Through the first six games of the season, the Oakland Raiders have exceeded most expectations. Young quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who came into the season with question marks all over the place, has proved many wrong on whether he can play the position at a high level. Most importantly, the defense Reggie McKenzie put together in the offseason is playing incredibly well, as Oakland ranks 13th in the league in total defense.
Despite a 2-4 record, the Raiders are playing the best football they’ve played in a long time. Minus a couple minor mistakes, and Oakland can easily be sitting on a 4-2 or 3-3 record. If Pryor had played against Washington, many would argue that would of been a fairly easy victory for Raider Nation.
Moreover, the bye week couldn’t have came at a better time for the Silver and Black. The Raiders are coming off a terrible loss to the Kansas City Chiefs which consisted of Pryor getting sacked ten times. Yes, TEN times. The offensive line was already eminently thin due to injuries across the board, yet linemen continued to suffer injuries throughout the game. The protection was down to their last five healthy men at the end of last week.
I’m a firm believer that the two most important components in football are the offensive line and the defense. Tom Brady would have looked like a fool behind the front five of the Raiders last week. Oakland needs to focus on getting back some of their starters up front, or the second half of the season could be a disaster.
Secondly, this is a tremendous opportunity for Terrelle Pryor to take the time to work on his mechanics and study film. The youngster got the chance to play in Kansas City last week where the crowd broke a noise record. Arrowhead Stadium was absolutely rocking, and Pryor, as expected, seemed uncomfortable and inexperienced. The offensive line woes stalled Pryor’s abilities, although he did not look particularly sharp either. It’s certainly a game Pryor needs to learn from.
As long as the Raiders can get some of their bigs back up front, I think they have a great opportunity to go on a win streak here. After the bye week, Pittsburgh will be coming to Oakland. Then, the Raiders will be hosting Philadelphia, and after that they play the Giants in New York. Those are three struggling teams that the Raiders need to take advantage of. Dennis Allen has a terrific shot at winning all three, though the line desperately needs to get healthy, and Pryor needs to be ready mentally and physically.