Raiders week 10: Ballers & Busters


The Raiders had an awakening last week against the Chargers. Of course the Chargers have been the NFL’s version of an espresso shot lately. But there is something to be said for taking the opportunities presented and creating a few opportunities of one’s own. The Raiders did a lot of both on Thursday when they beat the Chargers 24-17 on their “home” field.

This win was an overall team effort that showed the Raiders’ ability to dominate in just about every area. Perhaps the dominance didn’t all happen simultaneously but it happened in one area at any given time. And it showed the potential for this team to put it all together, especially once they are able to get healthy.

The hardest part about this week’s B&B was deciding who would receive the top spot. There were several deserving players but in the end I had to make a tough decision. Just keep that in mind when looking at the top few that in any game like this one, heroes are not so easy to single out.

Ballers


Carson Palmer

Palmer had some great games in Cincinnati, there is no doubt. I am sure if I dug through the numbers I could find a game or two in which his performance was equal or greater on paper than this one. But, in my limited scope, I personally don’t think I have ever seen him play a better game than this one. Through three quarters of play, Palmer had a perfect QB rating: he threw for two touchdowns and no interceptions, he completed 11 of 13 passes for 256 yards. One of those incompletions was when Denarius Moore slipped and couldn’t come down with it.

In the fourth quarter he had his first off target throw as well as his lone interception. Even the interception was not his fault as his arm was hit as he threw, causing the ball to sail up for grabs. Palmer put together a masterful game. He would finish 14 of 20 for 299 yards, two TD’s, and one INT with a 125.0 QB rating. He also jumpstarted a new offense for the Raiders as he had five passes of over 25 yards which is the most the Raiders have had in nearly 20 years (Hostetler had six in 1993 per Josh Dubow of the Associated Press).

Michael Bush

Bush ripped off enormous chunks of yardage all day on the Chargers including a 44 yard run and a 55 yard screen pass. His 44 yard rush got things started off early on the first play of the second possession. He settled in after that when on the next drive he rushed for two first downs and a touchdown. Next Raider touchdown drive came in the second quarter and featured a 23 yard run by Bush. His 55 yard screen came early in the third quarter and led to the Raiders’ final touchdown of the day. After that they just kept “feed(ing) the stud,” as Bush put it, as he continued to churn out the yards and eat clock.

By the end, he had toted the rock 30 times for 157 yards (5.2 ypc) and caught three passes for 85 yards. His one mistake in this game was in the passing game when he missed a block that led to Palmer getting hit as he threw, resulting in the interception. Otherwise, he may have been the logical choice for top Baller. But it is impossible to overlook 242 yards from scrimmage.

Kamerion Wimbley

During the Raiders’ bye week it was noted that Wimbley had just one sack on the season through seven games, after putting up a team leading 9 sacks in 2010. He then got his second sack against the Broncos—still below what we have come to expect from him. But he knows how to catch up in a hurry. He had four sacks in this game erasing any doubts about his abilities since getting his monster contract this offseason.

Chargers starting left tackle Marcus McNeil was knocked out of the game in the first quarter and from that point on, Wimbley went on his tear. His first sack opened the second quarter and closed the door on that Chargers drive. Shortly thereafter, he stopped another Chargers drive with a sack on third down. Then on the last series of the first half, he had a third sack. When he wasn’t sacking Philip Rivers, he was pressuring him and hitting him with regularity. Wimbley had his final sack on the second to last play of the game to force a long last gasp pass attempt by Rivers who was sacked a final time to end the game.

Along with his four sacks and many hurries (7) and hits (5) on the QB, Wimbley also led the team with seven solo tackles. He becomes the first Raider to have four sacks in a single game since Anthony Smith in 1993.

Denarius Moore

The level of trust that has developed between Palmer and Denarius so quickly is astonishing. He threw to Moore 12 times last week though only completed four of them. But that didn’t discourage him from going for his new favorite target again. This time he had a great deal more success. But things didn’t start out looking that way. Moore slipped on the turf (third week in a row) and dropped the first pass thrown to him. Next time he saw the ball was fielding a punt in which he ran backward for two yard loss. And that was his entire first quarter. Then things turned around… big time.

On the Raiders’ first possession of the second quarter he had a spectacular 46 yard fingertip grab that made the round of the highlight reels. It set up a field goal to put the Raiders up 10-3.

The following Raiders’ possession, he got a reprieve after a bad choice to field a punt at the one yard line when on the do-over punt, he blocked the gunner to keep him away from the ball and allow it to bounce in the end zone for a touchback. He also had a seven yard catch on that drive. The drive after that was almost all Denarius. He returned the punt 21 yards to their own 44 yard line. Two plays later with the Raiders at the Chargers 33 yard line, Denarius broke away from two defenders to catch a perfectly placed pass at the goal line and take it in for the touchdown. He would catch another touchdown pass from 26 yards out on the Raiders’ next drive. The remainder of the game for Moore consisted of a nice 11 yard catch in which he scooped it up off the turf and a nifty move on a punt return to the 30 yard line. He finished with five catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

Cooper Carlisle, Stefen Wisniewski

It seemed nearly every time you saw Bush burst through a gaping hole and run wild into the secondary, it was through a block by one of these two. Carlisle was the first to get a notch on his belt when he pulled from his right guard spot to lay a gap clearing block that sprung Bush for a 44 yard gain. Later the two of them executed a screen play to perfection that gave Bush a convoy for him to break off 55 yards. Those two big runs are just the most obvious examples. Wisniewski, who was filling in for the injured Samson Satele, and Carlisle were doing some serious work and Bush’s 157 yards rushing and 242 yards from scrimmage is proof of that.

Rolando McClain

There is a saying or perhaps it was a song lyric, I don’t know, that “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” While I wouldn’t completely subscribe to that with what I have seen from McClain, there is a ring of truth to it. As critical as I have been of McClain, this team is clearly better with him in the lineup. McClain is the team’s middle linebacker and it becomes obvious what that means when you watch this defense with and without him in it. He was playing through an injury in this game. He was visually hampered by it, but if you didn’t actually see him laboring, you never would have known it. He had several run stuffing tackles at or near the line of scrimmage and even had a tipped incompletion and three passes defended. He dug deep late, when the Raiders needed it the most. With the Chargers down by a touchdown in the fourth quarter, McClain had a QB pressure to force an incompletion, a run stuff at the line, and then ended the drive with a pass defended.

Honorable Mention

Matt Giordano

He didn’t have a great day but he did have the Raiders’ only turnover. After the Raider defensive backs had three previous golden opportunities to pick off Philip Rivers that came up empty, Giordano was finally able to get an interception. It came late in the fourth quarter after the Chargers had driven down the field and were looking to tie the game. Rivers dropped back and threw a long ball to Vincent Jackson and Giordano intercepted it in the end zone. In the process he became the only Raider defender to have more than one interception this season.

Busters

Aaron Curry

It’s a second straight top Buster for Curry. In his short time with the Raiders we have gotten a really good indication of what kind of player he is. He is a high energy, hard hitting player with little in the way of instincts or football intelligence. That becomes a serious liability in pass coverage more than anything. We picked up his poor play in the third quarter last week and again, that is where we pick it up this week.

On the Chargers’ first drive out of the locker room, they began exploiting the pass coverage of Curry. He gave up an 11 yard catch and a 22 yard catch on that drive. The result was the Chargers’ first touchdown. On the next drive, Curry gave up a 10 yard catch on third and one and gave up a 20 yard catch on the very next play that put the Chargers in field goal range. The next Chargers drive, he was out of position which left running back Jacob Hester wide open for a seven yard touchdown catch. So that’s three drives, three scoring opportunities, and two touchdowns for the Chargers facilitated by Curry surrendering five catches for 70 yards and a touchdown.

Curry says that his high energy defines him as a player. That high energy works well in basic run defense. But in every other area, it won’t cut it. He was left confused facing Tebow’s read-option attack last week and he was lost in coverage against Philip Rivers this week. The Chargers went into the locker room at halftime and came out knowing just the guy they could exploit to move the ball down the field and score. And you can bet every other team from here on out will take the same approach, though they probably won’t wait until the third quarter.

Stanford Routt

As usual, Routt played a good game for the most part. But he usually seems to make us forget all about his fine coverage skill because he keeps getting victimized when it counts the most. On the Chargers’ first touchdown pass, he was in perfect position to intercept it or at very least defend it. He saw it coming the moment he left the line and had what felt like an eternity to size it up. Then he leapt in the air and came away with nothing. The receiver, Vincent Brown (who?) plucked it away and came down with the 31 yard touchdown catch. As the Raiders’ number one corner, he HAS TO make those plays—and he just doesn’t. The Chargers were lined up in fourth and one and Routt gave up a catch and missed the tackle and it went for 17 yards to the seven yard line. The Chargers scored the touchdown on the next play. He was later called for holding.

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About Levi Damien, Senior Writer

Raiders Week 10: Ballers & Busters

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders

The Chiefs and the Raiders met up this week in a matchup of bottom feeders to see who could make the fewest mistakes. It was reminiscent of that South Park episode where the boys are playing Little League baseball and competing to see who could lose so they wouldn’t have to keep playing. In this case, it seems like the two teams were competing to see who gets a higher draft pick. If you look at it that way, the Raiders won.

Although when you consider that the Raiders last three top picks are either inconsequential or the very reason they lost, it probably is not that much of a win even in that regard. No, this one felt like a loss all-around. There is nothing that can be taken from this game that Raider fans have not already beat their collective heads against the wall about almost constantly the past seven seasons. And the most nauseating and infuriating thing is that we all know this cycle will play itself out indefinitely.

This week’s list has a few usual suspects on it but it also has a few complete role reversals. A few guys that were a midseason Baller or Buster, have made the other list. So it seems I jinxed the Ballers and gave the Busters some motivation. As I have said before, these guys thrive on negative criticism and fail when they are confident. Well, some do. Some overcome it and others play terrible no matter what.

With that said, let’s get to those that overcame and to those that under whelmed.

Ballers

Michael Bush

It is nice to see him break out again. He had 119 yards rushing on the day which is the first time a Raiders running back has gone over hundred yards since…Michael Bush had 177 yards against the Bucs at the end of last season. His big run was a 60 yarder that occurred on the second play of the game. It put the Raiders in scoring position on the 4 yard line. Fargas would punch it in two plays later. He was workmanlike until the third quarter when Tom Cable finally decided he would just run the ball. Bush carried the ball five straight times for 36 yards and three first downs. Then for whatever reason Cable decided to have Russell throw the ball. Two wildly off-target incompletions later and the drive ended. Bush was the only good thing the Raiders had going on offense but unfortunately he wasn’t enough.

Tyvon Branch

As usual, he had a solid day from the strong safety position. He had 8 solo tackles and 2 assists on the day which was good for second on the team. Four of those tackles were run stuffs, one for a loss. Two other tackles were short of the first down on third down to force a punt. He had two passes defended as well as two coverage incompletions. He ended three different drives for the Chiefs. One in which the Chiefs were in first and goal on the 7 yard line. He stuffed a run attempt on second down and had tight coverage in the end zone forcing Cassel to throw the ball away. The Chiefs would settle for a field goal.

Kirk Morrison

Here is the first of those role reversals I spoke of. After being a midseason Buster, Morrison came out and played a nice game. He led the team in solo tackles which isn’t that unusual all by itself. But Morrison’s big problem has been giving up the big plays. The only really big play on the day was the Chiefs’ 44 yard touchdown run on fourth and one. A play in which Morrison sealed off the outside forcing Jamaal Charles to go inside. At which point, a Raider defender is supposed to be there to stop him. Morrison did his part and his fellow linebackers and defensive ends were not there to finish it off. The fact is, he was Kirky on the spot all day. When he wasn’t stuffing the run at the line, he was chasing down runners and receivers from behind. He forced a fumble that would have been a great play for the Raiders had it not been that the ball bounced around until it was twenty yards downfield and recovered by the Chiefs. Again, Morrison did his part and his teammates couldn’t finish it off. A few plays later, Morrison stopped the tightend short of the first down. The Chiefs failed to convert on fourth down and were turned away without scoring. He ended his day by tackling the Chiefs runner short of the first down to give the Raiders the ball back with enough time to make a push to win it. And again, Morrison did his job, then the offense couldn’t finish it off.

Shane Lechler

He punted 11 times on the day and 5 times inside the 20 yard line. His first punt was fair caught at the 9 yard line. His second punt was muffed and recovered by the Raiders. His third punt traveled 52 yards. His fourth and fifth punts went for 55 and 57 yards and in both cases the returner was tackled immediately at the 19 yard line for minimal gain. His next punt was fair caught at the 11 yard line. I am thinking that I should just put him on the Baller list as a given (like Al Davis as a Buster). He is the best in the game and will be for a long time so there is not much else to say about it. He will certainly give the announcers something to talk about when the Raiders head into Dallas Stadium in two weeks. That big screen above the field will be nice target practice.

Tommy Kelly

He had two neutral zone infractions in this game. The first one worked in the Raiders’ favor because it negated a first down catch by the Chiefs to set up third and 12. Chris Johnson intercepted the ball on the next play. The other neutral zone infraction didn’t hurt much as Richard Seymour would deflect Cassel’s pass on the next play and the Chiefs would have to punt. The rest of his day was great. He had a quarterback pressure on the Chiefs second drive. Two drives later he sacked Cassel for an 8 yard loss. Later he had a pass deflection at the line. He also had a two run stuffs for no gain.

Cornell Green

Speaking of role reversals… Cornell Green is almost never a Baller. He must have been refreshed after being out for so many weeks because he was bringin’ it in that game. Not only did he not give up a sack on the day but he had no penalties either. This after his replacements Eric Pears and Khalif Barnes racked up many sacks and penalties. Where Green was visible (in a good way) was in run blocking. The three runs Michael Bush had to start the Raiders’ first drive of the second half were all successful because Green was up field plowing the way. The result was 26 yards and two first downs. Never thought I would say this but, it’s good to have Cornell Green back.

Matt Shaughnessy

Another fine performance from the best rookie in this draft class. The Raiders haven’t missed a beat with Greg Ellis being out. On the Chiefs first drive he sealed off the running lane to allow Jon Alston to tackle the running back for a loss. In the third quarter he did it again on a pass into the flat to allow Alston to tackle the back for minimal gain. Then in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs intercepted the ball and with the Chiefs up by 3, he sacked Cassel on first down to make it second and 7. Then he chased down a screen for 6 yards to set up third and 11. Unfortunately the Cheifs were able to convert and make a field goal anyway but Shaughnessy did everything he could to prevent it.

Busters

Darrius Heyward-Bey

I am beginning to wonder if this guy ever knew how to catch. How was he rated as a top prospect? How was he even “Honorable Mention!” all ACC? He had two golden opportunities in this game to catch the ball and put the Raiders in position to score. And he pulled the same pathetically amateur move both times. What he does is he leaps in the air and tries to catch the ball in his gut only to have the ball fall right through his arms and to the turf (see the above picture). He did the same thing in the game against the Jets on an easy touchdown grab. It is not unlike that of a 4 year old child trying to catch a ball. What do the experts always say about a receiver catching with his hands? Well, “Drops Hella-Balls” doesn’t seem to know what his hands are for. They aren’t for throwing up in the air or shrugging and saying “I did my job out there.” At this point, he should be using them to cover his face in shame. The second of his bumbling idiot attempts at catching the ball, ended up being the last play of the game for the Raiders. He not only dropped the ball, but then he kicked it straight up in the air for an easy interception to end the Raiders chances of scoring and giftwrap a win for the Chiefs. He is the worst receiver I have EVER SEEN. Truly, he is a completely incompetent fraud. But I digress.

Jonnie Lee Higgins

What is it with the three name receivers on this team? In Higgins’ case, he was at least good at one time. He just had a really terrible game. On the Raiders’ second drive he ran an end around that he tried to go wide on and ended up getting stopped for a gain of just 2 yards. Then on third down he caught a 2 yard pass and could have gotten the first down but instead opted to try and juke a defender and was tackled immediately, forcing a punt. Next time he saw the ball, he ran a route short of the first down marker and even though he made the catch, the drive was stopped. The next drive, he dropped a pass right to him. Then in the fourth quarter, with the game within reach, he let a ball bounce right off of his hands and be intercepted. The Chiefs would go up by six after that. As bad as he was as a receiver, he may have been even worse in the return game. His returns went as follows: 3 yards, -1 yard, fair catch at 19, -4 yards, lost punt in air downed at 17 yard line, and fair catch at 20. That means his total return yards was -2 with only one Raiders drive starting outside the 20 yard line. Seriously, negative total yards on returns? If the Raiders would be better off having someone back there fair catching the ball then why do they need Higgins back there? That seems like a fair question.

JaMarcus Russell

Only JaMarcus Russell can be so terrible that even when you take away all the drops (6), he still can’t get over 60% completion. It would be easier to go through his completions than his incompletions considering he had just 8 for the entire day. Especially if you go through the completions that actually mattered. His second pass was one in which he escaped pressure and hit Michael Bush for 8 yards. Later he threw a 14 pass to Chaz Schilens. Just before half he threw a 15 yard pass to Higgins and a 9 yard pass to Zach Miller. And that’s it. Those four throws were the only completions the entire day that mattered in the slightest. Two other completions were short of the first down on third down. He had eight incompletions that were off target. Four of those were on third down to end the drive. He also held onto the ball too long resulting in a sack and fumbled the snap on an attempted quarterback sneak on third and one. He was benched in the third quarter to the delight of the crowd at the colliseum. Cable will announce Wednesday if Gradkowski will be the starter next week or not. Even though it is too late to salvage anything at this point. Thanks JaMarcus.

Tom Cable

Ok let’s see… Javon Walker still inactive? Check. Darrius Heyward-Bey still starting? Check. JaMarcus still starting (until further notice)? Check. Playbook still vanilla? Check. That is enough right there to warrant Cable as a Buster. Not only did Darrius Heyward-Bey start, but of 63 snaps, he played in 54 of them. That is more than any other receiver on the team by far– including Chaz Schilens. And he has done what exactly to be given that kind of playing time? Drop the ball in key situations? Check. Take no responsibility whatsoever? Check. The Raiders flirted with the “Wild Hog” formation on the second drive. McFadden ran for 3 yards and then Higgins ran the end around for 2 yards. And that was the end of the flirtation. That was the lamest attempt at mixing up the playbook ever. He’s going to have to do a lot better than that. Not that it matters though; his clock is ticking as it is.

Mario Henderson

Our first role reversal of the Buster list. After going a season and a half without giving up a sack and playing nearly flawless football, Super Mario had a stinker. He was called for holding three times on the day, two of them happened on consecutive plays. Tamba Hali was giving him all kinds of problems. Last week he gave up his first sack to Shawn Merriman and now this. This could mean that defensive ends have figured out how to beat him. It could also mean that his mind is not right. Either way, it is hard to say if he will turn it around or if this is where we start to see the chinks in his armor.

Nnamdi Asomugha

And the ultimate in turns of fortune is that of Asomugha in this game. He came into the game with just 11 passes thrown to his man. But Matt Cassel seemed unafraid to throw his way. The decision paid off for the Chiefs. He gave up a 13 yard first down catch in the third quarter. And in the fourth quarter he was beaten on the play and was called for pass interference. The penalty was the key play that put the Chiefs in field goal range and allowed them to go up by six. But Nnamdi’s worst play was one in which he gave up a catch on a slant to Dwayne Bowe, then missed the tackle. Kirk Morrison knocked the ball out of Bowe’s hand and Nnamdi had the best chance of any Raider to recover it. He slid down right on the ball and couldn’t get ahold of it. He only ended up knocking it further downfield where the Chiefs would recover it for a net of twenty yards. I would venture to say that if you pit Aso vs. opposing quarterbacks, he wins 4 out of 5 times but this game was that one time. I only hope other quarterbacks think that they can try the same thing because Nnamdi is going to jump one of them and take it to the house.

Al Davis

Yeah, I didn’t forget about you.

About Levi Damien, Senior Writer

Raiders Week 10: Ballers & Busters

So here we are again mourning another loss. This time instead of a blow out or a heartbreaker it was just a complete lack of execution. In a game that any halfway decent team should have won, this team somehow found a way to lose anyway. Hopefully among the Ballers and Busters, some reasoning can come of this whole debacle.

Ballers:

Nnamdi Asomugha

As usual he made every other player on the field, including his own teammates, look like they were in some kind of sub-division by comparison. He had one pass thrown his way that he intercepted as if he were saying, “Seriously, Delhomme, do you really want to test me?” to which Delhomme responded by not risking it again. It was masterful and effortless and could be taught in football camps for years as perfect technique. Most of the game Aso was guarding Steve Smith who didn’t catch a single ball against him and finished the game with one catch for nine yards. Later in the game, Aso had a pass defended but it was not even his man. So apparently he has so much talent that he can lend some of it to his fellow defenders. How generous of him.

Justin Fargas

He had his best game since returning from his groin injury. Every drive he was ripping off nice chunks of yardage. On the Raiders’ first drive he had runs of 9, 5, and 10 but the drive stalled when Walter was sacked and couldn’t convert the third and long. Later in the game he had a 17 yard run which wasn’t enough after an offensive holding penalty. He had a nice 5 yard run that put Janikowski in range for his record breaking field goal in the third quarter. He finished the game with 89 yards on 22 carries. Although when running to the right side of the line where Cornell Green is, he had 7 rushes for a total of 4 yards. Without that sad stat he averaged 5.6 yards per carry.

Sebastian Janikowski

Congratulations Seabass for surpassing the great George Blanda to become the Raiders’ all time leading scorer. On the day, he scored the only points the Raiders had with his two field goals: the first from 38 and the second from 45. Late in the fourth quarter he was forced to attempt a 58 yarder that missed off of the cross bar. Most NFL kickers could never hope to reach the post let alone be accurate from that range and since that would have been yet ANOTHER Raider record to eclipse his own record he set this season which had broken his previous record, I will give him a pass on that one. He was also booming kickoffs into the end zone in this game and had two touchbacks.

Shane Lechler

Yawn! He is so predictable. Long, high, soaring punts yada yada yada. I suppose only the specifics change from game to game. His first punt was downed at the 9 yard line. A couple of punts later his punt was left alone and settled at the 4 yard line. But I suppose when you tie for 2nd in the NFL all time with 11 punts in a game, you have plenty of tries to be spectacular. That or mess up. Which he never did. And never does.

Rashad Baker

This was a tough one. Perhaps I should put the ball hawking Rashad Baker here because his tackling is certainly “Buster” material. He really surprised me with his play. He is a damn fine free safety as far as coverage is concerned. And we saw none of this ability in the preseason. He had two really nice interceptions on Sunday and he did it in the fashion that you want to see from your team’s free safety. He took nice angles and swooped in to be the SAFETY valve to cover the deep routes of the receivers. At this point that is all we can ask for considering we haven’t been getting much of it lately.

Kirk Morrison

I have been critical of Morrison this season because he doesn’t seem to be in the right position to make a play most of the time and he gives up too many catches. He led the team in tackles which is usually expected from the middle linebacker but only one of those tackles was on a catch made by the man he was covering. He played the run quite well and had two run stuffs. The first was on DeAngelo Williams on third down to force a punt and the other was on Jonathan Stewart on a posession that resulted in a Panthers three and out.

Busters

Cornell Green

Congrats Cornell, you looked worse than Kwame Harris in this game. Because while you were just as porous in giving up sacks (2), you made life miserable for Justin Fargas every time he tried to run to the right side. Fargas ran 7 times to the right side and those runs looked like this: 2, 1, -3, 0, 0, 1, 3. Which as I mentioned earlier is a total of 4 yards. On top of that, right after a really nice 27 yard Zach Miller catch and run you had a false start to help kill that drive. Thanks buddy.

Kwame Harris

I thought there was supposed to be equal time between he and Mario Henderson in this game? As it turns out, Henderson played about one quarter (and looked solid) and Harris played the rest of the game. In the process, he gave up two sacks to Julius Peppers.

Jonnie Lee Higgins

He had reservations on this list about five seconds into this game when he took the opening kickoff out of the end zone and fumbled it at the 16 yard line to set up the Panthers’ first touchdown. But then he played the rest of the game like the JLH we knew and hated in the preseason and early in the regular season. He ran right into the defenders almost every time and didn’t break anything to give the Raiders favorable field position. His punt returns on the day looked like this: -2, 9, 0, -3, 0, 2, 11. He had two punt returns with negative yardage? I thought he learned from that running backwards crap! Then on the punt return he had that went for 2 yards there was an illegal block in the back called. So even with an illegal block in the back he couldn’t muster more than two friggin yards? Two of the main reasons the Raiders lost this game were turnovers and field position and he was almost solely responsible for those two problems.

Hiram Eugene

Both of the Panthers’ two touchdowns on the day went through him. The first was a 3 yard catch by Musin Muhammed who was his man and he was really trailing on the catch to make it look easy. The other was the DeAngelo Williams 69 yards run that came from his and Baker’s dual missed tackle. He is usually the antithesis of Rashad Baker. Hiram can’t cover but he is a solid tackler and Baker can cover but can’t tackle. Seems like the story of the Raiders.

Tom Cable

He seems to still be oblivious as to what kind of team he is putting on the field. To sum up why he is on this list I will use someone else’s words:  

“There are two ways to meet difficulties: You alter the difficulties, or you alter yourself to meet them.”  — Phyllis Bottome.

In other words you need to use a game plan that utilizes what this team has. The screen passes to Michael Bush are a good start but this is no time to take baby steps. I am sick of talking about the Raider players with an overall tone of “You did the best you could under the circumstances.” Well, Tom, you are not doing the best YOU can under the circumstances. This defense played way too well to have to endure a shoddy offense that lacks discipline and focus. And that falls squarely on your shoulders.

Al Davis

Every week someone reminds me that Al needs to be on this list. I usually don’t mention him because it goes without saying. But I agree that he should be here and so here he is. This week it is for the releasing of DeAngelo Hall. Sure Chris Johnson played admirably and this defense looked better than it has in a while. But let us not forget what repercussions came from DeAngelo Hall. We traded away a HIGH second round pick (34th overall), signed him to a ridiculous deal that strapped the team’s ability to re-sign Asomugha long term, we traded former first round pick Fabian Washington for a fourth round pick, that fourth round pick turned out to be Arman Shields who hasn’t played this year because of injury and in the small amount of time he played in the preseason, he didn’t look very good, DeAngelo Hall played terribly for eight games in which he made a million per game, and now the possibility of the Raiders EVER seeing him turn it around is lost because he is gone. Sorry, I am sure none of you needed to be reminded of the disaster Al has made of this team this year but there it is.

About Levi Damien, Senior Writer

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