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We've covered the Ballers already. Now we move on to the Busters for the Raiders 2012 season opener versus the San Diego Chargers.
Dennis Allen said today that the lack of preparedness of Travis Goethel to step up as the long snapper falls on him. I suppose ultimately that is true but then again as the head coach, he could say that about just about anything. Hue Jackson liked to say that after every game. We never really bought it then either. No, this one falls on Hoffman. And this isn't an isolated incident. The Raiders special teams have been horrendous since day one. They don't offer anything in the return game or on coverage. And now we come to find out there was no one practicing for the possibility of losing the Jon Condo? This game was unacceptable. Letting the first game of the "new era" of the Raiders get destroyed because the long snapper leaves the game is absurd and supremely embarrassing.
You gotta feel bad for the guy but he really messed up. Sure, he wasn't prepared for this game. We have laid out the blame for that already. But he also didn't control what he could control either. When Condo went out of the game with his head injury, Goethel began snapping on the sideline. Then he went out there and has a low snap which resulted in a bobbled catch by Lechler, no punt, and a turnover on downs.
Lechler told him to keep his head up and shake it off. What he should have done was put his head down and snap along the sideline until his legs started cramping. He didn't do that. He practice so little that I didn't even see it. Then he didn't shake off the mistake either. He went out on the field thinking about it. He made such an effort not to snap it low that it had no velocity on it and by the time Lechler lined up to punt it, it was easily blocked. More than just protection goes into a punt. It's the snap, the catch, the punter's steps as well. And the flawless execution is the reason Lechler hadn't been blocked since 2006 before Condo became the team's long snapper.
Despite these mistakes, he was seen on the sideline standing with his helmet off still not practicing his snaps. His final snap, he was clearly flustered and it resulted in his worst of the day. It skipped across the ground and Lechler couldn't even field it cleanly. As I said, you gotta feel bad for the guy. But there is no way around these mistakes.
Sure, I was hard on Goethel for his snap on that blocked punt. But there was another side to it. That being the guy who missed the oncoming rusher who blocked the punt. That man was Matt Giordano. He went left to help with defenders who were already being blocked while Dante Rosario came in untouched to collapse on Shane Lechler's punt attempt. And while that blocked field goal ended up in a field goal, it was the Chargers only touchdown in which Giordano was victimized. He was well behind Malcom Floyd on his touchdown catch. He was behind Dante Rosario (Gio' nemesis?) on the previous pass into the endzone but lucky for him, it sailed high and incomplete.
Carson Palmer was under siege most of the day. His pocket continuously collapsed on him. Much of that pressure came from the right side where Barnes sets up shop. The Chargers had three sacks on the day and two of them were given up by Barnes.
Unless you count his touchbacks on kickoffs, Taiwan Jones touched the ball twice in this game. And both times, he fumbled it. He got the game started off on a sour note when he muffed the opening kickoff and by the time he could chase it down, he was tackle at the 14 yard line. Later, the Raiders called for him to run an end around but he couldn't field the pitch. The ball bounced backward and he pounced on it after a 25 yard loss. He wasn't given the ball again after that. The Raiders better hope McFadden can handle the kind of load he did in this game because Jones is supposed to be the next man up if he can't.
He gave up two catches in this game and both were long yardage. The first catch he gave up came on the Chargers' second drive. He was burnt badly by Robert Meachem for 46 yards. It set the Chargers uop for their first score on a field goal. The Chargers' next drive was highlighted by a Malcolm Floyd 23 yard catch. And the Raiders would drive for their only touchdown. Bartell was lost for the rest of the game, and as it turns out several weeks, with a broken shoulder blade.