Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
Mercifully the season is at it's close. Ending this season of futility is a game against the divisional rival Chargers in San Diego. More interesting than the game itself is whether any firings will happen once the game is completed.
Neither of these teams' seasons have gone as they had hoped. The Chargers current staff was lucky to even get another season under their belts after perpetually failing to meet expectations so the chances of AJ Smith (the Chargers GM) and Norv Turner (the Chargers head coach) retaining their positions are slim to none and worse.
Their side has far less questions on what will happen than the Raiders side though. The Chargers pretty much already have their answers to if people will be fired. The Raiders on the other hand have more questions than answers at this point.
No matter what happens in this game I expect Dennis Allen to remain the head coach and I would also expect Jason Tarver to remain the defensive coordinator. The one major question that almost all Raider fans want answered after this game is whether or not Greg Knapp will be fired. If the fans have their way he absolutely will be fired but whether the Raiders current regime is going to follow the fans advice is yet to be seen.
As for this game itself it is not exactly riveting. The Chargers are a divisional rivalry and that usually does count for something but with it being the end of the year and neither team having anything to play for it definitely lacks its normal luster. I do want the Raiders to win this game even if it costs draft position but as I am writing this I am finding it hard to get the usual hatred for the Chargers brewing.
The interest that I have in this game greatly hinges on who the Raiders decide to play at quarterback. Carson Palmer has already been ruled out of this one so it is between the likes of Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor. One would have to figure that Pryor will get some sort of playing time either way but I really want him to be the starter. I don't care if he isn't ready at this point, just throw him to the wolves so we can see what he has.
We already know what Matt Leinart brings to the table and it consists of boring and more boring. I have no interest in watching him play at all and I really feel like the Raiders gain nothing by playing him. Terrelle Pryor on the other hand the fans have been clamoring for. He is the last pick of the great Al Davis and therefore the fans are anxious to know if he has any value to him.
Whoever it is at quarterback will probably not even throw all that much anyway. I expect with the pass rushers that San Diego has that the main focus for the Raiders will be running the ball. They are still trying to decide the fate of Darren McFadden and I expect him to be used excessively in this game.
I would love to see DMC in this final game just rip apart a team like we have been waiting for him to do at some point all season. However to expect much out of him with Greg Knapp's failed play calling is probably setting yourself up for failure. I would also love to see Mike Goodson and Marcel Reece also be given some rushes. Hopefully the Raiders can ground and pound their way to a victory in this one.
The Chargers probably will want to really air it out in this game so it will be a nice challenge for the Raiders young secondary that has played surprisingly well over the last few weeks. Norv Turner knows in all likelihood that he is gone after this game so he will want to show that he is still an offensive genius. He probably will be in line for an offensive coordinator job right away if he is fired so showcasing those skills is to be expected.
Phillip Rivers is somebody who also will want to have a great game. There are not many people in this entire league that are more competitive than Rivers so he will really be trying to go out this season with a bang. Hopefully the defense can continue their renewed vigor and hit him a number of times in this game. It would be nice to see the Rivers/Raiders rivalry flash some heated moments.
The Chargers wide receivers have not been as good as advertised but they do still have weapons. They will challenge the Raiders deep a few times in this game and will go after the middle of the field with Antonio Gates. If the defense can cover Gates over the middle it will severely limit what the Chargers offense is capable of doing.
Although I do want to win this game, I would much rather see Greg Knapp be canned immediately afterwards. His play calling has been the worst and most predictable terribleness that I have ever seen from a professional coach. What I really hope is the last straw is his admittance that he didn't even develop his red zone package as much yet because of being focused on getting past 3rd downs.
"We haven’t developed as big a red zone package as we would have liked. We’ve been focused on 3rd downs and getting to the red zone."-Greg Knapp quoted by Vic Tafur on Twitter to why he hasn't included Pryor in any red zone plays considering the team's struggles.
The biggest problem the Raiders had all year was scoring touchdowns. There were countless times that they were in the red zone only to come away with just a field goal. Now it's the end of the year and the offensive coordinator is saying that he didn't even concentrate on fixing the scoring deficiencies yet?
Please Dennis Allen or Reggie McKenzie get rid of Greg Knapp! I care way more about that than I do the result of this game between the Raiders and Chargers. At least no matter what this horrid season will have come to an end this Sunday and then we fans can concentrate on way more fun things like the draft and free agency.
If you are in So Cal and want to go to the game Get your game tickets here.