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Raiders 2015 midseason Ballers & Busters

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We are at the halfway point of the season so it's time to take a look at which Raiders players were balling and which ones were busting.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Ballers

Derek Carr

A Baller four times this season, three of those times Top Baller. He makes top Midseason Ballers because he has played his best football in recent weeks, named a Baller the past three weeks and Top Baller the past two weeks. Week 2 was his first Baller appearance in a game he had 351 yards and led the team on a game-winning drive. Once the team came out of the bye week, something had obviously clicked with him. He has lit up every team he has faced since then; those teams being the Chargers, Jets, and Steelers. In a ‘what have you done for me lately' league, he has done a lot.

Michael Crabtree

Crabs has been a Baller an astounding six of the team's eight games this season. He has five receiving touchdowns, including two last week against the Steelers, and one in each of the two previous wins over the Chargers and Jets. He has also surpassed 100 yards receiving in three games this season - the past two games and the week two win over the Ravens.

Khalil Mack

After the Raiders went without a sack in the first two games, they came on strong after that. Mack has two sacks in week three and since then has been a Baller in all but one game. He leads the team with 4.0 sacks this season. At this point last season, he still hadn't gotten his first NFL sack and he has already reached his entire 2014 season total.

Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson

The dynamic duo in the middle of the Raiders' offensive line. Most times there is a hole open to run through, one of them opened it. And it's why they were each Ballers five times over the first part of the season. Hudson is athletic and he and Derek Carr have gotten better and better working together as the season has gone along, making him a Baller each of the past three weeks. Jackson is one of the best run blockers in the league. The Raiders often either run through his position or pull him to run on the opposite side. And the defenses are powerless to stop it.

Amari Cooper

Already one of the best receivers the Raiders have ever had. He was a named a Baller four times over the first eight games, including top Baller in a the week 7 win over the Chargers. In that game, he had two spectacular plays. One a leaping jump ball catch for 44 yards and the other a bubble screen that he took for 52 yards to the house. Like Crabtree, Cooper has three 100-yard games this season. He also has 4 touchdowns and leads the team with 653 yards receiving. He leads all NFL rookie wide receivers in fact.

TJ Carrie

He was already the team's best cornerback and was named a Baller in each of the first three weeks playing the position. With the loss of Nate Allen, and no better options, Carrie switched to safety, where he has played for the past six weeks, and was named a Baller once again in the week 7 win over the Chargers. He has been invaluable to the Raiders, which was on display with how poorly the secondary looked overall last week with him out injured. And with Nate Allen returning this week, Carrie can move back to cornerback again which is good for everyone.

Latavius Murray

There was that game in Chicago in which he turned the ball over twice and basically cost the team the game against the Bears. That is one major blemish on an otherwise very good season that has seen Murray lead the AFC in rushing (630) through the first half of the season. He has been named a Baller four times this season and Top Baller for the team's week three win over the Browns - a game in which he ran for 139 yards and a touchdown.

Charles Woodson

A Baller three times this season including being Top Baller in week five when he picked off Peyton Manning not once, but twice to help keep the Raiders within striking distance for most of the game. Woodson separated his shoulder on the final play of the team's week one loss to the Bengals. The following week, he played every snap (though not all that well) and the team had a comeback win over the Ravens. In week three Woodson had the game-clinching interception to take out the Browns in Cleveland. The following week was his 2 INT game against the Broncos. In total he has five interceptions which is tied for the NFL lead. That shoulder started giving him problems again last week so we'll see how it affects him from here on out.

Malcolm Smith

He was a buster in the first game. Since then he has been an invaluable component to the Raiders defense. He was a Baller in the team's week 3 win in Cleveland, took over the play calling duties in week four, was a Baller again in week five helping to shut down the Broncos offense much of the game, and following the bye week was a Baller again in a big win in San Diego. He leads the team with 59 tackles (50 solo) and is second on the team with 3.0 sacks.

Honorable Mention

Jack Del Rio -- He had a big hand in constructing this team this season and his players have the utmost trust and respect in his guidance. He also put together a fine staff including our Assistant coach of the Midseason, Mike Tice. Amazing what proficient head coach can do.

Bill Musgrave - The offense has been like a well-oiled machine the past couple weeks. It looks like he and Carr have found their stride and we should expect to see a lot more of it the rest of the season.

Dan Williams -- Though you wouldn't know it by the stinker the Raiders defense put up last week, the run defense had been one of the best in the NFL over the first 8 weeks of the season. Dan Williams was a big part of that (literally). Though his work doesn't always stand out because if he is doing his job well, running backs stay away from him. He was named a Baller three times this season.

Neiron Ball - Just when he was starting to show his worth as a rookie starter for this team, he went down with an injury. Early in the season he was relegated to special teams. Once they found out he could be an asset in coverage and help solve their deficiencies covering the tight end, he was made a starter. And he was named a Baller twice.

Betweeners

Donald Penn, Austin Howard

I realize Derek Carr hasn't been sacked much. But first of all, that is not exclusively an offensive tackle stat. Second of all, it's not the only stat that matters. Both Penn and Howard have been named Ballers three times and Busters three times. Penn was top Buster in week 7 due mostly to a couple of costly unnecessary roughness penalties. They were both named Ballers last week, but prior to that they hadn't shown up there since week three, with both landing as Busters in the team's losses in weeks 4 and 5. Howard has improved in the past few games and Penn is usually a very steady performer. I expect that will continue over the remainder of the season.

Continue to the Busters