So I’ve had a day to digest the game yesterday and I’ve come to a couple of conclusions:
#1 - This team will be a lot better when we’re healthy. We started Barnes at LT yesterday folks and Pryor was not killed. Pashos played like a gamer and Barnes didn’t blow up. But imagine what will happen when Veldy & Watson are manning the Tackle spots? Pryor will have more time to throw and the running lanes will get better. Sio Moore didn’t start so imagine how much MORE pressure we’ll be able to get with 4 or 5 LBer’s rotating in and out, staying fresh. Full strength our depth becomes less of an issue.
#2 – I saw a young team trying to find itself yesterday. This squad is not like years past. There’s actually a decent mixture of savvy vets looking for vindication and young guys looking to prove they can play. There are still many baby steps to come as this roster finds itself and discovers how it plays best together but there’s reason for optimism, as the death knell did not toll. We were supposed to get killed yesterday- not have a very viable chance to walk out with a road victory.
We heard all the comments: Pryor was Te_blowesque. We were the worse team in the NFL. Yes worse than JAX & NYJ and others. No chance - So we were told. Well somewhere in the middle of the game all those hater comments turned into statements I’ve heard about the other young teams, other young QB’s with little experience and today we’re seeing props about TP and our team that some of us already knew.
#3 – I sincerely hope that TP, the WR’s and the coaches have a session (or several) just for deep balls. Something’s not quite clicking here yet and it’s all those I mentioned fault. I’m hoping they work this out as that one bomb to Dmac was magic and we should see more of that as the OL improves and TP gets more comfortable.
#4 – Whatever adjustments were made defensively (Can your remember when we couldn’t adjust at the half??) need to be put into practice consistently. Again, this is a brand spanking new defensive core and will need time to gel but if they can do that quickly, this could be one of the better units we’ve had in years and could keep us in some games.
#5 – I like King a lot and he clearly earned his spot, but he needs to learn to hold properly or someone else needs to do it. We cannot afford to lose games or miss FG’s that Jano can hit in his sleep because the laces weren’t out.
#6 – Dmac showed some flashes (especially at the GL) but he needs to run angry again. That’s when he’s at his best. I wouldn’t mind seeing some play action as well to take the pressure off him & TP having to run more than he needs to.
#7 – Reece can’t just be a blocker. He’s a instinctive weapon with hands like glue and speed that makes him a serious mismatch. He needs to be thrown a bone or two if we’re going to have any success this season.
#8 – How good was it to see Ford running crossing routes again? I honestly forgot how good he was until I watched him yesterday. He can fill that slot and make plays, he’s obviously rusty but I’m hoping he gets his legs back under him again soon because he can do what DHB never could, catch the ball.
#9 – DA really should give up his hesitation with Pryor – it’s clear as crystal now that he’s the guy for the foreseeable future. A time out (which we had) was needed at the end of the game, especially after that sack that never should have happened. DA is still a rookie in some ways and this is one of them – he needs to help Pryor, not hinder him because he's still as little cautious with non action when it was clear they should have scripted that last series a bit better.
#10 – We’re not out of the woods yet – we need to win next week or this could fulfill all those hater comments I mentioned earlier. This franchise needs to take one game at a time and grow. If that happens, then DA stays and the plan continues. We desperately need that to happen or we’ll go right back to square one IMO. I think that the Raiders can take that step and they have enough talent to do so. They won’t be world-beaters (barring a HUGE learning progression the likes we haven’t seen in decades) but they aren’t going to get steamrolled every game as projected before yesterday.