The Raiders must be butter because they are on a roll! Getting victories over Jacksonville and AFC rival the KC Chiefs, the Black and Silver are one game back of the division leader the Denver Broncos. Going into this week’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Raiders should have a little swagger; not a lot but they have accomplished positive improvement, and should have gained some much-needed confidence.
The Bucs have a few extra days to prepare for the Raiders – their last game was on a Thursday as they upset the resurging Minnesota Vikings by 19 points. Not what the people in the purple uniforms expected.
Tampa comes to Oakland with respectable numbers. On offense, they have a steady passing game lead by QB Josh Freeman. The air attack of the Bucs is 14th in the NFL averaging 246 yards per game. Freeman has a steady 55.2% completion rate. He has tossed 14 TD’s on the season, with five interceptions and he’s been sacked 11 times and let’s not forget his two fumbles. The four-year pro from Kansas State University has 1800 yards on the year and a passer rating of 93.3.
Freeman has preformed well on the season, taking what defenses give him, and using the talent he has around him to exploit weakness of opposing teams. Freeman is on target for career season. The addition of Vincent Jackson to the stable of receivers is a huge help to the young QB.
Jackson is a probable starter Sunday; he is nursing a calf injury sustained in the Minnesota game. The 6’5-230 pound receiver has added to the Bucs attack, the former San Diego Charger has recharged his career and the dividends are paying off. Not only on the field with his play but his experience is paying off to the receivers around him. His five TD’s and 626 yards on the year are part of his leadership by example.
Tampa Bay’s offensive line is unstable with injuries that started in the preseason. Offensive guard Davin Joseph was an early causality, and now Carl Nicks has been placed on the injured reserve list with a toe injury. The Bucks are down to two starters from the preseason on the offensive line. These giants were a big part of Freeman’s success. Consistency and continuity are priceless when working on the offensive line.
Running back Doug Martin was selected as the “ NFL’s offensive rookie of the month” on Thursday. Against Minnesota, Martin racked up 214 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown off a screen pass. The hard running rookie has a 4.2 yard average per carry. He has carried the ball 123 times, and accumulated 543 yard on the season. Sprinkle three touchdowns on top of that and you understand why the former running back from Boise Stateis doing so well. What is more interesting is the responsibility of gathering first, and tens seems to be this young mans responsibility. He has moved the chains 23 times for the Bucs.
For the Bucs, this a positive step as they have bought in to their new head coaches Greg Schiano philosophy of discipline and hard work.
Lets not forget that the Raiders have bought into Dennis Allen’s philosophy. The raider defense has played very well, and well enough to have almost won the season opener with San Diego, and an overtime loss to the undefeated Atlanta Falcons.
With the chaos and confusion that is going on in the offensive line of the Bucs. Blackshirt’s Houston, Shaugnessy, Kelly, and Seymour should make their presence know.Tampa will have to be creative when trying to unleash Doug Martin on the bigger stronger raider defensive line.
Linebacker Phillip Wheeler who was a beast last week making 11 solo tackles will play big this week in a repeat performance. Wheeler plays from sideline to sideline, and nothing gets in his way. Backing him up is Miles Burris a young man who is making a big name for himself. The secondary will have their hands full with big speedy receivers and a target qb in Josh Freeman. Simple planning is the key; know your coverage area, and who you have in man coverage. COMMUNICATE, before the snap of the ball.
Hard hitting secondary players like Matt Giordanno, Tyvon Branch, and Michael Huff, will not want to get caught looking into the backfield they may want to take those two steps backwards, and add a shuffle to not get pulled up on the run to fast. Pass first run secondary.
Tampa Bays Josh Freeman is going to pick on the depleted secondary of the Oakland Raiders. Why would he be different that all the other QB in the NFL? Quick slants, outside hitches and the combination rout. Several times on the year, the secondary has been a bust and given an easy six to our opponents.
The Buc defense comes into Sundays contest with a outstanding front seven of their own allowing only 85 yards rushing on the season. The Bucs are sixth in the NFL in rushing defense. Not a bad number, but when you add the 31st in pass defense it opens your eyes
The number is a little misleading 16-year veteran defensive back Ronde Barber has 31 solo tackles on the year, 1 sack, 3 interceptions with one pick six. To match that Linebacker Mason foster throw out some impressive numbers as well. The hard hitting linebacker has 44 solo tackles, nine tackles for a loss, one interception, and one fumble recovery. The Buc secondary has 10 interceptions on the season.
No doubt about it the Bucs are no slouch on the defensive side of the ball, hard running, hard hitting. They are not coming to Oakland for a picnic.
Carson Palmer has been the foundation of the Raiders this season. He is working to better himself and the team. Bootlegs, play action, not just a steady diet of 3 step, 5 step, 7 step drops and heave the ball down the field. Carson Palmer has thrown to 11 different receivers on the year.
He has taken hit after hit, and many in which may have made a lesser QB go to the sideline for the remainder of the game. Palmers NFL QB rating is 85.7 that, and 1941 yards with 9 td is good enough for a top 10 passing attack.
Palmer will have to play well for the Raiders to win, instead of his gratuitous one interception per game he will need to throw it out of bounds. Ronde Barber, will be in waiting to snatch a Palmer pass and turn it in to and interception.
With the depleted stable of receivers, the dynamic duo of young receivers Denarius Moore and Brandon Meyers have made an impact on the gridiron. The resurging Darrius Heyward-Bey has added another weapon that Palmer has in his arsenal.
Once again, the victory will be secured in the pit; the blocking scheme has to be simple as well as adaptable for the Bucs front seven. When the Raider offensive line has played well the raiders have won. Palmer will need that extra millisecond to dismantle the Tampa secondary.
Darren McFadden may have never worked harder than he has this year. He has gone over, around, under, thru, to gain so little. A very talented running back that still needs a fit for his style of running ability. The Zone, drop it like it’s hot, but it’s not for the Raiders. Glad to see some sprint draws last week against the chefs, off tackle power. McFadden is still waiting to get that break out game. Yes, McFadden had 114 yrds last week on 29 carries. No Touchdowns and his longest run 28 yards. He needs to have those types of number and three TD in the bank for a mark in the win column.
Raider’s kicker Sebastian Janikowski has earned the AFC’s October Special Teams Player of the Month. Janikowski, who hit 10 of 11 field goals last month, has now won three of the AFC’s last six Special Teams Player of the Month honors. Al Davis hit a home run on this first round pick.
Tampa broke a 9 game skid when the beat Minnesota, Freeman has thrown 3 TD passes in each victory, the Bucs are averaging 34 points each game.
Put the women and children to bed and pass the biscuits it going to battle to remember.
The Bucs all-time 0-5 record when visiting Oakland lets make it 0-6.
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.” – Henry Ford
Do the Work!