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Raiders first quarter season winners and losers

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Who has been great and who has been weak for Oakland this season?5)

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Greetings, Raider fans! The Great Raiderdamus is here to enlighten you all about the overall winners and losers thus far in the Raiders' young season. It's been a successful one so far with a record of 3-1 with all three wins coming on the road, but let's look at who stood out and who needs to improve. This will not be limited to any particular number on each list. because there are so many winners on this team.


1) Derek Carr

Carr has been nothing short of brilliant this season and has led the Raiders to two final-drive comeback wins already. He is PFF's highest-rated quarterback for 2016, rating higher even than Matt Ryan who has the volume stats but not the efficiency. While Carr's ranking is fantastic, let's keep in mind two things.

Firstly, Tom Brady has not played yet.

Second, Aaron Rodgers had a bye already and played the Vikings, who make all quarterbacks look like Jimmy Clausen.

With that being said, Derek Carr is quite clearly in the top echelon of quarterbacks in the NFL and by the end of the season might make pundits stop talking about Andrew Luck. He's a strong leader and a great teammate and a fine person and I want to be his friend NOTICE ME DEREK

2) Michael Crabtree

"We don't like this guy!" said many Raider fans when he was first signed. "He is a diva and he didn't want to be a Raider back when they were bad! Look at this picture of him drinking orange juice."

They were all wrong. Not only is orange juice an important part of a complete breakfast, Michael Crabtree is a mature and dynamic player who has earned the contract Oakland gave him several times over. We should all be glad Reggie McKenzie locked him up long-term this offseason. How much could he demand on the open market now?

Crabtree already has 308 receiving yards and four touchdowns on the young season. That puts him on pace for 1236 yards and sixteen touchdowns, which are basically prime Jerry Rice numbers. His chemistry with Derek Carr is exceptional and he is a huge reason for the Raiders' success to this point.

3) Jack Del Rio

Captain Jack has become Gamblin' Jack as our beloved coach has shown no hesitation to take major risks and show trust in his young team. His two-point conversion decision against New Orleans was the stuff of legends, and he's consistently shown a willingness to go for it on fourth down and trust his players to execute in tough situations. It's paying off in a big way and that will only elevate Del Rio's standing in the locker room and among the media.

Before the season I noticed the predominant media opinion of Del Rio was "Meh." Now it's "Wow this guy is great and he has the Raiders playing at a high level." Put some respeck on his name, ya'll.

4) Kelechi Osemele

We backed up a dump truck full of gold to Osemele's house on the first day of free agency, and that has proven to be an excellent decision. Osemele has been terrific at both run and pass blocking and has the versatility to switch to tackle in a pinch. Considering all the pinches Oakland has found themselves in, his versatility and consistent excellence have proven invaluable.

5) Marquette King

It used to be, back in the Before Time, that the Raiders' best players were their special teams- Shane Lechler and Sebastian Janikowski. I wonder sometimes if that's not still the case. There are a small number of players on this team who might be considered the best in the NFL at their position. That number is two. Khalil Mack and Marquette King.

I firmly believe that King is, in fact, the best punter in football. His powerful leg and accurate directional kicking have led to the Raiders' complete dominance of field position this season. We cannot say enough about the organization for holding onto this guy by hook or by crook. Remember how distraught we all were when Lechler left? What's he up to these days?

6) Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin

While the sack numbers aren't high, these two are consistently making plays on the edge. Khalil Mack has done a fine job against the run and been held on literally every play of the season. Bruce Irvin has caused havoc and forced a number of turnovers. As the secondary continues to improve, so will they. Another half-second is all they need. Bruce Irvin is doing what we paid him for and he will be a huge part of the defense going forward.


1) Right Tackles

Menelik Watson has been great this year- when he's been on the field. He got hurt against New Orleans and hasn't seen the field much since. Austin Howard is fine when he plays too, but he's got, I don't know, a stomach ache or something. I honestly have no idea what Howard's issue is.

This has forced seventh-round rookie Vadal Alexander into service, and while he held up on the line he did commit some penalties. He's young and he shouldn't be in the position he's in. The players we have at the top are good, but their injuries have really put the team in a tough spot.

2) Ken Norton, Jr.

Every week it's the same. "Ahh Ken Norton sucks!" we say. "Fire him and bring in a real defensive coordinator." And yet every week the Raiders make huge defensive plays to win- the exception being Atlanta, but the Raiders made the plays and lost on dumb-luck tip drill horseshit. So it's not as bad as all that, but the fact is this team gives up too damn many points for as talented as they are and the only logical place to place that blame is at the feet of Norton.

Let's keep in mind that this is for the first four games only- we'll get Mario Edwards and maybe Aldon Smith back later on, and the Raiders defense was vastly improved during the latter part of last season. So they should be fine in the playoffs.

3) Amari Cooper

I'm not entirely sure this is fair from a real-world perspective, but I own Amari Cooper on a few fantasy teams so I am fully justified here. He hasn't caught a touchdown officially yet (although the illegal touching penalty against the Falcons was laughable) and his chief value to the team currently is drawing coverage from the defense's number one cornerback leaving Michael Crabtree to be covered by lesser players. None of this has negatively impacted the Raiders overall, but it's a problem for me personally. Get it together, Amari. Daddy needs a fake Internet trophy.

4) Dan Williams

Dan… what would you say… you do here?

Oakland brought in Dumpster Dan to stuff the run, but opponents have been successful rushing against Oakland and Williams hasn't made much impact. The last piece to the Raiders' defense is pressure and run defense up the middle, and they simply don't have it. Look for Oakland to draft a nose tackle next year.

5) Ben Heeney

I was very high on Heeney after last year, but that might be because his hair makes him easily identifiable when he makes a play so I noticed him more than more generic black guys with short haircuts. Heeney has been awful this season and just went on IR. Luckily Corey James has stepped up, but is James the MLB of the future? Or will Oakland look to take a middle linebacker next April? The fact that we need to ask that question at all is a reflection of Heeney, and don't be surprised if he's cut outright later on.