Yes, Raider Nation, I was there yesterday and was an eyewitness to the gruesome spectacle.
It was ugly. It was horrifying. It left me speechless.
But enough about the lady sitting on my right! BA-DUM-PING!
After the jump, I offer a random of assortment of thoughts on yesterday's debacle that I was "privileged" enough to see in person.
-I don’t know how it looked on TV, but after watching this performance live, I am done with Jason Campbell.
He was victimized by some drops and bad receiver play, yes. The offensive line couldn’t block dry leaves blowing in the breeze, I agree. But it was more than that. He was, to be blunt, playing scared. A QB has got to be the leader of the offense. That means when the other people are playing like crap, he needs to take his beating, stay positive and keep encouraging everyone.
There was nothing of that in Jason Campbell yesterday. Nothing. I kept an eye on him on the sidelines through my binoculars. His body language bespoke demoralization. He sat on the benches with his head down. When he walked on the field, it was like a man going to his execution. Facing the Steelers’ pass rush, he was like a girl trapped by Roethlisberger in a bathroom.
Honestly, I have never seen a QB look that defeated since the famous incident when Jim Everett went down on his own before a phantom pass rush. Without exaggeration, I expected Campbell to do the same thing. The Steelers fans around me were saying it too. Stuff like “He’s broken.” “He’s done.” “If they want a shot, they should put Gradkowski in.”
This in the second quarter, mind you.
-Bruce Gradkowski. I’m a Grads supporter, I admit that. I’m not going to tell you he’s the end all be all of QBs. Nor am I going to claim he played great yesterday. But, goddammit, the difference in the offense was noticeable. The players seemed to have some purpose at least. Gradkowski was pretty good at evading the rush and extending the play. The fact that he was only sacked twice is a testament to his escapability.
He actually moved the chains a bit. When Bush broke off that decent run, my mother–who, though a lifelong Raider fan, is no football strategist, I assure you–turned to me and said “See what can happen when they have to respect the passing game?”
The interception was a huge kick in the crotch, but Polamalu read the play and jumped the route perfectly. It’s what he does and is why he’s one of the best. I hope yesterday laid to rest any idea that he was overrated, which is a sentiment I had seen floating around.
-When it comes to skills, I don't know if Campbell is significantly better than Gradkowski or vice versa. But I do know this: all else being equal, give me the leader who tries to rally the team around him under adversity rather than behaving like a whipped dog.
-Offensive line. Just appalling. Veldheer got abused by James Harrison, although I rather expected that. He did manage to hold his own better as the game went on, I thought. He’s a 3rd round rookie and needs to learn. I’m not gonna bag him too hard.
That right side of the line, though, is just a catastrophe. They might as well not have been there. Carlisle is a disgrace and while Walker may be able to run block still, he cannot handle the pass rushing OLBs that 3-4 defenses bring. He’s too fat and slow and old.
-Receivers and tight ends. VOMIT. Murphy is regressing badly. There’s no way Zach Miller was at 100 percent. He didn’t make some catches that he normally makes. Ford and Higgins looked lost. The whole receiving corps was a joke yesterday. Roethlisberger’s receivers made some nice catches for him. The Raiders’ receivers let both QBs down.
If you survey all the coaches of all the positions of all the teams in the NFL, you will find no bigger joke than Sanjay Lal. Go look at his bio on Raiders.com sometime and tell me how this guy is qualified to be a wide receiver coach at the pro level. I literally laughed out loud the first time I read it. This organization has gone "all-in" on the youth movement at WR, declining to bring in any veterans for a look in the off-season. Sanjay Lal is NOT the man who should be teaching them during this critical development phase. He needs to be taken away from them as soon as possible.
-Running game. Ugly, but not unexpected. Hard to run on the Steelers regardless and when you get down like that, you pretty much have to abandon it.
-Defensive line. Got dominated and they should all be ashamed. The Steelers were fielding a patchwork O-line and the D-line stll got their asses kicked. I was pleasantly surprised at Big John Henderson. He seemed to be the only guy still trying, although I appreciated Houston’s consistent effort too. Lamarr is really coming along with 11 tackles, 2 sacks and a forced fumble the last 3 games. It seemed to me Kelly, Bryant and Shaughnessy all quit.
Seymour needs to know better than to do what he did, but at the same time…it was pretty awesome to see Roethlisberger get decked, I have to admit.
-This was McClain’s worst game of his career so far, I think. He always looked two or three steps slow out there. He was hesitant to make quick reads and decisions. (So much for “cutting it loose”) He wasn’t getting the defense lined up promptly and in good order; I noticed a lot of confusion. Yeah, he led the team in tackles, but so what? Usually the MLB will.
-Secondary. This is my biggest point here: anyone who still thinks Nnamdi isn’t critical to this defense, please go sit on a chainsaw. Chris Johnson was a horror show. I know Jeremy Ware is only a rookie, but he was covering another rookie in Emmanuel Sanders and still got worked. Did we even suit up safeties? Seriously. They were invisible.
-Special teams. Useless. I lost a lot of faith in Nick Miller yesterday.
-Coaching. An absolute farce. These guys should be more ashamed of themselves than the players, if that’s possible. Two weeks to work and this is the best you can come up with?
I saw Travis Goethel trying to cover Mike Wallace. Are you fucking kidding me? How do you allow that, Marshall? I understand your secondary was getting roasted yesterday, but they were also getting destroyed against San Diego and you still brought the blitzes then.
Where’s the playbook, Hue? Where was the Wildcat, the screens? Where were the attempts to utilize DMac in the passing game and maybe get him into space? Where was Marcel Reece?
And you, Tom Cable. I watched him at several points throughout the game. He was always standing by himself, no one within five feet of him and with a dumbass look on his face. How about, I don't know...coaching?
-John Henderson, Lamarr Houston and Seabass (he made his field goal!) are the only Raiders who shouldn't probably be forced to return their game checks to Al. The effort was that patheticly embarrassing.
-There is zero reliable depth on this team. If Satele were to get injured, we'd have to move our starting left tackle over, for chrissakes. Carlisle is a catastrophe, but the only option behind him is a raw, 4th round rookie who's never played the position. Ricky Brown is horrible, but he's the only backup at MLB. Sam fucking Williams is listed as #2 on the depth chart at strongside linebacker. Without Asomugha, the secondary...well, we all saw yesterday. Now that Scott may be done for the year, the Raiders only have 2 defensive ends on the roster.
-The defensed seemed to bite hard on every play fake and misdirection yesterday. Discipline, boys! It's especially worrisome because Miami was watching that game closely, you know. They're hungry for a win and a gameplan full of misdirection and bootlegs is well suited to Tyler Thigpen's skills. Having Ronnie Brown doesn't hurt either.
-Back to the crappy coaching for a second. We’re hurting at WR and Bush is a better fit to run against a team like the Steelers. So why not use DMac exclusively out wide and use Bush as the RB throughout the game? They've gotta use their talent to create the best matchups possible.
-I could offer more, but I've exhausted myself. I thank you for your time.