“Oakland Raiders Grades v.s. Cleveland Browns; the Good, Bad, & the Ugly”

raiders browns

Final Oakland Raider Grades @ Cleveland Browns; Week 8:

Cleveland Browns  23 (4-3)

Oakland Raiders  13 (0-7)

Quarterback:

The Raiders have scored more than 14 points in a game one time all year.  Tony Sparano showed again why he isn’t an NFL head coach.  At Miami he was constantly trying to outsmart everyone when he should have just done what his team needed to do.  Greg Olsen and Sporano called on Derek Carr to throw 54 times against a team that can’t stop the run.  I kept looking for Rod Serling on the sidelines because you can’t make this stuff up.  Carr was 34-54 for 328 yards, 1 meaningless touchdown at the end and no interceptions.  They had Carr doing too much.  He’s jumping around like Peyton Manning and he needs to just run the play.  The coaches need to keep it simple for him.  Several times he rushed a throw when his secondary man was wide open.  He was sacked 3 times which isn’t a huge amount, but this is worrisome.  Carr struggled against good pass rushes in college and he was jittery today.  Experience hopefully will help him.

GRADE:  C

Carr did not go through his progressions and he seemed mixed up at times with clock management.  He took a delay of game as well and he needs to do less and concentrate on the secondary options.

Running Backs: 

It’s hard to evaluate these guys because they rarely got the ball.  As a whole they ran 22 times for 71 yards but McFadden had the hot hand running for 12 carries and 59 yards.  His fumble though totally changed the game and took the wind out of the sails of the Raiders.

Grade C +

McFadden’s fumble was awful and it helped to change the game against the Raiders.  For the most part he did run well though and he should have received 15 more carries in the game.

Offensive Line: 

The offensive line has played well for most of the year and they didn’t play bad today.  They did give up 3 sacks but one of them was on Carr who continues to hold the ball too long at times.  The running game was alright but they rarely got a chance to run block because they threw 54 times.

Grade C+

They weren’t bad today but they’ve had better games.

Wide Receivers: 

I loved that tight end Mychal Rivera caught 7 passes for 83 yards.  It kept the safeties and linebackers honest and set up the run, but unfortunately the Raiders rarely ran.  James Jones and Andre Holmes had their usual good game which is a great sign.  Jones connection with Carr is a good one.  He’s now the go to guy for Carr.

Kenbrell Thompkins made a great catch but I’m shocked he’s playing instead of Butler.  Butler makes things happen; Thompkins numbers at the Patriots were comically bad and they cut him when they are in need of receivers.  Butler should be playing more.

GRADE:  B

Overall they played well but the Raiders have to make it happen in the red zone and the WR need to step up along with Carr.

Defensive Line:

The Browns are not Joe Montana’s 49ers but the Raiders line did a good job stopping the run.  Against the pass though they only got 1 sack and Hoyer had time to throw and had an amazing 14.5 yard per reception.  The Raiders have to blitz to get a pass rush and that hurts the defense all around.

Grade:  C+

They stopped the run but without a pass rush, the Raiders defensive backs are in trouble.

Linebackers:

The linebackers played very well against the run, especially Sio Moore who seemed to be all over the field.  He’s healthy and his speed is there and it showed.  They had a solid game but the middle of the field was too easy a target for Hoyer.  Some of it was due to them having to blitz but they struggled on passes over the middle.

Grade B

Most of the year it’s the defense that struggles but the offense just could not score today.  This unit had a good but not great game and if they can stay healthy, they are the strength of the defense.   The defense played well enough to win.

Defensive Backs:

These poor guys are playing their hearts out but without a pass rush, they are in no man’s land.  The WR of the Browns averaged 14.5 yards per catch and they had no answer for Browns wide out Andrew Hawkins.  It was a long day for them and the Browns aren’t exactly stellar in the passing game.

Grade C – 

It was a long day for these guys.  They did do well on 3rd down plays but overall it was a tough day.

Coaching:

I’m at a loss for words.  Tony Sparano last week said that the Raiders were going to go back to the run.  Their running backs are now healthy.  The offensive line is coming along.  So what does he do?  This is Sporano’s MO.  He gets off on trying to trick people when in the end he over does it and never seems to do the right thing.  He does what he used to do at Miami; he outsmarted himself and tried to fool people by doing the opposite and had Carr throw 54 times.  Unreal.  The Browns can’t stop the run but they have some good players to stop the pass.  I would love to have been in the meeting when Greg Olsen and Tony Sparano thought throwing so much was a good idea.  Again, where is Rod Serling?  Are you kidding me?  The Raiders should have grinded and wore down the Browns defense using the running game.

Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver has no defensive line to speak of so he’s very limited on what he could do.  He crowded the line and blitzed a lot and for the most part it worked.

Tony Sporano rolled the dice and the fake kick proved to be disastrous when backup Matt Schaub threw an interception.  A shovel pass or a short pass would have been epic but he threw into double coverage and they had no chance.  This is what happens when coaches over think and over coach.

Grade D

As Doug Heffernan on the tv show King of Queens said while watching a Woody Woodpecker cartoon; “I’m Still not getting it”.  I really don’t know what is going on and Greg Olsen and Tony Sporano don’t seem to either.

Special Teams:

Sebastian Janikowski had a good day and other than the two punts that went short, Marquette King had a nice game and rebounded well with a nice 53 yarder.  The fake didn’t work out well and nothing special happened in the return game.

Grade C+

It was a strange day for the special teams.

Next Opponent:  @ Seattle Seahawks (4-3); last game, win @ Carolina Panthers 13-9)

Outlook:

Now the “easy” part of the Raiders schedule is over.  If the Raiders can’t beat Cleveland on the road, thinking that they will beat the Seahawks in Seattle is beyond positive thinking.  Seattle isn’t the same team with a lot of egos that are in fighting with a lot of drama, but they still are a solid defense and they have a great, clutch quarterback.

After playing Seattle, the Raiders will play their first game with Denver.  Someone asked me if the Raiders had hit bottom yet and the answer is no way.  An 0-9 start is almost assured and when your fans are talking about the draft and the season isn’t half over, you know things are bad.

If the Raiders were smart the coaches would stop over coaching.  They need to evaluate who the players that they want to keep for next years team are.

My prescription for Raider fans is lots of wine and beer during Thanksgiving, lots of eggnog during Christmas, and champagne on New Years Eve.  You deserve it because this is going to be a long one.

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