Yes, Raider Nation, yesterday's win was the best victory that this team has had in many years. Sure they beat Tampa last year to knock them out of the playoffs and they've already beaten Philly and the Bengals this season, but yesterday was MUCH different than any of those victories.
When the Raiders beat the Eagles, they caught a team that was unprepared for the blitz packages, heck, they were unprepared for any blitz at all and the victory over the Bengals took a fluke play at the end to win. Even the victory over Tampa wasn't as sweet because it was ALL Michael Bush with a little JaMarcus Russell thrown in.
Yesterday, the Raiders found a quarterback and they scored three passing touchdowns in the fourth quarter, without rushing ONCE on the final drive. The Raiders and Gradkowski said, we are going to beat you through the air, now try and stop us, and the Steelers, playing in a "Playoff Game", couldn't.
There are many positives, but, now that the dust has settled and a VERY MAD Redskin team is coming to town on Sunday I want to focus on a few things that I noticed that definitely need work.
1) Trevor Scott in the Elephant role:
Trevor Scott was brilliant on the first defensive play from scrimmage, he gpt right into the backfield and allowed another player to make a play on Rashard Mendenhall and he also had one of the defensive plays of the game when he sackeg Big Ben on third down and made the Steelers try a 53 yard field goal into the wind instead of a 48 yard kick. These two plays, in particular, say to me, that the experiment can work.
The work that he needs to do, from what I can tell, comes down to gap integrity. Too many times yesterday I saw him over-pursue and get washed by a lineman opening up a lane for the running back. On Rashard Mendenhall's 60 yard run it was Trevor Scott who was not home. He got washed with the momentum to his right and then sealed by the lineman. He, and the defense as a whole, as cable says, need to stick with their gaps in order for the run defense to work.
His football acumen is fantastic. This is a kid who has gone from Tight End to Defensive Line to Linebacker in 4 Seasons and he looks to have all of the tools to play the "Elephant" in John Marshall's defense.
2) Darren McFadden's struggles unless he gets the ball in space:
Darren McFadden has NOT been, even, a decent between the tackles runner and the coaches need to stop treating him like one until he learns to run in the zone blocking scheme.
Those of you who took part in the game thread yesterday probably got sick of me pointing out that he continues to run into the line and then try to bounce outside instead of just letting the hole open and then popping through it.
The reason that FOR YEARS you could plug any running back into the Denver Bronco backfield was because they were taught to be patient, let the line go to work and then pop through the vacancy that their scheme created.
Can Darren McFadden be an every down back in the NFL? I really can't say right now, but, I can say that he needs to FIRST run within the scheme before we can even guess. Right now he just isn't working out between the tackles and it is a simple fix, he just needs to be patient.
3) Stanford Routt is responsible for more big plays in the secondary
This is a huge problem because he isn't even a starter. He is a nickle cover corner and may only be the dime player now, yet he seems to always be the guy getting burnt on a big 3rd down conversion, for a touchdown or getting a passing interference/defensiveholding/illegal use of the hands that helps the other team sustain drives or end them in the end zone.
I know that he is Al Davis's pick and that he will have EVERY chance to succeed, but, for me, he needs to play in the prevent ONLY.
Well, raider nation, there are three things to work on going into next week. If you have a comment on these, or would like to add your own, ie; block somebody, then please do soin the comment thread below.