When: Sun. 9/26 4:15 pm
9/26 4:15 pm - SIRIUS Ch 127
9/26 4:15 pm
ET (DirecTV Sunday Ticket )
Meet the Raiders
vs. Raiders Matchups
The Raidiz won a squeaker over the Rams.
The Cardinals got steamrolled physically by
Atlanta and wound up on the short end of an embarrassing 41 - 7
Oakland came back from a 7 - 0 second quarter
deficit in a sloppily played 1H to regain the lead in the 3Q and
then stave off a late StL rally to nip the Rams in a pitchers
dual, 16- 14. Three things to take away from that game were: (1)
Gradkowski bailing out Campbell in the 2H, (2) 122+ ground yards
by McFadden and (3) only 2 TD's given up by the defense.
Rams received but two sacks (Wimbley and
Branch) on a 7 play drive to nowhere forced them to punt.
Higgins returned the punt 53 yards to the Ram 6, but Oakland
was unable to punch it over on 4 downs. The Rams moved from
their own 6 to the Raider 5. A sack (Houston) moved them back
to the Raider 18 where Brown missed a 36-yard FG. Oakland came
right back, marching to the Ram 28, but Janikowski's 46-yard
attempt was wide (Doesn't anyone want to win this game)?
A 23 yard run by Jackson moved the ball out to to the Ram 41
just before the 1Q (mercifully) ended.
A 24-yard catch & run by Jackson helped set
up a 6-play StL scoring drive capped by a 7-yard completion
from Bradford to Clayton. Rams 7 - Raiders 0.
WOn the next possession, Oakland was able
to move from their own 12 to midfield in 10 plays but had to
punt. The defense held StL to 3 & out. A chop block penalty
turned a lousy punt into a disaster and gave the Raiders
possession at the Ram 29. They made it all the way to the 11,
where Campbell was sacked for minus-9. This time, Janikowski's
38-yard FG try was good. Rams 7 - Raiders 3.
3:22 til halftime. A couple of Ram
penalties bottled them up inside their own territory and they
punted from their own 32. On the 6th play of the next
possession, Campbell was picked off. With 0:22 left, the Rams
ran off the clock. Halftime Score: Rams 7 - Raiders 3.
Raiders received. Gradkowski in for
Campbell. A roughness call on StL and a 26-yard
Gradkowski-to-Murphy connection helped set up a 41-yaed
Janikowski FG. Rams 7 - Raiders 6.
Oakland bottled up StL on the next set of
downs. Starting on their own 17, Gradkowski hit Heyward-Bey
for +16 and Zach Miller for +24. McFadden then ripped off
gains of +9 and +30 to reach the Ram 9 and set up a 4-yard
Gradkowski-to-Murphy scoring pass. Raiders 13 - Rams
AtOakland overcame a 15-yard personal foul
call (Kelly) to bottle up the Rams. The two teams traded
possessions followed by a StL 3 & out. Oakland ran off one
running play (+5) as the quarter ended. 3Q Score:
Raiders 13 - Rams 7.
Oakland moved from their own 34 to the Ram
4 (in 10 plays) before Janikowski's 22-yard chip-shot extended
their lead. Raiders 16 - Rams 7.
9:50 left. On the second play of the next
series, Bradford's pass was picked off by Routt. con 30. The
two teams exchanged short possessions. On the 7th play of the
following Raider set of downs, Gradkowski was picked off by J.
4:05 left. Starting from the Ram 41, StL
took advantage of two Raider (offsides and roughness)
penalties to reach the Oakland 17. An incomplete 2nd & 10 pass
to Clayton was reversed. Touchdown St. Louis. Raiders
16 - Rams 14.
3:18 to play. A roughing the passer
penalty on Robbins helped Oakland drain the remaining time off
the clock. Final Score: Raiders 16 - Rams 14.
Sloppy play during the 1H (with both teams
blowing scoring opportunities).
Defensive battle during the 2H with
penalties helping to determine the final outcome.
My understanding is that Gradkowski
replaced Campbell mainly on merit and not because of any
injury, causing much speculation that Gradkowski will start
and Campbell will sit vs. the Cardinals next Sunday.
Campbell went 8 for 15 with an
Anderson-like QB Rating of 42.9. Gradkowski stepped in
to go 11 for 22 (162 yards, a TD & no picks) for a 70.6
McFadden gained 145 yards on 30 carries. .
What won it for Oakland was the
combination of (a) McFadden on the ground, (b) solid 2H
quarterbacking /game management by Gradkowski and (c) a pretty
Raiders moved the chains 25 times while
holding StL to 16.
Their 3rd down efficiency was 7 for 17
(while holding StL to 2 of 10).
Total net yardage for the Raiders was 404.
They racked up 173 net yards rushing.
Raider QB's were sacked twice (They got to
Bradford 3 times).
Oakland was penalized 12 times for 90
yards. (Rams were flagged 8 times - that's 20 penalties that
had to make the game go really slow.
Time of Possession: 36:49 (vs. 23:11 for
Wimbley, Branch and Houston each had a
sack. Routt had the only Raider pick.
Leading Raider defenders (McClain,
Wimbley, Branch, Huff) only had 4- 6 tackles
Meet the Raiders
They're 1 & 1. They bit the bullet when they
got rid of their drafting disaster (Jamarcus Russell) and replaced
him with Campbell (and possibly now Gradkowski) and their HC seems
to have righted the ship. The Raiders have a pretty aggressive,
hard-hitting defense, and McFadden finally lived up to his
potential when he gained 145 yards in their most recent game.
They're young, their roster (while containing talent) is a bit
spotty and they're penalty-prone. (Then too, so apparently are the
Campbell, Jason QB 6-5 230 28 6 Auburn
05 Gradkowski, Bruce QB 6-1 220 27 5 Toledo
07 Boller, Kyle QB 6-3 220 29 7 California
Gradkowski stepped in for a struggling Campbell and pulled out
their most recent game vs. the Rams. Whether or not Campbell has
officially lost his starting spot to Gradkowski remains to be
Darren RB 6-2 210 23 3 Arkansas
29 Bush, Michael RB 6-1 245 26 3 Louisville
25 Cartwright, Rock RB 5-8 215 30 9 Kansas State
32 Bennett, Michael RB 5-9 205 32 10
45 Reece, Marcel FB 6-3 240 25 2 Washington
Turner McFadden is the Chris Johnson/Adrian Peterson glamor guy of
this RB group, but Bush can pound it, Bennett is a savvy passing
down specialist and Cartright is great on special teams.
85 Heyward-Bey, Darrius WR 6-2 210 23 2 Maryland
15 Higgins, Johnnie Lee WR 5-11 185 27 4
12 Ford, Jacoby WR 5-9 185 23 R Clemson
81 Schilens, Chaz WR 6-4 225 24 3
San Diego State
18 Murphy, Louis WR 6-2 200 23 2
Nick WR 5-9 180 23 2 Southern Utah
Heyward-Bey is the high-profile home-run
hitter of this unit. Although Schilens is listed tops on the depth
chart, it was Murphy who scored the two Oakland TD's last Sunday.
Murphy caught 6 of 10 passes thrown his way (one TD). Heyward-Bey
went 6 of 13.
80 Miller, Zach TE 6-5 255 24 4 Arizona
83 Myers, Brandon TE 6-4 250 25 2
Miller has Pro Bowl potential and ability. He caught 3 of 4 passes
directed at him last week. Just an observation,
but the Raiders are only carrying 2 TE's and 1 FB on their roster.
75 Henderson, Mario LT 6-7 300 25 4
69 Barnes, Khalif T 6-5 325 28 6
76 Gallery, Robert LG 6-7 325 30 7 Iowa
60 Loper, Daniel G 6-6 320 28 6 Texas Tech
68 Veldheer, Jared C 6-8 315 23 R
64 Satele, Samson C 6-3 300 25 4 Hawaii
66 Carlisle, Cooper RG 6-5 295 33 11 Florida
74 Campbell, Bruce G/T 6-6 315 22 R Maryland
70 Walker, Langston RT 6-8 360 31 9
Lots of beef on the hoof on this unit. Veldheer's name seemed to
come up a lot in the penalty column last Sunday. Let's not forget
that O-lines usually have something to do with running attacks
that gain 173 yards on 40 carries.
99 Houston, Lamarr DE 6-3 305 23 R
77 Shaughnessy, Matt DE 6-5 270 23 2 Wisconsin
92 Seymour, Richard DE 6-6 310 30 10
90 Bryant, Desmond DT 6-5 290
24 2 Harvard
94 Alford, Jay DT 6-3 305 27 4 Penn State
93 Kelly, Tommy DT 6-6 300 29 7
79 Henderson, John DT 6-7 335 31 9 Tennessee
91 Scott, Trevor DE 6-5 255 26 3
Pretty formidable unit -
especially with Seymour and Kelly inside. Houston had a sack last
52 Groves, Quentin OLB 6-3 265 26 3
53 Howard, Thomas OLB 6-3 240 27 5 Texas-El
McClain, Rolando MLB 6-3 255 21 R Alabama
57 Brown, Ricky LB 6-2 235 26 5
Goethel, Travis LB 6-2 240 23 R Arizona State
96 Wimbley, Kamerion OLB 6-4 255 26
5 Florida State
54 Williams, Sam LB 6-5 260 30 8
rookie draft pick, McClain is the starting Mike. Wimbley and
Groves can both bring it off the edge.
21 Asomugha, Nnamdi CB 6-2 210 29 8
22 McFadden, Walter CB 5-10
180 23 R Auburn
26 Routt, Stanford CB 6-1 195 27 6
37 Johnson, Chris CB 6-1 200 30 7 Louisville
23 Ware, Jeremy CB 5-10 185 24 R Michigan State
24 Huff, Michael FS 6-1 205 27 5 Texas
31 Eugene, Hiram FS 6-2 200 29 5 Louisiana Tech
33 Branch, Tyvon SS 6-0 205 23 3 Connecticut
34 Mitchell, Mike SS 6-1 220 23 2 Ohio University
27 Brown, Stevie S 5-11 215 23 R Michigan
considered one of the top one or two CB's in the game. Routt had a
pick last week. Huff was a high draft pick the year we chose
Leinart. I don't know anythng about Branch or the other Raider
09 Lechler, Shane P 6-2 225 34 11
11 Janikowski, Sebastian K 6-2 250
32 11 Florida State
59 Condo, Jon LS 6-3 250 29
12 Ford, Jacoby KR/PRWR 5-9
185 23 R Clemson
Kicking and punting are in extremely capable handss. Rookie Ford
has home run potential.
Tom Cable Head Coach
Hue Jackson Offensive Coordinator
John Marshall Defensive
John Fassel Special Teams Coordinator
Cable seems to have stabilized what in recent history has been a
dysfunctional coaching environment (No easy task when you figure
that bleep flows from the top, and the top is occupied by a guy
known as Big Al).
QB - 03 Anderson, 06 Hall, 19 Skelton,
Mixed bag last week for Anderson. He
seemed to be more in synch with Fitz and his other receivers, but
regressed to his old "wild high" MO and had two deflected passes
picked off. He didn't get exceptionally great protection from his
pass blockers and, by the end of the 3Q was beginning to look like
a human pinata. Hall got his shot on the last offensive series of
the contest (which amounted to 2 plays, when Hall underthrew his
man (who was covered in-front and in-back) down the left sideline
and was picked off.
34 Hightower, 31 Wright, 36 Stephens-Howling (KR/PR),
Hightower owned the only feat to make the
highlight reel when he took a handoff around right end for a
picture-book 80-yard TD gallop. LSH was used nicely as an outlet
receiver. Wells didn't play.
FB - 45 Mau'ia
BTake away Hightower's 80-yarder and
Cardinal RB's gained 38 yards on 12 carries - not much of a
feather to put in a lead-blocker's cap.
WR - 15 Breaston,
Roberts, Komar, 80
WR -11 Fitzgerald
(Probable), 14 S Williams,
Anderson had better rapport with
Fitz than he did in the StL opener. He threw to Fitz 12 times
(completing 7) and Williams 6 times (but only connecting on two
attempts). What we didn't see were those patented high catches off
the back shoulder by Fitzgerald.
TE - 89 Patrick,
Pretty much the same as the first game (i.e.
"This unit was close to invisible last Sunday
(the exception being (yup!) Spach's obligatory one penalty per game").
Patrick caught one of two passes thrown at him.
LT- 75 L Brown,
Faneca, 70 Hadnot
Anderson - under pressure throughout the day - was sacked twice
and threw two picks. As pointed out earlier - Cardinal runners
gained 38 yards on 12 carries when you subtract THT's 80-yarder.
DE - 93
Campbell, 79 Iwebema
NT - 97 B Robinson, 98 Watson,
92 D Williams
DT - 90 Dockett, 78 Branch
Watson didn't suit up again, and Atlanta took advantage of his
wide-bodied absence by pounding us with 725 lbs of Turner,
Snelling an Mughelli between the tackles. We surrendered 221 yards
to the Falcs on 45 carries. Meanwhile, our pass rushers got to
Ryan just once (for minus-2). While this unit has looked dynamic
in a traditional "Be explosive at the snap, penetrate and fly
around the field" mode, they were exposed by Atlanta's physically
dominant thumpers. Any opposing DC worth his salt won't think
twice about physically challenging the Cardinal middle until we
stop them. Dockett and Robinson were each penalized twice (though
D-Dock wasn't even on the field for one call).
OLB1 - 55 Porter
58 D Washington,
Lenon and Washington had 19 tackles between
them, but what about the tackles they didn't make? We know they
can fly around, but looked weak vs. a pounding running attack. If
it was because our LB's aren't big enough or strong enough, we've
got a problem. if it was because our LB's stopped trying (I cannot
remember seeing any Cardinal player stick his nose into the action
during the entire 2H), we have a problem of another kind.
SS- 24 Wilson,
FS- 25 Rhodes,
Atlanta picked on Toler and their receivers took him to school.
The good news is that he and his coaches have plenty of tape to
watch and learn from. What remains to be seen is how well he comes
back from being so severely toasted, learns from his mistakes and
allows the experience to make him stronger. Rhodes took what
looked to us to be a bogus unsportsmanlike penalty when he
inadvertently "went Italian" and a gesturing pinky inadvertently
touched an official. Still - he's been around long enough to avoid
this kind of nonsense. DRC was flagged twice for interference
(both questionable calls - the second one involved an
uncatchable ball thrown somewhere in the vicinity of Savannah.
P- 05 B
H - 05 B Graham
18 Komar 15 Breaston,
Komar, 15 Breaston,
Feely missed a 54-yarder (no
guts/no glory). Graham continues to drop most punts inside the 15,
though he seems to be good for one shank per game. The most
gut-wrenching play of the game was a 90+ yard kickoff return by
Stephens-Howling that was called back due to a phantom holding
call on Dockett (who wasn't even out there). At the very least,
the play was a reminder to opposing ST coaches that LSH is a
dangerous return man.
Raiders vs,. Cardinals Matchups
Out: TBA . Questionable:
TBA Probable: TBA
Out: TBA . Questionable:
TBA . Probable: TBA .
Raider Passing Attack
vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
It's unclear which QB (Campbell or Gradkowski) will start (and
Cables ain't telling). Campbell is a pure athlete, but doesn't
perfectly fit the needs of the Raider west coast offense.
Gradkowski is less potentially spectacular, but is terrific in an
Oakland horizontal passing attack which stresses making the right
decisions and delivering the ball to the right guy at the right
spot at the right time. We're guessing that Cables will call
on Gradkowski (because all he does is win). His favorite targets
are Heyward-Bey and Murphy. Raider receivers are talented but
inconsistent. Both Heyward-Bey and Murphy are big fellas. Schilens
is a small slot type.
The Cardinal Front Seven has proved in the past
that it can get to the passer, but demonstrated last week that it
can be distracted by a physical running attack. This is because -
when you can't stop the run, you are less inclined to shoot your
LB's from weird angles on passing downs and - because your
opponent can pick up 1st down yardage on any given down, there no
longer exists so-called "passing downs." Based on last week's
performance by Oakland, we cannot afford to ignore McFadden and
will have our hands full getting in Gradkowskis' (or possibly
Raider Running Attack vs.
Cardinal Run Defense
Gut check time.
Last Sunday, Darren McFadden "was what everyone
thought he was" (living up to all the potential heaped upon him
since before he was a high draft pick). He gained 145 yards on 30
carries and (with the exception of three carries by Reece)
shouldered the entire RB load. If you're going to give McFadden
most of the credit, you can't ignore the Oakland O-line
(Henderson, Gallery, Velhdeer, Carlisle and Walker) though
Velhdeer does seem to be penalty prone.
Last week, the Cardinal run defense was waxed by
a physically more dominant Falcon running machine featuring 235 lb
Michael Turner, 245+ lb Jason Snelling and 250+ lb O. Mughelli. To
put it quite simply, we were blacktopped. I fully expect Oakland
to watch the game film, lick their chops and attempt to do
precisely the same thing Atlanta did to us - which means "All
McFadden/All the Time" until we can prove we can stop him.
Hopefully, Watson will be activated, so that we
can apply a beefier presence at NT and allow Branch to add a
physical presence outside as backup to Campbell and Dockett. It
will also be gut-check time for Arizona's smallish LB corps - with
Joey P, Clark, Paris and DWash occupying the right gaps and being
unmovable when called upon. Perhaps this will be the week when we
see the bigger Will Davis and Reggie Walker get some playing time.
Cardinal Passing Attack
vs. Raider Pass Defense
The Raiders have always had strong corners. This year's no
different. If the NY Jets Revis isn't the NFL's best cornerbacks,
Asomugha certainly is. We don't know that much about Routt -
except that he had an interception last week. Huff's a hitter. We
don't know much about Branch.
Anderson will remain an enigma until he proves
he isn't. He's already demonstrated that (a) he can be wild high,
causing picks off deflections and (b) after appearing to overcome
his weakness in one game, will regress back to his old ways the
next. For the cannon-armed Anderson to be effective, he must
consistently throw "low in the zone", especially over the middle.
Although Anderson hooked up with Fitz more
consistently last Sunday, he remained out of synch with Steven
Williams (2 for 6) and, in our opinion, hasn't looked totally in
command out there (defined as: knowing what he's going to do,
knowing that it's going to work and then doing it every time).
Derek still looks a bit tentative and "more hopeful than
confident" when he's out there.
Cardinal Running Attack
vs. Raider Run Defense
Oakland held Steven Jackson to 75 yards on 19 carries.Based on
their tackling stats from that game, they appear to employ a "hold
your position" team-oriented defense (with 3- 6 tackles spread
pretty evenly among a bunch of defensive players).
It's unclear whether Beanie Wells will
finally be healthy enough to return to action. Meanwhile,
Hightower (who has looked spotty running between the tackles) sure
looked good rambling around RE. Do our offensive minds know what
the key was to making that 80-yard run work so smoothly - was it
one of their guys out of position? A key block? Makes us
wonder - Can the Cards cook up a set of plays that take
advantage of the outside threat Hightower has now demonstrated?
Without adding Beanie to the mix during the
first 2 games, we really don't have a complete picture of what our
RB's will be able/unable to do. At the very least, I think we can
assume that - barring another early meltdown (marked by another
rash of penalties) our Run vs. Pass ratio will be much more
Lechler and Graham match up well. So do Feely and Janickowski.
LSH has proven home run ability in the return game. Rookie Ford
certainly has home run potential..
This doesn't look like a game of matchups as much as it does
one of attitudes. Will the Cards play hard. Will we play
physically? Will we play with poise? Will we cut way down the
penalties? Will we protect the ball? All of these things have less
to do with physical ability than it does toughness, spirit, poise