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Raiders week 10 report card vs Chargers: Offensive line needs improvement

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NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to believe there are still seven games remaining on the schedule before the 2018 season is a wrap. How much losing can a team take? The character of the 53 men in the locker room is being tested beyond reason.

Much of the current roster has very little to play for at this point. Guys on one year contracts, or veteran players looking to win now will be moving on next year. The goal now is to finish the season healthy enough to find a new home next year.

All that being said, the effort was much more apparent than last week’s Thursday night football debacle. Despite the effort, this roster lacks talent to compete with the likes of the 7-2 Chargers who now hold the thee seed in the AFC playoff picture.

Let’s take a look at how the Raiders graded out in week 10.

Aerial Attack: C

It was another lackluster performance from the offense and notably the passing game. Points have been very hard to come by for the Raiders who have now been outscored 72-6 in their last seven quarters.

There was one play in particular from the game that has Derek Carr receiving heavy criticism from fans and the media.

With 4:10 remaining in the game, trailing 20-6 the offense was faced with a 4th and 5 on the Chargers 19 yard line. The result of the play was Derek Carr throwing the ball away at the feet of his intended receiver Jalen Richard.

Carr is under heavy fire for his decision to throw the ball away on fourth down. When asked about the play Carr described what his thought process was.

“We had the play designed for Jalen versus their coverage. And they just covered it well. I wish I had a better answer for you, but they did. Stuff happens,” said Carr.

Many believe Carr showed a lack of effort by simply giving up on the play.

“I would have definitely got sacked by 54, but I wish absolutely, yes. We could have had something different to pick up that first down. It hurt.”

Things won’t be improving through the air anytime soon, Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant both sustained knee injuries in the game and their question for the remainder of the season is uncertain.

Ground Game: B

Doug Martin has played great in relief of Marshawn Lynch. Martin looked strong and explosive rushing for 61 yards on 15 carries. The issue for Martin was lack of opportunities.

It seems like the case every week but again the Raiders played from behind most of the second half and were not in the position to establish a run game.

Offensive Line: D

There may not be a more disappointing unit on the team than the offensive line. The money that is invested into the interior of the line combined with two high draft picks you would expect more stability.

Yes, injuries have played a role but the line is far too talented not be playing much better. Besides Rodney Hudson who has been great all season, it’s hard to find anyone who has played well on a consistent bases.

The run blocking was the strength of the group in the game but allowed their quarterback to be sacked four times, taking nine hits. Kelechi Osemele and Brandon Parker were especially bad in this one.

Defensive Line: B

There is no denying the Raiders have the worst defensive line in football, but to be fair they played pretty well against the Chargers.

The pass rush showed up at times. Although they only got home once for a sack, Phillip Rivers was forced to get the ball out of his hands quickly multiple times due to pressure. One of those plays in particular led to a Marcus Gilchrist interception.

Some more good news, rookie Mo Hurst continues to look like a player the defense can build around for the future.

Linebackers: B

The defense certainly did enough to keep the team in the game. If the offense had been able to generate some points the final outcome could have been much different.

The linebackers have struggled all year, especially in pass coverage but Nick Morrow, Marquel Lee, and Jason Cabinda played well. It’s a good sign to see the youth movement on defense and a better thing that some of the young guys are making plays.

Secondary: C-

For a change the defensive line provided some pressure but it didn’t always translate into stops for the defense. The rush and pass coverage were at times, not working together.

Daryl Worley did make a key pass break up on a play in the end zone but was later beat by Keenan Allen for a touchdown.

The play that stands out as a black eye on the secondary was Melvin Gordon’s 66 yard screen play for touchdown. Both Gareon Conley and Reggie Nelson missed chances to bring Gordon down.

Special Teams: B+

Johnny Townsend finally showed why the Raiders drafted him in the fifth round. Townsend has his best game as a pro, showing off his athleticism by gaining 42 yards on a fake punt in the first quarter.

Townsend also boomed some long punts, his longest a 57 yarder. Gruden continued to support his punter after the game.

“I have always said that I really believe in that kid. In that fake punt you can see that he is one of our fastest players. He is a tremendous athlete. He took his medicine for awhile like a lot of us, but he is going to be a really good punter for us,” said Gruden.

Overall Grade: C+