I'm expecting Lamarr Houston and Bruce Gradkowski to make sports headlines Monday for their positive performances in Glendale Arizona Sunday; here's why:
Last week, Lamarr had his way with St. Louis RT, Jason Smith, getting into Card QB Sam Bradford's face 7 times and sacking him once for a 13 yard loss. #99 stuffed the run all day from his LDE position, continuing solid play just where he left off against Tennessee's RT, Stewart.
Sunday Houston faces Arizona's RT, Brandon Keith, whose skill set is on par with Jason Smith who Lamarr brutalized throughout the Ram's 23:11 Time of Possession. Given Lamarr's constant improvement, intensity and high-motor, expect him to again dominate his turf and make Derek Anderson's day a living hell. Don''t be surprised when Lamarr Houston is named Rookie of the Week.
As for Bruce, his breakout time has arrived. The Arizona secondary is ranked 21st; it's had 53 completions thrown against it over 2 games. Card DBs, CBs Tyler and Cromartie-II and FS Rhodes and SS Wilson have allowed 463 yards through the air and 4 TDs (but also have 3 picks). They are especially susceptible to the quick 10-15 yard pass which complements Grad's hot-potato approach to getting the ball away before his protection collapses. Then, when the CBs come up tight on DHB and Murphy, Grad will prove again that he has a very accurate mid-range, 20-30 yard, touch.
Last week, Arizona got creamed by a tough Falcon team, 41-7, and eked out a win against St.Louis (as we did) before that, 17-13. They have a tough time putting up points and a porous secondary.
Bottom Line: Raiders Time of Possession could well be in the 34-36 minute range with sustained drives, and 1st downs galore. Our DL under Mike Waffle's brilliant oversight, should stifle Arizona's running game and get the ball back after unprecedented 3-and-outs.
The Raiders revealed themselves for who they really are throughout the 2nd Half last week and our coaches showed inspiring ability to make adjustments in sets, strategy and personnel. We are all about winning again - just winning Baby - whoever, whatever, however that comes about.