Final Oakland Raider Grades v.s. San Diego Chargers; Week 6: October 12, 2014

raiders vs chargers

Final Oakland Raider Grades v.s. San Diego Chargers; Week 6:

San Diego Chargers  31 (4-1)

Oakland Raiders  28 (0-5)

Quarterback:

Derek Carr had a nice game going 18-34 with 4 touchdowns but he had 1 key interception to pretty much end the game.  He did well with progressions and for the most part took what the defense gave him.  San Diego was down to backup cornerbacks but the Raiders still did a good job.

As announcer Tom Flores brought up, Carr too many times looks for the big play.  Twice he had RB’s wide open in the middle of the field but he went for the longer pass.  He made a bad decision on the final play and threw an interception which ended the game.  He has to stop wanting to score a big play on every down.  Hopefully maturity will fix that.

GRADE:  B+

Carr brings hope to the Raiders that their quarterback search is finally over.

Running Backs: 

A really solid performance by all of the running backs.  The Raiders ended up rushing for 114 yards against a good run defense.  The offensive line was consistent and the RB’s ran with a purpose.  Marcel Reece dropped an easy first down catch but other than that they were very solid.  They also blocked well picking up Charger blitzes.

Grade B+

I think having both McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew splitting time is going to work out great.  They both won’t get beat up and they will be fresh when they come in.  Both can block and catch the ball as well.

Offensive Line: 

Their best game of the year.  San Diego is a good defense and they controlled the line of scrimmage for the most part, allowing for a good run game and never allowing a sack.  Really good job by everyone.

Grade A-

Couldn’t ask for more from this unit.  They have a lot of potential and hopefully they are jelling together.

Wide Receivers: 

The Raiders wide receivers played well and I like the unit they had on the field.  Rod Streater is ok but I like Andre Holmes, Brice Butler and James Jones as the starters.  Holmes and Butler have great speed and Jones tends to make head scratching mistakes at times, but he also is a great red zone threat and can catch anything thrown near him.  Butlers’ 47 yard touchdown catch and run was eye opening due to the great speed he has.  I start these 3.  The tight end position was still not a factor and that needs to change.

GRADE:  B+

They had 4 drops and that can’t happen.  For the most part though, a really good game by all.

Defensive Line:

The invisible man has nothing on the defensive line.  The Raiders had one sack but other than that San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers carved them up for 313 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Branden Oliver ended up rushing for his second 100 yard game and was unstoppable on the Chargers winning drive.

Raiders lineback/defensive lineman Khalil Mack played down low at times and was not a factor.  He remains too easily blocked and when he meets a blocker, he just can’t shed them.  Mack ended the game with only 2 tackles and he just looks overwhelmed with the NFL game so far.  You wonder if he’s another NFL combine darling because usually you can tell if a linebacker or pass rusher is going to be special.  Time will tell.  Lamar Woodley would not be starting on any NFL team other than the Raiders.  He had another 1 tackle game.

Grade:  D-

The Raiders DL is just not a factor and this has to be fixed this off season.  Maybe the worst unit in the NFL.

Linebackers:

The linebackers struggled a lot covering the pass.  When they blitzed they also were not much of a factor.  The Raiders have had a lot of injuries but when your front 7 doesn’t play very good, you are in a lot of trouble.  They also missed on a few tackles when they blitzed.  Disappointing game for this unit.

Grade D+

This unit has big struggles in the passing game and it continued today.  When they did blitz they weren’t much of a factor and they missed some easy tackles.

Defensive Backs:

There was good and bad with this unit but they struggled for the most part.  They did make a few plays against a very good passing team.  Tarell Brown and TJ Carrie had a couple of good plays, but for the most part it was a long day for the DB’s.  They played hard but were just undermanned.

Grade D+ 

They all had their bad moments especially Usama Young.  They played hard and gave it their all but they were undermanned against a good passing team like the Chargers.

Coaching:

I don’t think Tony Sparano is a good head coach but he is a good football man and a heck of a offensive line coach and a good coordinator.  To his credit the offensive line played their best game and the Raiders came out with fire.  It was a good showing and a moral victory.  Unfortunately for a team that is now 53-158, moral victories are a big deal.

Jason Tarver has little to nothing to work with.  This defense lacks talent in a big way and they have no playmakers.  Khalil Mack is struggling big time and Woodley should not be starting.

Greg Olsen seemed to simplify things and finally went downfield which is a must.  It opened up the offense finally and allowed for the Raiders to run the ball.  They have to stretch the field.

Grade A-

The coaches had a good week and the Raiders were mentally as prepared as they could be, which should happen after a bye week.  Tony Sparano is a professional football guy and I think he was a good switch from Dennis Allen who really never seemed to be in control of things.

Special Teams:

It’s hard to get on Sebastian Janokowski but he did miss a long field goal that would have changed everything at the end of the game.  Carr would have had the mindset of getting only a field goal and it may have changed the outcome.  It’s hard to get on a kicker though because that is a long kick, but Jano needs to make that one.

Marquette King has quietly become a consistent and quality punter that looks like a long term answer for the Raiders.  He had another solid game.

TJ Carrie looked good returning both kickoffs and punt and needs to do both for the rest of the year.  In the Chargers only return all day, Keenan Allen set up the winning touchdown with a clutch 29 yard return that really hurt.

Grade C+

Janikowski did miss that long field goal but he also kicked everything out of the end zone on kickoffs.  Carrie looked good on returns but Allen’s 29 yard punt return really hurt.

Next Opponent:  v.s. Arizona Cardinals (4-1; last game, win @ home against the Washington Redskins 30-20)

Outlook:

Next weeks game with the Cardinals in Oakland will tell whether this was a mirage, or if it was a real change in a team that is now 0-5.

In their next 4 games the Raiders will play at Cleveland and at Seattle, and then come home to Denver before flying to San Diego.  Not many teams have a tougher stretch.  Games with the 49ers and another one with Denver are also ahead.  The Raiders have the toughest schedule in the NFL.

Carson Palmer is back for the Cardinals and if you give him time, he can pick you apart.  If you rush him he can be awful.

On the other side of the ball, The Cardinals defense is one of the best in the NFL against the run, but terrible against the pass now being next to last in passing defense.  This game will be an interesting one because the Raiders will again have to work hard to run the ball.  It could be another high scoring game and lots of fireworks will be expected in Oakland next Sunday.

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