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Raiders midseason Ballers & Busters: Part two

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Levi Damien

surprising number of Ballers for a 3-5 season but it should show you just how many good players are on this team that are contributing on any given game. Now we detail the Busters which should fairly accurately depict why the Raiders are currently two games under .500. The players here have had a half season to show themselves as a weak link and/or part of a problem that must be fixed for this team to have success.


Lucas Nix

A five-time Buster. Never Top Buster, oddly enough, but that is more a product of his being an offensive lineman so his mistakes tend not to stand out as much as other positions. But even still, he stood out plenty. He is truly terrible. You need proof? He is the absolute worst rated offensive guard in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. I probably could have guessed that before seeing it but that removes any doubt of perhaps there being other guards in the league who are worse. Nope. He takes that prize. He is by far the worst pass blocking guard in the NFL and the second worst run blocking guard.

It didn't take long for his poor play to show up in the Buster column. He was a Buster the first two weeks of the season. With the Raiders set up in first and goal at the nine-yard line against the Colts, Nix missed his block to give up a sack for a 16-yard loss. When Pryor tried to get the yards back, it resulted in the game-clinching interception. The next week he gave up several run stuffs and a sack before leaving with an injured ankle.

The only games he wasn't a Buster were the games he was out injured. Seriously, those were the ONLY games he wasn't a Buster. That's tremendous. When he returned in week six, it was welcome back, Buster where he remained the past two games. He is the perfect storm of horrible. Is there really no better option than him? I am finding that increasingly difficult to believe.

Mike Jenkins

A four-time Buster including one-time Top Buster. He was a Buster every week from week 3 through week 6 including being Top Buster in week 5. In week three, all the Raiders defensive backs were abused by Peyton Manning but none worse than Jenkins. He gave up five catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. This included a 61-yard pass play in which he missed the tackle to give up most of the yards on the play.

The following week he missed the tackle on what should have been a sack on Robert Griffin III. RGIII escaped and threw for a 28-yard completion and the next play, they scored the final touchdown.

Late in the win over the Chargers, Jenkins almost help the Raiders blow it when he was completely burnt by Vincent Brown and shoved him out the back of the endzone after the catch. The TD was no good because there was a San Diego illegal formation, but Jenkins was also called for unnecessary roughness to set the Chargers up in scoring position anyway. Two plays later Jenkins gave up a catch and missed the tackle for a touchdown to bring the Chargers within a score.

The next week, Chiefs QB Alex Smith only completed 14 passes for 128 yards - much of it through Jenkins. He gave up 4 catches and was on the hook for 81 yards of offense.

Matt Flynn

He only played in one game and was the Top Buster in the game. What a complete waste of a acquisition this guy was. He came in as the favorite to start after the Raiders traded for him and his salary from Seattle.

Reggie McKenzie defended Flynn and his play from the start saying that he saw him for four years in Green Bay in practice and knew what he could do. His play in practice wasn't knocking anyone's socks off but those words from McKenzie kept ringing in the ears as if to say not to expect him to wow anyone in practice but once the lights come on, he would shine.

He had a decent game in the preseason which made had some thinking it was some proof the Raiders would be ok with this game manager at the helm. Then came the tendinitis, then came the poor attitude, then came his only start which was one of the worst examples of pocket presence I have ever seen. Facing pressure can make things more difficult for any quarterback, but never sensing it coming and standing there like a statue causes a whole new set of problems.

His attitude got worse from there and a week after his disastrous performance, the team cut ties with him. The Raiders were hoping at very least they had a backup they could be confident would pick things up if Pryor went down injured. Flynn let down the Raiders big time. He has since been signed and cut by the Bills who opted for undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel and former practice squad player Thad Lewis over Flynn. The Raiders should just steer well clear of LSU quarterbacks.

D.J. Hayden

Three-time Buster including having the worst performance by any Raiders cornerback this season last week in a rout at the hands of the Eagles. Hayden began the season looking timid and confused. Being out most of the off-season recovering from a surgery on his abdomen and sporting a non-contact jersey through much  of training camp can cause that. He also was making a few rookie mistakes like not turning his head and playing the ball. These mistakes had him named a Buster twice in the first three games. He began playing better after that, in part because the Raiders' pass rush began to get more pressure. He even forced a couple turnovers on a forced fumble and an interception in consecutive weeks. Then came the game against the Eagles in which he gave up 2 touchdowns and 182 receiving yards including three huge pass plays of 42, 63T, and 59 yards. He also doesn't have a single pass defended on the season and opposing quarterbacks have a 110.0 rating against him.

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