but we were our own worst enemies with penalties pushing us back for a field goal to tie it up. Amari Cooper was next to score with a pass from RG3 after he had gotten us into attack with a 47 yard hit to Brennan Thompson. Our defense kept stopping the Chiefs on third downs, not allowing one conversion until late in the fourth quarter when they were already behind 2 scores. TJ Yeldon finished it off with a 71 yard run for the 17-6 victory.

Positives:

Offense - not a lot to be proud of here. Amari Cooper collected 103 receiving yards and a score and TJ Yeldon's 71 yard TD run gave him 91 yards for the game on 3 carries

Defense - rookie CB Vernon Hargreaves recorded his first interception of his career and Jon Bostic added one of his own. The effort of this group to prevent any third down conversion for more than 3 quarters of the game was huge, leaving the Chiefs with only 196 yards of total offense.

Disappointments:

RG3 just didn't look comfortable with tight passes going just behind the receiver, completely missing open guys and rarely hitting the streaking player downfield. Also the Kaiser Frey experiment at right tackle looks done for the year as he let through yet another sack whilst barely troubling the statisticians with pancakes.

Next Week:

We get to host our second home game of the year against the impressive Philadelphia Eagles. Up until this week they were looking like the surprise packet of the year, relying on some solid defensive work to keep opposition scoring low (which they still managed against the Giants). We'll have to emulate the Giants ourselves this week and build on our defensive performance against the Chiefs to prevent McNabb and Hill from grinding us down.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 02/12/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 9
Raiders - 2020 Week 3



This was a slow starting affair with neither team troubling the scorers in the first quarter, however we both managed a touchdown in the second quarter but the Bills were up by 1 at the main break. Our redzone struggles came back to bite us as we only added the 1 additional field goal in the third and threw away another scoring chance and allowed our tenuous three quarter time lead to be squandered and go down 12-18. With 418 yards of total offense you'd think we could find the redzone and then the endzone more often, but we only made it down there 3 times all game which is a concern.

Positives:

Offense - Mark Ingram rolled back the clock with a big game of 168 yards, punctuated by an 89 yard run for our sole touchdown of the game. This must have been a first for us as normally when Ingram runs for over 150 yards we win the game.

Defense - Jonathan Massaquoi recorded a safety by hitting the running back behind the line, Andre Branch added another sack to his total and Jon Bostic seemed to be the best pass defender, knocking down 3 passes

Disappointments:

Our receiving corps notched up a missive 6 drops in this game which is highly unusual for us and detrimental to getting points on the board. Our O-line also leaked 5 sacks for the game and defensively our secondary isn't getting their hands on many passes at all, forcing turnovers or pressuring the quarterback often.

Next Week:

We had to wait 4 weeks but now we get to see what the new look Chiefs are capable of against their old foe. They are sitting pretty atop the AFC West without a loss to date, but our history against them is solid and with a few tweaks to our offensive game plan we should be able to bounce back and be competitive again.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 02/12/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 11
Raiders - 2020 Week 2



The Titans came out of the gats strong in this one and left us floundering in their wake, shut out completely in the first half versus 24 points from the home team. It was academic after this as they cruised home by adding another 13 whilst we struggled to bring in 20 points through the air for a 20-37 loss. The fact that we punted 7 times (versus the Titans' 2) was testament to our inability to move the ball and our lack of scoring early on. A special teams fumble also added to our woes, going back for an extra score and a kick in the pants we could've done without.

Positives:

Offense - RG3 made it look like we had a successful passing day with 3 touchdowns and 244 yards, but that was only effective in the 2nd half. Amari Cooper was the main recipient with 138 yards and 2 scores to his name which now has him equal to his total touchdowns from last year.

Defense - SS Mike Greenfield added his height in the secondary to good use filling it at free safety, knocking down 3 passes and making 5 tackles whilst 3 players had a sack each (Bostic, Branch and new addition DT Linval Joseph in his first game).

Disappointments:

Pass defense is still non-existent as rookie CB Vernon Hargreaves has yet to record a deflection versus his 7 catches allowed. Sylvester Spence gave up as many catches as he deflected (5) as we could find no answers to the powerful wide out combination of Floyd and Hunter (100+ yards each). This inability to keep the easy passes down led us to minimal time in possession and forced to throw first and minimal use of the run.

Next Week:

The Matthew Stafford (and currently winless) Buffalo Bills are on the schedule as he head to their wintery wonderland up north and are forced to contend with another pass heavy offense that will test our breaking point. With multiple receiving threats to contend with it's going to be another tough road game that we'll need to control early if we hope to stand a chance.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 02/01/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 14
Raiders - 2020 Week 1



Another opening week game against a divisional rival, but at least this time it wasn't against the Chiefs. This was a really physical encounter that took its toll on our players with many sitting out various parts of the gamer nursing injuries. Mark Ingram only succeeded on 2 carries for the game, FB Schaub sat out a quarter, TJ Yeldon spent time out, CB Spence was sidelined for a quarter whilst FS Green will miss another 3 weeks and DT Williams is out for the rest of the year. Luckily the Chargers weren't immune to this as Blaine Gabbert was out long enough to allow Chargers fans to cringe through 5 pass attempts by backup Kyle Washington (1 completion) and 3 sacks. A second half shutout of the Chargers gave us enough time to mount our comeback, adding 14 unanswered points to snatch a 34-28 victory.

Positives:

Offense - rookie Keith Jordan stepped up double time to carry the running load with injuries to both Ingram and Yeldon, rushing for 111 yards in his first regular season game. TE Brennan Thompson caught 4 passes for 2 touchdowns to lead our scoring.

Defense - Andre Branch got 2 sacks for the day whilst Chris Carter was our best all round with 5 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 sack and a forced fumble. Jon Bostic picked off Gabbert once to go with our pumble pick up as turnovers.

Disappointments:

The sheer mass of injuries and our leaky secondary are both concerns out of this one. With the amount of guys out of the game early we were stretched by the Chargers and force to fight our way back late in the game. Still we gave up way too many pass yards (369) which we'll have to work on in earnest to make our job easier in coming weeks

Next Week:

For the third time in 4 years we face the Titans in week 2 of the season. This is becoming a regular habit that we really don't want to be undertaking, even if it gives us an early measuring stick of what level our game is at. The schedule makers need to really work on their calculations as this will make it 6 times in the past 8 seasons we've faced this matchup, and 8 times in the full 11 seasons of the GZL! With the Titans coming off a win over the AFC Champion Bengals we'll need to work on shutting down their offense, especially the pass but their combination of big receivers will cause us headaches I'm sure.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 01/24/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 18
Raiders - Preseason Week 4



This game started with a bang for us, landing 27 first half points to setup the 30-20 win. We controlled the ball well all game and therefore controlled the clock and the tempo to match our game style, unlike the previous week. Our running game got us consistent yardage and we passed well in the first half for a change to get on the scoreboard. Our defense applied a lot more pressure to force errors and generate negative yardage downs which results in a nice finish to the preseason.

Positives:

Offense - Landry Jones finally found hid groove, landing two touchdown passes to Ryan Broyles and setting up our most impressive first half all preseason. It was only 182 yards and the love was shared amongst multiple receivers but it was effective, which is what counts. The O-line did another solid job with only 1 sack allowed all day which is a good turnout in anyone's books.

Defense - CB Sylvester Spence picked off a first half Ricki Stanzi pass and took it to the house to help solidify our early position and combined with a total of 174 passing yards for the Redskins on the day we set ourselves for a strong defensive day. DE Aktari Zamen collected 3 sacks for the most pressure on the quarterback, whilst Spence and Branch had one a piece.

Disappointments:

Our second string didn't have a lot to do and they coasted through the second half with only a field goal added to the score line whilst giving up 13 points in return. On a more personnel level, RT Kaiser Frey allowed yet another sack through this week, making it 5 from the preseason which is a hard pill to swallow. Whilst we want to get him time in game to progress his skills we can't afford that kind of lapse in pass protection with the mobile RG3 behind center.

Next Week:

Week 1 kicks off with yet another divisional opening, this time against the Chargers. Whilst the team lacks some leadership at the moment we still expect a tough fight from this talented team and will likely have to size up rookie Ya'ell Lowe running the ball this year. The pass coverage doesn't look as potent as previous years and we'll likely try and exploit our speed advantage to stretch the field where possible.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 01/18/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 8
Raiders - Preseason Week 3



Our first home game was far from a roaring success as we started slow and let the Cowboys finish really strong with 21 last quarter points. We kept the game going in a controlled fashion and even had the lead back by the end of the third quarter, but along came Duke Johnson with a big run and Derek Carr and we were blown out of the water as they closed out the game in style and defeat us by 10 points.

Positives:

Offense - Matthew Saracen continues to take advantage of the second string defenses with another 2 touchdown game. We've been pleased with his efforts so far as we feel the team will still be in good hands should a double injury befall us in a single game. Amari Cooper finally picked up some decent yardage, going 117 yards for the day with a 51 long

Defense - ROLB Chris Carter had 1 sack but the rest were pretty average in a low stat day.

Disappointments:

Cyrus Nicholson seemed to get targeted this week, giving up 4 catches in the second half which lead to at least 1 score. Our overall lack lustre defensive effort is a downer and they'll need to fight back from this humiliation. Our running game didn't have much potency, getting 75 yards from Keith Jordan at 4.4 ypc and TJ Yeldon continues to struggle (even playing the second half) with only 20 yards at 2.8 ypc.

Next Week:

The reining champs come to town in our biggest matchup of the preseason. This will be a real gauge of what level of play we are capable of and if we still have the class to match a real contender rather then make ourselves look good against middle of the pack opponents. We're not sure how many of their starters we'll see hit the field but judging by previous outings we'll get enough of a look at the champs to get a good judge of our number.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 01/18/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 10
Raiders - Preseason Week 2



With the Eagles starting a pair of quality quarterbacks the pressure was put on early as they stuffed our offense and managed to march down the field on numerous occasions to have us at 0-13 early on. We finally got on the board late in the second with a run to TJ Yeldon but were again shut out in the third whilst the deficit grew to 18 points. Enter the fourth quarter were Keith Jordan sparked the offense into gear and we added 21 unanswered points to steal a come from behind victory 28-25. We were so far behind in time of possession that the Eagles had twice as much football as us (32 to 16 minutes). Luckily our defense was able to contain Malik McNabb in the second half (71 yards, 1 interception) to reverse the damage that Kaepernick and company had wrought early on.

Positives:

Offense - rookie HB Keith Jordan ripped off another long run to spark our comeback, going 95 yards in the fourth quarter for the first of 3 scores in the quarter. Whilst the rest of his game is yet to develop (1 net yard of his other 6 attempts), the fact that he has been able to break out multiple times is a good sign. QB Matthew Saracen also bounced back from early struggles to finish the game with 160 yards, 2 touchdowns and a QB rating of 110.3, finding DHB and rookie TE Lorenzo Story to snatch the victory.

Defense - rookie CB Vernon Hargreaves collected his first career interception off McNabb, DT Jesse Williams picked up a fumble whilst a sack was registered by Khalil Mack, DE Aktari Zamen, MLB Maxwell Efron and Jonathan Massaquoi. Hargreaves and Nicholson did a better job at containing the wide receivers in the second half which eventually saved us the game.

Disappointments:

Negative rushing yards by the end of the first quarter and hardly anything from the passing game was a serious concern. Our inability to even get yardage going and make the Eagles start from deep in their territory put us behind very early and we were lucky to sneak out of this one. The fact that Yeldon only had 5 carries for the whole game means we were focusing too much on the pass instead of balancing our approach. 2nd year offensive tackle Kaiser Frey is having a hard time of it so far, letting through 2 sacks in each of the game. He'll have to work harder to protect our quarterbacks as we had Jones leave the game on multiple occasions in the first half due to some nasty hits.

Next Week:

Dallas comes to town with two young guns vying for the position as Mark Sanchez's heir apparent, plus we also have to handle Duke Johnson and Melvin Gordon. With a high number of young talent filling in depth positions for the Cowboys they have a quality team no matter how you look at it and we'll face an even tougher challenge trying to overcome them this week.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 01/13/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 11
Raiders - Preseason Week 1



Well our first preseason game of the year turned out a success with a resounding 37-7 victory over the Chicago Bears in Chicago. We contained their offense for 3 quarters after starving them of opportunities with a solid run game. Our first half offense only managed 6 points of their own, but once the second half kicked in we piled on 4 touchdowns, the first a rushing effort by TJ Yeldon, then 2 passes to Darrius Heyward-Bey and finally an impressive 78 yard run to rookie HB Keith Jordan

Positives:

Offense - Third string QB Matthew Saracen was a surprise packet in this game, lighting up the scoreboard in the second half with 2 touchdowns to DHB and a QB rating of 139.2. Ryan Broyles also managed to get open on a few occasions to get the ball deep into enemy territory and setup multiple scores.

Defense - Andre Branch landed 2 sacks early in the game to set the tone and was followed in by fellow d-line members Jacques Bailey and Jonathan Massaquoi for 1 each. MLB Maxwell Efron also managed to pick off Bears backup QB Travis Sullivan once.

Disappointments:

TJ Yeldon failed to get a decent average running the ball, but a lot of this falls onto the offensive line that couldn't contain all the tacklers. Yeldon will have to get smarter about his football and work on his lateral movement as running in a straight line with no side stepping or spinning won't get him those extra yards.

Next Week:

Next game we face off in Philadelphia versus the Eagles who we haven't squared off against in quite some time. Will be interesting to see how we handle their offensive playmakers (if McNabb and Hill play).

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 01/12/2016) Replies - 0 :: Views - 20
Raiders 2020 Training Camp


Raiders 2020 Training Camp




2019 Season Review


With the 2019 season behind us we can once again look back at what could've been as a prosperous season turns into playoff ashes. In the grand scheme of things we had our best regular season to date, finishing with a 12-4 record and the #1 seed in the AFC. This wasn't obtained without hardship as we had numerous injuries during the year that conspired to slow us down and eventually lead to our untimely demise. The first half of the year was once again a great platform to begin with, adding 7 wins out of our first 8 games before the bye week reared its ugly head and beat us with 3 losses out of the next four games. This is becoming a consistent theme for our seasons with all our momentum draining away after a bye week in the middle, forcing us to struggle through the second half of the year. We did manage to finish off strong with 4 wins in a row which easily grabbed us another divisional title after going undefeated against the entire division this year.
On the injury stakes we lost our star youngster Amari Cooper in the pre-season for 9 long weeks, once again limiting his output to less than half a year in only his second season. RG3 wasn't immune to hurt as well, sidelined in week 6 for a few weeks and again in week 12 which forced him onto injured reserve. This last injury couldn't have come at a worse time as we had found a game plan that really suited him and were ready to charge into the playoffs. Needless to say with both him and Mark Ingram going down in the same game against the Broncos we had to face the final 3 outings without our star offensive duo. In came Colt McCoy from free agency and he managed to keep things together just enough to squeak a couple of improbable come from behind wins with the combination of Chancey Harris and T.J. Yeldon running the ball. DHB also went down in the last week to compound our issues so we brought in veteran Donnie Avery as an insurance policy for the playoffs on a veteran contract.
Our offense was not in a prime position entering the playoffs and even with a week off to rest injured stars Mark Ingram and Darrius Heyward-Bey a little more the zip was still missing as it had been ever since RG3 went down. Needless to say our divisional round game against the Bengals turned into a complete offensive fizzer on both sides as neither team managed a touchdown the entire game, with barely 200 yards offensively each, for a 15-8 defeat against the eventual AFC champions.

We may have struggled to get the job done offensively in the last few games, but the end result won us games and we finished the year 7th for points scored per game (25.7), 11th in total yardage (361.5), 28th in pass yardage (212.3) and 1st in rushing yards (149.3). All ratings were up on last years figures showing good improvement even with RG3 missing a lot of the year (down 133 attempts and almost 1300 yards). He did do a better job with 16 touchdowns to 7 interceptions and a QB rating almost 10 points higher, but we got a lot of purchase from the run game again as Ingram trotted in 9 scores and 1391 yards, ably backed up by T.J. Yeldon who was in his prime as the #2 back scoring 4 touchdowns with a 4.72 ypc average. When your number 3 guy can also come in and average 4.83 ypc there's a nice level of redundancy no matter what down or back is in.

Whilst our offense was a step forward our defense was a massive step back, showing a severe weakness under pressure, especially from aerial assaults. We ranked 12th for points allowed (22.1), 28th for total yards allowed (377.6), 27th for pass yards allowed (258.5), 2nd for rush yards allowed (119.1), 14th in sacks (33) and 16th in takeaways (18 interceptions, 5 fumbles recovered). Jon Bostic proved an adequate replacement for Rolando McClain and it was good to see all our linebackers at the top of the teams tackle numbers, proving their effectiveness in all areas of the game. Andre Branch was our leading sack man again with 8 whilst new comer Jonathan Massaquoi had a fine start at right end with 6 of his own. Corner Jake Meadows lead the team in interceptions with 5, but the performance of Neal Green this year (3 interceptions, 9 deflections) was a small light in an otherwise lack lustre secondary. Most evident from this performance was opposing QB ratings rising over 20 points from last year to be 86.47 and going from 2nd best in the league to 26th. We also rated 2nd last in Red Zone percentage, but did allow only the 3rd least trips there to begin with and our numbers were better then last year.

Pro Bowl:

After only 2 participants sent to Hawaii last year we are pleased to have increased our number to a staggering 11 Raiders taking the field for the AFC team in 2019:
  • HB Mark Ingram - even with missing the last 3 weeks of the season due to injury, Ingram returns for his fourth (and likely last) Pro Bowl. 1391 yards is low to get in and highlights the lack of elite runners in the AFC this year. His yards per carry were top 8 and touchdowns scored in the top 4 to help him squeeze into the line up.
  • TE Aaron Hernandez - this was Hernandez's biggest receiving year with 850 yards, without even playing out of the slot. He only added 3 touchdowns but collected 54 pancakes too.
  • LT Greg Robinson - Robinson cracked the ton for pancakes this year with 102, second behind Ryan Clady in the league. Robinson keeps going from strength to strength and will be a reliable feature on our line for years to come.
  • LG Bruce Campbell - Campbell's return to the left guard position obviously suited his play style as he recorded 82 pancakes, the most in a season for him so far.
  • ROLB Chris Carter - after an effective career, Carter receives his first Pro Bowl nod with 82 tackles, 12 for loss, 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 1 recovered fumble.
  • MLB Jon Bostic - the free agent addition of Bostic has paid off handsomely as he makes a Pro Bowl trip on the back of a 124 tackle, 18 for loss, 2 sack, 2 recovered fumbles and 4 interception year.
  • LOLB Khalil Mack - the third year linebacker is just getting better and heads to Hawaii for the first time after posting numbers of 76 tackles, 18 for loss, 4 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in 2019 to make it a tri-fecta for our starting linebackers into the pro Bowl.
  • FS Neal Green - Green stepped up his coverage game this year, adding 3 interceptions and 9 deflections (versus 3 catches allowed) to go with 57 tackles and a forced fumble for his first trip to Hawaii.
  • SS Mike Greenfield - it wasn't a special year for Greenfield but obviously the rest of the AFC strong safeties weren't having a good one either. With 71 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 forced fumble, 2 interceptions and 5 deflections he makes his first Pro Bowl appearance coming from an at best mediocre secondary.
  • P Timothy Griffin - this selection is a bit of mystery as he finished 14th in league for punt average. He did land 29.55% of his punts inside the 20 and put another 32.82% of them into touch. It looks like the combination of the last 2 are what has tipped this selection in his favour.
  • KR/PR Connor Snell - our specialist return guy hit the jackpot this year, returning 4 kicks for touchdowns whilst averaging 28.79 yards per return. It was his best season in the job and is his second selection for it.



Coaches and Contracts


Coaches:

All coaches were once again retained in an effort to build upon the culmination of this season and carry it forward to next year. Tom Cable is expected to turn around a disappointing defensive year whilst not foregoing our offensive improvements to ensure we balance out across the board.

Resigns/Restructures:

TE Brennan Thompson - not willing to wait for his RFA eligibility to kick in, we offered Thompson a 7 year restructure during the year which he was eager to take. With the likelihood of Aaron Hernandez returning next season unlikely he has a strong chance to step into the starting role. This move also provided us with much better contract terms in our favour for the long term over an RFA restructure.
DT Jesse Williams - we planned this move since last years match eligible bid when put up big bucks for Williams. Now after one year of an inflated contract we can offer a more affordable 4 year deal that is better suited to his abilities and position for the near future.
FB Jonathan Schaub - coming off a mammoth blocking year we are getting everything we hoped for from Schaub since his move from Cincinnati and conversion to full back. His RFA restructure was a no brainer as the benefits he provides our run first offense is amazing, plus we couldn't hope for a better backfield receiving option.


Retired:

WR Donnie Avery - brought in at the end of the season to cover for the injured DHB, Avery saw little playing time but will be remembered as one of the leagues top receiving threats over his career (3rd all time in receiving yards at this point).

Releases:

RG John Moffit and K Lamar Huey were both released from the last year of their contracts as we needed the added cap room their slowing growing demands were consuming for backup roles. Although TE Aaron Hernandez just completed a pro bowl calibre year we were unable to meet his salary demands under our cap situation so he was forced into the free agent market along with HB Chauncey Harris, LOLB Byron Langford, QB Colt McCoy, CB Floyd Allen and RT Joe Thomas.


Free Agency and Pre-Draft Trades


Trades:

CB Shareece Wright to SEA for 5.30 - Wright was just hitting the regression stage of his career and without the need of his mentor services we felt it was a good time to move him on where his experience could still prove useful to another team.

1.17 + 1.28 to ATL for 1.06 + 7.06 - with little luck trying to acquire a veteran corner with a later 1st round pick we approached Atlanta with this option and moved up in the draft into a position were we could obtain a top rated corner on draft day.

5.30 + 6.28 + 7.06 to NO for 5.09 - our final trade was a minor one to move up in the draft and avoid late picks we find of little value. As such we get pick 5.09 from 3 later ones which suits us better in this draft.

Match Eligible Free Agency:

SS Chester Truman - we had no real targets in this phase as our cap situation was tight, but after seeing the likes of Truman sit amongst a lot of other high profile and expensive team mates that were drawing a lot of interest we thought it viable to take the punt on an offer. With unbelievable speed (97) he becomes the fastest guy in our secondary behind FS Neal Green and will likely replace fellow Pro Bowler Mike Greenfield.

Pre-Draft Free Agency:

Placed a bid on LE Cornelius Washington. The former Houston pass rusher has a nice skill set that we could use in Oakland, especially with the age of our current defensive ends. We were good enough to make the top 3 bids, but were way short of the offer made by the Browns.


The Draft



  • 1.06 CB Vernon Hargreaves III: 5'11", 192lbs, 96 SPD, 60 STR, 72 AWR, 95 AGI, 97 ACC, 70 CTH, 95 JMP - this is the third time that we've possessed the sixth overall pick, but the first time we've drafted from it. We had the luxury of picking from the entire CB class by the time this pick came around. For us it came down to 2 possibilities: the speed of Hargreaves III or the height of Chickae Reeder. We chose to go with Hargreaves III because we felt that Reeder was too raw to be of much use to us now (60 AWR, 58 CTH), where as the speed, awareness and catch of Hargreaves III makes him quite capable as a starter now. Yes he's 5'11" but he has a great leaping ability and can reach a top end speed of 99 after progression, which is something we lack in our corner backs (currently our 2 safeties are faster then any of our current corners).

  • 3.28 HB Keith Jordan: 5'10", 230lbs, 88 SPD, 70 STR, 61 AWR, 88 AGI, 88 ACC, 76 CAR, 83 BTK - with not real need by now for anything other then roster fillers we scouted out a few players with borderline potential and settled on the skills of Jordan. A pure power runner his 5'10" stature and poor stamina, injury and toughness probably scared a few teams away but he holds some decent capability as a number 2 runner, especially when he puts on some more weight.

  • 4.02 TE Lorenzo Story: 6'2", 240lbs, 83 SPD, 73 STR, 61 AWR, 81 AGI, 78 ACC, 73 CTH, 79 JMP, 53 PBK, 50 RBK - the tight end class was limited this year and our need for a #2 pushed us to make this pick to gain a player with some semblance of playability. He's not that tall for a corner and lacks decent acceleration but his pass blocking isn't too bad and he can at least achieve something in big and goal line formations.

  • 4.17 OLB Joe Nava: 5'11", 217lbs, 79 SPD, 72 STR, 58 AWR, 86 AGI, 80 ACC, 65 TAK - we required another outside linebacker to meet minimum roster requirements and Nava was the best available by this point. He lacks height and weight to be starter level but can provide adequate support on special teams.

  • 4.28 OLB Mohammed Marshall: 6'1", 219lbs, 79 SPD, 65 STR, 60 AWR, 80 AGI, 83 ACC, 70 TAK - much like Nava above he'll provide special teams coverage and not much else.

  • 5.09 LE Hugh Woods-Clark: 6'4", 254lbs, 80 SPD, 66 STR, 55 AWR, 79 AGI, 79 ACC, 69 TAK - he looks more like a linebacker playing at defensive end with his low weight and strength, so he's another player to fill depth and special teams.

  • 5.28 MLB Steve Edenton: 6'2", 250lbs, 74 SPD, 78 STR, 55 AWR, 74 AGI, 83 ACC, 78 TAK - did not make the roster due to cap requirements


Post-Draft Activities


Free Agency:

With all requirements met for our roster after completion of the draft there were no moves made in this free agency period, especially considering our tight cap situation ($120K).

Trades:

No further trades have been made at this time


Offseason Training


Preseason training began with gusto recently and we've been working the boys hard for the 2020 season ahead. A lot of emphasis has been placed on our two young speedsters on either side of the ball in Amari Cooper and Vernon Hargreaves. Cooper is finishing the final touches to his improved performance levels with better times on the 40 yard dash, shuttle run and cone drill as his speed, agility and acceleration all increase a notch. Hargreaves has been working on very similar skills with improved output of his speed and agility over the camp, whilst a rigorous diet regime has seen him add 10lbs to be able to better handle the GZL game. Rookie HB Keith Jordan has also been applying the same dietary techniques to increase his size to 240lbs in readiness for his first run in the preseason. Fellow HB TJ Yeldon has been working on his first step in an effort to improve his take off and therefore increase his speed once he reaches the line. He is hoping that this improved acceleration will allow him to punch holes through the defense at a greater consistency for more regular positive gains along the lines of what the coaching staff need from him. Our last noticeable improvement has come from big boy Kaiser Frey who is managing to move that 365lbs body of his better laterally in an effort to combat the outside pass rush. He knows that he can handle an up front contest but once they start getting around him then that's when trouble comes for the quarterback and if he wants a starting gig with this team then protection of RG3 is paramount. Speaking of RG3, he and WR Amari Cooper have spent a lot of time with team physios and training staff to improve their durability and resistance to injury for the upcoming season. Both have been plagued with injuries over the past 2 seasons and they want to be fresh and healthy for this year.


Player Spotlight/Position Battles

Position: CB -With our secondary gushing yards and points like someone has sliced an artery we needed something new and we've obtained that with CB Hargreaves III to rattle the cage and get a decent pass defense going. His addition fulfils our need of a speed corner which frees up Sylvester Spence to match up on the bigger receivers in 2020, where as last year Spence had the speed concern whilst Jake Meadows took the big guys. We now have a bit of versatility and will look to find the best combination every game with Spence as our prime corner and Hargreaves III and Meadows swinging between #2 and nickel as needed.

SS - With the free agent acquisition of Chester Truman the squeeze has now been placed on mike Greenfield at strong safety. Both are Pro Bowlers from last year but bring different styles of play to the game. Truman has extraordinary speed for a safety and better hands then Greenfield which we feel will be a better solution to our ongoing pass defense woes.

HB - Mark Ingram is no spring chicken any more and the years have taken their toll on him. He no longer has a top level first step or top end speed to be an all round threat so it's looking like time for TJ Yeldon to step into the starting role and carry the burden of the running game to begin a new era of Raiders football. We are hoping that Ingram can accrue at least 403 yards on the ground this year to finally reach the pinnacle of the career rushing yards chart (seeing as injury robbed him of that chance at the end of last year) in the limited time he's likely to see this year. Yeldon will need to do better as a starter then he did in his limited opportunities at the end of last year as we require a 4.50+ ypc back in every game, otherwise rookie Keith Jordan could be knocking on his door for a shot.

Spotlight: We made the call to draft Hargreaves III over the imposing talent of Chikae Reeder and now the pressure is on for him to perform right out of the gate. He'll get plenty of time during the preseason to get the feel for GZL game play and we then expect him to start most games this year (barring a huge height differential or injury). His blistering speed fills a much needed void in our pass coverage and will be a welcome relief if he can stick with a man and not give up any big plays. He comes into the league as one of the better rookies in ability to read the play and field awareness which will serve him well alongside his physical prowess.


2020 Season Outlook


With 2 speed additions to our secondary we hope to bring back our pass defense into acceptable and competitive levels this coming season. We have a pro bowl linebacker corps ready to go again, giving support in coverage along with pressuring the backfield to help force turnovers and bad decisions. With 4-5 changes across the offense it may take some time to adjust into a steady rhythm, but if we can avoid injuries (unlike last year) then hopefully we can remain consistent in each game, providing a balanced output. With No Aaron Hernandez and the ability of Darrius Heyward-Bey waning there is now more pressure on youngsters Brennan Thompson and Amari Cooper to fill those roles as legitimate receiving threats. Our stalwart right tackle Sebastian Vollmer is also seeing a decline is his abilities and there is a push for Tyrone O'Neal and second year player Kaiser Frey to permanently fulfil the right side positions on the offensive line. Both saw brief stints last year and made a mixed bag of it, but they'll get their chance to shine before we looked to plug holes with Vollmer if needed.
With both the Broncos and Chiefs making some impactful changes to their rosters the outcome of the AFC West this year is a massive question mark. We'd like to think that we still lead the way but there is still the ever present Chargers who have tweaked a few things like us to carry on being competitive whilst the other two are boasting completely new look passing and running games with beefed up offensive lines as well. As such we expect more competition from these two franchises this year to once again make it an epic struggle for divisional supremacy, foreseeing a dip in our divisional record if those changes bear fruit. Hopefully we get a break from a season opening game against a divisional rival (especially the Chiefs) this year, allowing us some time to evaluate these new rosters and prepare accordingly.

2020 Projected Starting Lineup

  • QB Griffin III
  • HB Ingram
  • FB Schuab
  • WR Broyles*
  • WR Cooper
  • TE Thompson*
  • LT Robinson
  • LG Campbell
  • C Mangold
  • RG O'Neal*
  • RT Frey*

  • LE Branch
  • RE Massaquoi
  • DT Williams
  • DT Bailey
  • LOLB Mack
  • MLB Bostic
  • ROLB Carter
  • CB Sylvester
  • CB Hargreaves III*
  • FS Green
  • SS Truman*

  • K Walsh
  • P Griffin

* Denotes new starter
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 01/05/2016) Replies - 4 :: Views - 38
Raiders - Week 2019 Week 16



Since losing our starting quarterback and half back we've struggled to perform at a top caliber standard these past couple of weeks and this game against the Falcons we snatched a victory that we really weren't deserving of. With regular first down distances we were able to move the ball well early, but as soon as we had to achieve more then 10 yards to get the first down we imploded with bad long ball decisions, a complete disregard for the run and generally bad play from our offensive unit. The comeback victory cements our hold on the AFC West Divisional title as the Chargers can't dislodge us due to beating them head-to-head twice this year and having the superior divisional record. It is also likely that we've secured a first round bye in the playoffs, still one game clear of the nearest competition (Titans) with the likelihood our common games record is better to hold onto the #1 seed.

Positives:

Offense - Colt McCoy took this game into his hands when we needed it most and rallied the side to score 2 touchdowns in the last 7 minutes to secure the win. He finished with 3 touchdowns, 409 yards but also turned it over twice as 3 receivers caught for over 100 yards (Hernandez 164 yards and 1 score, Cooper 124 yards, Broyles 106 and a score).

Defense - Jon Bostic and Jake Meadows both added a pick to help improve our field situation whilst Jonathan Massaquoi added 2 sacks. Being able to force Bo Callahan out of the game for 11 pass attempts was a bonus and may have saved the game for us

Disappointments:

Our early run success soon became a shadow of itself and was a non-factor when we needed it most. An injury to star wide out Darius Heyward-Bey on our first score soured the proceedings and he'll be out for at least another week with a bruised shoulder. Our run defense was doing alright until the fourth quarter when they allowed Cubby Williams 46 yards in one drive that led to the Falcons last score

Next Week:

We finish the season as we started it, with a game against the Chiefs. With DHB injured we've extended a veteran contract to Donnie Avery in another bid to cover for our starters going down. Hopefully Mark Ingram will be able to return next week to get some much needed game time and yardage leading into the playoffs as we are fearful of a rusty performance if he doesn't play until the second round and 4 weeks off.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 11/04/2015) Replies - 0 :: Views - 15
Raiders - 2019 Week 14



It was a hot start to our offense this week, notching 14 points within the first 10 minutes of the game and keeping the Broncos scoreless for the entire first half. We couldn't capitalize on this early lead as much as we'd like, missing red zone opportunities twice to settle for field goals in the second quarter before losing our star offensive play makers just shy of the half. The second half was a display of mediocrity by both sides with a combined 8 points notched up and more third down conversions failed then completed. Our early lead and constant pressure kept the Broncos in check for a 23-5 victory at Mile High on fan appreciation day.

Positives:

Offense - we came out hot with a quick score on our first drive, and then followed up by capitalizing on a Broncos turnover with another touchdown. Our first half yardage was great and we got into scoring position 4 times to put a lot of pressure on the Broncos from the get go

Defense - keeping the Broncos to 1 of 6 3rd down conversion for the first half, 1 of 8 in the second and topped off with 0 of 2 fourth down conversions was a much improved performance over last weeks steam rolling by the Buccaneers. I'm sure the early offensive scoring pushed the Broncos away from their original game plan which eventually played in our favour. Khalil Mack got to the quarterback twice and eventually forced Christensen out of the game when it mattered most.

Disappointments:

Injuries to both RG3 and Mark Ingram early in the second half seriously hurt our offensive flow, especially as our pass orientated game plan did not function at all with Landry Jones at the helm. Whilst Ingram will only be out for a week or so, Griffin will not see anymore playing time this year as he recovers from a dislocated elbow

Next Week:

RG3 is set to finish the year on injured reserve whilst forgotten Vikings quarterback Colt McCoy gets another shot as we signed him up on a 1 year deal to help us finish out the season. With the Panthers next, followed by the Falcons and the Chiefs we need to solidify our divisional lead to ensure a playoff birth. Whilst the Panthers haven't been winning many games they are competitive, can score well and were an early season leader for defensive performances so it's going to be a tough shakeup with a new look offense this coming week.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 10/20/2015) Replies - 0 :: Views - 14
Raiders - 2019 Pre-Season Review



After a slow start to the pre-season in a loss at Buffalo, the Raiders bounced back to finish 3-1 with victories over the Cowboys, Chargers and Josh Freeman led Bengals to restore some confidence in our ability to compete this year.
Game 1 we didn't fire well on either side of the ball, giving Andrew Luck 196 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first half. Compounding our fate was our 2 from 13 third down conversions and losing time of possession by almost 7 minutes, reversing our normal play style against us. TJ Yeldon did manage to make an impact in his first game, taking a 76 yard run for a score, whilst Shareece Wright had a 53 yard pick 6 and Jon Bostic also had a pick in his first game as a Raider.
Game 2 saw us reverse our fortunes with a different game plan, dominating TOP by almost double the Cowboys efforts. No-one really shone in this game, although Wright added another pick and Landry Jones was safe with the ball for 2 touchdowns.
In Game 3 the Chargers put up a fight early on but then fell away as our second string finished strong with a 21 point fourth quarter. Chancey Harris had a productive day with 114 yards at 9.5 ypc whilst Brennan Thompson reaped the spoils with 2 touchdowns. Greg Robinson had a big day on the line with 11 pancakes and 0 sacks, whilst Sylvester Spence returned a pick 33 yards for a score.
Our final game saw the Bengals bring out the big guns and fall in a fizz, throwing 5 picks on the day. Jonathan Massaquoi had a big day with 3 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 deflection and an 18 yard pick 6. Plenty of passes were also knocked down in this one (Meadows - 4, Nicholson III - 3, Green - 3, Battle - 3) to go with the interceptions (Wright, Nicholson III, Green, Massaquoi, Battle 1 each).

Positives:

Offense - without RG3 or Mark Ingram in the line up we managed to pour on the points and yardage from multiple sources. When the pass didn't produce we got our gains on the ground with both TJ Yeldon and Chauncey Harris managing 100+ yard rushing games. One of the biggest positives was our ability to score in the red zone, especially with the pass. Last season we were dreadful in this aspect of the game and need to capitalize constantly to ensure future success.

Defense - no opposing passer was given a chance to take control of the game as we collectively amassed 11 interceptions from the 4 games, including 3 from Josh Freeman in half a game. Apart from Andrew Luck's success in the first game we kept most offenses in check for yardage and didn't give up a rushing touchdown. Shareece Wright managed to push hid name forward again for a starting gig after 3 interceptions in 4 games

Disappointments:

Amari Cooper suffered an abdominal tear in the third game against the Chargers. He will likely miss 8 weeks of football recovering from this latest set back, which coupled with the MCL sprain he suffered in week 12 of last year that saw him miss the rest of the season he is having some seriously bad luck with injuries. Missing so many games is hardly the ideal way to start one's GZL career and we are fortunate to have deth to cover his absence and will do our best to ensure he returns in a timely manner.

Season Ahead:

With the schedule announced it looks to be a tough road ahead. We face down the troublesome AFC South (including our playoff killing foe the Titans), the powerful NFC South (with the insanely skilled Buccaneers) and topped off with a trip to New England and a visit by the Steelers. All in all that's a lot of quality teams to overcome in one go, however if we succeed we'll know where we stand amongst the league's best before we hit the money round.

Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 07/22/2015) Replies - 0 :: Views - 17
Generation '19 Raider Style


Raiders 2019 Training Camp




2018 Season Review


Our 2018 campaign started off on a better foot then 2017, notching 5 wins from our, first 7 games. Then the shit hit the fan and we went on a 5 game losing slide that saw us lose all our form and seem to be putting our second string team on the field week after week. Our offense became a disaster, struggling to score when we needed them the most and putting a lot of pressure on the defense to keep us in games. Our formerly potent run offense was get thwarted at every turn so we decided to mix it up in week 13 and go the pass option, a decision that looked to be a break through until both our quarterbacks were injured by the dirty Chiefs defense. Not to be stymied by one unlucky game we kept the same strategy on the board and won our remaining 4 games to finish the year at 9-7, one win from the divisional crown and succeeded in a wildcard berth to the playoffs. RG3 went 8 and 3 on touchdowns and interceptions during this period as opposed to the 12 and 11 efforts from the previous 12 games and finished the year having completed only 49% of his passes. Our O-line saw a lot of shuffling during the year and perhaps this played a role in our misfortunes, especially considering the number of sacks allowed, along with the dip in rushing output which we are normally top of the pack with.
Our luck seems to desert us though when it comes to finals as we faced off against the Titans once again on their home turf. The first half was a close affair as we stayed in the hunt 7 to 10. Unfortunately a number of timely turnovers by RG3 gave the Titans the edge and they once again found a corner to exploit with Sylvester Spence being served up a lesson he'll never forget. The 17-24 score line was a big improvement over last year and someday we'll find a way to shut down Christopher Henderson on the big stage.

Once we identified our offensive production as the source of our defeats we took steps to rectify our game plan that eventually showed promise. By season's end we were ranked 17 in points per game (23), 25th in total yardage (333.6), 28th in pass yardage (190.9) and 4th in rushing yards (142.7). No-one really stood out as the top contributor, with the likes of Mark Ingram dropping 7 balls in his 1543 yards and 8 touchdowns, whilst after a horrid start to the year RG3 finished with 20 touchdowns and 14 picks over 3035 yards passing. DHB reached 1000 yards for the 4th time in his career but wasn't prolific in the end zone (6 TDs).
Even with a long term injury to start corner Joe Haden our defense still managed to get the job done. We ranked 3rd for points allowed (19.6), 2nd for total yards allowed (313.7), 3rd for pass yards allowed (196), 15th for rush yards allowed (117.7), 15th in sacks (30) and 9th in takeaways (22 interceptions, 4 fumbles recovered). Rolando McCalin was the stand out in all areas, especially helping our undermanned secondary stand up and keep opposing QBs to an average 66.31 QB rating. Newcomer Andre Branch revelled in his release from New England with 9 sacks for the year and 3rd year corner Sylvester Spence had 4 interceptions (2 behind team leading McClain). Our red zone defense needs some work as we ranked dead last in the league in this area, however as we only allowed the equal 3rd lowest number of trips into the red zone it helped to keep the points down.

Pro Bowl:

C Nick Mangold - even with a scrambler trying to blindly rush up the middle and sacks getting attributed to him, Mangold still managed to be one of the better centers in the league with 64 sacks and 6 pancakes
MLB Rolando McClain - this makes it back to back Pro Bowls for McClain after notching 129 tackles, 24 for loss, 6 interceptions and 20 deflections for the year. That number of picks doubles any previous yearly output by McClain and had him equal third across the league


Coaches and Contracts


Coaches:

All coaches were retained in an effort to build upon the culmination of this season and carry it forward to next year.

Resigns:

LT Tyrone O'Neal - given our exclusive resign, O'Neal will continue on with us for another 5 years, this time with plans in place to give him a permanent spot on the offensive line
C Nick Mangold - resigned through the match eligible phase after no other offers were submitted
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey - another returnee after match eligible free agency he'll look to finish out his career in Oakland now

Retired:

FS Jonathan Joseph - signed as a mentor free safety at the start of the year after a season ending injury to our backup in the preseason. Joseph served us well as a mentor over the past 2 seasons

Releases:

FB Marcel Reece - with the emergence of Jonathan Schaub this year, veteran Reece saw little playing time and with his ailing physical skills he was released to try his luck elsewhere
WR Mike Williams - after being actively shopped for much of the off season, Williams was let go because his current contract was too much for us to afford
DT Cam Thomas - with free agent acquisitions taking his starting job, Thomas can now test the free agent market for a new home


Free Agency and Pre-Draft Trades



Trades:

LG Darrell Freeman to SF for LG Clinton Newton + 3.01 - Freeman was chewing up some cap and wasn't likely to our start this year. The 49ers were after a guard and we made the move to downgrade to backup level Newton and grab a third round pick for further trading

3.01 to BUF for LE Jonathan Massaquoi - our recently acquired 3rd from San Francisco was moved on to acquire the services of Massaquoi. With Dunlap aging and plenty of option available at DE for a decent price we were happy with the price to acquire this sort of talent.

2.23 + Future 2nd to IND for HB TJ Yeldon + 4.03 + Future 4th - with Mark Ingram aging and finally showing signs of wear we needed a back to take the reins in the not too distant future. Knowing that our regular draft picks were not likely to acquire the talent we desired, a deal was worked with Indianapolis to bring in sophomore Yeldon who we felt, with a little work, can shoulder the load in a year or so.

RE Carlos Dunlap to STL for 5.32 - with our starting spots filled Dunlap become expendable and it was better to get something for him then release him outright.

MLB Rolando McClain to NE for 6.19 (amnesty) - after a timely free agency pick up, McClain's contract became the only cap relief we could afford. Amnesty also saved us the $2.13M cap hit next year when salary became tighter still.

1.23 + OAK Future 6th to PHI for PHI Future 1st + Future 4th - without a viable means to move up in the draft and no glaring positions of need this year after free agent acquisitions it was decided that adding extra picks next year would be in our best interest with a few starters aging and top line talent the aim to replace them with. With a few offers on the table we took the gamble that Philadelphia would have the best pick of the bunch, but anything could come of this.


Match Eligible Free Agency:

DT Jessie Williams - one of our priorities this offseason was to find a new defensive tackle to take over from Cam Thomas as soon as practical. With a plethora of quality DT's hitting the match eligible market we made our choice and bid big with $10M for 1 year on Williams. The Saints didn't even bother to respond to this offer so Williams was happy to walk, especially as he viewed the Saints as undervaluing his skills by having him on the market in the first place. Williams has nice athleticism (62 SPD, 62 AGI, 75 ACC) to go with size (330lbs) and strength (95) to clog up the middle of the lane yet still be enough of a threat in the backfield.

Pre-Draft Free Agency:

MLB Jon Bostic - Rolando McLain was facing his last year of contract and his last year as a starter in Oakland, so when we found Bostic on the market it was a no brainer to offer him a deal. Not willing to get stuck with absurd salary issues for the short term we offered a 5 year deal that Bostic took over other comers and will likely see out the rest of his useful playing career with us. Whilst not the flashiest (81 SPD) or biggest (6'1") at the position he is a talented and experienced AFC campaigner who will help this team in the long term.

The Draft


I'll make this disclaimer now: with picks only starting from round 4, all these players are aimed to fill vacant roster slots to meet minimum requirements. No-one was targeted as being a diamond in the rough outside of my positions of need so it's a bit lack lustre on that front.
  • 4.03 - LE Lucius Crane: 6'5", 284lbs, 81 SPD, 79 STR, 49 AWR, 72 AGI, 76 ACC, 70 TAK - Crane isn't a bad combination of speed, size and strength, but he lacks the explosive step off the line that could propel him into a starting role. His sub-par awareness and low tackling skills also mean it would take many years for him to become a reliable player.

  • 5.20 - DT Dustin Lang: 6'3", 322lbs, 56 SPD, 91 STR, 50 AWR, 59 AGI, 75 ACC, 72 TAK - Lang will serve well as the #3 DT and with a little work could be considered for a starting gig down the road. Some added strength and agility could see him become a decent 4-3 tackle, and then add some weight and he could serve in a 3-4 at the nose in a pinch.

  • 5.32 - LE Aktari Zamen: 6'3", 275lbs, 81 SPD, 74 STR, 53 AWR, 86 AGI, 77 ACC, 67 TAK - another roster filler who just misses out in the right places to be starter level (ACC), Zamen will give us some goal line size when needed, even if he's raw on the other skills (AWR and TAK).

  • 6.19 - LT Daniel Vinovich: 6'4", 320lbs, 55 SPD, 93 STR, 52 AWR, 67 AGI, 61 ACC, 79 PBK, 76 RBK - with sub-par blocking skills and no acceleration to speak of we're not likely to put Vinovich anywhere but in a roster required slot.

  • 6.07 - C Jack Ives: 6'4", 322lbs, 51 SPD, 95 STR, 49 AWR, 50 AGI, 63 ACC, 76 PBK, 80 RBK - a decent amount of strength is wasted on a player likes Ives as his athletic skills are lacking. If we can figure a way to make a big strong centre pummel the defense without having to move then Ives may get a starting job, but highly unlikely.

  • 6.23 - LT Kaiser Frey: 6'5", 355lbs, 50 SPD, 97 STR, 60 AWR, 59 AGI, 55 ACC, 79 PB, 82 RBK - with his size and strength it becomes an intriguing prospect to see if with a little bit of progression he can utilise those skills at offensive tackle. His acceleration is worse than Vinovich drafted earlier but he can block better and reads the play at a higher level.

  • 7.23 - WR Claude Howell: 6'1", 194lbs, 91 SPD, 59 STR, 47 AWR, 87 AGI, 87 ACC, 63 CTH, 94 JMP - we originally wanted to fill our #4 wide out spot with a free agent, but with an extra pick we added Howell and hoped for a miracle. Nothing came so he'll provide depth fodder and wistfully watch the season play out.



Post-Draft Activities


Free Agency:

With all requirements met for our roster after completion of the draft there were no moves made in this free agency period.

Trades:

No further trades have been made at this time

Offseason Training


Following his rookie campaigned that was stifled by injury, WR Amari Cooper is back to full health and has been hitting the training yard hard. The young speedster has been doing a lot of track work to up his speed and acceleration. With DHB as his mentor he is quickly learning the nuances of being the primary deep threat for this team. We still don't think he's at the peak of his potential in that department yet but he's quickly improving his top end capability.
In an effort to impress, HB TJ Yeldon has stepped up to the plate this off season, knowing that he has only a short time to acclimatise before he's thrust into the front line of the running attack. His overall speed has stepped up a notch even though he's now packing an extra 10 pounds of weight, while more importantly he can get up to that speed quicker with improved acceleration. The pressure is on the second year player as he is slated to fill big shoes ion the coming years.
Our tallest corner, Cyrus Nicholson III, has also been working on his speed this off season in an effort to break into a starting role. Whilst he still sits in the sub 90 range we hope that he now has enough ability to match-up with the taller receivers who lack top end speed. He currently looks well capable of handling tight ends in the slot and only time will tell if he can move into the top 2 slots.
Linebacker Khalil Mack has also made significant progress in his athletic capabilities, now topping out his speed and acceleration at a level that matches a lot of safeties and even a few corners. We're expecting big things from him this year in pass rushing if he was the game smarts to beat the blockers consistently.
Rookie offensive tackle Kaiser Frey has added even more bulk to his already impressive size and is quite the enigma as a blocker. We're not sure if this added weight is due to proper conditioning or post draft celebrations but we'll keep an eye on him for potential.


Player Spotlight/Position Battles

Position: RG - After a failed attempt to move Bruce Campbell on the right side last year, we have moved him back to the left position and now are experimenting again at guard. Last year Tyrone O'Neal and Darrell Freeman shared the load in the other guard spot, however this year we have the option of using second year player Clinton Newton, or more likely the aging experience of Sebastian Vollmer. Newton hasn't seen any play time in the last 2 years in San Fran and is a raw prospect for a position that notoriously lets through a lot of sacks with a scrambler which wouldn't help him progress. Whilst Vollmer is likely to be supplanted at right tackle by O'Neal we really want to keep him onboard and are likely to see how he goes playing inside this year. With any luck his superior blocking skills and awareness will help stem the flow of sacks RG3 creates between the centre and right guard.
Spotlight: Expectations are sitting high on wide out Amari Cooper this year as he needs to step up for a big year in the starting job. With DHB slowing down it will be his job as the primary deep threat. He already has exceptional physical athleticism and it's only his game smarts and hands that can hold him back. With the excellent mentoring provided by DHB he is in the best position to make an early name for himself on this team, even in a run first offense.

2019 Season Outlook


Our defense kept us in the hunt last season so we are hoping that our changes to date don't upset their performance this year. The replacement of Rolando McClain with Jon Bostic is the biggest area that will draw attention as McClain had a pro bowl year and really helped us out in all facets of the game. Bostic will have a tough time filling those shoes and making his mark as he leader of this defensive unit, but with the rest of the linebackers and secondary getting better all the time the hope is that everyone will carry their fair share of the load. If we can keep opposing passing effectiveness down we'll be well on our way to maintaining a winning record and competing for the divisional title. To achieve this we need to find our continuity with our offense and put points on the board. After finding a groove late last season we'll look to push our advantage this year before we lose the running prowess of Mark Ingram to age. RG3 will be expected to step up and lead this unit and we feel he's got the weapons and protection to do so and we hope to count on at least 21 points a game from these two sources. As for our overall result this year we are expecting no less then 10 wins and anything less will be seen as a failure. How this situates us overall in the division is unknown, especially with the Broncos finding form, new management with the Chargers and the unpredictable beast that is the Chiefs. If we can keep a superior division record going our chances of coming out on top are good, but to be truly successful we'll need to out perform the top rated teams for our estimations on the season to rise.

2019 Projected Starting Lineup

  • QB Griffin III
  • HB Ingram
  • FB Schuab
  • WR Heyward-Bey
  • WR Cooper
  • TE Hernandez
  • LT Robinson
  • LG Campbell
  • C Mangold
  • RG Vollmer
  • RT O'Neal*

  • LE Branch
  • RE Massaquoi*
  • DT Williams*
  • DT Bailey
  • LOLB Mack
  • MLB Bostic*
  • ROLB Carter
  • CB Sylvester
  • CB Meadows
  • FS Green
  • SS Greenfield

  • K Walsh
  • P Griffin

* Denotes new starter


Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 07/10/2015) Replies - 5 :: Views - 51
Raiders - Week 2



Our second game of the year saw us hosting the Bengals in a match up we felt was going to be a lot harder than most expected. Whilst it ended up looking like we were our own worst enemy, we kept the Bengals offense in check and limited their scoring opportunities, even with our multiple turnovers. With a couple of interceptions thrown in the first half it was no wonder the score line was 3-3 at half time, but we fired up in the second half to post 28 unanswered points on the back of a solid Mark Ingram running game to take the spoils at 31-3.

Positives:

Offense - Mark Ingram is back in his groove, baby! Rushing for 188 yards at 6.96 ypc, he busted out a 64 yard long scoring run as well as a 20 yarder to open his scoring account for the year. Rookie Amari Cooper had the most yards for our receivers and caught his maiden GZL touchdown pass in what we hope will be the start of a long and prosperous career.

Defense - The team run defense was tops, keeping the Bengals to 55 yards on the ground and actually containing Johnny Manziel from scrambling at all. Overall the entire defense worked wonders to keep the score to only a field goal, especially given the turnovers that created short fields.

Disappointments:

RG3 is having a hard time keeping the ball safe, starting off poorly with 2 early picks. He finished the day throwing 3 interceptions for only 2 scores. We really need better production and security from a man in his contact year as we know that too many of these outings and the run is going to get all the attention from coming defenses. Aaron Hernandez suffered a torn shoulder and will be missing for at least the next 5 weeks which puts a crimp on our offensive output. With RG3 struggling to find his form, missing a talented target like Hernandez will make his redemption harder.

Next Week:

Brennan Thompson will have to setup up as a starter in the coming weeks, but will receive backup after a trade was formalized this week with the Bengals for former 7th round pick and draft sleeper in TE Jonathan Schaub. We'd been trying to acquire Schaub since the off season and have only now been able to reach favourable terms. His ultimate future with this team is as a full back to replace the ageing Marcel Reece

We head to Denver for another intense divisional away game, hoping to lean on our success in week 1 at KC to get a step up on the rest of the division, especially this opponent who are 2-0 with us. We'll need a another solid game from the defense to contain Keith Payne and Howard Christensen whilst hoping that RG3 can beat his funk and help Mark Ingram in getting some decent points on the board.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 02/03/2015) Replies - 0 :: Views - 15
Raiders - Week 1



First game of the year is always tough to read what your opponent is going to throw at you and the last thing you want is a divisional crap shoot right out of the gate against last years divisional champs. So we started our 2018 campaign in KC flying blind at a fan appreciation day and failed to bring our A-game in offense. Mark Ingram was shut down for most of the day and RG3 failed to find any purchase taking up the slack. We had very little time of possession and our o-line leaked like a sieve' whilst defensively allowing peeny speedster Chase Sullivan to run all over our run focused plan. Only interceptions, defensive scoring and one last hit to Mike Williams gave us the 28-24 victory in a shaky start to the new season.

Positives:

Offense - Not much to go with here except Mike Williams with 109 yards, 77 of which came on the game winning touchdown catch out of the number 4 receiver slot.

Defense - our pass defense wasn't too bad, limiting Manuel to 181 yards and picking him off 3 times (Haden, Spence and Carter with one a piece). The pick-6's by Haden and Spence were instrumental to our win. The left side of our defense is looking to be a real handful with LE Branch and LE Mack both recording 7 tackles, 3 for loss and a sack each

Disappointments:

Giving up 178 yards and two scores to HB Chase Sullivan was not on our radar and a performance of our run stopping ability that is not planned to be repeated. Our lack lustre offense and 6 sacks allowed on RG3 was well below our expectations, especially after the pre-season success.

Next Week:

The developing Bengals come to town and we'll be looking for more from our offense this week and hopefully a sack fest of Johnny Football on the other side. Our defense needs to cut down the yardage this week and conversely we need more from our offense to get our juices flowing and fire up for the season.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 01/26/2015) Replies - 0 :: Views - 21
Generation '18 Raider Style

Raiders 2018 Training Camp




2017 Season Review


It was a turbulent year in Oakland as we faced the crushing reality that RG3 was never going to see the year out. There was no fairy tale finish, no return trip to the Super Bowl against all odds this year or a fourth straight divisional title, however our struggles did land us a return to the playoffs. Much like last year our start was undesirable, going 4-2 with divisional games against the Chiefs and Chargers lost in the mix. It was in the week 7 game against the Chargers that RG3 suffered his first injury, a bruised shoulder that would sideline him for the next 2 games before great work by the medical staff allowed him to return after only 1 week off. Alas his returned was soured in the return game against the Chiefs where he suffered broken ribs that would eventually see him miss all our following games (including playoffs) as he just couldn't shake the niggling issues. Needless to say with RG3 absent we managed 4 wins and 1 loss with the combination of Zac Dysert and Brian Hoyer behind center, a horrible passing combination that accumulated 2 touchdowns and 10 interceptions between them for the year. Mark Ingram and Marcus Lattimore carried the team during this run before after the loss to Seattle in week 12 we pulled the trigger on trade for a new QB in Landry Jones from the self same Seahawks at the cost of the Redskins 1st we had acquired last season. In the same breath (or half an exhale later) we traded Marcus Lattimore to the Jets in return for our own 1st to beat the trade deadline, even though we would be squaring off against him that week. With Jones in charge we won 4 of our last 5 games to fall a hairs breath short of the divisional title but enough to make a wild card berth possible.
As always Madden loves to give us re-matches as we made our second trip to Miami for our wild card game. After struggling to convert our offensive production into points in the first half, we managed 18 unanswered points in the second half to pull of an improbable 24-21 victory. AJ Green had his biggest game of the year with 141 yards and a score, whilst Mark Ingram was the perennial work horse with 135 yards at 5.8 ypc but no love for the end zone. The Dolphins seem to go into turtle mode after half time, obviously luxuriating in their 15 point lead, but a late injury to Russell Wilson sealed the game as backup Mark Cameron showed a complete inability to hit anything but open turf with his passes.
The divisional game was the inevitable struggle against the league best Titans. After putting up some points in the first half and holding the lead until near the 2 minute drill we were looking ok, but then the second half happened and the late scoring by the Titans continued and ripped our secondary to shreds. Ingram was stuffed all day long and Jones was battling uphill against a strong pass rush. Veteran Roddy White had a field day against us where Shareece Wright just looked completely out of sorts in coverage, stumbling around and far from capable of actually knowing where his man was. We were kept scoreless in the second half for a turn around of fortunes from the wild card game and the Titans piled on the embarrassment with a 41-17 victory, ending our year in disappointing fashion.

Trading Camden Pietarilla out during the off season was a big gamble that did not pay off in terms of our defense. After being one of the better defensive teams in 2016 we showed none of our class at keeping yardage down this year. Our rush defense was in the top 10 for the league but we were 6th last in pass yardage (251.1 ypg), adding a whopping 66.6 yards per game to last years efforts. Our sack numbers were down whilst our takeaways were up (but still bottom half of the league). One positive from the defense was the 6 touchdowns they managed to score (equal 2nd league wide). It was another year where no-one really stood out as everyone shared the takeaways and sacks, but it is the number of catches allowed by our secondary that is of major concern (133 versus only 74 deflections).
Offensively we were the best running team again and were ranked #7 for points scored and #8 for total yardage. Mark Ingram had another stellar year with 1781 yards and 12 touchdowns, all at a league best average of 5.4 yards per carry. Landry Jones was a solid contributor in RG3's absence with1150 yards, 9 touchdowns and 1 pick in the 5 regular season games he suited up for us, with 3 of those games having a QB rating over 100. DHB was the pick of the receiver for the year whilst Aaron Hernandez outshone AJ Green with more yardage and touchdowns. Our blocking was a mixed bag with veteran Jordan Gross letting through the most sacks whilst rookie left tackle Greg Robinson let 4 through against his 77 pancakes.


Pro Bowl:

HB Ingram - another impressive year for Ingram as he is only beat out of being the #1 rusher in the league by Vince Rogers
RG Gross - his third consecutive trip to Hawaii as a Raider, Gross has proven invaluable as an offensive guard with the number of pancakes he produces each year
MLB McClain - proving to be one of the all time best tacklers, McClain had another big year and even managed to get behind the line to equal his career high in sacks (4)
P Griffin - rated number 7 for punt average he landed inside the 20 28% of the time whilst also getting 15 touchbacks
KR/PR HB Snell - Snell picked up 2 touchdown returns on the year and a decent punt return average for his best year in the job yet



Coaches and Contracts


Coaches:

After failing to impress during the year and the playoffs we decided not to renew the contracts of our offensive co-ordinator and special teams coach. Instead we brought in Bob Bratkowski as our OC to give a bit more spark to our quarterback and running game. Greg McMahon brings a bit of defensive back specialisation to our special teams in place of G. Fassel. Both coaches have spent time away from the league recently and are excited to be back at the top level again.

Resigns:

WR AJ Green - our exclusive resign was used on Green for the sole purpose of trading him out. We would have preferred a tag'n'trade option but buyers weren't keen on that idea.
K Blair Walsh - the Bills made 2 bids to up the ante on Walsh but we weren't prepared to let our pro bowl kicker go that easy
RT Sebastian Vollmer - the Packers made an offer for our veteran OT but again we weren't having anyone walk out the door just yet
FB Marcel Reece - as he's regressing and heading towards retirement he landed a standard 2 year deal
SS Trevin Hunter - Hunter wasn't originally slated to be resigned, however when we were searching for defensive backs, the Chiefs were interested so we gave him a 4 year deal to automatically move him on
HB Conner Snell - an RFA that we offered a 4year deal to lock up his return skills and backup run support for a few more years
QB Landry Jones - our other RFA resign we gave Jones a 5 year deal to give solid support behind RG3 in case of injury


Retired:

FS Kelvin Hayden - added during last years playoffs as a depth safety and future mentor he provided a valuable service to Neal Green as a mentor.

Releases:

To make room for our new acquisitions and upcoming draft, DT Corey Liguet and RG Jordan Gross were released. Gross' pro bowl calibre talent at guard will be surely missed this year but in the last year of his contract and career we had to make the call.
LE Trevor Scott was cut during the draft to make cap space for our rookies.



Free Agency and Pre-Draft Trades


Trades:

AJ Green was our prime trading bait for this off season and we had endless suitors vying for his talents. Many were nowhere near the mark, hoping to get a cheap deal, but a few bidders were upping the ante for the 6'4" receiver. It originally looked to be a short process as the Bears came with an impressive offer that would have seen Jessie Hendricks and the number 6 pick making the change, however some controversy at the other end of the Bears trade line saw that option break down. We were slating that pick to go to Tampa in exchange for Morris Claiborne to shore up our secondary, but in an ironic twist the Bears moved Hendricks to the Buccs for Claiborne themselves, ruling both parties out of the dealings for Green. To further our owes we made an arrangement with the Giants that involved an amnesty option of Nick Perry, however after much effort to build up GZQ in New York it was realised that Perry was a year short of being eligible for an amnesty, so that deal fell through also. The Jaguars had showed a lot of interest in Green during this period but we were at odds over comparable player value and deal couldn't be reached. So there was much wheeling and dealing done before a deal for Green was finally reached.

WR AJ Green + 1.26 + 7.26 to IND for 1.06+ 2.06 + 2.30 - we finally land the #6 pick and add extra second rounders as well. The high pick gives us a chance to draft our top prospect or leverage it into other players or picks if we fail to get our man.

Before this deal took place, thinking we had another deal for Green locked up, we made another trade to acquire his replacement:


4.26 to KC for WR Mike Williams - a player of Williams calibre for a 4th. . .what a steal! To get him over from KC makes it even more sweeter and would fill the void left by Green's departure.

3.26 to NE for LE Andre Branch - Branch is a talented and skilled defensive end and a 3rd is a small price to pay for him, especially with Trevor Scott declining in his abilities.

SS Trevin Hunter to KC for CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson - Hunter wasn't going to be resigned, but when we inquired about Wreh-Wilson to improve our secondary we were happy to save picks and man-for-man trade to make this deal.

CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson to PHI for HB Chauncey Harris - with our deal to NYG falling through (and Scott's contract still on our team) we needed to add a decent #2 back for Ingram and the Eagles were happy to take on Wreh-Wilson straight up. Harris is more of a power back but at only 2 years played he has enough years ahead of him that he could take over from Ingram when his game declines.

2.06 to TAM for WR Ryan Broyles (Amnesty) - talks had been happening for Broyles services all during the off season and when an amnesty option for a second came about we took that route instead of waiting for a potential pre-season morale decrease and the cost of a 1st. Broyles brings some extreme speed to our receivers which seemed to be where our success lay last year over height.

2.30 to NYJ for RG Darrell Freeman - with a void left by Gross' departure we quickly pulled the trigger on this deal when Freeman hit the market. Whilst not as athletically gifted as the norm in Oakland he has impressive blocking skills for a third year player and gives us at least a stop gap under our crushing cap space.

2.26 + ROLB Blake Grant to CLE for CB Joe Haden + 3.23 - our secondary struggled last year and we spent a lot of time trying to find some new talent to give it a boost. Haden may be in the twilight of his career, but he's one of the best at picking off passes and should give us a needed boost in pass protection.

With the prospect of our #1 target not being around by pick #6 we put into motion options to trade out. The Jaguars came to us with a possibility 12 hours before draft time, but when we decided to take it they backed down on their value and we were left with another failed attempt to add Dre Kirkpatrick to our secondary. Instead we looked to the Texans for a trade:


1.06 to HOU for 1.12 + 2.18 - this option had been teed up well in advance of the pick and we decided to make the move even though our top prospect was still on the board. We thought that acceptable talent could still be had at pick 12 and the extra 2nd rounder would be useful to fill our roster needs.

2.18 to CAR for LT Tyrone O'Neal - with a new second rounder in hand we had to ask the Panthers if it was enough for O'Neal. They were happy with the trade but it took a bit of work to convince league officials that it wasn't a bad move. O'Neal has decent athleticism, nice strength and blocking skills that could see him fit anywhere on the line.

Match Eligible Free Agency:

With no cap room to make any offers we could only hope and pray that our own players didn't receive big offers.

Pre-Draft Free Agency:

The situation tied our hands for this free agency period as match eligible and we made no moves to report on.


The Draft


  • 1.12 - WR Amari Cooper: 6'1", 210lbs, 95 SPD, 66 STR, 70 AWR, 94 AGI, 94 ACC, 81 CTH, 92 JMP - Cooper really was our only target in the draft, built in the mould of DHB we had eyed him off as his successor since the class was announced. The fact that we passed up the opportunity to draft him at number 6 might have been a bad move, but we were ecstatic to draft him 6 picks later and we're by no means inclined to pass on him again. Arguably the best receiver in the draft he has remarkable awareness for a rookie and his catching ability is far from raw. With some focused progression he'll quickly become a stud for this team.

  • 3.23 - S Archie Battle: 6'0", 204lbs, 90 SPD, 64 STR, 66 AWR, 85 AGI, 89 ACC, 55 CTH, 90 JMP, 65 TAK - Battle is most likely nothing more than a depth player filling the roster, but a positive skew could make him a valuable contributor in the secondary and on special teams

  • 5.26 - S Brian Myers: 5'11", 188lbs, 92 SPD, 60 STR, 55 AWR, 92 AGI, 90 ACC, 49 CTH, 82 JMP, 70 TAK - another roster filler who'll need a good skew to challenge Green or Greenfield for a start

  • 7.11 - OLB Mike Herbert - don't bother, he's roster minimum material with underwhelming strength and lack of speed.



Post-Draft Activities


Free Agency:

With our roster meeting requirements already we made no moves to acquire any other players

Trades:

N/A


Offseason Training


We're looking to re-establish the dominant Raider style of football that GM Pearce has cultured the past couple of years, one where we choke opposition possession and stifle their offensive output. This requires a decent secondary to shut down the passing options and easy outs, a task our team failed last season. There has been a major focus on getting our defensive backs into better shape for the year and we are using the experience and knowledge brought in by Joe Haden to improve their playmaking and coverage techniques. As part of this focus we have seen heightened levels of speed out of safety Neal Green and corner Sylvester Spence who are staring down the barrel of lengthy careers with this team and are focused on getting a shiny new contract from their RFA position next year. With the improvements across this group in speed, catching and awareness we are expecting a better return as they drill day in and day out to hone their cohesiveness.
RG3 is faced with another year of developing a rapport with his receiver crops as they changes have swung thick and fast here. Mike Williams, Ryan Broyles and rookie Amari Cooper are all new to this team and have been deep in study and practice to find their groove, something that big man AJ Green lacked in his year with us. Cooper has flocked to DHB as they are similar style players and the years of service the Darius has had with the Raiders means he's the subject matter expect when it comes to being a wide out here. Cooper has also been working on his speed and explosiveness as he strives to become the best possible player for us. Surprisingly he's also bulked up a bit over the off season period but hasn't lost any speed in the process, which is an added bonus.
Second year linebacker Khalil Mack is also making inroads into his ability to move over the field. He too has shown a greater turn of speed and better acceleration over last year as he looks to step up to the next level of play, aiming to become an elite linebacker on the stat sheets.
Lastly our secondary back Chauncey Harris has made big gains to go with his big frame and is turning out better speed on the ground as he strives to cement his spot behind Mark Ingram. We're sure he hopes to become the heir apparent as Ingram nears the end of his career, but for now he's working on his job as a relief runner and support player. His addition of 10 pounds of bulk are another indication that he's heading in the right direction to be a real GZL running back.



Player Spotlight/Position Battles


Corner Back: With such a disastrous effort in pass protection last year it was guaranteed that things would be shook up this year. The trading of Camden Pietarilla robbed us of a true lock down corner to do the job now and Meadows, Wright and Spence just weren't effective enough as a unit. Look for the addition of Joe Haden to bring back a big playmaker and solid defender in the secondary, allowing for Spence and Meadows to take the easier match ups and further develop their level of play knowing that they have solid support. We have Spence targeted as the future of our secondary, but whether he starts this year in the most part depends on the match ups and if he's looking solid enough in his job. He most likely will get the nod from day one, but if he falters, look for Jake Meadows to step up into the role.

Wide Receiver: After going from a year with only 2 legitimate receivers we now have o bevy with 4 quality players. Don't expect DHB to give up his spot anytime soon, but the #2 spot has a lot to offer. Amari Cooper is likely to see some considerable time in the spot to progress his GZL level skills, but with the veteran skills of Mike Williams and the catching ability of Ryan Broyles things could easily be swung in any direction.

Offensive Guard: With Jordan Gross not making it back on this roster we need to ensure our pull blocks for runs are effective whilst not compromising the interior of the line for pass protection. Athletic dynamo Bruce Campbell has moved over to the right side to give us the best possible player to pull block and pass block. Darrell Freeman moves to the left side and is in a contest with Tyrone O'Neal to see who gets the starting nod. O'Neal is still listed as an offensive tackle and will suffer in his knowledge of playing out of position, however his higher levels of athleticism over Freeman is the reason we're prepared for this opportunity. Pre-season performances will have a big impact on who we see as the best fit come opening day.

Outside Linebacker: Not a battle as the above positions, but a changing of the positions. Khalil Mack and Chris Carter swap sides in an effort to get the best out of both their abilities. Carter moves back to his original ROLB position where he had success whilst with St. Louis and Mack gets a chance to use his blistering speed on the left side for some serious pass rushing attempts.



2018 Season Outlook


Our highest priority for this season is to avoid injuries, especially to key play makers such as RG3 and Mark Ingram. Both players have worked on ways to prevent further injuries and if we can keep these guys going all year then we have a better chance of maintaining our momentum and giving the needed playing time for our team to gel. The few positional changes we've made are aimed to capitalise on our strengths and get the best out of individual talents, all with the hope that it will bring a spark to this team and allow us the rest the division back. Our rivals have been undergoing significant changes this off season as well and we feel they are more detrimental to their game then ours. We made it to the playoffs last year but weren't a big player all year and we need to up our regular season performances before hitting the post season. With an improved secondary and expanded receiving corps we are aiming to make inroads into areas that brought us unstuck last year, mainly yards in the air on both sides of the ball.

2024 Projected Starting Lineup

  • QB Griffin III
  • HB Ingram
  • FB Reece
  • WR Heyward-Bey
  • WR Cooper (R)*
  • TE Hernandez
  • LT Robinson
  • LG Freeman*
  • C Mangold
  • RG Campbell
  • RT Vollmer

  • LE Branch*
  • RE Dunlap
  • DT Thomas
  • DT Bailey
  • LOLB Mack
  • MLB McClain
  • ROLB Carter
  • CB Haden*
  • CB Sylvester*
  • FS Green
  • SS Greenfield

  • K Walsh
  • P Griffin

* Denotes new starter



Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 01/09/2015) Replies - 4 :: Views - 58
Raiders - Week 15-17
The home stretch saw us pitted against the impressive Rams, rivals Broncos and the struggling Patriots, however we had the luxury of playing these all at home. The game versus St. Louis saw us out possessed by over 10 minutes, thoroughly beaten in yardage by 260 and only saved by defensive efforts and special teams. A kick return for a score by Conner Snell was magic and the day was clinched as number 3 free safety Tavon Wilson picked off a scoring pass and returned it 101 yards for score to seal the game 28-24. Landry Jones worked well with his limited opportunities whilst Mark Ingram struggled. Our pass defense was suspect again and needs to be worked on drastically over the off-season.
Second up had the Broncos come to town for our rematch of the brother bowl. Mark Ingram came to the party this week with 178 yards and our offense's only score, whilst 2 big defensive plays saw fumbles recovered and returned for scores by OLB Carter and SS Hunter. Our pass defense was slightly improve but in the trade-off let Keith Payne run over us for 137 yards and 3 scores in the red zone. In the end it was consistent trips into field goal range that netted us the 33-28 win, with a 14 point 4th quarter Bronco comeback kept at bay.
We could barely hope for such a match up in week 17 with New England bringing a much lower level offensive game to town. With the scrambling Brian Wilson behind center our defense was able to lay the pressure on, sacking him 6 times, 3 of which went to big DT Cam Thomas (who also collected a fumble). Landry Jones had his biggest passing day of his career with 359 yards and 2 scores, whilst Mark Ingram turned in another 100+ yard day.

Positives:

Offense - QB Landry Jones has been a boon since coming over from Seattle and he had 2 big games in this final stretch with QB ratings of 135.4 and 106.7. He also had 4 touchdowns, 1 pick and was only sacked 3 times over the three games. This also means the entire offensive line has stepped up it's pass protection as they were only attributed 2 of those sacks (both to rookie LT Greg Robinson). We had been bleeding a lot of sacks through the guards this year so blocking these avenues is finally a good sign.

Defense - 6 turnovers in these games was the key to our success and kept the scoreboard alive, especially with the 3 scores by this unit. The pressure on the passer is getting better with 10 sacks in this period ( a third of our yearly total) which is great for forcing more turnovers and helping out the secondary.

Disappointments:

Our pass defense is still struggling and will need solid attention through progression and off-season acquisitions. There is a lot of youth in the line up but plenty of athleticism, but obviously you need more smarts and hands to get the job one.
WR A.J. Green still hasn't found his mojo in Oakland, although he did catch his first TD pass as a Raider in week 15. He's started every game this year but only amassed 683 yards, well below his best whilst DHB doesn't fail to deliver no matter where he starts.

Next Week:

We re-visit Miami for another attempt at the Dolphins in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Early pressure helped us win the earlier encounter and our passing game was dreadful (looking at you Brian Hoyer). With Landry Jones at the helm there will be some help for the running game and it should be a good match up from both offenses, even if we're likely to bleed pass yards like an artery has been cut.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 11/18/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 18
Raiders - Week 14
In what was always going to be a hard slog in San Diego for fan appreciation day, we started off going backwards thanks to a handful of penalties and giving up a touchdown on the opening drive. After seemingly going nowhere for most of the first half and allowing Gabbert & Co a free pass to do as they wish we tied it up in the 2 minute drill to end the half. With only another field goal added by the Chargers in the 3rd we still had a chance, but a lousy fourth quarter gave up 17 points and blew our chances by a long shot, going down 24-30.

Positives:

Offense - Landry Jones was again a solid contributor, giving us a high completion percentage and 3 touchdowns. He didn't have a lot of support from the running game, or a lot of time with the ball and the long downs he was forced to play out of was a big ask, but he didn't cough it up under the extra pressure. For only his second game with the team he's finding himself at home in Oakland.

Defense - not a whole lot impresses here. Jake Meadows deflected a couple of big passes to keep some scores out and us in the game for longer, however after allowing the passes to be made with ease and then allowing Mathews out for the killing score was a mockery of what we've been capable of.

Disappointments:

Penalties killed us, especially early in the game, forcing 1st and long, 2nd and long and putting too much pressure on Landry Jones to make significant plays without getting the benefits of the running game. False starts and holdings just showed how much pressure, or even implied pressure we felt from the Chargers defensive rush.
WR A.J. Green just can't find his groove this year, no matter what position he's in. DHB is at home no matter if he's playing #1 or #2 wide out, but Green can't seem to get open or even make big catches in traffic. With his contract due for renewal next year he may find himself on a tag-n-trade deal.

Next Week:

The challenges just keep getting tougher with the St. Louis Rams coming to town. Following a smashing of their divisional rival the Cardinals we'll need to step up our defensive output and hope to contain their free flowing offense. Hopefully we can avoid giving up needless penalties to kill our drives before they start and not handicap our own efforts.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 10/23/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 15
Raiders - Week 13
It was another slow starting game for both teams where the Jets got on the board first and we played catch up all game. Jonathan Higgins had a mass of consecutive completions in the first half that led to 6-of-9 third down completions, however it was all tied at 7 a piece at half time, even with Blair Walsh missing his first field goal of the year (from 44 yards as well). Small scoring for most of the second half before we take our first lead inside the last 2 minutes. We give this up with 20 seconds left before getting the game tying field goal and forcing overtime. With the kick off coming our way to start OT we run it into scoring range and take the easy field goal to scrap out the 23-30 win.

Positives:

Offense - Landry Jones had a mistake free outing for his first game with us, completing half his passes for 225 yards and 2 touchdowns. This is a big turn around from previous weeks that has seen our passing game give up 10 turnovers to only 2 scores. Mark Ingram had another 100+ yard game with 129 on the ground, but no score of his own. Aaron Hernandez had a big day out, catching 7 balls for 140 yards and being a major factor in getting us into scoring position on numerous occasions.

Defense - We kept the runners in check, including former Raider Marcus Lattimore, to less than 4 yards per carry. Overall we only gave up 2 touchdowns which kept us in the game.

Disappointments:

We still gave up 327 yards in the air, most to another former Raider in Louis Murphy (130 yards, 1 score). Our pass defense has been terrible since the departure of Camden Pietarilla and the extra linebacker out there from the 3-4 hasn't been adding the extra support we wanted.

Next Week:

A tough road game against a fired up Chargers outfit. The added pressure of their fan appreciation day makes this even more of an uphill battle. They are without Zac Stacy, but his just puts the career leading rusher Ryan Mathews on the field. We'll be hard pressed to slow Blaine Gabbert down and we can only hope to force enough turnovers out of him and as few as possible for us to hope for the win. The Chargers are last in the division, but only by a game behind everyone else, so this is a big game for us in the divisional and playoff race.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 10/21/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 13
Raiders - Week 10
With our luck at finding a new starting quarterback in RG3's absence an empty gesture, Zac Dysert led the team against a hostile Ravens outfit this week in hopes that we could keep our winning streak alive. Our defense has being stepping up for these big games since switching to the 3-4 and continued to do so this week, with an early interception by FS Neal Green giving us good field position that led to a Marcus Lattimore touchdown run we were first on the board. Mark Ingram ran in another before the end of the quarter to give us a decent lead, however the lack of skill and experience by Dysert led to many stalled drives. Luckily we were able to make it into field goal range on no less than 6 occasions in the game and Blair Walsh hit them all, otherwise the passing prowess of Joe Flacco later in the game would have overtaken us easily. Mark Ingram was easily on top of his game and highlighted another defense that doesn't have the ability to handle him, scoring on 25 and 33 yard runs.

Positives:

Offense - the running game of Mark Ingram was in full swing as he notched 176 yards at 6.07 ypc and 2 scores. His domination allowed us to use the clock and stifle the opportunities given to Flacco to work us over in the air.

Defense - Neal green picking up an early interception to get us our first score and get the game flowing to our tune was instrumental. Overall we kept them to a little over 100 yards for the first half of the game.

Disappointments:

Dysert managed to move the chains at some crucial moments but we stalled many promising drives because he couldn't find a target

Next Week:

We're back in Oakland for our encounter with the Bills who have won their last 2 games. They have been working on a variety of offensive and defensive play books this year and it's hard to judge how we'll need to setup against them. If we can make them play the game at our pace like we have the last 3 weeks we have a chance, provided Zac Dysert sticks to the game plan and Mark Ingram isn't hauled in.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 09/26/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 12
Raiders - Week 9
Returning to Oakland after a big win in Miami last week we were upbeat about our prospects versus the Chiefs. RG3 had been cleared to play and we gave the fans their appreciation day for the big contest. The Chiefs opening drive of the game may have spelt how the rest of the game would go when they missed their field goal and gave up a decent field position for us to start off. Mark Ingram managed quite the number of successful and long rushes that moved us into enemy territory easily or gave us 2nd and short on numerous occasions. Shareece Wright picked off Chad Henne for a 50 yard return and score and started us on amassing a lead. Our defense was pretty solid to keep the overall yardage down until the end of the game, whilst injuries started to pile up. RG3 went out just before half time and Zac Dysert did his best to keep things going, completing a high percentage of his passes before turning it over twice, once in the redzone and again in the endzone, denying us potentially more points from the board. The upside is he could actually get the offense moving where Brian Hoyer failed last week. Aaron Hernandez had a big receiving game, collecting a touchdown to go with his 96 yard as we finished with a 30 to 15 win.

Positives:

Offense - Mark Ingram returns to the fray again with 174 yards on 18 carries (9.67 ypc) and a touchdown. From the outset he looked to be in charge of this game, taking his first carry for 30-odd yards into enemy territory with ease. Coupled with his 41 yard touchdown run to seal the game in the last minute he was a force the Chiefs couldn't handle.

Defense - Shareece Wright came up big for the second week in a row, collecting another pick-6 early in this encounter that help setup the tempo for the rest of the game. He did allow 6 catches for the game but that early interception has been golden these past few weeks.

Disappointments:

RG3 is injured again, this time to miss the rest of the regular season with broken ribs and leaves us in serious woes at quarterback again. Zac Dysert was accurate and produced yards as his replacement but couldn't avoid the costly mistakes that stole 2 scores from us in the second half. Mike Greenfield also missed most of the game after spraining his ACL but he'll hopefully be fine for next week.

Next Week:

We head to Baltimore and face the AFC North leading Ravens who are coming off 3 consecutive wins and a big scoring game against the Jaguars this week. We'll be looking for a new starter at quarterback during the week with hopes that Dysert and Hoyer wouldn't be relied upon in the long term as Ingram or Lattimore could be the next casualty in our offense if they carry too much of the load. The Ravens have been giving up plenty of points this year but on the flip side we'll need to contain Joe Flacco and his support to keep them off the board.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 09/17/2014) Replies - 1 :: Views - 22
Raiders - Week 8
There wasn't much hope put into this weeks game in Miami as Russell Wilson looked to be intent on breaking passing records with his offense and our secondary being extraordinarily weak, but a change in personnel and base structure gave us a fighting chance. In a wet day in Florida it was Shareece Wright who opened our account with a 68 yard pick-6 early in the first in a game that looked to be dead in the air for us and all in the air for the Dolphins. We had practically no passing offense from Hoyer and would've been nil all at the half if it wasn't for turnovers. Mark Ingram and Marcus Lattimore were the producers of yardage and moving the chains most of the day, and both were rewarded with long touchdown runs at critical points of the game (Ingram went 80 yards with 9 seconds left in the first half, whilst Lattimore turned in a 97 yard steak after we'd been bogged down almost on the opposite goal line by a godly punt). Our defense stepped it up towards the end of the game, getting good pressure on Wilson and covering the passes better than we had hoped for, resulting in multiple turnover on downs, including a sack, fumble and fumble recovered that netted Ingram his second score of the day.

Players of the Game:

Offense - Mark Ingram with 232 yards, 2 touchdowns at 7.25ypc. That's more than half our teams total offense with Marcus Lattimore putting up 130 yards to make the running game the big winner on the day.

Defense - Shareece Wright with a 68 yard pick-6 to kick things off and 2 deflections to 1 catch allowed

Disappointments:

Brian Hoyer's passing game - 3 of 15 for 32 yards is awful even in a run heavy offense. He had plenty of chances to make his shots but couldn't hit his targets even when they were open.

3rd down conversions - mainly due to Hoyer's erratic efforts our 2 from 14 conversion rate would've sunk our game completely had it not been for Ingram and Lattimore

Next Week:

Up next is the return bout against the division leading Kansas City Chiefs. Whilst we hope that RG3 will be fit for this match up it is clear that Brian Hoyer will not be seeing time behind center during practice this week and Zac Dysert is likely to get the 2nd string nod and be ready to take the reins if Griffin is unable to be cleared.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 09/11/2014) Replies - 1 :: Views - 25
Raiders First Half Review
The first half of the 2017 season has been a tough pill to swallow for the Raider Nation as we struggle to find anything resembling form and consistency on the gridiron. It's been a tough schedule against some quality opponents and after all the upheaval from last years Super Bowl team it seems that finally the environment of change has failed. After 7 weeks we are 2-4 and sitting in the unfamiliar position at the bottom of the AFC West. After 3 consecutive division titles this is not something expected of this franchise, but nothing seems to work right now. We are at the bottom of the league for yards allowed, most of this coming through the air. With our defense being top of the league the past few seasons this is a real shake up that we didn't see coming. It would appear that the trade out of Camden Pietarila has really hurt this team and the synergy is at rock bottom. WE are not forcing nearly enough turnovers or getting pressure for sacks onto opposing QB's, and with the number of catches allowed our defensive backs are giving up it doesn't look promising.
Our offense is also failing to fire and perhaps it's the same story, with the loss of Louis Murphy having shaken the confidence and unity of the team as they struggle to do the basics on a weekly basis. RG3 is not having a good year, throwing nearly as many picks as touchdowns (and now injured), whilst Brian Hoyer has been a nightmare as his replacement. The running game is giving solid yardage but isn't getting a lot of attempts due to us giving up scores early and playing catch up football.

Needless to say without our first round pick this is not the year to be falling behind the pack and something needs to change sooner rather than later as our playoff hopes are circling the toilet ready to be flushed into oblivion. It'll take a lucky win in Miami this week to save our pride, let alone our season and we aren't counting on it.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 09/10/2014) Replies - 9 :: Views - 54
Raiders Add Some New Additions
After struggling through the first half of the year the Raiders' head office decided it was time for some change and went seeking some new players. After advertising for a big nose tackle we were rewarded with a drunken Chiefs GM Miller contacting us from his usual haunt to tell us that the Rams had just released Cam Thomas. We'd considered added Cam in the pre-season but our hesitation had cost us as the Rams snatched him up, but after not seeing the field at all he was released and we quickly secured his services for 3 years. He'll look to replace Corey Liguet in the center of our offense where a big body is needed to upset the offensive line. Thomas' addition means we now have the opportunity to run both 4-3 and 3-4 defenses, especially with our second addition of veteran MLB LaMarr Woodley. Whilst he is no longer the all-round threat he once was he brings a solid run stopping presence and a game savvy to help in the 3-4.

GM Pearce had this to say about the moves: "Our defense has been tested and found wanting this year, which is mainly due to an inexperienced secondary. We hope that by having 3-4 sets as an option we can provide more support in the pass game from our linebackers to ease the burden on the defensive backs."

With RG3 also absent for the next couple of weeks there will be a lot of pressure on journeyman Brian Hoyer to keep the offense stable in his absence.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 09/09/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 16
Generation '17 Raider Style
2016 Season Review:

The biggest question on this season was how RG3 would go leading the team, especially after Collin Klein had taken us to the conference game in 2016. We didn't start out as hot as we'd like, going 3-2 in our first 5 games and we were really dispirited after our week 1 loss to the Redskins. RG3 was safe if not spectacular in his first 4 outings, avoiding any picks while adding 7 touchdowns. Our defense was keeping scoring in check which again allowed us to play a more stable run first game, however Mark Ingram was not succeeding like in previous years which was compounded by a back injury in week 1. Having our own tactics used against in week 6 by the Texans snapped us back into life though as we went on a 6 game winning streak that saw our scores never drop below 22 points in a game (including a game with our tied season high of 38 points). A loss then to the Broncos put our division title on the line until we turned it around with another 3 wins as they stumbled and fell off the pace enough for us to make it our third AFC West Championship in a row. Mark Ingram picked up another injury in week 12 and then we lost RG3 for the season in our week 16 outing to Pittsburgh with a dislocated elbow. Our hopes deflated a bit by this point as Michael Vick hadn't seen a lot of playing time in the past 2 years and he showed his rust in week 17. The good news was that we had obtained the #1 seed in the AFC and had our first bye week with a 12-4 finish 9the only other AFC team to get double digit wins was the Broncos).
As fate always seems to conspire against us we had to play a divisional rival in the playoffs again, this time the Chiefs in the divisional round. After being beaten by them in our last game we had to work hard on our play style to get something going. Things weren't looking great until we posted 24 2nd half points to 7 and rallied for a fourth quarter comeback in the hands of Michael Vick (470 yards, 3 TDs), mostly through the hands of DHB (293 yards, 2 TDs). 7 sacks on Matthew Tebow also helped keep the pressure on and advance us to the next round.
Joe Flacco made his second return from injury in the space of a few weeks but had a quiet day. We posted 17 first half points and looked like keeping the Ravens scoreless in the same period before the magic took hold and they added 10 points in about 3 minutes. We were kept scoreless in the second half and only gave up a field goal to squeeze our way into the Super Bowl.
To say that the franchises second trip to the Super Bowl was a farce is being nice. We had worked on the Seahawks game plan and though we had it covered to keep everything in check, but as soon as we hit the field we allowed LeGarrette Blount to run wherever he wanted and then gave youngster Landry Jones easy passes to keep things ticking over on downs. Allowing such easy offense and scoring put us behind the 8 ball and off our game plan so it just snow balled from there. Vick wasn't able to rally the troops and by the time we hit the fourth quarter the Seahawks just coasted their way to the title and we were left lamenting our wasted chance.

So we achieved a goal for the season of reaching the big game, but our entire post season was lack lustre, mainly due to the absence of RG3. Our defense played its part again, keeping opposition yardage down with pass defense being one of the league's best and giving us the top rank for total yards allowed and inevitably points allowed. Our biggest area of improvement was in the number of sacks we had, collecting 44 for the year and being equal first for the league (up from 15th last season). Conversely our takeaways were down and we came dead last in the league (down from 30 to 16), however keeping opponents to minimal yardage and scores is obviously more important. Offensively we still had a potent run attack, but this was carried by the whole team (Ingram, Lattimore and RG3) instead of one man, whilst RG3 had the 3rd best QB rating for the year and 13th most touchdowns, even with one of the lowest total yards. We were close to top 10 in points scored per game (24 ppg) with enough total offense yardage to be competitive (13th with 353 ypg).
Again our success can be attributed to unified team play rather than outstanding individual performances, especially on defense as the workload is shared across the board and everyone making a contribution regardless of position or starting time.

Pro Bowl:

LT Jammal Brown - Brown's year wasn't as spectacular as his 2015 campaign, however 98 pancakes and 7 sacks allowed was enough for his second consecutive pro-bowl berth
LG Bruce Campbell - this makes a consecutive hat-trick of Pro Bowl appearances for this athletic guard
C Andre Gurode - in his final GZL year he is rewarded with a pro-bowl spot (his first since 2013). He finishes with 4 career pro-bowl appearances
RG Jordan Gross - in his second year as a Raider and playing guard Gross gets another pro-bowl nomination with 86 pancakes and 6 sacks allowed (down on last years numbers)
RT Sebastian Vollmer - like Brown he was down on hid pancake numbers from 2015 but only let through 3 sacks from the right side

LE Trevor Scott - was listed as one of the best defensive ends in the league, however a long term injury in the Divisional game cost him his spot

Retirees:

QB Michael Vick - Vick was essentially the first deal made when GM Pearce took over this franchise, bringing the QB in from Carolina to replace Matt Cassell. He spent 2 years reviving this franchise before taking on a mentoring role to the likes of Collin Klein and Robert Griffin III, before getting his final shot at glory during the 2016 playoffs. His swan song tour was not to see its crowning moment as we fell short of the trophy, however the entire Raider Nation would like to thank Michael Vick for his services to the franchise and the legacy he has pioneered in Oakland.
C Andre Gurode - when Vick arrived so did the Pro Bowl presence of Gurode. A cap casualty out of Dallas we were happy to have his services in one of the most demanding positions in the league. Gurode proved his worth year in, year out as he help protect scramblers to a Pro Bowl level and make room for two 2000 yard rushing seasons from Mark Ingram. When Gurode asked for a contract extension we were happy to oblige and keep him off the open market and committed to our team for the rest of his career. We are proud to have had Andre as a member of this franchise for the past 4 years and thank him for his service as a player and a gentleman.


Pre-Draft:

Signings/Re-signings:

All coaching staff maintained their positions for the third straight year, understandable considering we made it to the Super Bowl.
DT Bailey - Bailey's athleticism an interior pressure on the defensive line has been important to our success and we were happy to offer a deal that sees him stay in Oakland for another 5 years
LG Campbell - Campbell was given our franchise tag at the last minute before facing the murky waters of the match eligible market. This proved to be a wise choice as it was soon apparent that there were many suitors for his services. We quickly converted this new signing into our restructure for the year and locked up the mobile guard for another 7 years.

Trades:

CB Pietarila to Dallas for 1.06 - this was a tough call to make, but in the last year of his contract and with some exceptional talent in the draft class we found a suitor willing to pay our price for the talented youngster. We will miss Pietarila leading our secondary as he helped resurrect our defense into one of the best pass defense units in the league. WE feel now that we have the young talent and a veteran presence installed to hold the ship together in his absence and use his trade potential to further develop our team.

3.31 to Indianapolis for C Michaels - with the retirement of Andre Gurode we needed a new center to solidify the line and Michaels has the athletic ability to be useful in this role.

MLB Skov + DT Wood + 3.07 to Indianapolis for DT Liguet + 2.11 - whilst looking for more picks higher up and trying to move players towards the same goal the Colts offered us this combination which suited all our needs. Liguet gives an upgrade over Wood, even if it comes with a loss of size and strength but we hope he'll give some more interior pressure behind the line.

2.02 + 2.11 to Cincinnati for 1.16 - we were still trying to move up further in the draft and found the Bengals willing to move down for the right combination

1.06 + 1.16 + Future 6th to Washington for 1.11 + 1.12 + WAS Future 1st - Washington were desperate to get into the early 1st round and after initial talks had stalled due to lack of bargaining power on our side to get both 1.11 and 1.12, the Redskins up'd their general offer for a high pick. When we acquired 1.16 we made the move and eventually netted an extra future 1st from what we originally thought we have.

WR Murphy + ROLB Ogletree + LT Davis + C Michaels + Future 1st to New York Jets for WR Green + C Mangold + RT Ferguson + NYJ Future 7th - this trade was the longest in the works as we sought to acquire a taller target in our passing attack and also bring in some exceptional veteran blocking talent. We know it's a nightmare for a young blocker to develop when you have a scrambler at QB, especially in the middle, so we worked long and hard to improve on our current position, sacrificing OLB Ogletree and our future 1st in the process to ensure we could get a deal done. Green gives RG3 a big target to go with the speed of DHB whilst we have one of the best centers in the game with Mangold and a career leader in blocking with Ferguson to provide protection and time for the passing attack and giving Mark Ingram the best possible push for his running attack.


Draft:

1.11 - OLB Khalil Mack: We had taken a gamble on the draft by moving back from 1.06 and pairing back-to-back picks here and we were almost disappointed with the players that went in the top 10. We never expected Mack to be available here, but after trading out Ogletree this was a need and a great player to get here. This kid is super fast with decent height, weight and jump. He has good tackling skills and awareness for a rookie that we can consider moving him inside where he can dominate all game long. With some serious progression focus and training expect to see him top out at 90 speed and acceleration and be able to work in coverage like a defensive back.

1.12 - LT Greg Robinson: We had hoped for Stonewall or Donald to fall this far but they were quickly snapped up as everyone seemed to be hiding their interest in those sort of players. We had been working to trade out of this pick if the talent value wasn't there, however with the best offensive tackle sliding out of the top 10 we couldn't resist. Robinson is one of the most agile offensive linemen in the league, coupled with top end acceleration, decent speed and strength he'll become a top flight blocker in short order. He has two expert mentors to show him the way for now and it will be challenge to incorporate everyone into the rotations.

4.30 - OLB Blake Grant: the first of our depth picks, Grant has proven that he wants a shot to play and not just a pay check. He's come to camp with more speed and athleticism then his combine showed and may see time at #2 and in special teams.

4.31 - LG Brandon Linder: he has some decent athletic potential and could fill in at guard in a pinch but he'll mostly provide depth.

5.30 - TE Brennan Thompson: our biggest surprise from the draft is a pure receiving option at TE. Thompson is faster and stronger with a better jump then previously scouted, although his lateral movement and direction changes are worse off (but not horrible). He has left management in a bit of a quandary as they decide in short order if he has a long term future with the team and is worth developing.

5.31 - MLB Maxwell Efron: we needed depth at MLB after trading out Skov and Efron was the guy we took on auto. He got hit on the skew but we weren't after much from him anyhow.


Post draft:

Free Agency:

TBD

Offseason conditioning:

Injury concerns are always in the back of our minds and after seeing Mark Ingram spend time on the bench this year and last we thought it best to give our running corps some focus in handling the daily bumps of the job. Ingram comes into the year with a better handle on his toughness rating whilst Marcus Lattimore continues to make steady progress in alleviating injury concerns from his low injury rating. Rookie Khalil Mack has been thrown in the deep end from day one is reaping the benefits of some top level GZL training and conditioning. Trials and tests in camp have shown him to be 10lbs heavier than when drafted (skin fold tests are showing this as muscle instead of fat) whilst his top end speed and burst out of the gate are improved. Another gainer of weight is FS Neal Green who is looking to turn his corner back frame into something more robust and able to handle the duties of a starting free safety.

Training Camp:

With some noticeable changes in the roster this year we've been focused back on unit and team cohesion, trying to reforge our purpose and aim to return to the Super Bowl and take the crown. With up to 3 new starters on the offensive line there has been a lot of training and focus on getting the new blockers acquainted with the quarterback style of RG3. Mangold and Ferguson had a tough time of it last year in New York with a rookie behind center, but won't find it easy days protecting a scrambler. There has also been considerable effort in re-establishing the run dominant game of Mark Ingram in an effort to return his form to that of 2013 and 2015. We consider last year a learning year for RG3 and Ingram to feel each other out and find a way to co-exist and flourish alongside each other. RG3 has also been working tirelessly with his revamped receiving corps, motivated by his 2016 pains of missing the playoffs and the chance at a fresh start with some new blood in the mix. We are still developing the right mix with Green, Heyward-Bey and Hernandez as the main 3 but that will come together before pre-season is done.
Defensively we're still looking for a leader to replace the Camden Pietarila in our secondary. Along with the departure of Alec Ogletree and Brandon Wood from the starting outfit it will be a new era in Raiders defense as we look to maintain our league leading defensive capabilities whilst improving on our turnover ratios. This may be a tall order with youngster like Sylvester Spence and Khalil Mack in the fold but they've shown they are ready for the challenge and want to make their mark for this team.

Position Battles:

Corner Back - [http://gzl-football.com/scout_h2h.php?skin=lp&year=2016&left_id=4326&right_id=8506]Jake Meadows Vs Sylvester Spence[/url]
Instead of battling it out for the nickel back spot, these guys are at it again to take the second starting job alongside Shareece Wright now that Camden Pietarila has moved on. Spence is looking to have the edge in this one as he has a higher speed and development potential than Meadows, however hands and vertical are in Meadows' favour should that be a telling factor. This may be a week-by-week decision if one isn't standing out more than another, or both could even take the field if height is an issue where 5'11" Wright is involved.


Overall Ins:

WR Green
C Mangold
RT Ferguson
DT Liguet

Overall Outs:

QB Vick (retired)
C Gurode (retired)
CB Pietarila (traded)
WR Murphy (traded)
LT Davis (traded)
ROLB Ogletree (traded)
MLB Skov (traded)
DT Wood (traded)
LG Setterstrom (released)
LT Brown (not resigned)
TE Miller (not resigned)
WR Manningham (not resigned)
LOLB Wilber (not resigned)


2017 Outlook:

With a Super Bowl game under our belt and most of that unit retuning for another year there can be only one acceptable result...winning the trophy! We came out in 2016 as a more consistent side and we'll need to repeat that sort of performance again this year if we hope to return to the post season and challenge for the championship. We have a tough division to beat out along the way and need to stay on our toes against our divisional foes and keep them in check (especially in divisional games), because one slip and we'll be watching all the action from our lounge rooms. We have faith that our new additions can keep our quality of game play high or improve it and make sure that we have the best shot at GZL glory.

Projected Starting Line-up:

QB Robert Griffin III
HB Mark Ingram
FB Marcel Reece
WR Darius Heyward-Bey
WR A.J. Green*
TE Aaron Hernandez
LT Greg Robinson*
LG Bruce Campbell
C Nick Mangold*
RG Jordan Gross
RT Sebastian Vollmer

LE Trevor Scott
DT Corey Liguet*
DT Jacques Bailey
RE Carlos Dunlap
LOLB Chris Carter
MLB Rolando McClain
ROLB Khalil Mack*
CB Shareece Wright
CB Sylvester Spence*
FS Neal Green*
SS Mike Greenfield

K Blair Walsh
P Timothy Griffin

* Denotes new starter
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 07/10/2014) Replies - 3 :: Views - 46
Raiders Head to the Big Dance
The Michael Vick swansong tour continues as the Raiders oust the Baltimore Ravens from the GZL playoffs and book their ticket to San Diego for Super Bowl VII. In what turned out to be a tail of two halves, the Raiders dominated play and scoreboard for the first 21 minutes of the game, going up 17 to nil before giving up 10 points in the last 3 minutes of the first half.

The second half was a defensive struggle which saw the Ravens held in the red zone once for a field goal and the only points of the second half. The Raiders had very little of the ball in the second half and were hurt by the injuries to TE Hernandez, MLB McClain and LE Scott. Hernandez injury in the first quarter opened the door for Zach Miller to make the first TD catch of the game before Darrius Heyward-Bey was gifted a 73 yard score after corner Dee Milliner made an uncharacteristic blunder on attempting an inside ball swat and missed, leaving daylight between the catch and the end zone.

A big impact on the day was penalties, especially after a holding call put Vick into 2nd and 20 territory just before the half and he was way deep in our own territory. The resultant pick as he tried to blast his way out gave the Ravens great position which led to 3 plays and a score.

We now wait with baited breath to see which of the NFC powerhouses we'll face for the GZL trophy.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 05/25/2014) Replies - 2 :: Views - 29
Generation '16 Raider Style
2015 Season Review:

We entered 2015 with a new starting outfit from previous years as we sought to find that winning combination that would combine all our pieces into one epic unit. Our new starters at QB, LT and RG provided some experience and stability that didn't quite fire in the early going. Even though our offense wasn't putting points on the board effectively, our defense was keeping our opponents out of their end zone with enough regularity that we didn't need mammoth point's totals to win. Once we found our groove we continued onto a 7 game winning streak to start the year (best in franchise history) and taking honours in 9 of our first 10 games. Unfortunately from here it was a struggle and the pressure began to show on sophomore QB Collin Klein. We had considered resting him after the first half of the year, but couldn't find a winning formula with Vick or Robinson at the helm. Needless to say our 2-4 finish to the year was not to our standard and put undue pressure on the players to hold the division lead and retain our playoff spot. In the end we hung on to claim our second successive AFC West title with an 11-5 record before facing off against our divisional nemesis San Diego in the wild card round. This tight fought contest saw us come out victors with a 1 point win in a battle of the defences and setup a showdown with the Texans. The pressure was on against two young QB's and in the end it was the turnovers created by the Texans rookie signal caller Kendall Irving that allowed us to take the lead, even if we were kept out of the end zone more often than not. With 2 playoff wins the Raiders had their best post-season in GM Pearce's tenure and were hoping to keep the magic alive against the Steelers. We'd knocked them out of the playoffs two years ago following their Super Bowl win so this was set to be a big game. A quick start to the Steelers saw us behind early and then a game ending injury to QB Klein put us in a bad position that we just couldn't come back from offensively and the game was lost, leaving us oh so close to the big game for the first time since 2011.

Our defense stepped up its work for the second year in a row, making huge dividends in their performance versus the rest of the league and allowing us to play some shut down football instead of slug fests, with the following stats:
2nd points allowed (18.8ppg) - we were all over teams in the first half of the league and ended the season with the second best redzone defense. Whilst it looks like more teams are struggling to contain high powered offenses, we've tightened the screws to make scoring a problem.
1st total defense (315.4ypg) - with minimal changes across the defensive unit they've developed together and now work effectively to stop the run and pass together and doing it the best league wide.
4th pass defense (208.7ypg) - the last few weeks saw this ranking drop as we were right up the top for most of the year. Even without a lot of interceptions we just kept the yardage down in the air with some fundamental football.
6th rush defense (106.6ypg) - for most of the year this was under 100 yards per game but again we lost our edge in the last weeks and gave up too much to finish. Still an improvement on last year and league wide goes against the trend as bigger yard and scoring days seem to be the norm.
15th in sacks (35) - our front 7 didn't make it to the quarterback as often this year to force pressure or sacks, but they did more stopping the run and putting opposing passers into unfavourable situations on , long downs.
9th total takeaways (30) - our turnover numbers were up from last year with a couple more picks and more than double the number of fumbles, showing how much run pressure we put in
2nd red zone defense (22 TD's from 53 visits) - our opponent's actually got into the red zone a lot of times, however we forced turnovers regularly or kept them from scoring TD's more often than not which is great effort for the defensive team

15th in points scored (25.1ppg) - we started the year slowly for offensive points and had our defense to thank for winning games, but slowly our running game came to the fore providing us 20 touchdowns along with Collin Klein supplying 21 of his own and the defense 3. This scoring was added to by 30 field goals from the boot of Blair Walsh. Overall this scoring has increased since 2014 especially on the touchdown front in all forms of our offense
7th total offense (366.9ypg) - our total offense picked up again from last season on the back of another 2000 yard season by Mark Ingram and a more consistent passing game with Collin Klein at the helm. We averaged almost 50 yards a game more this year than 2014 with most of that coming through the air
25th pass offense (202.8ypg) - when you only have 161 yards per game in a season things can only go up, and that's what Collin Klein did for us. Even though he fell off in the latter part of the year he gave us a viable option to throw the ball with some security.
2nd rush offense (164.1ypg) - Ingram posted another MVP calibre year with 2180 yards and 15 touchdowns. This also earns him the Offensive Player of the Year award as well, making his mark on the GZL as the premiere back out of Oakland.

Pro Bowl:

HB Mark Ingram - with a league record rushing year Ingram receives his second Pro Bowl appearance as the league's best rusher
FB Marcel Reece - blocking for Ingram gave him plenty of opportunities to ply his trade and when he wasn't blocking he was one of Collin Klein's favourite red zone targets where he picked up 4 receiving TD's
TE Zach Miller - much the same as Reece he blocked superbly for Ingram but also provided a frequent receiving target all over the field picking his most TD's in a season with 6
LT Jammal Brown - brought in to beef up the blocking game Brown was rewarded for being a top 4 blocker
LG Bruce Campbell - comes in for a back-to-back Pro Bowl trip as he just gets better and better
RG Jordan Gross - in his first year as a Raider and playing OG, Gross broke the season record for number of pancakes by a guard with 105 to see him out do many offensive tackles in that category
RT Sebastian Vollmer - was only 1 pancake behind Brown in his efforts to support our powerful running game


Pre-Draft:

Signings/Re-signings:

All coaching staff maintained their positions for the second straight year as we look to keep improving in the new season.
P Griffin - signed for a further 5 years
LT Brown - Franchise Tag: as we were looking to deal Brown a Tag'n'Trade deal best suited the team. Unfortunately our deal fell through due to cap constraints from our trade partner so we are stuck with a larger salary on Brown than we'd like for this year.
RG Gross - Holdout: after receiving Pro Bowl accolades this year Gross was after a longer deal, which we obliged him with to extend his contract until 2018

Trades:

1.30 + Future 1st + Future 2nd for QB Griffin III + Bills Future 3rd - GM Pearce is known to love his scramblers and when Griffin was ousted from the starting gig in Buffalo by Andrew Luck, we had to ask the question. When the price was negotiated within our reach we couldn't pass up this opportunity to bring RG3 to Oakland.

QB Klein + 5.30 for 2.18 + 3.01 + 4.16 - with RG3 in town Klein had lost his starting role and we tested his value on the market as we'd prefer he had a shot to play then sit on the bench. A few teams listed an interest however in the end Chicago gave us the best offer that lasted till the trade period and now Klein has the chance to become the face of the Bears.

2.18 + 3.01 + 4.17 for TE Hernandez + 3.04 + 7.12 - originally we were after a #2 tight end to backup and learn from Miller with the intent they would take over from him as he regressed. Instead with a bevy of studs on the market we secured Hernandez to give us a second tight end option as well as another quality receiver in the bigger sets.

QB Robinson + Future 7th for 6.31 + Rams Future 4th + Rams Future 5th - with our cap too tight to meet roster requirements (and required to resign FS Polamalu in a bungled signing move) we needed to make space and Robinson was the only surplus player available. The Rams had been interested before so we worked a deal for future picks to give us the cap room and picks we could use next year.

LOLB Joseph + 6.09 + Future 6th for 5.11 + 49ers Future 2nd - same situation as the Robinson trade, we brought this deal forward to make cap room whilst still maintaining the body of the deal to suit both teams. Joseph become surplus once Ogletree was drafted last year and we were searching for similar value to what we paid for him.


Draft:

3.04 - CB Sylvester Spence: we had limited needs this offseason (due to cap constraints, filling roster requirements was paramount) and CB was one of them. Spence not only fills the needed roster slot but will compete with Jake Meadows for the nickel spot this season and may work to oust Shareece Wright from the starters list in a few years. He has decent height at 6'1", strength and can get his speed and quicks up to a decent level. He lacks great hands at the moment and hasn't got the best hops, but he has potential.
4.16 - FS Neal Green: we should've been drafting an OLB at this point but the targets left had no real skill. Instead we took a chance on the speedy safety from Stanford and he hasn't disappointed. Standing only 5'11" tall he has a turn of speed to rival most corners and decent hands to back it up. It will take a while for his game smarts to reach a playable level, but we expect to take him to the next level to compete for a starting job.
5.11 - CB Floyd Allen: depth at corner can't be taken lightly as our horror run of injuries last year confirmed, so Allen gives us more backup with great mobility, even if he's undersized and a bit weak.
6.30 - LOLB Byron Langford: drafted to fill a roster spot on a cheap contract, Langford has shown he wants more than that, giving us a much better performance at camp than shown in the combine. We'll be happy to see him in the rotations for special teams with the speed and acceleration he's showing.
6.31 - CB Jeremy Linton: finding a 6'2" safety this late in the draft had to be a mistake right? Wrong, but there was a reason for that. Linton has physical skills better suited to a safety, but lakes the strength and talking ability to do it. Will be lucky to see the field at all.
7.12 - TE Germane Claiborne: drafted because we had to, knowing that our cap was maxed by this point he was always going to be let go.
7.30 - CB Ralph Hollings: same as Claiborne above was destined for the free agency pool.


Post draft:

Free Agency:

With no cap available we could do nothing about adding more talented pieces to the team from the abundant FA pool this year.

Offseason conditioning:

Another off season has given our developing player group more time to refresh and refine their bodies and skills in preparation for the new season. A few players were given some focused training requirements of the offseason whilst others just improved on their own to better themselves and prove their worth to the team. We've furthered Marcus Lattimore's off season training regime from last season, continuing with his personal conditioning coach to overcome his injury concerns, toughening his body for the impacts and knocks he's bound to take. As a result he's also found an extra yard of speed due to all the work he's done strengthening his legs to support his knees. Chris Carter was still showing signs of fatigue during 2015 so his personal trainer worked on his stamina to give a bigger tank to last more plays. With the physical prowess that he boasts we want him on the field as much as possible, especially to get more of those 100 yard interception returns for scores.
Safety Mike Greenfield is constantly looking to improve his game and this season he's returned to clock a faster 40 yard dash time then last season. Even after bulking up last offseason it seems that this 26 year old really wants to cement his spot in the team. To go with this rookie Neal Green has added some extra size to his frame to follow in Greenfield's footsteps, looking to acquire the pro-typical safety size to throw behind his tackles.
Lastly Alec Ogletree has used his time out to take on some new challenges...like pie eating contests. As a result he's now a bigger body to fit with his fellow linebackers.

Training Camp:

Training Camp started where our season left off and rammed home the message that we still want better. Consistency is our aim for this season so we drilled the players over and over again to get their minds set on what we expect of them and to ensure their role is second nature and reflexive. Aside from numerous repetitions and physical workouts the team has broken down into smaller groups to focus on related skills. The receivers and defensive backs are getting back to basics with simple running drills like sprints, shuttles and cones, followed by route running and man coverage practice. We want our receivers able to break the shackles of tight defenders whilst have our man coverage stick like glue. The linebackers, D-line and O-line are pretty much trying to push over brick walls and work on their explosive takeoffs.
Through all this we've seen an improvement in our defense unit, especially some of the younger players. Rookies Sylvester Spence and Neal Green, along with Jake meadows and Alec Ogletree are all looking faster and quicker from their hard work. Ogletree was especially flogged after his revelation of off season dieting, so even though we couldn't sweat those extra pounds from him he's now a more refined tackling machine with a greater top end speed.
Our offensive unit had to get back to basics again as we worked to integrate our third starting Quarterback in as many seasons. RG3's style is more reminiscent of Michael Vick than the pocket game that Collin Klein gave us last year, so our O-Line needs to be quick on its feet and receivers ready to catch some heat from an arm that is magnitude's stringer then Klein's.

Position Battles:

Nickel Back - Jake Meadows Vs Sylvester Spence
With 99% of our starters returning from 2015 the position battles are slim. The new crop of rookies aren't high picks so they're not really pushing for a starting spot this year. The most likely battle is for the nickel corner position where incumbent Jake Meadows needs to prove his worth against new comer Sylvester Spence. Meadows has the upper hand for now with game smarts, hands and vertical, however Spence is likely to overtake him in a year or two with greater speed and we hope a quickly developing understanding of the GZL game. If speed becomes more of a need this year then Spence is likely to fill this role, but I foresee this being rotated on a needs basis for each game.

Overall Ins:

QB Griffin III
TE Hernandez

Overall Outs:

QB Klein (traded)
QB Robinson (traded)
OLB Joseph (traded)
WR Edison (released)
TE Carlson (released
CB Quinn (released)
SS Huff (released)
WR Breaston (not resigned)
CB Verner (not resigned)
CB Harris (not resigned)
FS Polamalu (resigned then released)
TE Scaife (retired)


2016 Outlook:

We fell one game short of the Super Bowl and just squeezed in our second consecutive division title because we lost our winning formula in the second half of the year, so we want to make 2016 a better year-long effort. Our offense needs to get going early in the year so we don't wear the defense out for the home stretch. With the only major change coming at Quarterback this year we're looking for another solid defensive performance whilst our offense can lift its scoring potential to the league leading levels with RG3 at the helm. Our passing game has been bottom of the league for the past few years whilst the run has been our focus, so we're hoping we can get more efficiency through the air whilst our run game still dominates.
On the win/loss front we still need to improve our divisional record and take a real grip of the AFC West by closing out our competition from San Diego and Denver as soon as possible. All our divisional foes provide a challenge and one are easy beats no matter their starting line up, so we can't be the first to break or our playoff dreams may be out the window. This entire team has been together for a full season now whilst most of them are experienced enough to avoid dumb mistakes and bring the "PRO" back into this football team, enforced by a solid defensive brand of football.

Projected Starting Line-up:

QB Robert Griffin III*
HB Mark Ingram
FB Marcel Reece
WR Darius Heyward-Bey
WR Louis Murphy
TE Zach Miller
LT Jammal Brown
LG Bruce Campbell
C Andre Gurode
RG Jordan Gross
RT Sebastian Vollmer

LE Trevor Scott
DT Brandon Wood
DT Jacques Bailey
RE Carlos Dunlap
LOLB Chris Carter
MLB Rolando McClain
ROLB Alec Ogletree
CB Shareece Wright
CB Camden Pietarilla
FS Mike Greenfield
SS Tyvon Branch

K Blair Walsh
P Timothy Griffin

* Denotes new starter
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 01/01/2014) Replies - 0 :: Views - 16
New Face in Raider Town
You thought you had trouble against this run?



How are you going to handle this addition?



That's right folks, Robert Griffin III is now the face of the Raiders franchise and will team with dual MVP Mark Ingram to form the nucleus of our offensive arsenal. In 2015 we finished as the second best rushing team in the league with Ingram doing the grunt work and backed by Marcus Lattimore. We were 2nd behind the Seattle Seahawks who boasted the run of LeGarrette Blount and scrambler Cameron Newton to give them edge. For 2016 we are looking to ursurp the rushing crown and bring it home to Oakland as RG3 can add more precious yards on the ground to go with Ingram's domination. When Vick was in top form during the 2013 season we topped the numberc chart just shy of 170 yards per game. With Ingram hungry for a third 2000 yard season we're hoping to break that team mark and get our numbers up there with the great years of 2010 and 2011 for the Chargers and Texans respectively (180+ ypg).

Not only does RG3 give us more running power, he brings a proven passing game with him to keep defenses honest. 2015 saw his best year as a passer with his best completion ratio, yards and touchdowns as the Bills looked to test his throwing capabilites. His numbers saw him 15th in the league for total yards and equal 12th for touchdowns thrown. As far as his capabilites go he is only getting better for 2016 and we trust him to lead this franchise to success for many years to come.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 12/17/2013) Replies - 0 :: Views - 31
Raiders Beat Nemesis, Advance to Next Round
As if we don't see enough of them in the regular season, but our 3rd seed finish pitted the Raiders against the Chargers in the Wildcard round. Our embarrassing loss in round 17 to Tennessee killed our chances at a first round bye, even though it saw a few players achieve milestones. Mark Ingram broke the single season rushing record, raising the bar to 2180 yards in a year, whilst Jordan Gross in his new found guard position laid out 105 pancakes for the year, the most by an offensive guard in GZL. Needless to say the team as a whole stunk up the field versus the Titans and needed a reality check facing the defending champions in the playoffs. Going into the clash knowing that GM Pearce's tenure in Oakland had seen us split all games 50/50 against this divisional rival there was a lot of focus trying to work out a strategy that could guarantee a win. Unfortunately we still can't find a sure-fire formula to overpower the two time champs convincingly every week, but we had faith in our game plan to at least keep us in the game till the end.

We gave ourselves a good chance to make this an upset win over a full strength playoff Chargers unit. Using our normal method of wearing the clock and opposition down we gave them the least amount of opportunity with the ball to score and in doing so removed the all-time rushing leader as a factor in the game. Mathews had 22 carries for 46 yards, well below his standards and was a tactic we picked up from our loss to the Titans in the previous week. Gabbert was only given 3 more attempts with the ball himself and our defense put the pressure on enough that there were no third down conversions in the first 7 attempts. Our redzone defense was back on track keeping the end zone clear 2 out of 3 times, which proved critical in such a low scoring game. Klein was solid on the other side, putting in 2 touchdowns and 1 turnover in a day where the full scores were king. The 17 to 16 margins is as small as they come but at the end of the day enough to carry us through to round 2 and a matchup against the Houston Texans, whilst the defending champs are out. Our history versus the Texans is the same as the Chargers with an even split in our 2 games. They've finished the year on an impressive run unlike our faltering steps and it will be a tough task to take them down.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 11/20/2013) Replies - 3 :: Views - 42
Raiders Clinch AFC West
Despite a 7-1 start to the season it took to week 16 to clinch the Division title with a come from behind win over the Denver Broncos. After losing back-to-back games against the Broncos and Panthers when we only needed one more win to keep ahead, it was all down to our last divisional game to keep divisional records even and the tie breaker in our favour. All was looking good up until the two minute drill of the first half when out 10-0 lead was nullified, then Ryan Fitzpatrick heroics continued in the 3rd quarter with another TD pass, then Collin Klein turned it over for another score. Down by 14 with little more than a quarter left it didn't look good. Our faith in Klein not to crumble under the pressure was minimal at this point, however he kept his cool and control, delivery two fourth quarter touchdowns to level the score. The pressure went back to Fitzpatrick who through a pick to rookie linebacker Alec Ogletree who returned it 35 yards for the game winning score. At the end of the day, Klein's 317 yards, 61.54% completions, 2 touchdowns and 1 pick isn't a bad outing. The O-line kept things clean, protecting the quarterback all day and giving Ingram enough holes to run through to keep things moving. Our defense got the Fitzpatrick for 5 recorded sacks plus other forced passes, however we are disappointed with the 322 yards we gave up in the air against an average quarterback. In the end it means our week 17 outing against Tennessee is not a must win to maintain a top 4 seed in the playoffs, however we'll still aim for the #1 or #2 spot and give ourselves a bye week.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 11/11/2013) Replies - 0 :: Views - 14
Ingram Rushes Past 2000 yards
For the second time in 3 years, Mark Ingram has surpassed the 2000 rushing yard mark and makes him the first player in GZL history to achieve this feat. The accomplishment was made in week 15 versus the Carolina Panthers where he amassed 178 yards for 1 TD at 5.74 ypc. With the talented names at half back in GZL, such as Ryan Mathews, Arian Foster (current leader for most yards rushed in a single season), Ronnie Brown, Adrian Peterson and more across the league it comes as a surprise that none have gone over 2000 yards more than once, and the mark has only been achieved 5 times in the leagues history (Foster, Brown, Mathews and Ingram twice). No player reached the goal in 2014 after Ingram's MVP season of 2013 where he fell 1 yard short of tying the league record (2144 yards). Now after 16 weeks of the 2015 season Ingram is only 9 yards shy of the league record, backed by 11 100+ yard games, 2 of which were over 200 yards. He has also added 15 touchdowns in that time, so his efforts haven't been without reward. The season started thin on the scoring front (no scores in the first 3 games), but he added 2 apiece in the Saints and Chargers games of weeks 5 and 6, before having a hot 3 games from week 10 to 12 adding 7 TD's and 573 yards to his tallies. His Lowest game of the year was an 87 yard effort against the Broncos in week 14, which is still no slouch of a game (his 20 attempts were also the lowest for the year in a game). Word out of Oakland says he's in with a good shot for the record, as a win this week over the Titans would all but ensure a first round bye in the playoffs so they'll need their best gun firing to achieve this result. The Titans have some talented depth if they choose to rest some starters so it'll be a challenge to win no matter the line-up we face.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 11/06/2013) Replies - 5 :: Views - 71
Raiders Extended the Streak
With back-to-back games of the week and two tough opponents in the Steelers and the Chiefs, the Raiders were able to extend the winning streak to 7 games. Our offensive improvement has continued over this stretch whilst our defense has felt the pressure of such an extraordinary start. We knew that keeping up such a level of point depravation was not going to happen, but we still lead the league in points allowed (13.4ppg) whilst sitting 3rd on total defense (292.4 ypg).

Our trip to Pittsburgh feature the best game so far for Collin Klein who threw 225 yards, 4 TDs, 0 Ints at a 61% completion rate. After Mark Ingram dominated the week before it was good to see that Klein has the ability to lead this team when needed. Chris Carter had the most telling possession of the day, picking off a Roethlisbergr pass into the end zone and returning it 100 yards for a score. This was pivitol in the momentum of the match and allowed us to push a pressing lead against the Steelers who turned to catch-up football in an effort to get back into the game. Our control of possession in the first half, including 9-of-10 3rd down conversions allowed us to dictate the terms of the game, forcing Big Ben into his second turnover of the day to wrap things up 35-25.

In our second clash with the Chiefs of the year things turned out the same as week 1. Both QB's turned the ball over consistently when either team was looking good with a ton of possession. Klein was slightly better than week 1 throwing for an extra TD (2) to his same amount of picks (3), whilst Mark Ingram posted his 5th 100+ yard rushing game of the year and kicked off our scoring with a 20 yard TD run over the top of Chiefs safety Eric Berry. The rest was painful to watch as Klein turned the ball over twice in the endzone trying for a score and wasting a lot of effort getting so far up the field. Andrew Luck had it no better, throwing a pick to each of our 4 corners, one in the critical last minutes after we had turned it over minutes before hand when a win could've been sealed either way. This last turnover resulted in our winning touchdown to seal the game in a day that saw both teams give up 4 turnovers but neither QB was sacked.

We have another tough divisional game this week at San Diego, with the Chargers coming off a huge 72 point game against the Bengals and carrying a grudge from giving Ingram 284 yards in our last encounter. Blaine Gabbert is back so we know things won't be going the same way this week.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 09/12/2013) Replies - 0 :: Views - 24
Last Man Standing
The Raiders set a franchise record for most consecutive wins to start a season this past week versus the Chargers, tallying their 5th in a row and leaving them as the sole undefeated team after week 6. Although the Cardinals matched this number of wins (without a bye week in the middle) we now stand alone atop the AFC seedings, ready to face the conference #2 Pittsburgh Steelers. We were faced with the challenge of posting decent offensive scoring after the bye in week 4, where we scraped in on a 6-3 win over the Bills. Week 5 saw the Saints come to town, a team who were also priding themselves on strong defensive playmaking and remarkable return from rookie scrambler Matt Scott. The break did us good however as we posted our biggest score for the year (37) on the back of 147 yards and 2 TD's from Mark Ingram and Collin Klein's best passing game for the Raiders. The most notable achievement in this game was our ability to control the clock and possession by constantly converting third downs (9/10 in the first half, 12/17 for the game). This show of efficiency with the ball was a pleasing turnaround from previous weeks and opened up the game more than we could have imagined. A bit of defensive slacking in the 2 minute drills gave the Saints a respectable 17 points in an otherwise dominant performance.

In week 6 we hosted the Chargers for a bitter divisional showdown that was looking to be another tight fought affair. The return of Tony Romo boosted the Chargers thirst for a win here, however Mark Ingram carried on from the Saints' game and finally broke out for a run (or two) longer than 20 yards. He finished the game with 284 yards off 32 carries (8.88ypc) and 2 touchdowns. Rookie Marcus Lattimore chipped in with his biggest carry of the year, going 69 yards for a score of his own. Romo was kept well in check by the defense, whilst Ryan Matthews was stifled into only 41 yards for the game. Two critical fumble recoveries helped the cause a great deal, shutting down one score and giving great position from the pumble for the other. The team hasn't collected an interception since week one and we've had 4 fumbles recovered in the past two weeks, meaning our ball hogging tactics and generally solid but not spectacular defense is keeping the opponent out of scoring opportunities and way from their game plan. We'll need more of that this coming week in Pittsburgh as we need to stop Big Ben and Mendenhall from tearing us apart.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 08/29/2013) Replies - 0 :: Views - 23
Raiders Stonewall Into Bye Week
After the opening 3 weeks of the season and a rather lack lustre pre-season to kick it all off, the one constant in our game has been defense. A solid focus for the past two offseasons we have started the year with some impressive displays of choking opposition scoring, especially against 2 successful playoff teams from last season in the Browns and Bills. We currently sit as the best team for points allowed (8.3ppg), 2nd in total yards per game (241), 2nd in pass yards per game (157) and 5th in rushing yards per game (84). This sort of performance has not been seen in the past two seasons as we gave up heaps of points and had to outgun all comers to win. The best factor of this is that there are no outstanding talents, meaning everyone is sharing the load. Couple this with the meagre turnover number of 2 interceptions, along with 3 sacks we are generally only stopping plays from happening rather than forcing the opponent into errors. 11 tackles for loss are helping to keep the rushing numbers reasonable and the deflection to catch allowed ratio across the board is almost 1-to-1. Rookie OLB Alec Ogletree leads the tackle count, edging out MLB McClain and 2nd year starter FS Greenfield.
Offensively we have been far from impressive, although Mark Ingram has managed 341 yards in 3 games (but no scores) with 2 100+ yard games and a 98 yard game to keep the offense moving. QB Collin Klein had an first game to forget, passing for 1 TD and 3 interceptions, however he rebounded in week 2 with 2 TD's and no picks. Week 3 saw a solid outing against a tough defense where no TD's were scored all game. WR Louis Murphy has been missed for the past couple of games and we hope to have him back after the bye week. The O-line is putting up solid numbers well above anything we had in the past 2 years, which has kept Klein to only being sacked 6 times. Even with a 3-0 start we'll need to look at the offensive game plan as a 6-3 score line (won by a FG in the lasts seconds) is not something we wish to repeat and the kind of offensive output that we brought Klein in to fix. An average of 15.7 ppg is below par and won't get us to another playoff year. With my full availability back to scour this team we'll be working hard over the bye week to turn our offense around.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 08/06/2013) Replies - 0 :: Views - 17
Generation '15 Raider Style
2014 Season Review:

With solidity at the helm for Oakland we moved into 2014 looking to make progress from our second place divisional finish and 1-1 playoff appearance. Our preseason was focused on getting our younger players some significant playing time and adjusting our game plans to our new roster. We were happy with the progress they made and looked to capitalise on this momentum into the regular season. Alas some miscommunication saw the wrong starting line-ups used in the first game and the drubbing we received at the hands of the Lions shadowed us into the next few weeks. Ending the first 4 weeks at 1-3 really stung and with the Chiefs on the charge at 3-1 by the same point it was looking to be an uphill battle. Needless to say we knuckled down and pulled off a surprising 5 game winning streak, which include 3 in a row against all divisional rivals. By the bye week we were at 6-3 and atop the division, leading the resurgent Broncos who were hitting their run whilst the Chiefs and Chargers were languishing under the losses of their respective starting quarterbacks. Our drive to the playoffs was shaky winning 4 of the last 7 and almost giving up the division to the Broncos, however a last week victory over the Chiefs saw us break our divisional game split and sealing the AFC West title with a 10-6 record (a win less than our 2nd place finish last year). We headed into the playoffs to host Cleveland and the surging power of Boston Mallett. The game didn't finish in our favour but we were pleased with the efforts to keep Mallett out of the endzone and under 180 yards. It was a shame our offense couldn't keep the chains moving, otherwise one more score could've made the difference.
Our 2014 outlook from last season was to improve our defense, which we can say we have achieved. Our points allowed per game have improved from 24.7 (19th) to 22.1 (9th), total defense has gone from 360.8 (16th) to 339.8 (10th), pass defense from 247.5 (20th) to 231.4 (12th) and rush defense from 113.3 (16th) to 108.4 (12th). Just these figures alone show an improvement from our defensive unit as they develop into more experienced players. Things could of looked better if it wasn't for a few early season miscommunications in line-ups and game plans, but we'll be sure to correct this situation in the coming year. Second year corner Camden Pietarila has proven to be star in the making, collecting 6 picks this year and improving his deflection-to-catches allowed ratio. His maturity and field awareness has just exploded over the year and he's poised to take over as a true leader for the secondary.

Conversely our offense had a rather significant drop in output this year, dropping from 1st in points per game (30) to 23rd (21.6), from 5th in total yardage (390.3ypg) to 27th (316.8ypg), from 22nd in passing yards (220.4ypg) to 31st (161.8ypg) and dropping 1 spot in rush offense from 1st (169.9ypg) to 2nd (155ypg). Our overall slump cannot be pinpointed to any one area, although we do realize that Mark Ingram had an extraordinary 2013 campaign that would've taken a herculean effort to reciprocate, we just couldn't find the right gears to get more points on the board. Michael Vick was down almost 1000 yards and 8 touchdowns from the previous year with a greater TD to interception ratio and about the same number of sacks. He also didn't score as well on the ground and managed to fumble the ball 5 times in his efforts. Mark Ingram was down 50 attempts, 500 yards and 8 touchdowns as well with the only noticeable change to the structure was the changing of offensive tackles. His yards per attempt were down almost 1 yard on the back of less breakout runs, which may mean the blocking schemes just weren't right. Obviously the trade of Kris Dielman for Sebastian Vollmer and the move of Anthony Davis from the right side to the left have significantly altered the balance and we'll look to rectify this situation during the offseason. Many of the offensive linemen were down on pancakes from last year which also doesn't help our ability to make holes. With more progression coming from the last week of the year and post season we can only improve in this area.

During the year we restructured corner Shareece Wright for 7 years an guarantee support in our secondary for the long term, giving us 2 young and able corners to lead our secondary.

ProBowl:

Due to our significant drop in offensive production and our well rounded defense (plus exceptional defensive talent in the AFC), we had a minor showing this year:

LG Campbell
DT Wood

Both are debutants to Hawaii after significantly improved seasons and still have many years to make a return trip.

Pre-Draft:

All coaches were resigned after a second successful year and another divisional crown. Whilst our offensive co-ordinators and coach will need to pick up their game and get the ball moving again we are confident that this unit as a whole can keep the winning season coming in.

Signings/Re-signings:
QB Michael Vick – Vick received a 3 year deal that should see him through to retirement
FS Michael Huff – brought back through the match market Huff will serve us for another couple of years, although at this stage he is highly likely to be doing so from the strong safety position

HB Mark Ingram was restructured for a further 6 years. Ingram is the backbone of our offense and we always wanted to make him a new deal and keep him locked into Oakland for the entirety of his career. Now we'll have him for the peak for his career with options down the road to continue his service in more specialised roles.

Trades:
ROLB Groves to CAR for 6.23 – Groves had a contract that was just too extreme for a backup and we were considering cutting him, but tested the market first. We never expected much and were happy to take a quickly offered 6th from Carolina.
K Janikowski to CAR for 4.4 – Sebastian was offered around to a few teams before we finally found a buyer, once again from Carolina and we wish him the best as he sees out the end of his stellar career and gives us some cap back
1.22 + 4.13 + 4.22 to CIN for QB Klein + 2.17 + 7.17 – throughout his rookie year we weren't high on Klein's long term prospects due to a substantially low arm, however the more we saw of him the more potential we saw. With players like Brees and Orton having performed well with weaker arms we decided that the almost top level field vision and accuracy displayed by Klein was worth the investment. If he wins the starting job there will be a huge shift in the game plans for the Raiders this year.
2.17 + Future 3rd to TB for RT Gross + 3.28 + Future 6th – after reviewing the performances of our offensive line the past few years and the training investments required into a young players it became apparent we just couldn't keep them up to the level. When Gross hit the market we moved to acquire his services, even if it did take a bit of manoeuvring through picks to find the right combination. We also had to setup the following deal in advance to ensure we weren't left over crowded as Gross will move to right guard for a few years.
RG Newton to DEN for 2.20 – with gross on his way in Newton was deemed the odd one out on our line and was shipped off to divisional rival Denver
ROLB Durant + 3.28 to WAS for RT Brown – Brown is another aging talent who has great athleticism at his position. We opened up talks with the former Raiders GM Kurt Ison and soon found a level ground that enabled us to both afford a deal and get a player we wanted
Amnesty LT Greer to SD for 7.17 – with Brown added we used our amnesty on Greer for cap room and the Chargers took the prize

Draft:

2.20HB Marcus Lattimore: there were big knocks on Lattimore's injury rating, hence why he ended up so far down the draft (and probably would've fallen into the 3rd round). As we aren't after a starter from this pick we found his physical skills were right for the role of backing up Mark Ingram. He has good size at 221lbs along with decent speed and strength which won't differ too much from Ingram's so the plan won't change when he hits the field to relieve.
2.29 OLB Alec Ogletree: not the fastest of the available linebackers here, but Ogletree is by the far the most GZL ready of the class (74 AWR, 81 TAK). We were only looking for a solid backup here but with Ogletree we may see a new starter as he'll push Jeremiah Joseph for the ROLB role.
4.4DT Jacquez Emanuel: he has crazy speed for a 290lbs defensive tackle and fits the pass rusher mould that we love. Looking very similar to current starter Jacques Bailey, he'll provide adequate depth at the position for an affordable salary and could pressure for a start if he can prove his scouting report was understated.
4.26DE Dennis Ricks: it was surprising to find such a talented end available at this stage of the draft, and as we needed a player at this position we couldn't pass him up. Not the best tackler and as about as aware as RE Dunlap he needs some work but could be quite worthy of a start in a few years.
5.22 HB Connor Snell: primarily picked as a return specialist we hope his injury and toughness ratings won't see him knocked out of too many games by someone sneezing on him.
6.22WR Tavarres King: we were hoping that he'd had a bad day for the combines but by camp he'd shown a greater turn of speed and acceleration but was lacking on agility. He may get a chance in depth for the bigger sets, but not pushing for a starting gig anytime soon
6.23OT Byron Rogers: his blocking skills are poor and we were hoping they were understated, but it seems they are what they are. Nice awareness and athleticism but probably too much work for him to push Vollmer, Davis or Brown out of a starting gig.
7.14WR Kenny Stills: proved to be in the same mould as King with his real performance in camp and will be fitting alongside him for the same positions in depth
7.17 OT Donovan Watson: has nice pass blocking but is average in awareness and run blocking, which didn't show up any better at camp
7.22FB Kyle Juszczyk: we were hoping for a true sleeper here with someone who could eventually replace Reece. Unfortunately is hype was overrated and he's not likely to spend much time playing


Post draft:

Free Agency:

With few team needs after the conclusion of the draft we are not aiming to make any noticeable effort into the free agent market. Once the pool is finalized we may decide on adding a strategic piece or two, but with a minimal cap room available it's not likely.

Offseason conditioning:

This team still has a lot of developing stars we need to push to that elite level. Offseason has become a time for these guys to continue pushing their physical levels to reach that next step. As such we returned our focus from last year to Mark Ingram, providing him with personal trainers to work on his endurance and stamina. We want a bigger tank out of Ingram so he can maintain his daunting presence on the field more often and can give us the best returns possible. His new protégé has also shown a commitment to making himself GZL ready after being knocked and overlooked in the draft because of a perceived injury risk. Marcus Lattimore has taken on a personal conditioning coach to better understand the capabilities of his body and how to avoid being hurt in the inevitable clashes he will be exposed to. As part of this process he also developed a "thicker skin", adding bulk in all the right places to help pad against knocks and collisions.
We were surprised when training camp started that star corner Camden Pietarila had proven himself faster and more explosive out of the gate than last year. He has shown us a dedication to becoming one of the top defensive backs in this league and after only 2 years in the game is well on track.
Last year we thought a 6'3" 225lbs safety was big, but a 6'3" 235lbs safety is even better. Mike Greenfield has learnt from his first year in the league on how to better leverage his position and frame to make the best pass break ups and tackles, hoping to bring the pain to the smaller opponent's he'll constantly be up against. It's great to see all these younger team members truly committed to the Raider's organisation and bringing their A game to training camp.

Training Camp:

Training Camp hit everyone hard as we wanted no slacking off after our early playoff exit. Consistency is our aim for this season so we drilled the players over and over again to get their minds set on what we expect of them and to ensure their role is second nature and reflexive. Aside from numerous repetitions and physical workouts the team has broken down into smaller groups to focus on related skills. The receivers and defensive backs are getting back to basics with simple running drills like sprints, shuttles and cones, followed by route running and man coverage practice. We want our receivers able to break the shackles of tight defenders whilst have our man coverage stick like glue. The linebackers, D-line and O-line are pretty much trying to push over brick walls and work on their explosive takeoffs. With some new and young quarterbacks now poised to get some playing time they were given some extra time under the guidance of Michael Vick to explore all facets of their game, technique and capabilities. This tutelage has proven to be instrumental in acquainting the likes of Collin Klein and Denard Robinson with the demands of a GZL quarterback and how to best utilise the offensive talent on this roster.
Team leadership has shifted to the new guard of the team. MLB Rolando McClain still claims dominance over the defensive unit, but will be ably assisted by rising star CB Camden Pietarila. Mark Ingram has taken the burden of offensive leadership to give Michael Vick more time to focus on mentoring his young protégés. This new leadership outfit signals a new era for the Raiders as we look to retain our playoff achieving level of play whilst transitioning the team into a true GM Pearce armada.

Position Battles:

QuarterbackMichael Vick vs Collin Klein
Vick had a below standard last season and really put the pressure on the organisation to provide reliability at quarterback. Klein has remarkable skills for a player with 1 year of GZL experience under his belt, even if his arm is under powered. A detailed analysis has been done on how this factor will affect his game play and what is the best strategy to use him with. Klein will see strong time in the pre-season and this could well dictate if he gets the starting role come opening day. Vick can't consider his job safe until Klein proves himself not worthy.

ROLBJeremiah Joseph vs Alec Ogletree
Joesph was added last year to understudy from Durant and take over the reins this year or next (depending on what happened with Durant). After drafting Ogletree and viewing his natural football talent we are torn between Joseph's speed and Ogletree's strength and game smarts. At this point we are leaning towards Ogletree to provide a more knowledgeable head in the position after relying on Durant for so many years, giving Joseph more time to improve his awareness and skills.

KR/PRJacoby Ford vs Connor Snell
Leon Washington was brought in last season to take over the returner duties after Ford muffed a few critical returns (after which Dominique Edison took over the return duties for the rest of that year). With Washington aging and let go we added Snell as HB depth and return expert. Snell is likely to kick things off in this role, however his potential to get injured has us glad Ford is on the roster to fill the void if needed (for the long or short term). We may split the punt and kick return duties between the two if it keeps Snell upright for longer or isn't proving efficient at the either aspect of the job.

Offensive TackleAnthony Davis vs Sebastian Vollmer vs Jammal Brown
With the experience and skills of Vollmer and Brown available we'd be hard pressed to leave one benched for the younger Davis. As it stands we're not sure who will be on the right side or the left, but we feel Davis may be sitting out a year or two and improving his awareness through observation rather than game time. Brown isn't considered a long term option with the team and Davis is signed up for another 5 years and we'll gladly bring him back into the line-up once Brown has slipped in his physical prowess.


Overall Ins:
QB Klein
RG Gross
RT Brown

Overall Outs:
CB Tillman (retired)
FS Reed (retired)
ROLB Groves (trade)
K Janikowski (trade)
ROLB Durant (trade)
RG Newton (trade)
LT Greer (amnesty)
RE Charlston (cut)
DT Hargroves (cut)
SS Collins (not resigned)
HB Grant (not resigned)
HB Washington (not resigned)

2014 Outlook:

For 2015 we want to get back our offensive mojo. It's a big ask with so few changes made to the offensive unit but we think a new outlook, a pocket passer, veteran blockers and a new game plan could be an effective formula. We also feel we have some true support in the run game for Mark Ingram which will lighten his overall work load, giving him the energy to push for those big runs. With such a disappointing drop in the last year for our offensive scoring we feel the need to get better production going to post bigger numbers. As was proven on occasions last season we were getting too one-minded with the run game being our only option, but with Klein we feel the balance is returning where we can switch our focus as needed, thus keeping opposition defences honest and not able to easily counter our unpredictable offense. With some veteran skill injected into the offensive line there is some better protection available and the blocking skill has increase significantly to the aim of getting Ingram open more often and keeping Klein with a clean pocket and plenty of time to make his passes.
Defensively we just need to keep the improvement going as there is still a lot of youth here that is just getting better as time goes on. We lost a defensive leader in Justin Durant this season but with the bevy of talent rising all around and new leaders stepping up we hope his absence won't be as noticeable. Our safeties are still in a state of flux but this year we hope to see the rise of Mike Greenfield's career when he takes the starting free safety role, putting his 6'3" frame to the test. Michael Huff is nearing the end of his career and moves back to his original strong safety position to provide the biff that has been lacking from our veteran fill-ins these past couple of years.
We'll need to keep a solid and constant game going as one slip would see us out of playoff contention as all our divisional rivals have shown themselves to be on the same competitive page as us. Last year we felt some of the bigger games were beyond our ability to contest in, but this year we have greater faith in our overall team and the production they can generate on both sides of the ball.

Projected Starting Line-up:

QB Collin Klein*
HB Mark Ingram
FB Marcel Reece
WR Darius Heyward-Bey
WR Louis Murphy
TE Zach Miller
LT Sebastian Vollmer
LG Bruce Campbell
C Andre Gurode
RG Jordan Gross*
RT Jammal Brown*

LE Trevor Scott
DT Brandon Wood
DT Jacques Bailey
RE Carlos Dunlap
LOLB Chris Carter
MLB Rolando McClain
ROLB Alec Ogletree*
CB Shareece Wright
CB Camden Pietarilla
FS Mike Greenfield*
SS Michael Huff

K Blair Walsh*
P Timothy Griffin

* Denotes new starter
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 07/04/2013) Replies - 0 :: Views - 22
Raiders head to the bye
One of the last teams to take their bye week, the Raiders are sitting strong on the back of a 5 game winning streak to put them top of the division at 6-3. Having beaten out all other rivals once so far we have a one game lead over the Chiefs and Broncos even after our atrocious start to the year.

Our first game of the year against the Lions saw coaching blunders not rotate the starters back into the defensive line-up, resulting in a smashing in the air when we had a solid game plan to shut down the Lions rampant passing attack. Week two gave us revenge over the Ravens from last year's disappointing shoot out, keeping Flacco from smashing our youthful secondary. Weeks 3 and 4 saw a complete breakdown of our strategies and game plans, falling significantly to both the Chargers and Bears in games that our offense didn't give us any production. We had minimal time of possession and so far hadn't seen the MVP form of Mark Ingram in the running game. Last year's top scoring offense had been flat and off its game completely in the first 4 weeks and the pressure on the defense was showing. We were now falling rapidly behind the division leading Chiefs who were skyrocketing to a powerful season behind Andrew Luck and his rookie wide outs and something had to change.
Roll in week 5 against an equally unsuccessful Vikings outfit and we got back on the winners horse. The defense kept the opponent to only 12 points for the day and scored their own TD which helped the lack-lustre offense get over the line. Week 6 we went up against the cellar dwelling Texans and we got our best production on offense to date, however a last half Texans surge almost gave the game away. Keeping Arian Foster to low numbers was key here as our last meeting saw him run away uncontested multiple times for a 200+ yard game. Our rematch versus the Chargers in week 7 saw the return of Mark Ingram to the scoreboard in a day that had Mick Vick injured for most of the outing. Ingram collected his first 100+ yard game of the year and scored twice. We also took Blaine Gabbert out of the game of for a few extra weeks and Pat Devlin couldn't live up to his Super bowl performance and get them into gear. We gave up plenty of yards but turnovers kept our score on the positive side. Back-to-back divisional games had us in KC for week 8 and a complete shut out of the Chiefs saw the home fans go away crying. Interim QB Matthew Tebow gave us 3 picks and was sacked 7 times in a game where Ingram ran for more yards than Vick passed for. The tri-fecta was achieved in week 9 against in Denver, adding the 5th straight win and 3 divisional wins in a row by downing the Broncos. We gave up massive numbers in the air and saw an injury to Mark Ingram but kept our offensive production rolling for our highest score of the year (done in only 3 quarters of scoring).

To date Michael Vick has had a mediocre season going 9 and 5 over 1610 yards and sacked 28 times (sacked 33 times total last year). Mark Ingram had a slow start to the year and has only 804 yards for 5 TD's plus 2 fumbles. We hope his groin injury won't set him back too much and he'll come on strong for the last half of the year. CB Pietarila has stepped it up from his rookie campaign, collecting 4 interceptions so far, deflecting 17 passes and allowing only 20 catches in comparison. Our front 7 are again sharing the work load, pressuring the rival QB's for a combination of 23 sacks. They've also got behind the line for 40 tackles for loss. Overall our defensive numbers are solid although the amount of yardage given up early was a concern and we'll look for ways to stem that flow and bottle opponent's up.

Our next opponent is the #2 ranked Green Bay Packers in a game we need to win to prove our competitiveness for the playoffs. We are hitting a critical stretch of the season as we hump a 4 game road trip before returning to Oakland in a Broncos rematch that is proving to be a must win more and more each week. We also face the joy of finishing the season off against a power house Bills team and Andrew Luck's return game from injury in the final season outing against the Chiefs.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 04/02/2013) Replies - 5 :: Views - 83
Raiders Training Camp
2013 Season Review:

The Raiders began the year after a hectic offseason by securing star MLB Rolando McClain on a long term contract extension that will see him at Oakland for life. AS the defensive team leader after only 3 years in the league we were ecstatic to have McClain here to lead the way for a long time.
A poor showing in the preseason (1-3) was compounded by the loss of FS Michael Huff for the year. With thin stocks around at this position we enlisted the services of veteran Ed Reed to provide some solid leadership in a secondary that was beginning to look much patched together. With Ronald Bartell having moved to strong safety from corner only this year and Rashean Mathis, after losing a step or two, providing a mentor role to the youngsters we didn't have the best combination of speed and smarts to truly expect any solid pass defense.
Despite the perceived weakness in the secondary we started off the regular season strong, winning our first 4 games. However soon our consistency slipped and we began alternating wins every other week and eventually ended up splitting all conference games, which was a hard pill to swallow as we ended up trailing the divisional champion (and Superbowl champion) Chargers by this tie breaker alone. Our defensive efforts weren't the best early on however we picked up later in the season, getting more pressure onto the passer, resulting in more sacks and more turnovers. Amongst this turn around we saw rookie CB Camden Pietarila moved to #2 CB spot and begin performing on par with other top rookie CB's (4 ints, 30 def) (He was later awarded the AFC Defensive ROTY award). Mathis and Bartell each provided a solid presence on defense and managed their own share of interceptions, whilst Kelly Jennings made some surprise starts due to injury and had a couple as well.
Our front 7 on defense shared the pressure with DE's Dunlap and Scott snagging 7 sacks each, DT's Wood and Figueroa 4 each, whilst OLB's Durant and Boley collected 6 each. The linebackers also assisted our underdone secondary in coverage, amassing 7 ints and plenty of deflections.
We ended up with an 11-5 record (up from 6-10) and a Wildcard spot in the playoffs, facing the defending champ Pittsburgh Steelers. With WR Murphy out for the playoffs we went with speed against an obviously aging Steelers secondary and our passing game led us to victory. Our second game against the Titans saw the offense flounder a bit and our defense just couldn't hold back the all-round performance of the Titans.
Our most noticeable team achievements for the year were 5th in overall offense (390.3ypg), most on the back of the running game where we were 1st with 169.9ypg, followed by 22nd in passing with 220.4ypg, totalling in 30ppg for 1st in the league.
Defense had us 19th with 24.7ppg for scoring, 16th in total defense (360.8ypg), 20th in pass defense (247.5ypg) and 16th in rush defense (113.3ypg)

WR Louis Murphy had his best year in the GZL by almost doubling his previous best marks for yards receiving (665 up to 1295) and almost tripling his touchdowns (4 up to 11). Being healthy for most of the year was a benefit in this case along with a new quarterback and different game plans.

Michael Vick started out hot amongst the league best passers, but went cold in the home stretch (0 TDs, 5 INTs last 4 games). Even so he surpassed his previous efforts by almost 1000 yards and 10 touchdowns, wasn't sacked any more than his previous best years even with over 100 more pass attempts, and rushed in 4 touchdowns as well. With this stark improvement after a dismal 2012 he was named the Comeback POTY.
Mark Ingram was the top rusher in the league with 2143 yards, 1 yard shy of league record and completely blitzing all his previous years of work, amassing 17 touchdowns for only 1 fumble and a 5.30 average per carry. He also had 7 games with at least one carry of over 50 yards and 11 games over 100 yards. As such he was awarded the league MVP, Breakout POTY and Addition OTY awards. A lot of his success must be contributed to the outstanding work of the offensive line, FB Reece and TE Miller. Without their blocking he wouldn't have managed to break out the long runs or kept the chains moving.
K Sebastian Janikowski was named Special Teams POTY after hitting 95% of his field goal attempts and putting over 30% of kickoffs into touchbacks.
On a side note the Raiders front office was recognised for their diligent work in making this team better and contributions to the league, with GM Garth Pearce receiving the GM OTY award and a close 2nd in for the Journalist OTY.

Mid season acquisitions:
LT Dielman – we weren't happy with Greer's work on the outside, so upgraded out of free agency to Dielman who moved over from guard. Ended the season with 99 pancakes
K Walsh – planning for the future as Janikowski will regress and retire soon. Getting a free kicker with decent leg power and little progression needed is gold
CB Tillman – signing a mentor now gave us a chance to resign him early for cheap in the offseason

ProBowl:

A big step up from our no-show last year as we have a well rounded 5 participants going to Hawaii this year.

HB Ingram
C Gurode
DE Scott
ROLB Durant
K Janikowski

WR Murphy was in the running but a last game injury ruined his chances.

Pre-Draft:

All coaches were resigned after helping this team turn around its performance. An 11-5 record is a great indicator of their improved ability to get the job done.
C Andre Gurode decided to hold out so we were forced to restructure his contract to save us money, secure him for 3 years and not have to bid on his resign next year. We were so disappointed in these turn of events that we threw a small party in the office to celebrate the cap gain and continued presence of a pro-bowl Center beside two young guards. Following this we resigned WR Darius Heyward-Bey to our terms and keep him for another 5 years alongside Louis Murphy who extended for the long term in a previous year. This wide-out tandem has proven an integral part of our offense and will continue to support Mick Vick in the passing game. They will also be around and well acquainted with our offensive style by the time Vick hangs his boots up and a new QB is introduced to the Raider nation. Veterans Ed Reed and Charles Tillman were also retained to provide mentorship to our young secondary.

Trades:

1.15 + 1.16 + 3.25 to the Rams for ROLB Carter + 1.23 + 4.18 + 4.30
With OLB providing slim pickings for truly athletic beasts at this position we returned to negotiations with the Rams in regards to Carter. We had sought his services during the year when St. Louis advertised his availability but were unable to come to terms for him. We were almost out done during the offseason by the Broncos who also liked the kid but we managed to arrange a deal that saw Carter come to us and the Rams have enough compensation to deal with the Broncos for the 1.4 pick which they coveted. The 3rd year player will replace the aging Boley and give us a long term solution at OLB with exceptional physical talent to rush the passer and help in coverage.

4.18 + 4.25 + 4.30 to the Bills for 3.11
Discussions had been underway with the Ravens for one of their players from early in the offseason and a 3rd round pick was required to see a deal done. An offer of later picks was put on the block and the Bills came calling with exactly what we sought.

1.25 + LG Dielman to Patriots for RT Vollmer
After a successful year at LT after playing as a guard for most of his life, Dielman was placed on the block with a 1st rounder as we looked for a long term replacement for the aging vet. We had specific criteria for our tackle and the patriots presented Vollmer who was only shy on strength. With all things considered he has numerous years to go and is quite the polished player now, so we were happy to add him to the team. Most likely he will continue his position on the right side, whilst Anthony Davis will move to the vacant LT spot.

1.26 + 3.11 to the Ravens for DT Bailey + 2.20
As previously mentioned we had been in lengthy discussions over the pass rushing ability of Bailey to compliment the power and size of our existing DT's. Whilst Bailey hadn't seen much action in his rookie year (due to a mainly 3-4 scheme), we were ready to give him a full time starting role which he was happy to accept and the Ravens were pleased with the compensation.

2.20 to the Chargers for FS Martin + 3.10
After many unsuccessful attempts to secure a new starting strong safety we worked with the Chargers to bring in another 2013 draftee in Martin to fill a safety role for us in 2014. We are unsure whether he or Huff will be taking the strong safety spot or if further developments in the off season will affect the outcome.

DT Figueroa to the Broncos for 3.3
With Bailey on the roster one of our starting DT's was expendable. We liked the size of Wood and with Figueroa being an RFA we decided he was the man to go.

6.27 to the Redskins for CB Quinn (Amnesty)
Quinn performed beyond expectation early last year and we liked the way he went about his work. With no other interest on his amnesty waiver it was a fair shot to add him for a late 6th to support our young starters.

LOLB Boley to the Broncos for 5.03 (Amnesty)
With Carter added Boley was on his way out. To save some cap hit next season we gave him an amnesty and collected an early 5th for him, so a bonus in the end.


Draft:

2.17 – FS Tavon Wilson: to be honest, Wilson was the best of the rest option here when we knew safety was our area of greatest need. Having seen all our top options gone earlier in the round he provided us with solid athletic abilities and height. Whilst he doesn't appear to be starter ready with his awareness we are willing to work with him as a project.

2.28 – MLB Shayne Skov: with MLB not being a priority for any team in this draft we decided that Skov's athleticism would be an added benefit to our special teams and as a real number 2 behind McClain

3.03 – QB Denard Robinson: we were shocked to see Robinson fall this far and couldn't wait to add Vick's heir apparent to the roster in the third round. We consider this a huge steal here, even knowing full well that most teams avoid scramblers. He is a true runner and will learn a great deal from Vick's tutelage over the next few years, ready to take up the reigns once Vick retires.

3.10 – CB Jake Meadows: Meadows was a gamble to see if we could find a solid player for the nickel corner position. His combine scores were a pretty accurate reflection of his true talent and we are happy to give him a chance on the field.

5.03 – SS Trevin Hunter: with our picks dwindling and safety still needing another real starter we took a chance with Hunter. Overall his combine results didn't scream superstar but he had the raw talent that we believed could be groomed. Luckily for us he has shown a surprising commitment and dedication to be a valuable team member by a greater effort to increase his speed and agility in camp.

5.27 – FS Mike Greenfield: we couldn't pass up on the 6'3" safety and have been pleased with the improvements Greenfield has already shown in camp. His all-round athleticism is much better then shown in the combine so he is now in the mix to become a starter amongst our bevy of safeties.

Post draft:

Offseason conditioning:

Prior to training camp we had a few goals for some of your younger players to help improve their performance over the coming season. Whilst this doesn't always get everyone to better status some of the players have made significant inroads to bettering themselves. Firstly new arrival Jacques Bailey teamed up with his partner in crime on the D-line Brandon Wood and they worked together to add some size to their frames and Bailey even came into camp bench pressing more. Blair Walsh knows he has big shoes to fill in the next couple of years as he apprentices under Sebastian Janikowski. After Janikowski put up such an exceptional kick off touch back number last season Walsh has decided he wants to do the same, increasing his range and leg power by the time he hit camp. Lastly Mark Ingram was given the indication that we thought he could be in the game for more snaps than last season, so he focused on improving his stamina with greater cardio capacity. Similarly we thought new comer Chris Carter wasn't in the best shape so he spent a lot of time on the treadmill and pounding the pavement to get in shape.

Training Camp:

Training Camp hit everyone hard as we wanted no slacking off after our early playoff exit. Consistency is our aim for this season so we drilled the players over and over again to get their minds set on what we expect of them and to ensure their role is second nature and reflexive. Aside from numerous repetitions and physical workouts the team has broken down into smaller groups to focus on related skills. The receivers and defensive backs are getting back to basics with simple running drills like sprints, shuttles and cones, followed by route running and man coverage practice. We want our receivers able to break the shackles of tight defenders whilst have our man coverage stick like glue. The linebackers, D-line and O-line are pretty much trying to push over brick walls and work on their explosive takeoffs. Whilst our roster isn't complete for the coming season we'll look at the free agents available and consider who could help this team get over the next hurdle and add to our consistency focus of this year.

Position Battles:

Safety – to date we have a huge collection of young free safeties that we feel are capable starters, along with Michael Huff. Feeling in the camp suggests that Huff will move to strong safety for this year and any of Martin, Greenfield or Wilson could be the starter at free safety. With a variety of skills between them (speed, height or smarts) it may come down to a rotation policy depending on the matchup we are facing
Nickle CB – Glover Quin was brought in to provide us with an experienced and skilled corner to assist our young starters, however after drafting the potential of Jake Meadows we are not sure if his 6'1" frame and better speed may be a better fit. Again we may adjust this on a case-by-case scenario when the receiver options demand it.
Returner – Jacoby Ford lost this job last season after fumbling a critical return that lost us the game to the Broncos. Dominique Edison did a sufficient job in his stead however we have been looking for a hardier option for this role, someone that is used to running headlong into tackles. A running back is more our fit for a returner so we are looking into free agency to optimistically find a fit. Our hopes are his stronger body and greater tackle breaking ability might put us in better field position and get some longer returns.

Overall Ins:
ROLB Carter
RT Vollmer
DT Bailey
FS Martin
CB Quinn

Overall Outs:
LT Dielman
LOLB Boley
DT Figueroa
SS Bartell (cut)
CB Jennings (cut)
HB Portis (cut)
MLB Burfict (cut)
CB Mathis (not resigned)

2014 Outlook:

In 2014 our main aim is to improve our defensive performance so we don't have to rely on a 30 point game from our offense and 2000+ yards from Mark Ingram. As much as we are happy with such offensive output we need a better turn out from our defense to get the total yards down and more importantly keep points off the board. We are hoping that our progression in our corners will assist in giving more viable matchups against opponent's receivers this year, combining speed with smarts and not sacrificing one for the other. Pietarilla and Wright will be handling 90% of the starting jobs this season and a lot rests on their shoulders. We hope to have Michael Huff fit for the year and get some return out of his athleticism as support for these youngsters. We lacked a lot of pure speed last year in the secondary with Mathis, Bartell and Reed making up the majority so the influx of youth and some healthy and progressed returning players will be the key. OLB Carter gives us another speed increase out of the front 7 which will help in the rush and in coverage. Durant showed us how effective a LB can be on both fronts last season and we hope to get the same out of Carter. Jacques Bailey is poised to be our new pass rush weapon, utilizing the strength of DT Wood beside him to make holes and let his athleticism get him to the quarterback often. Head coach Tom Cable has projected a more confident stance with his defensive starters this season and feels that the patchwork of last year and growth to now put them in a better situation to handle the more talented offenses, especially as the division grows and improves.
Offensively we want much the same as last year, but would be happy with more of the workload shifting from Mark Ingram's back and being spread over Michael Vick and his receivers. We have no problem with Ingram running for another 2000 yards, but we need our passing game to stay a viable option all game, every game. The end of last season saw our passing game disappear. We threw 0 touchdown passes in the last 4 games which can only result in the opposition focusing purely on the run. Vick has a lot on his plate this year, needing to keep his performance consistent and mentor his protégé in Robinson whilst leading this team to victory. We can't afford to split our divisional games this year as we predict a much better turn out from the Chiefs and Broncos, making the division highly contested all year long. Any advantage we can take over these guys and the Chargers will make our playoff aspirations easier and help with securing the divisional crown.
The core of this team hasn't change much from last season and we have very few guys we consider vets. This gives us the opportunity to push for a championship with a solid line-up, not just this year but in the next 2-5 years as well. We knocked off the previous Super Bowl champs in our playoff win and have beaten the champion Chargers before (when at full strength). If we can be consistent on both sides of the ball we are in with a good chance this year.


Projected Starting Lineup:

QB Michael Vick
HB Mark Ingram
FB Marcel Reece
WR Darius Heyward-Bey
WR Louis Murphy
TE Zach Miller
LT Anthony Davis
LG Bruce Campbell
C Andre Gurode
RG Clinton Newton
RT Sebastian Vollmer*

LE Trevor Scott
DT Brandon Wood
DT Jacques Bailey*
RE Carlos Dunlap
LOLB Chris Carter*
MLB Rolando McClain
ROLB Justin Durant
CB Shareece Wright
CB Camden Pietarilla
FS Tavon Wilson*
SS Michael Huff

K Sebastian Janikowski
P Timothy Griffin

* Denotes new starter/player
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 01/10/2013) Replies - 0 :: Views - 43
Vick back on the horse as Raiders Progress
After finishing the last 4 games of the regular season with 0 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, Michael Vick has returned to his early season form, completing almost 78% of his passes for 308 yards and 2 TDs. This was most surprising as he was without his number one receiver in Louis Murphy, however he was given a game plan to exploit the lack of speed in the Pittsburgh secondary. DHB had his best day out in a while with 134 yards and a score whilst the entire defence stepped up to pick of Big Ben 4 times. The yardage gained by the offence and the solid defensive effort kept the Steelers off the board for most of the first half. Whilst our drives stalled on 5 occasions resulting in field goals the overall production was enough to give good defensive field position and put the pressure on the undermanned Steelers.

This week we have a return bout against the league best Titans who are looking to restore their pride after we beat them 2 weeks ago when internal communication and game planning fell apart for them resulting in mixed messages, line-up and an overall confused performance. We like to think we'll make a good showing against them but the odds are against us.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 11/29/2012) Replies - 1 :: Views - 26
Raiders Steal 9th Win
In an uninspiring offensive day the Raiders stole a win from the 49ers in a match that saw an unrelenting defensive performance from San Francisco to shut down both offensive weapons for the Raiders. Mark Ingram was kept to his worst performance of the year (57 yards, 1 TD), whilst Michael Vick turned the ball over 5 times (4 int, 1 fum) in his worst outing of the year. Rookie corner Camden Pietarila kept us in the game with a pick-6 whilst Justin Durant snagged 2 interceptions of his own. Neither offense was any good (a hallmark this year of the 49ers), but all credit the hard work of the 49ers and their ability to shutdown our high powered offensive weapons. If it wasn't for their young playmakers they'd be more productive this year.

We don't know how it got as bad as this, we had planned against this exact defensive setup and never saw a result this extreme. We are now level with the Chargers at top of the division, but due to div record and tiebreakers now need to pull ahead and hope the absence of Blaine Gabbert will stall their playoff run.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 11/04/2012) Replies - 0 :: Views - 14
Recycling the Used
For most people we are a quarter of the way through the season with a few teams getting a grip on how their players are performing. Whilst it's early days yet there are obviously a few surprise starters compared to predictions, whether by team performance or individual showings over 4 weeks. I'm sure one of the biggest surprises so far is the performance of our Raiders. No-one would've been willing to put money on us leading the division, let alone a 4-0 start. We were predicted as finishing last in our division with 1 more win than the year before, however so far we are ahead of the curve and the reason is the new additions. Getting break out performances from traded in players is always a sweet reward, but it really comes from a commitment to playing them and giving the best opportunity for success. This year we have Michael Vick and Mark Ingram as the catalysts for success, leading this team in fashion neither has achieved before.

Vick spent 2 years at Philly and had solid, but not outstanding results, while last year saw injury and bench time hamper his productivity. Already this year he is ranking in the top 5 passers of the league...a notion that would rarely cross the mind of many GZL GM's, especially from a scrambler. He leads the league in TDs thrown and has almost surpassed his previous season record after only 4 games, along with being almost halfway to total yards for a season. Whether it's the game plans or Vick's love of being in Oakland and leading the show, he has already proven worthy of a third round pick (no offense to Carolina who had to make cap moves). If he keeps up these sorts of stats I'm sure he'll be noted for breakout player of the year honours and best deal of the year.

Mark Ingram has been on 3 teams over 3 seasons and probably thinking his 14th overall selection was not getting him his credit. Whilst he was the #1 back for Indianapolis in his rookie year, his output was mediocre and probably the reason why he was traded. The Saints used him as their #2 behind Jacquizz Rodgers and while he averaged better yardage per carry, the overall result was the same...below expectations. We saw the potential in this athletic abilities and moved heaven and earth to put ourselves in a position to acquire his services, but for now he has repaid our dedication with overwhelming performances and league leading yardage to date. With 3 games over 100 yards and 2 of them 200+ he is no stranger to pounding the short game or getting to the outside for the 80 yarder. Full credit to his blocking support cast of FB Reece and TE Miller to help open the wing, he is showing himself to be the all-rounded back we hoped for.

Between these two we are equal leader for points scored in a game and second for total yardage. Even though Ronnie Brown had a few massive weeks at the start we also lead the rushing total yardage. Needless to say they'll need to keep the high octane flowing as our defense is in need of the respite. We face another crushing divisional game against the Chargers this week and will need our offense to pin the Chargers into long drives if we are to have a real chance.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 08/23/2012) Replies - 5 :: Views - 66
Raider Time: Preseason 1-3, Season Start 3-0
We all know that the preseason is mixed bag due to only getting a half out of the regular players and the rest of the time the scrubs are hitting the field, so it came as no surprise to see ourselves struggle as we looked to mould our new look team under a new look manager. Our only pre-season win came against the Patriots, and it was the only play-testing game we looked like succeeding in. Our biggest concern was the TD/turnover ratio of Michael Vick of 1:2 at below 50% completion. It was looking like our offense couldn't score enough to give our young secondary a chance, with HB Mark Ingram similarly disappointing in his first outings in silver and black by not reaching the end zone and dropping the ball twice. Our defense provided stats we would otherwise expect, but the loss of MLB McClain for a few games, and then FS Huff for the year were hard pills to swallow.

Along came the regular season and quite the turnaround for what we originally saw. Who would have thought Michael Vick would be averaging over 300 yards per game at over 61% completion percent, 10 TDS to 6 ints and sacked only 4 times for a QB rating of 102.8? I do believe Vick is revelling under the pressure and providing comeback scoring in all our games, how long can it last? Mark Ingram has also looked solid (puffed his stats up a bit with an 81 yard OT TD run for the game vs Chiefs). Both these players have stat lines after 3 games similar to their entire previous season's efforts. Louis Murphy has already equalled his season best number of TDs with 4 (and to only 1 drop). Thankfully our offense production has been huge as we can't keep our opponents below 27 points a game (game 3 giving up 47). With 9 pass TDs against us it is a sure sign our young defense is struggling. Veteran Rashean Mathis has had a few starts trying to give a helping hand, but apart from his 2 interceptions we're just giving up way too much in the air, especially yards after completion. Whilst a changing offensive plan has been successful we can't say the same for a defensive strategy to curb the opposition passing. We are halfway to our last year total of wins, but we're always looking to improve where we can, so watch out Colts as we aim to put the lock on your offense next week.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 08/14/2012) Replies - 0 :: Views - 12
Raiders open up on Free Agency
Free Agency was given a boost with the cap space freed up by McFadden's departure, allowing us to put substantial bids on a number of players we feel would be ideal for us this season. With a hole still at strong safety our first shot was to fill this position and we looked at 2 veterans to undertake this role. In the end we see veteran corner Ronald Bartell joining the team to make a move into the strong safety position. His awareness will provide a key role in supporting our young and inexperienced starting corner backs. A few more depth positions were filled to meet roster requirements, landing veteran HB Clinton Portis to mentor Mark Ingram for a year, while HB Samkon Gado and RT Alex Boone round out our roster minimums. Additionally we were able to upgrade our LOLB position with experienced campaigner Michael Boley heading for Oakland, providing us with a very solid linebacker corps this season. Alongside McClain and Durant he provides speed and awareness to help in coverage and the box. The final addition was the strong, yet raw talent of Dominique Edison to supplement our receivers. We likedthe look of his strength, carry and break tackle as a receiver and hope to get the best out of him in the slot.

A few other players slipped through our fingers, but with some cap space left we'll likely look for another player to round out our squad in the next phase.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 07/16/2012) Replies - 0 :: Views - 22
Generation '13 Raider Style
2013 Offseason Report

End of Season:
2012 saw an unspectacular performance out of Oakland, finishing 6-10, and the owners weren't impressed. GM Kurt Ison was let go and replaced by a fellow Australian in Garth Pearce who immediately set about making changes. With the Pro Bowl on our doorstep (and no participants) a few attempts were made to restructure contracts. Our initial aim was to secure OLB Justin Durant for the long term, but unfortunately we were unable to reach an agreement that would fit in that years' salary cap (100K is a big difference maker). Instead injured wide out Louis Murphy was offered the extension, which he readily took and is happy to be at Raider land for life.

Pre-Draft:

With only 1 out of contract coach we decided that the current group had done a decent enough job to warrant staying on for one more year. Defensive Co-ordinator Dick Anderson was signed to fill our vacant position with hopes he'll teach our guys how to get the ball back.

Following the restructure and coaches a few trades were made to shake up the team to fit the new GM's style. Michael Vick was added as the new QB to replace Matt Cassel's lack lustre performance last year and his absurd demands for more money. Cassel soon saw himself on the plane to Washington where he landed and found an even newer GM hadn't like the idea of him being the QB and he was looking to get traded again. Unfortunately for Vick he had to take a detour on his way to Oakland, being joined by WR Darrius Heyward-Bey in New York were they undertook "conditioning" sessions with the WWE to strengthen and toughen their bodies against inevitable contact on the field. Whilst both returned with only extra bruises they have now toughened up for next season to better avoid any injuries.

Further trades saw C Andre Gurode brought from Dallas in to help support the internal line along with OG John Moffitt from Chicago. Backup WR Mark Dell was dealt to Dallas in the deal for Gurode at no great loss to us. With Nnamdi Asomugha slowing and unlikely to be resigned due to cap restraints, we brought in youngster Shareece Wright to be the future of our secondary. He was instantly given a personal trainer to improve his explosiveness out of the blocks and get up to his top speed quicker.

Wright was planned to start alongside Standford Routt at DB, however a strong trade offer saw Routt and safety Tyvon Branch dealt to Jacksonville for the 6th overall pick. This left a large hole in the secondary but gave the team options, of which they dealt the 6th pick for the 24th pick and 2 future first rounders. Management were pleased with this outcome as it gave an even better future to a team that was really a few steps away from being top tier competitive. However this was followed by a strange move to move pick 24 for HB Mark Ingram from New Orleans. GM Pearce later revealed that he had coveted Ingram's abilities from his first day in the league and was finally in a position to make a move. Ingram soon joined CB Wright with the trainers to increase his acceleration and has shown significant progress getting up to speed quicker. With a starting corner and safety needed and a shortage of high end picks to acquire them, many are dubious as to the wisdom of this trade, especially with Darren McFadden still on the roster.

McFadden's position at Oakland has been on a knife edge ever since Pearce's arrival as his huge contract requirements was putting a squeeze on the team's options. Talks have been made to try and negotiate a deal to benefit both parties, however it has been rumoured that even then GM Pearce is not happy with the outlandish requests made by McFadden and his manager. Talks continue about the future of McFadden with many teams rumoured to be have expressed various levels of interest. Apparently one such trade fell through on the eve of the draft with a move to Arizona vetoed by the league for undisclosed reasons.

The failure of the same trade saw discussions with Atlanta put on hold for premiere QB Matt Ryan. One part of the Arizona deal was rumoured to be an option in here but became a sticking point. Talks picked up again early in day 1 of the draft but no accommodation could be reached as the cost would see Oakland still without a significant secondary.

Ingram continued his busy off season, joined by DE Trevor Scott with nutrionists and gym instructors with the aim to beef up. Some serious carbo loading, protein shakes and heavy weights sessions have seen both bodies add some much needed size and definition to be more effective at their positions.

Amongst all the trading we resigned some important starters and some restricted free agents. It would appear that Tampa Bay had it set in their minds to upset our precious salary situation, not only make a run for young receiver Jacoby Ford in RFA, but also upped our payments to safety Michael Huff when they bid on him as well. Needless to say we retained both players at inflated prices and brought back K Janikowski, FB Reece, TE Miller and OLB Durant, with RT Davis and DE Dunlap both receiving 7 year contract extensions after RFA resigns.

In less significant matters we cut a handful of players to make cap room as we deemed their salary demands were excessive for the roles they play. We also added one extra player in free agency, with DE Vernon Gholston joining the squad to fill a depth role on the defensive line.

Draft:

1.12 – CB Camden Pietarila: At 6'2" this is one tall corner in anyone's books. 93 speed makes him quick too with plenty of room to develop into a tall speedster. His strength may be on the low size but we don't want him trying to take down the heavies, plus his high awareness puts him at a level of a lot of third year players at the position. So he's practically ready to start for us, which is exactly what we needed.

This saw the end of our serious draft with our next pick schedule for the 6th round. We were revisited by the Seahawks who sought young HB Josh Vaughan, who we dealt for a late 5th and two 6ths. This move was made in relation to our cap situation, giving us an extra 2 backup positions for minimal cost. In total we added 7 players from pick 5.31 to 7.30 at less than $500K each to fill depth.

Post draft:

After signing all our draft picks to meet roster requirements we were visited by the Chicago Bears looking to secure a player or two. In what we consider a cap god send and a future saviour for this team, Darren McFadden was dealt to Chicago along with next year's 2nd and 2 OT's drafted late this year for Chicago's 1st next year, WR Berrian and LG Garza. Both incoming players will fill needed spots on our roster and we boost our number of #1 picks next year to 4.

Free Agency was given a boost with the cap space freed up by McFadden's departure, allowing us to put substantial bids on a number of players we feel would be ideal for us this season. Let's see how many we can snag and if we can land a starter for SS in the first go.

With all players turning up for training camp (a few had to be dragged back), some special effort was given to key players in rookie CB Pietarila, QB Michael Vick, HB Mark Ingram and P Timothy Griffin. All these guys are confirmed starters and were excused from the regular drills to participate in more focused areas:

CB Pietarila is now faster across the ground and has an improved vertical (+1 SPD, +1 JMP)
QB Vick has improved his overall field vision (+1 AWR)
HB Ingram has been working on his stiff arm tactics (+1 STR)
P Griffin has a longer kicking range (+1 KPW)

As for the rest of the group the competition was extremely low as most positions primarily involved a starter and a guy collecting a weekly pay check for attending training (After the skew even a few of these guys are probably better suited to being janitors then football players). The only likely area of rotation will be the #1 and #2 corner spots as we fit either Wright or Pietarila into each slot based on their weekly matchups, height depending. Needless to say the coaches haven't made it easy on the group, especially those who were around last year and gave us such an overall poor output. By the end of each day players are collapsing into bed in full kit and sleeping till morning...good to know there won't be any mucking around during this camp.

2013 Outlook:

The Oakland front office is looking forward to this season with a sense of positivity, trusting the performance of the team to veteran Michael Vick instead of an unpredictable Matt Cassel. Should the team stay fit this year a better than 6-10 result is demanded from this playing group, but GM Pearce is realistic that they aren't a top contender just yet.

Projected Starting Lineup:

QB Vick
HB Ingram
FB Reece
WR Heyward-Bey
WR Murphy
TE Miller
LT Greer
LG Campbell
C Gurode
RG Newton
RT Davis

LE Scott
RE Dunlap
DT Wood
DT Figueroa
LOLB Groves
MLB McClain
ROLB Durant
CB Pietarila
CB Wright
FS Huff
SS ??

K Janikowski
P Griffin

Overall Ins:

QB Michael Vick
C Andre Gurode
CB Shareece Wright
HB Mark Ingram
LG John Moffitt
WR Bernard Berrian
LG Roberto Garza
DE Vernon Gholston (FA)


Overall Outs:

Trades:
WR Mark Dell
QB Matt Cassel
CB Stanford Routt
SS Tyvon Branch
HB Darren McFadden

Cuts:
MLB Stephen Hodge
LG Joe Toledo
CB Curtis Marsh
RT Kareem McKenzie
C Jason Spitz
DE Ricky Sapp
LT Jason Capizzi
HB Josh Vaughan
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 07/12/2012) Replies - 0 :: Views - 26
Suit Up: Trades Are In
With the offseason upon us and GM Pearce barely in the door we started wheelin' and dealin' to restructure this team into a Super Bowl contending dynasty. Well maybe not quite, but a few moves have been made to move this team in the GM's new direction:

The first new acquisition is QB Michael Vick coming over from the Panthers. What was seen as a salary deal by the Panthers, we snagged a top mobile QB with our 3rd rounder. Whilst many see scrambling QB's as a liability and major frustration, I see them as an explosive offensive weapon with versatility, especially one with Vick's ability to move quickly. The progression he has gained over the years gives him awareness and accuracy to provide a solid passing game as option one rather than after the running option.

With Vick added, Matt Cassel saw his time as a Raider come to a close. Barring a rejection by the league he'll find a new home in Washington either mentoring a rookie or starting.

Next we added a veteran presence in the middle of the line in C Andre Gurode. His internal presence on snaps beside our young guards, along with his strength will hopefully protect from inside pass rushes and open up the north-south running game. Either way at the cost of a 4th and depth WR Mark Dell he can only make that spot better.

Our third trade landed us a young CB in Shareece Wright from Kansas City. With Asomugha moving on this year our secondary was short on smart and mobile corners. Wright gives us a young option with decent awareness to groom into a quality coverage specialist. With his progression over the past 2 years we saw it a worthwhile option to pay a 2nd rounder for him.

Finally in a minor move we gave up our 5th to add LG John Moffitt to our O-line. Moffitt has great agility and could be a great help in protecting Vick as he moves around.

Discussions are still open to more options, and with HB McFadden and WR Heyward-Bey rumoured to be on the list there is still room for more adjustments to be made.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 07/01/2012) Replies - 0 :: Views - 19
Suit Up: Raider Time!
The suit is black, almost a glossy finish that almost shines if the light catches it right. Interspersing the black are shiny silver pinstripes, almost dazzling as if they were encrusted with diamonds. The man in the suit is new Raiders General Manager Garth Pearce, an experienced but volatile manager with some quirky takes on how best to build a football team.

"It feels good to be managing a Green Zone team and I look forward to making a mark on the league. The Raiders' organization has a lot of talent on its roster and I look forward to getting the most out of them, whether on the field or in transactions to move this team forward."

Our doors are open and are happy to talk to any GM about anything in this league.
Forum Discussion (by G_Pearce on 06/13/2012) Replies - 4 :: Views - 35
Oakland Raiders Off-Season Review
Oakland Raiders Off-Season Review
AFC Champions Aim for the Next Step


Coach Cable Takes Hard Stance at Training Camp

After falling short in the Superbowl to the Green Bay Packers the AFC Champion Oakland Raiders have seen their share of changes this off-season. The Harbigner brothers decided to walk away from the game and so the Raiders brought in Kurt Ison as their newest General Manager. Ison would be hired shortly before the draft and would take charge of the Raiders choices.

1.31 - OG Bob Greer - Dayton
Sitting at the bottom of the first round the Raiders had to wait and see if anyone they had hoped for would actually fall to them. Greer would become their first round choice and add to a young and promising offensive line. Oakland drafted Guard Clinton Newton only last season 27th overall, proving the Raiders are investing in their line. Greer is expected to be moved to left tackle were his strength and great blocking skills will help protect Cassells blind side.

*DRAFT DAY TRADE* w/ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Raiders Recieve - OT Kareem McKenzie, 4.28
Buccaneers Recieve - CB John Bowie, 3.31

Oakland had been in contact with the Buccaneers about veteran offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie. The talented veteran was being shopped and the Raiders wanted a veteran presence on the right side to control the oppositions more dominant pass rushers. McKenzie will add to the Raiders improved line and will be a vital mentor to young offensive lineman such as Greer, Newton, Davis and Campbell.

4.28 - DT Brandon Wood - Utah State
With the departure of Richard Seymour the Raiders needed a big guy to pair with the up and coming Dean Figueroa. At the end of the fourth round the Raiders were pleased to add the 6'4" 332lbs Wood to add some size to their front seven.

4.31 - CB Marcus Gilchrist - Clemson
With John Bowie being the number third cornerback and his move to Tampa Bay the Raiders had only two corners on the roster. Gilchrist is a smaller guy at 5'10" 195lbs but has well rounded athleticism and above average strength. He will have the oppurtunity to battle it out for the number three spot.

5.29 - FS Calvin Armstrong - Syracuse - Adds depth on Speical Teams and will back up Michael Huff.
5.31 - CB Brandon Burton - Utah - Another cornerback added to give depth and also a chance to battle for the number three spot.
6.31 - QB T.J. Yates - North Carolina - Oakland give the young Yates a oppurtunity to prove himself. He will learn behind Cassell and Campbell.

7.31 - P Timothy Griffin - West Kentucky
With the second last pick in the draft Oakland secured a starter. Punter Griffin has already proved to be the best option at punter as the Raiders released veteran Saverio Rocca. Griffin has the tough ask of trying to match the great punters of Oaklands past in Ray Guy and Shance Lechler.

Oakland has added someone talented and potential impact players via the draft. The Raiders have decided to keep the core group of players together and go into 2012 with a team dynamic that proved effective last season. The Raiders will settle for nothing less then another AFC West division title.


Stay tuned and follow the Oakland Raiders through 2012!
Forum Discussion (by K_Ison on 12/17/2011) Replies - 0 :: Views - 27
Oakland Welcome GM Ison
General Manager Ison Takes Over in Oakland
Former Titans GM to Lead Raiders in 2012


Newly Appointed GM Ison Recieves his custom Jersey #89 & Helmet

The Oakland Raiders have today announced the hiring of former Tennessee Titans General Manager Kurt Ison. After the Raiders recent loss in the Superbowl against Green Bay both Ben & Prashant Harbinger have decided to step down from their duties. With the off-season already well and truly started Al Davis was keen to find a new General Manager. Davis is known for getting guys he likes and he liked what Ison offered.

Ison was the manger of the Tennessee Titans for fourteen games. He was able to guide the Titans to a 5-5 record after taking over the troubled franchise midway through the 2010 season. Things looked promising in Tennessee however the team struggled out of the gate in 2011 and after a 0-4 start Ison was granted permission to leave.

At only twenty-two years of age a born and raised Australian, Ison was a keen follower of "Gridiron" down under. He played for his local team the Ipswich Cougars and his interest in the game would only grow. He moved to the Bay area to broaden his knowledge and in the hope he could eventully earn a role somewhere in the GZL.

"Id like to welcome, our newest General Manager. The young kids name is Kurt Ison. He is a talented youngster who grew up cheering for this franchise. While he has a lot of pressure on his shoulders we know he can keep this team at the top where it belongs." Raiders Owner Al Davis.

"Im very pleased to be here, the Oakland Raiders have been my team for many years so to be able to become their General Manager is a tremendous honor. I would like to thank Al for giving my this oppurtunity and also Harbinger brothers for their incredible work and success they have brought to this team. I have a hard act to follow but I will do all I can to make sure the Raiders are always in contention and build upon the Raider legacy." Oakland GM Kurt Ison.
Forum Discussion (by K_Ison on 12/10/2011) Replies - 6 :: Views - 94
Raiders - Coach NOT Retiring.
Ok, I'm here to stay, will give it another shot. I've discussed all options with Prashant and he will be more involved to relieve some pressure off me.
Forum Discussion (by B_Harbinger on 11/12/2011) Replies - 25 :: Views - 288
Raiders PC
Critics are surprised to see Oakland making the playoffs two years in a row, but it is no surprise to the people inside this organization, city and its fans. "Sure we don't have flashy players like some teams do, but we have players who believe in the system, coaches and more importantly themselves. They fight for one another and play as one," said Coach Harbinger.

Their first 9 games were abysmal, going 4-5. With playoff implications on the line and several division games coming up, they could either continue down this path or rise to the challenge. Lucky or not, the team rose to the challenge and won its next 6/7 games. The only loss during this stretch was to the underrated Dolphins who thoroughly outplayed them.

While they fumble into the playoffs, there is no sense of panic in the locker room. Everyone looks calm and ready to play the Bengals. What is truly amazing is that this roster is full of talented, young athletes. While not polished, they have tremendous physical ability to dominate the game.

However, all of this means nothing if they exit the playoffs early again. Last year was just unfortunate where the Chargers (with all of their talent) just got lucky in their 3rd matchup against Oakland. This year's playoffs presents a similar challenge. Everyone but the Chargers and Ravens swapped places in this year's tournament from the AFC.

Make no mistake, this isn't the same Oakland team that boasts an all pro Quarterback anymore, but QB Cassell is no slouch. He is the reason for Oakland's 2nd half turn around and could quite possibly be the front runner for this team's MVP.
Forum Discussion (by B_Harbinger on 10/28/2011) Replies - 2 :: Views - 31
Oakland Raiders Training Camp
REVIEW
The Oakland Raiders entered the new season in a similar situation to the year before. QB Favre finally retired (officially) and was not coming back. The future QB spot looked wide open and there was only one option to go. After making a run at Favre last season, it was evident that the Harbingers didn't want to deal with a young QB and as such, drafting one with their only pick (1.27) in the first three rounds was out of the question. As soon as their playoff chances ended, GM Harbinger called up SD's Front Office in hopes of getting QB Rivers. After several days of negotiations, GM Stanley took another offer (which we feel is way under the value relative to what we were offering, but that's besides the point). While Rivers was not going to end up in Oakland, the only silver lining was that he was leaving the division.

With several QB's potentially up for trade, GM Harbinger sent out offers to a lot of teams, asking to see which QB's were available. QB's Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Matt Ryan and Carson Palmer were sought after but a quick deal with division rival KC Chiefs was agreed upon. It didn't take long to decide on an offer for QB Matt Cassel to become a Raider. Although a very young, talented OL was lost in the process, GM Harbinger pulled the trigger to avoid any further bidding war. With the QB situation under control, the management looked forward to the rest of the offseason stuff.

OFFSEASON TRANSACTIONS
Due to salary cap reasons and signing restrictions, the Raiders only managed to resign three players. Two were RFA's, SS Tyvon Branch and LB Quentin Groves. CB Stanford Routt was rumored to be on the trading block but it was just that. Oakland's main focus was on resigning CB Routt who is the team's 2nd best CB. He's tall, athletic and entering his prime with a lot of promise. SS Branch was another such player who is a lot younger and one of the top safeties in this league. LB Groves added much needed depth and is a hybrid player who can play both the inside and outside positions. He would definitely be a starter if he were on another team, but he chose to come back and finish what he started here.

As for the rest of Free agents, they weren't even bothered to be resigned due to cap restrictions. With the draft approaching, and salary cap too high, Raiders had no choice but to cut former 1st Round pick, OG Robert Gallery. Gallery never performed to his level but he was a very good linemen. However, the Raiders just couldn't afford to meet his salary demands anymore. C Samson Satele was traded for a measely 4th round pick, once again due to limited cap room.

DRAFT
The only significant pick for Raiders was their 1st round pick, 1.27 with which they went with the BPA at a few positions of need. Without two of their starters from last season, the OL was very limited and both Harbingers agreed to draft another talented player, OG Clinton Newton. He's a massive 330lbs with good speed and agility. His technique is pretty good for a rookie and so is his strength. The only flaw in his game, which will improve with playing time is his awareness. Sometimes he takes the wrong defensive player but with practice and progression, he will be a force to reckon with as soon as next season.

The next draft picks were all fillers, the only player worthy of mentioning is CB Curtis Marsh. He has tons of potential and with a few years of playing time, he could be a starter. Other players will get some playing time here and there but most of them will only see the field in case of any injuries to the starters.

TRAINING CAMP

The Raiders have a good blend of veteran and youth across the positions. There will be certain key positions where rookies/young will be fighting for against starters. Mentioned below will be the most important ones to look for:

LG Clinton Newton vs LG Bruce Campbell
The Harbingers love to place young guards on the left side and tackles on the right. Campbell who is possibly one of the most athletic players in this league, let alone a lineman, will most likely compete for the LG spot. It is still unclear as to what the starting OL will look like, but this is quite possibly the most intriguing matchup to watch leading upto the season. Knowing the Harbingers, no one will know what the starting 5 will look like until the deadlines.

LT Mario Henderson vs LT Jason Capizzi
With the departure of LT Jared Veldheer, these two youngsters who are similarly build will fight for the spot. It looks like LT Mario Henderson has been told to put a few extra pounds and will likely come into camp 10lbs heavier than before. That is still unknown as he had problems moving swiftly with the extra weight. Henderson got to start a few games last year and it remains to be seen whether he'll end up doing so this season.

CB Curtis Marsh vs CB Chris Johnson
Speedy CB Johnson was the team's NCB and it looks like he'll finally have some stiff competition from rookie Marsh. Although neither of them will move beyond this point, it is very important to make sure the Raiders get good play from both these guys. Based on matchups, these two players will be switched around and it has been proven time and time again that a playoff team needs three really good CB's, if not four. Both will have a huge impact, even though the stats might not show it.

FUTURE
The rest of the depth chart looks to be pretty similar to last year's. Defensively, no other positions will see changes to the lineup and offensively, other than QB Cassel, OL is the only change. Neither Coach Ben nor GM Prashant are strangers to this situation and they usually end up doing something out of the norm. They are not scared to reshuffle the entire OL from game to game and they most certainly are not going to expect anything less than a SB appearance this season and going forward. While some may think that these guys are probably smoking something, it is not far fetched to think that.

Both the Chiefs and Broncos have gotten better this offseason, but they still have a lot of work to do. Chiefs have a talented, but rookie QB who will suffer through a lot of games, but will be an unstoppable force in a few seasons. Broncos and GM Bauer have to be ecstatic with their chances of not only making the playoffs, but also a chance at competing for the division title. While the Chargers have talent, they have too many question marks and rookies at key positions. GM Stanley will no doubt miss superstar QB Rivers as teams will focus on letting the Chargers beat them with Christopher Henderson. Barring long term injuries to any starters, it looks like the Raiders are going to win this division, following with the Broncos, Chargers and Chiefs.
Forum Discussion (by B_Harbinger on 06/16/2011) Replies - 0 :: Views - 27
Raiders Postseason + New QB Announcement
Favre went down after the first pass attempt in the Wildcard game against Jaguars, and so did any/all Superbowl aspirations for the Oakland Raiders. Even at the age of 40, QB Brett Favre instilled a confidence to this Raiders team both on and off the field that has long been absent. He has made it quite obvious that this will be his last season in the RZL no matter what, and with the current injury, Favre making any attempt to comeback puts him and the team at jeapordy. Coach Harbinger said a few words, “We would like to thank Mr. Favre for all the things he has done for this organization and city. He has been a tremendous asset and we couldn’t have expected anymore from him. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

On to the future, most of this Raiders team is filled with bright young stars, but the question once again remains at the QB position. From the postseason play it is evident that QB Campbell is not going to be the future of this franchise. There are numerous options around the league but the Harbinger brothers did not seem to waste any time. They were on the phones inquiring about several QB’s as soon as the team’s fate was sealed. Talks between GM Jon Stanley and Prashant went back and forth but fell just short. “We talked for a long time and gave it our best shot but fell short of acquiring superstar QB Phillip Rivers. After watching him play, we are glad that he is out of our division, but there are tons of other QB’s we believe can lead us to a bright future ahead of us. This is just one step towards our SB aspirations and we have found someone to lead us there,” said Prashant Harbinger.

QB Matt Ryan and Eli Manning were high on the list but due to certain circumstances, neither of them were available at the time. So they ended up looking within the division once again, Kyle Orton and Matt Cassel were viable choices, both certainly capable of playing well under pressure. With the Chiefs securing 1.1 and rumors of drafting QB Luck, Prashant struck an immediate deal with GM Olly to acquire QB Cassel. A trade had been agreed upon in principle until deadlines opened up and an official offer has been submitted to the league for further approval.

During a small press conference, Ben had this to say, “We are extremely excited to bring aboard a veteran QB who has been through thick and thin before. I’m glad my brother worked fast to make this deal and we can get to work soon. I’ve already spoken with Cassel and can tell you that he’s extremely ecstatic to join us. After going down for the entire season last year, he’s ready to get back to work. With a few training camp points, and progression during the season, we sincerely believe he’ll be able to lead us deeper into the playoffs. Yes, I said playoffs, we are making it again this season and we will play with a chip on our shoulders.”

Playoffs don’t sound so ridiculous, KC is going to undergo rookie QB’s pains for a couple of seasons, Denver’s offense is good but their defense is getting old, but they still remain a threat, SD has a good team, probably will be better everywhere else except for QB, so until they acquire a QB, it will be hard to say how challenging they will be. AFC West is quickly shaping out to be a tough division once again.
Forum Discussion (by B_Harbinger on 05/26/2011) Replies - 2 :: Views - 51
Oakland Clinches Playoffs Berth?
One more game to go before the playoffs start and the AFC West division winner has not yet been determined. Week 17 game against the Chiefs is a must win for the Raiders to even have a shot at the bye week. In the last quarter of football, the Raiders have gone 3-1, the only loss to the Jaguars which has tremendously hurt their playoff seeding. Coach Harbinger was very displeased with the team’s energy or lack thereof in that game. QB Favre took responsibility for the loss, although it doesn’t do them any good. “I should have been more careful with the football, I take full responsibility for the loss and for the sluggish offensive play. As the leader of this team, I have to step up and perform under pressure, I will bounce back after this tough loss and I’m sure the rest of the team will do too."

Now we are going to talk about different possible matchups based on this week’s results among the AFC’s playoff teams. We are assuming conference record trumps the common games record here:
AFC West Champs: A Raiders win and an SD loss.
#1 Seed: A Raiders win + Bengals Loss + Patriots Loss.
#2 Seed: A Raiders win + Bengals Win + Patriots Win* (a few possible scenarios based on Pats/Bengals W-L column)
#5 Seed: A Raiders win + Chargers win or A Steelers Loss
#6 Seed: A Raiders loss + Steelers win

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like the Jets won’t have any impact on the Raiders’ playoff implications, which means Oakland has guaranteed themselves a playoff birth? This is possible because a Raiders Loss and a Jets Win means:
Oak: 10-6 Jets: 10-6 Overall Record Tie
Oak: 8-4 Jets: 8-4 Conference Record Tie
Oak: 9-5 Jets: 8-6 Common Games Record Oak

Point here is, no matter what Oakland is going to be in the postseason, however playing against the Jaguars as the 5th seed or the Patriots as the 6th seed is something to be avoided at all costs. Although they feel confident a rematch with the Jags will have a different outcome, it is hard to deny they are a team that Oakland doesn’t want to face.

What it all boils down to is no AFC team currently in the playoff race wants to face each other, although some have more favorable matchups. For example: Raiders wouldn’t mind facing the Chargers for the 3rd time this season or the Jaguars to avenge their loss. Bengals, Patriots and Steelers are tougher opponents, and the road to the Superbowl will be nothing less than a dogfight.
Forum Discussion (by B_Harbinger on 04/30/2011) Replies - 0 :: Views - 13
Oakland Raiders : Raider Nation in SD
The road to AFC West Championship starts this week against the San Diego Chargers. Trailing by half a game, look for a Raiders team that will play this game with a chip on their shoulder. Winner of this game solidifies their playoff spot, although it doesn’t guarantee it. Having something to play for towards the end of a season is something new for Oakland. The Raiders haven’t so much as sniffed the playoffs since losing to TB in Superbowl XXXVII.

The Raiders will play with a renewed sense of pride, something that has long been forgotten. Thanks to Al Davis, the hiring of both Harbinger brothers has changed the culture here dramatically (for the good). Davis who usually hides behind the curtains these days finally hosted a closed press conference this past week. “We have been a laughing stock for almost a decade now and things are changing. It is obvious given the attitude around the locker room and our team’s performance thus far. All I have to say is JUST WIN BABY!”

The Raiders vs Chargers rivalry is one of the biggest in this league, look for both teams to be eager to stick it to their opponent. Surprisingly enough, Oakland doesn’t boast a top 10 Offense or Defense, but they do enough to win games. QB Brett Favre has been in this position numerous times before and he has to step up and lead this young team to the promised land. Having played for 20 years already, it most certainly is his last chance of earning another Championship ring. On the defensive side, the Raiders look to slow a very efficient Chargers team who have outstanding players from top to bottom.

“Anyway you look at it, the Chargers have one of the best rosters in our league. They can run, pass, defend, and even dominate you in special teams. But we have a good team here ourselves, last time they played us, everyone knows what happened. We are ready to take it to the next level and can’t wait to get on the field on Monday,” said CB Nnamdi Asomugha.

This week will tell if the Raiders are an actual threat or just another team that had a relatively decent season. The future looks bright for a team so young, but with QB Favre not returning, there is a big hole to fill in the offseason. Coach Harbinger had this to say, “All the focus right now is on our rivalry, but more importantly on the Chargers. They have the pressure to win, they are the ones who were clearly the favorites to win the division, they cannot afford to lose twice to a division rival, this is THEIR game to lose. We will look at it as another important game, much like we do throughout the regular season and we will be ready to play. We will come out sharp, we will play smash mouth football and we will WIN this game.”
Forum Discussion (by B_Harbinger on 04/01/2011) Replies - 4 :: Views - 43
Raiders 2nd Quarter Report
The Coach’s promise was delivered in the 2nd Quarter of games. Not only did the Raiders go 3-1, they beat upper echelon teams such as the Chargers and the 49ers. However, they were quickly brought back to reality with a close win over the Broncos and a painful loss to the Seahawks. A quick review shows us that the Raiders put up 30PPG in the wins and a low 13points in the only loss.
Offensively, they looked explosive and McFadden helped carry the load. Defensively, they are still inconsistent. Against the Chargers, HB McFadden, who regained his starting spot after losing it in the beginning of the season put up 150+yards, 1TD on just 23 attempts. QB Brett Favre threw for a career best 3TD’s 0INT’s. Defensively they managed to limit leading rusher Ryan Matthews to just 51yards. The Chargers tried to come back in the 4th quarter, scoring 13points but it wasn’t enough to over the deficit.
Next week against the bay area rival 49ers, McFadden once again showed up big. His 138yards on just 16carries and TD proved to be the difference maker. No one else stood out and QB Favre managed the rest of the game just enough to win it. On the flip side, Frank Gore got injured after only 6 carries and was out for the rest of the game. Backup HB Wynn stepped right in and gained 96yards, 1TD averaging 5+YPC. Unfortunately for the 49ers, they were down multiple scores until 2-3 minutes left in the game, which was too late for the run they attempted to make. Raiders were proud of this outcome only to have come out flat in their next game.
Division games are always the hardest because teams are familiar with each others tendencies and its hard to come up with new schemes every time. The offense and defense played just enough to win the game, and the Raiders were lucky enough to escape with a win. Coach Harbinger had thought the team learnt their lesson of not overlooking any opponent, especially division rivals, but their loss to the Seahawks proved to be a heartbreaker.
Not only did the team come out flat, their performance was embarrassing to say the least. Everytime the Raiders scored, Seahawks scored and as good as the Raiders were in the 3rd Quarter, they just worse in the 4th. Soon as the 4th Quarter began, they allowed a long kickoff return for a chipshot FG. Then they couldn’t produce anything on offense. After another 3 and out, the defense failed to tackle the HB, only to watch him run away for a 57yard TD. The Raiders still had a chance with 2minutes left. They put together multiple 1st down drives and were in a position to atleast tie the game. Sitting pretty at the 20ish yard line, QB Favre threw a short pass to a wide open WR Schilens who caught the ball and turned around to run towards the goaline, with no one in front of him. However, their CB managed to knock the ball out from behind, which was recovered by the safety in the endzone.
Just like that, the Raiders’ hope had melted away. However, the defense got a 3 and out and gave the offense another shot. The combination of a short pass on 1st, which wasted 15seconds, an incomplete pass on 2nd down, and a critical sack on the 3rd led to the Raiders demise.
“I really hope we have learnt our lesson. I warned everyone not to overlook our opponents and we did just that. As a coach, every loss hurts a lot, but if the guys give their best effort, then you can take solace in that fact. However, what is absolutely disappointing is the way we played, everyone looked lethargic and there was no sense of urgency or importance. That will be fixed in practice this week. We are going to go hard, harder than ever before and I don’t care who’s sore, if they whine, they are going to get benched.”
When asked who the player(s) might be that get benched, Coach chose not to answer. Reports are HB McFadden might get benched again, as has already been done in the first few weeks. It certainly appears coach Harbinger doesn’t care where you were drafted or who you were, the best players that give them the best chance of winning will step onto the field.
Forum Discussion (by B_Harbinger on 03/03/2011) Replies - 0 :: Views - 17
Raiders Disappointing Start
Sitting at 1-2 in the AFC West, the only direction for the Oakland Raiders is to go up. This is the only team in the league currently who has underachieved beyond expectations. Several Coaches/GM's had the Raiders pinned as a perennial WC Spot contender, but after the disappointing start, playoffs are the last thing on everyone's mind.

Said Ben Harbinger, "To open the season with two lopsided losses is frustrating to say the least. Obviously we haven't lived up to the expectations. Our GM Prashant has built a solid roster and it is my job as a HC to bring the best performance out of all these guys. I take full responsibility for the slow start and promise that things will change, quickly. Lineups and Gameplans will be changed, but we won't release that to the press right now."

An embarassing home opener against the Titans, where they were outplayed and outcoached created an uproar amongst the fans. Things looked quite gloomy as many wondered if this was going to be another dismal season, even after so many changes were made. The next week, Raiders took care of business against Rookie QB Sam Bradford and the Rams relatively easy. However, they soon followed that up with quite possibly the worst offensive and defensive display many have seen in years.

"We simply got our butts kicked today. I want to thank Coach Wisenhunt for the buttkicking. To give up 40+points on defense and turn the ball over SIX times is unimaginable. We were lucky to have lost by only 3points. No one can turn the ball over that many times and expect to win a game in this league. We have to go back to the drawing board, and we will do that starting tomorrow.

Right now, our focus is to get back on track against the Houston Texans. They are a strong group and have home run threats that present matchup problems. All the coaches, including myself will make the necessary changes to get the best product on the field, said coach Ben."

How the players respond to the start thus far has yet to be seen, but it will be surprising to see if they play any worse.
Forum Discussion (by B_Harbinger on 01/29/2011) Replies - 0 :: Views - 22
Oakland Raiders Hire GM's Ben and Prashant Harbinger.
In a move that could not have come as a surprise to anyone, the Oakland Raiders have informed head coach Tom Cable that he is fired, according to multiple Bay Area sources. Both Adam Schefter of ESPN and Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network confirmed Sunday with team owner Al Davis that the team would be hiring a new general manager after the end of the season, and that the new GM was likely going to be in charge of hiring a new head coach.
GM Prashant Harbinger has been highly rated on Al Davis’ list for a long time and now that the opportunity has arrived, Mr. Davis and the Raiders wasted no time in signing the new GM. What may come as a surprise is the rest of the deal. Many from RZL already know that the 49ers franchise is run by both Prashant and Ben Harbingers. It is quite evident that because Prashant is now the GM of the Oakland Raiders, he immediately brought in his brother, Ben Harbinger to help coach the team.
Although a team conference has yet to be set, several sources have quoted Al Davis on the recent hirings. “Dear Raider Nation, it is with great pleasure and honor that I introduce you to the best GM/HC Combination in the Green Zone League. We are extremely honored to have these two running the show and I can finally sit back and watch us go back to doing what we do best, JUST WIN BABY!”
Forum Discussion (by B_Harbinger on 12/27/2010) Replies - 0 :: Views - 29
Rumors Swirl: Raiders to bring back JaMarcus?
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that unknown insiders have reported that there is communication between former bust and #1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell and the Oakland Raiders.
Forum Discussion (by B_Harbinger on 12/14/2010) Replies - 3 :: Views - 62

All Team News Stories

At A Glance

RAIDERS FRONT OFFICE
GM G_Pearce
Head Coach Tom Cable
Offensive Coordinator Bob Bratkowski
Defensive Coordinator Dick Anderson
Special Teams Greg McMahon
Salary $165.8M
Cap Penalty $6.13M
Cap Room $2.07M

INJURY REPORT
PLAYER POS OVR LENGTH
Raiders Chester Truman SS 97 3 weeks

AFC West
RNK TEAM W-L-T PCT DIV
#3 Chargers Chargers 1-0-0 1.00 1-0
#1 Chiefs Chiefs 1-0-0 1.00 0-0
#27 Broncos Broncos 0-1-0 0.00 0-0
#31 Raiders Raiders 0-1-0 0.00 0-1

RAIDERS SCHEDULE
WK DATE OPPONENT TIME/RESULT
1 Sun at Chargers Chargers #3
Lost 17-34
2 Sun at Patriots Patriots #8 TBD
3 Sun vs Bills Bills #20 4:05pm
5 Sun at Buccaneers Buccaneers #21 1:00pm
6 Sun vs Saints Saints #30 4:15pm
7 Sun vs Broncos Broncos #27 4:05pm
8 Sun vs Chargers Chargers #3 4:05pm
9 Sun vs Titans Titans #13 4:15pm
10 Sun at Bengals Bengals #12 1:00pm
11 Sun at Chiefs Chiefs #1 1:00pm
12 Sun vs Dolphins Dolphins #26 4:05pm
13 Sun at Broncos Broncos #27 4:05pm
14 Sun at Jets Jets #5 1:00pm
15 Mon vs Chiefs Chiefs #1 9:00pm
16 Sat vs Panthers Panthers #4 4:05pm
17 Sun at Falcons Falcons #2 1:00pm

Powered by League Pulse.  League Pulse was written by Brad Mallett (btmlltt).