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Lindy's 2014 Raiders Preview

 
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Sonic Raider


Joined: 01 Nov 2011
Posts: 620
Location: New Jersey
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:12 pm    Post subject: Lindy's 2014 Raiders Preview Reply with quote

*From Lindy's magazine "2014 Raiders Preview"

Unburdened by salary cap restraints and a subpar roster he inherited, this was supposed to be the year general manager Reggie McKenzie made up ground by spending big and drafting wisely. Mckenzie's offseason moves, while sound, certainly weren't spectacular. The headliner was a trade for Houston quarterback Matt Schaub, who had lost confidence and his job with his former team.. If Schaub returns to the form of a 4,000-yard passer and gives coach Dennis Allen consistency at the position, the Raiders could surprise some teams. The Raiders provided Schaub support in free agency with left tackle Donald Penn and receiver James Jones. The draft brought an impact player in the pass rush in linebacker Khalil Mack and Schaub's heir-apparent, Derek Carr.

Can Matt Schaub reclaim his former self with the Raiders?
He'll be 33 when the season starts and now must play outside the comfortable confines of Houston's retractable dome stadium. He needs to muster up at least one decent season for the Raiders to prepare Derek Carr to succeed him.
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Sonic Raider


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coaching
Even with their lack of talent, the fact is the Raiders were a worse team at the end of the season under Allen than they were at the beginning, even though they were healthy. They finished the season on a six-game losing streak and talent wasn't the only issue. The Raiders were prone to penalties and missed assignments at key times and there were occasions where the offense didn't show the proper urgency in the fourth quarter when scrambling to get back in the game. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson did what he could with inexperienced quarterbacks Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin and an inconsistent offensive line. On defense, the schemes of coordinator Jason Tarver couldn't bring the requisite pressure over the six-game losing streak on a team that looked beaten and worn out. Where the Raiders were better than they have been in some time is on special teams coverage under Bobby April, although the return games produced next to nothing.
Rating: 6.5

Quarterbacks
If it's true that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger, then Schaub is poised for his best season. Schaub went from efficient to erratic and quietly confident to erratic and silent with Houston last season, a year that began with Super Bowl aspirations and finished at 2-14. In four straight games, he threw an interception returned for a touchdown, an NFL record. The Raiders are convinced he will be the smooth operator he was for the previous five seasons of his career. Second-round draft pick Derek Carr will battle with Matt McGloin to be the backup and as it stands the quarterback of the future. The Raiders love his work ethic and skill set, with the first order of business getting him used to taking a snap from under center as opposed to the spread shotgun snap he used for the better part of two years at Fresno State.
Rating: 7

Running Backs
The running joke is the tandem of Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew would be dynamic, if it were 2009. Neither back averaged four yards per carry last season and both struggled to stay healthy. The Raiders have always loved McFadden's talent and want-to, and admired Jones-Drew, a local product from high school powerhouse De La Salle High, from afar. Best-case scenario is two guys with something to prove showing everyone they've still got it. Short of that, the Raiders would be in good shape if one or the other is effective or on the field and contributing for 16 games. Fullback Marcel Reece is a multi-talented matchup problem the Raiders have never really figured out how to fully exploit, showing ability to run from scrimmage and with the skills of a wideout. Jamize Olawale is a more conventional block-first fullback.
Rating: 6.5

Receivers
Free agent James Jones arrived from Green Bay to lend a veteran presence to a unit that sorely needs it. What they need even more is production, and Jones caught 59 passes for 817 yards and three touchdowns last season. Rod Streater, entering his third season after being an undrafted free agent, has done nothing but get better since he arrived. He caught 60 passes for 888 yards and four touchdowns as the Raiders' most consistent player at the position. Although Denarius Moore led the Raiders with five touchdown receptions and averaged 15.1 yards per catch on 46 passes, he hasn't yet reached the level of consistency or durability the coaching staff desires. Andre Holmes emerged as a contributor midway through the season and added a physical jump-and-catch capability. Rookie tight end Mychal Rivera caught 38 passes for 407 yards and four scores in an impressive rookie season, but lacks the girth to be an in-line blocker.
Rating: 6.5

Offensive Lineman
Line coach Tony Sparano demands his linemen be flexible, and it remains to be seen how the line will eventually sort itself out. The only certainty is Stefen Wisniewski will be the anchor at center. After that, Allen promises the Raiders will put the other best four linemen on the field and it remains to be seen how that will shake out. Free agent Donald Penn, snapped up quickly after Jared Veldheer left in free agency, figures to be the left tackle, while Khalif Barnes will have to hold off rookie third-round draft pick Gabe Jackson at left guard. On the right side, the hope is second-year player Menelik Watson conquers the myriad injury issues that derailed his rookie year and seizes the job at tackle. That would enable free-agent addition Austin Howard to move inside to right guard.
Rating 6.5

Defensive Linemen
The centipede approach will find lots of players rotating in and out in multiple alignments and formations. At first glance, there is more depth here than at any other position group. Tuck and Antonio Smith can play inside or outside, while Woodley will line up as an end after being a 3-4 outside linebacker at Pittsburgh. On the interior, Pat Sims, an occasionally dominant run-stuffer, is joined by Justin Ellis, a 334-pound defensive tackle out of Louisiana Tech. McKenzie spoke glowingly of Shelby Harris, a 288-pound end who missed all of last season after being dismissed from Illinois State, Jack Crawford, another player who has played both inside and outside, hopes to crack the rotation in his third season.
Rating: 7

Linebackers
A group that was solid in 2013 can be potentially outstanding if Mack is as good as the Raiders think he is. Mack's first responsibility will be as a nickel rusher and a blitzer in a multiple scheme, but he's athletic enough to cover receivers and range sideline to sideline. Middle linebacker Nick Roach played almost every snap last season and is adept at getting the defense into position. Sio Moore had a promising rookie season and will probably move from the strong side to the weak side with Mack's arrival. Kevin Burnett, a veteran starter last season, lends experience and depth, while Miles Burris, a rookie starter in 2012, can play any of the three linebacker spots.
Rating: 7.5

Secondary
Lots of new faces, and necessarily so, given the issues downfield last season. D.J. Hayden, the No. 12 overall pick in 2013, gets a do-over after losing half of his rookie season due to injury. He's joined by two free-agent signees, Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers, as well as rangy fourth-round draft pick Keith McGill and seventh-rounder T.J. Carrie. At safety, Tyvon Branch, lost to a broken ankle last season in Week 2, joins Charles Woodson, with Branch doing much of his work in the box and Woodson playing the single deep safety after spending much of his time in Green Bay playing all over the defense.
Rating: 6.5

Special Teams
Punter Marquette King is still learning touch, but averaged 48.9 yards per punt replacing Shane Lechler and is a keeper. Sebastian Janikowski struggled through a down season without Lechler as his holder. The coverage teams were very good led by Taiwan Jones, listed as a defensive back but locked up contractually as a gunner. The return game was almost non-existent, so Carrie will get the chance to return punts while the kickoff return job is wide open.
Rating: 6.5

Intangibles
Lots of seasoned, polished veterans added to what the Raiders hope is a solid rookie class. If the free agents still have something to offer on the field, their leadership should bring the younger players along and make the Raiders a much more competitive team.
Rating: Plus 1
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Sonic Raider


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pocketbook Open, Raiders Move to Improve Roster
The first two years under general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen came with an asterisk of sorts. The Oakland Raiders were in such bad financial shape in terms of the salary cap they were limited in terms of bringing in enough talent to compete. No more excuses in 2014, McKenzie was active in the free-agent market, bringing in a number of veteran players aged 29 to 32 who have postseason and in some cases Super Bowl experience. There’s a new quarterback in Matt Schaub, a rebuilt defensive line that includes free-agent additions Justin Tuck and Lamarr Woodley, a No. 5 overall pick in Khalil Mack expected to make an immediate impact and presumably much more depth than the Raiders had in going 4-12 in each of the last two seasons. “We brought in a lot of veteran players that have been a part of championship teams and have been great team players for their respective clubs,” Allen said. But here’s the rub: the Raiders could be and should be significantly better and still not have the improvement show up in the won-loss record. Oakland’s opponents had a .578 winning percentage in 2013, the toughest schedule in the NFL. That includes five games against last season’s final four: Denver (twice), New England, San Francisco and Seattle. Still, McKenzie likes the Raiders’ chances of having their first record above .500 since 2002. “What we were able to do starting this offseason is exciting.” McKenzie said. “The foundation has been laid.”

Scouting Snapshot
Matt Schaub might solidify the quarterback position, but the Raiders are taking no chances. They drafted Derek Carr as quarterback of future. Maurice Jones-Drew a high-profile signing, but, at 29, how much does he have left? Wide receiver James Jones a welcome addition, but Raiders still don’t have a legit No. 1 receiver. Offensive line bigger and stronger, could be most improved unit. Rookie guard Gabe Jackson a significant upgrade to interior. Rookie Khalil Mack a can’t-miss addition and should find an immediate spot as nickel pass rusher. Justin Tuck comes in off a big season with the Giants, but he’s 31 and produced six or fewer sacks in three of his last five seasons. LaMarr Woodley solid pass rusher when he is not hurt. Only safety Charles Woodson, who turns 38 in October, back as starter of secondary. Safety Tyvon Branch healthy, while intriguing prospect Keith McGill adds uncommon size (6’3” 211 lbs) to cornerback. Tarell Brown an upgrade at cornerback for his tackling alone.

On The Hot Seat
Head coach Dennis Allen was the choice of general manager Reggie McKenzie and still has the confidence of the boss after back-to-back 4-12 seasons. How Allen rates with owner Mark Davis is another story. Davis has consistently had McKenzie’s back when questioned about it, but as for Allen, seldom elaborates beyond “he’s Reggie’s guy.” It’s clear Allen needs to approach .500 or beyond in Year 3 or the fourth year of his contract is in jeopardy. Known as a defensive coach, Allen’s defenses have shown a minimal pass rush and been susceptible to big, game-changing plays. His game management had Davis grumbling on occasion as did last year’s talk of the team being “tired” at the end of the season.

KEY ADDITION: QB Matt Schaub
The Raiders are counting on seeing the player who had five consecutive seasons with a passer rating of 90+ and not the one who lost his confidence last season in Houston. The offense will be in his hands.

KEY LOSS: T Jared Veldheer
The Raiders entered the offseason expecting to keep their left tackle and did not use the franchise tag. When free agency opened, Veldheer went to Arizona while Rodger Saffold was courted, but allegedly failed his physical.

3 Things to Look For
1. How much do running backs Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew have left? Both have been injury-prone in recent years. The Raiders rushed for 2,000 yards and 4.6 yards per carry, but that included 576 yards by departed quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

2. Will the additions of ends Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley and the selection of Khalil Mack in the draft give the Raiders a natural pass rush? The Raiders had 38 sacks, and needed 15 players getting a half-sack or more to get that many.

3. Can Sebastian Janikowski have a bounce-back season? The veteran kicker followed up his first Pro Bowl with one of his worst seasons, hitting just 21 of 30 field-goal attempts and missing five times from 49 yards and in.
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Sonic Raider


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2014 Raiders Draft Grade
Round 1 Pick 5: Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo
Yes, there is football talent in the Buffalo area, just not much with the Bills. Mack is the best linebacker in this crop; will get after quarterbacks and pursue the ball relentlessly. Buffalo was only school to offer him a Division I scholarship. A tackling machine; fast off the snap. Has the size (6'3" 250 lbs) and athletic skills to be a playmaker from the outset. Had some off-field issues, but was a leader for team. Also fits at end in passing situations.

Round 2 Pick 36: Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Younger brother of 2002 overall top selection David Carr, who went to Houston and was pummeled behind awful line for years. Derek has prospered from his brother's guidance and experience. Very mature, as coachable as they come. Top player in his conference last two seasons. Passed for more than 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in 2013. Good athlete. Not the most efficient deep passer and played against some terrible defenses in college.

Round 3 Pick 81: Gabe Jackson, G, Mississippi State
A four-season starter with size (6'3 336 lbs), solid fundamentals and leadership skills. Likes the physical part of the game and won't back down. A bit inconsistent and can upgrade his pass protection, but still among the best guards in this draft.

Round 4 Pick 107: Justin Ellis, DT, Louisiana Tech
Weight issues have to be watched with Ellis, who comes off strong senior season. Digs in and is hard to move. Not real versatile and needs to be a bit meaner. One dimensional player but good at what he can do.

Round 4 Pick 116: Keith McGill, CB, Utah
Former JUCO player with injury history. Goes 6'3" 210 lbs and isn't shy about using it. Might be able to play safety with some more weight, but must get better in run game. Has the prototype body for current secondaries, but is a bit raw.

Round 7 Pick 219: Travis Carrie, CB, Ohio
Don't underestimate quality of players from MAC. Good athlete and playmaker, solid build. Finds the ball; hands could be better. Injury history -- and older rookie. Special teams could be his entry point.

Round 7 Pick 235: Shelby Harris, DE, Illinois State
Uses his long arms well, but is not real tall at 6'2" simply seems to be. Has experience at tackle, but skills translate to end in pros. Non-stop motor, something he developed through the years after beginning career at Wisconsin.

Round 7 Pick 247: Jonathan Dowling, S, Western Kentucky
Formerly was at Florida, but was kicked off team. Came to Hilltoppers and was a factor the last two years. Hits hard. Catches the ball. Might need extra time to develop.

Good Move: Raiders sat tight and sensational prospect Mack fell to them.
Tell Me Why: Ellis doesn't do enough to stay on the field very much in NFL.
Could Surprise: Sure they traded for Matt Schaub, but Carr just might become the starter.

Draft Grade: A
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OakleyCap


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing.
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S&B Bleeder


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now I know there's a reason Carr must learn to take snaps from the crotch of the Wiz instead of 7 yards back through clean air but could you tell me why it's so important or beneficial? You would think if he doesn't have to run back ten yards he could be better prepared to throw the ball.
Oh and Sonic: Thanks for the post as we're all desperate for something to read. Very Happy Very Happy
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Chali21


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

S&B Bleeder wrote:
Now I know there's a reason Carr must learn to take snaps from the crotch of the Wiz instead of 7 yards back through clean air but could you tell me why it's so important or beneficial? You would think if he doesn't have to run back ten yards he could be better prepared to throw the ball.
Oh and Sonic: Thanks for the post as we're all desperate for something to read. Very Happy Very Happy


This is a good question. Does it limit what the recivers can do or something?
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On the Raider's Staff
Silver&Black88 wrote:
Its like they're too incompetent to know they're incompetent.
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Baggabonez


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chali21 wrote:
S&B Bleeder wrote:
Now I know there's a reason Carr must learn to take snaps from the crotch of the Wiz instead of 7 yards back through clean air but could you tell me why it's so important or beneficial? You would think if he doesn't have to run back ten yards he could be better prepared to throw the ball.
Oh and Sonic: Thanks for the post as we're all desperate for something to read. Very Happy Very Happy


This is a good question. Does it limit what the recivers can do or something?


Shotgun limits the scope of the offense. In the NFL you aren't going to out athletic or out speed opponents. Hence, you have to fool them with deception to get an edge (ie-play action). How far would the offense get if every time they wanted to pass it was from a shotgun and every time they ran it was from the I? There are teams that run a ton of shotgun but ultimately you have to mix it up.
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Nodisrespect on building inside out wrote:
teams without highly draft DT's make the playoffs and win the superbowl regularly.

Bonez wrote:
Teams that win Superbowls and make the playoffs aren't picking in the Top 5, clearly
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CrapTakula


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting but you need to edit this.
You can't post full articles from other sites, only snippets/short quotes.
Please fix this (you can provide your thoughts and synopsis just not their words) so we don't have to lock this.
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raidr4life


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CrapTakula wrote:
Thanks for posting but you need to edit this.
You can't post full articles from other sites, only snippets/short quotes.
Please fix this (you can provide your thoughts and synopsis just not their words) so we don't have to lock this.
I believe this is from a magazine , but I could be wrong, if it was would it be against the rules?
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Sonic Raider


Joined: 01 Nov 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

raidr4life wrote:
CrapTakula wrote:
Thanks for posting but you need to edit this.
You can't post full articles from other sites, only snippets/short quotes.
Please fix this (you can provide your thoughts and synopsis just not their words) so we don't have to lock this.
I believe this is from a magazine , but I could be wrong, if it was would it be against the rules?


It was from the magazine
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MrOaktown_56


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

7.5 for our linebackers. The raider hate is strong in this one.
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S&B Bleeder


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Baggabonez wrote:
Chali21 wrote:
S&B Bleeder wrote:
Now I know there's a reason Carr must learn to take snaps from the crotch of the Wiz instead of 7 yards back through clean air but could you tell me why it's so important or beneficial? You would think if he doesn't have to run back ten yards he could be better prepared to throw the ball.
Oh and Sonic: Thanks for the post as we're all desperate for something to read. Very Happy Very Happy


This is a good question. Does it limit what the recivers can do or something?


Shotgun limits the scope of the offense. In the NFL you aren't going to out athletic or out speed opponents. Hence, you have to fool them with deception to get an edge (ie-play action). How far would the offense get if every time they wanted to pass it was from a shotgun and every time they ran it was from the I? There are teams that run a ton of shotgun but ultimately you have to mix it up.

You don't always have to run only out of the I. You can run out of the shotgun and they call it many different things. If we mixed it up out of the shotgun that would really screw up the defense.
I know offenses have always been run out of the I. Carr will learn it. If we became less obvious with our formations we would be unpredictable. We need something.
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CrapTakula


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sonic Raider wrote:
raidr4life wrote:
CrapTakula wrote:
Thanks for posting but you need to edit this.
You can't post full articles from other sites, only snippets/short quotes.
Please fix this (you can provide your thoughts and synopsis just not their words) so we don't have to lock this.
I believe this is from a magazine , but I could be wrong, if it was would it be against the rules?


It was from the magazine


still copyrighted - pls edit
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Baggabonez


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

S&B Bleeder wrote:
Baggabonez wrote:
Chali21 wrote:
S&B Bleeder wrote:
Now I know there's a reason Carr must learn to take snaps from the crotch of the Wiz instead of 7 yards back through clean air but could you tell me why it's so important or beneficial? You would think if he doesn't have to run back ten yards he could be better prepared to throw the ball.
Oh and Sonic: Thanks for the post as we're all desperate for something to read. Very Happy Very Happy


This is a good question. Does it limit what the recivers can do or something?


Shotgun limits the scope of the offense. In the NFL you aren't going to out athletic or out speed opponents. Hence, you have to fool them with deception to get an edge (ie-play action). How far would the offense get if every time they wanted to pass it was from a shotgun and every time they ran it was from the I? There are teams that run a ton of shotgun but ultimately you have to mix it up.

You don't always have to run only out of the I. You can run out of the shotgun and they call it many different things. If we mixed it up out of the shotgun that would really screw up the defense.
I know offenses have always been run out of the I. Carr will learn it. If we became less obvious with our formations we would be unpredictable. We need something.

Where did I suggest that you can only run out of the I? All teams mix it up, including running out of the shotgun formation. However the scope of the shotgun can be severely limited if you run it all the time especially in the redzone. You can't really run a wide open formation in that little space, hence the defense would go man-press and look for a draw or screen. Neither of which play generates the required power to be successful in limited space.

Furthermore, I never suggested that Carr wouldn't "get it". I think he's quite capable of learning to take snaps under center. In short, there's a reason most teams don't run a permanent shotgun because the offense will be limited not unconventional and Carr should have no problems learning the offense from under center.
_________________
Nodisrespect on building inside out wrote:
teams without highly draft DT's make the playoffs and win the superbowl regularly.

Bonez wrote:
Teams that win Superbowls and make the playoffs aren't picking in the Top 5, clearly
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