Let’s get ready to rumble!
The Oakland Raiders have a date with the Indianapolis Colts coming up. The Silver and Black have prepared themselves. The coaching staff has worked countless hours in preparation for this game and the 2013 season. The Raiders have cut down to the mandatory 53-man roster, and now is the time for the players to play, the coaches to coach, and the fans to do their thing: support the team.
Training camp is what it is, a place to evaluate players. The team increases its opportunity to win games by having the best 53 players on their squad. Players rise and fall based on their abilities and performance during preseason games. Rookies, as well as players that have questions about their ability, play the majority of time as veterans with proven experience play limited minutes.
That equation seems to be a proven formula to enhance a team’s chances of winning during the regular season. On most teams in the NFL, that would be an accurate observation, and correct conclusion. In the case of the Oakland Raiders, the formula is correct, but the conclusion is still a mystery.
Terrell Pryor or Matt Flynn? Both have their strengths and weaknesses. At times during preseason both have performed well. Will Pryor starting be an upgrade for the Raiders? Will his ability to run and use his talent set him up for injury like RGIII?
Is Matt Flynn still suffering from an arm injury and recovering? He has not been able to pull the trigger at the right time. He knows the game, but lacks of game experience is holding back on his decision making. Both will have their opportunity to breathe life into the Raider offense that needs rejuvenating.
The BIG question: is Darren McFadden ready to run and take some pressure off the young QB’s? He will have to be his own best blocker due to the injuries on the offensive line. He will have to stay healthy, and produce every week. No one is talking about 150 yards per game, just 70-100 yards to keep the defense from pinning their ears back and making ritual sacrifices of the young Raider quarterbacks.
Menelik Watson: a super pick at No. 42 in the NFL draft for the Raiders. He played well in the last preseason game after his injuries and break from the rigors of training camp. Watson played well for being the first time at left tackle. His learning curve will be amped up this week playing the entire game. Condition could be a factor in the second half.
The Raiders are ranked among the worst teams in the NFL. “Young talent, not enough talent, the least talent in the NFL,” some have said. Time will tell, and the Raiders for the most part have done their homework and worked to improve in so many areas. Yet, when trying to plug so many holes at one time, the dam usually will break, and then you have to start all over again.
The defense has showed that it has a long way to go. Sio Moore, and D.J. Hayden are young players with energy and enthusiasm. Experienced players such as Lamarr Houston and Tyvon Branch are experienced players that know their way around the block and can contribute knowledge as well as game experience. Dedicated veterans Nick Roach, Pat Sims, and the wiry Charles Woodson will have to play like their younger days if the defense is going to get off to a flying start.
For the Raiders to have some success on the defensive side of the ball, they will have to apply some pressure. Being ranked 31st in QB sacks last year (25 total sacks on the season) leaves lots of room for improvement.
For the Raiders to win, they will have to go old school. Win on defense and give your offense a chance to score. Turnovers, field position and a lucky break now and then. You have a kicker that can kick it from Mars, and a young punter that has a cannon for a leg.
It is game time and the Raider nation is ready to Rummmmmble!
Tags: Oakland Raiders