For anyone who thought the Raiders would come out of the gate flying and ripping through the easier part of the schedule, the first 5 games were definitely a test for your silver and black souls.
There is no way that this Raider fan could have seen an 0-5 start, especially with cupcakes like the Niners and the Browns on the schedule. Then again, as I was sitting in the stands cheering on the team against AZ yesterday I realized that this team is indeed a very talented team, but also a very new one!
Gone from 2002 are Rice, Brown, Gannon, Kennedy, Wheatley, Garner, Woodson, Buchanon and Porter.
Here are Moss, Morant, Walter, Gallery, Jordan, Huff, Poole and a healthy Curry.
Also gone is the eternally fallible Bill Callahan, THANK GOD!!!
I looked around and I saw that this is a VERY new team that is learning how to play together.
Yesterday I loved how Sapp controlled the D-Line and I loved how the defense swarmed like no Oakland Raider defense that I could remember since they returned from their erstwhile sojourn to LA.
I loved Burgess turning the corner and whacking Leinert. I loved how Matt was shaking in his boots and according to Schweigert threw the ball too early many times.
I also loved watching the team convert on 3rd and long 5 times!!!
IF you want to see a stat that shows complete dominance, check this out:
3rd down efficiency-
Walter looked completely composed in the pocket and except for his ill-advised low pass to Moss at the end of the first half he looked like a QB that you could hang your hat on.
I am miffed that he was high lowed and may be out for a while now. Just as he is coming into his own, he is out!!! I mean, look at it. The kid should have ATLEAST 2 more TD passes than he does. Randy has cost him 2 TDs. He should have 5 TDs and 8 INTs.
Let's take a look at how some of the great ones faired in their first full season under center in the NFL.
In his first season he threw 26 TD passes and was picked 28 times. His QB rating at season's end was a career low 71.2.
His first full season starting was actually better than his second.
In his first season he threw 18 TD's and only 13 picks.
He followed that up with a 19TD and 24 pick season and a 72.2 rating.
He had a miserable beginning for the Broncos. He threw 7 TD's and 14 picks for Denver in 11 games his rookie season!!!
Now, I am not saying that Andrew will be as good as any of these three. I am just trying to put some perspective on his young career.
What I saw yesterday was a confident young QB who should have had 2TDs and over 350 yards. heck, if he weren't high-lowed who knows how many scores he would have thrown and how many yards he would have amassed!!!
What I saw was a confident QB who made good decisions, was mobile enough to avoid the rush and made good passes. That pass to Randy in the corner of the end zone that was dropped was as beautiful a pass as you'll see all year!!!
Here is to another win this week.
The schedule ahead looks daunting, especially with the injury questions at QB, but as long as we go one week at a time and don't expect the 1981 Raiders to inhabit the jerseys of the current squad any week soon this can still be a great season!!!
I want to see the Dawgs on the offensive line get after Big Ben all game.
My pick for the player of the week will be Michael Huff. He will be all over the field and I look for him to have a coming out party against Pittsburgh!!!
RRRRRRRAAAAIIIDDDEEERRRSSSSSS!!!! (Man, it felt good to hear that yesterday!!!)
Who do you think the player of the week will be?