Final Oakland Raider Grades @ Tennessee Titans; Week 1:
Tennessee Titans: 16 (0-1)
Oakland Raiders: 26 (1-0)
The Raiders started the season well with a solid win against the Titans on the road.
The Raiders did a couple of small defensive changes in their approach to the Titans that seem to be lost in the media. Let’s face it, these types of changes aren’t very exciting or dramatic, but they are noteworthy in this opening win for the Raiders.
I’m still scratching my head how most sportsbooks had the Titans winning by 1-2 points. The lack of respect in the early part of the season for the Raiders is puzzling. Many have the Raiders going 10-6 or 9-7.
As far as Tennessee goes, I think they are an overrated team with an average to slightly above average QB. They are in the worst division in the NFL and they just don’t have the DB’s, WR’s, or the identity that winning teams have.
Derek Carr had a good game to start the season. He was sacked a couple of times and his timing was off a bit with Amari Cooper, but he was solid. In one play where the Titans forgot to cover Marshawn Lynch when he was put wide left, Carr over threw him by 5 yards and Marshawn did a flip to show his disappointment. They had first and goal on the Titans 2 yard line and they threw 3 straight incomplete passes to Amari Cooper. Both blamed each other for the 3 failed passes. Why have Lynch if you are going to do that? Even if the plays were called, Carr should have audibled at least once to run Lynch.
Solid outing by Derek who must be licking his chops looking at the Jets next week.
The Titans tried to stop the run and the Raiders gained 109 yards on 29 tough carries. When the Raiders needed to, they grinded out yards and iced the game purely on the ground. I think Oakland has the best set of RB’s in the NFL and they and the OL wore out the Tennessee defense.
There was no spectacular numbers, but this was a good, solid game for them. Their ability to pick up the blitz is so overlooked but they pass block better than any set of RB’s in the league.
Same stuff different day. They did give up a couple of sacks but overall another good game. They were dominant at times in the 4th quarter and wore down Tennessee.
A nice start for a group that is the key to the Raiders success this year.
Michael Crabtree looked in mid season form and was a man among boys at times. He’s as physical a WR as there is in the NFL. Cooper had a TD but he was out of synch with Carr catching only 5 of 13 targets. Their new tight end Jared Cook caught 5 passes for 56 yards with two catches being in heavy traffic.
The WR’s exploited the weak Titans secondary and at times they did what they wanted to.
Their numbers weren’t eye popping but they had a solid game. The DL did a pretty good job of controlling the run game (21 rushes for 95 yards) and they did get a sack even though the pass rush wasn’t consistently good. Mario Edwards Jr. had 3 tackles and a 0.5 sack but overall the DL played fairly well, but not great.
The Titans offense doesn’t scare anyone but overall this was a good start for a group that has struggled big time in the past.
Realizing the Titans were a basic run between the tackles offense, the Raiders pinched in their LB’s to stop the between the tackle runs and it worked. Tennessee did little to adjust and the LB’s had a solid game. Cory James was nursing a bad knee and was taken off the field once. They played Marquel Lee on running downs and brought in Tyrell Adams (7 tackles) on passing downs and that also helped this group. Not a bad day.
Tennessee was successful in their few outside the tackle runs and when Mariota kept the ball in the read option, but overall they did little to mix things up to adjust to the Raiders changes. The LB’s took advantage of that and played well and stopped the runs up the middle.
The Raiders other wrinkle was to play Joseph up 5-10 yards off the line of scrimmage near the LB’s. This helped with the between the tackle runs and Joseph ended up leading the team in tackles with 9. The Titans still haven’t figured out their WR issues, and the Raiders played very physical against them. Mariota threw for 256 yards but overall it wasn’t a bad showing by the DB’s. Covering the tight end is still an issue though. Delanie Walker had 7 catches for 76 yards and was missed twice by Mariota on longer passes or his numbers would have been even better. Joseph is still much better in the running game and is still learning.
A solid day with no major issues.
The Raiders two defensive wrinkles to try and take away the inside running game of the Titans worked and without much of an adjustment by Tennessee, they just kept the same philosophy all game. I liked that they seem to want to give Lynch 15-20 carries per game. Running him 25-35 times a game would be crazy. The three passes on 1st and 2 at the Titans goal line were silly. Run the ball to Lynch 3 times and move on. Carr should have audibled as well.
This was a solid game by the coaches against a lesser opponent. These are the games you have to win.
It’s pretty obvious that Sebastian Janikowski’s days are numbered in Oakland. This should be his last year. In walks Italian-born Giorgio Tavecchio who had never kicked in a regular season game. While quoting Aristotle pre and post game, all he did was go 4-4 for field goals including 2 kicks from 52 yards out. The Raiders really liked his leg in pre-season and if he can be consistent, they may have found their new kicker. Marquette King had a solid day, including having one punt downed at the 1 yard line. Coverage wasn’t needed to be a big factor.
Excellent day for the special teams unit.
The Titans are probably a 7-9 or 8-8 team in the worst division in football. This obviously isn’t an elite team but these are the games you have to win. Jack Del Rio finally gets this defense doesn’t cut it and they are going to have to do things differently this year. They put in 2 wrinkles to stop the inside running game of Tennessee’s and it worked. This is a nice win for the start of the season. Now the Raiders get a bye; I mean they play the Jet’s next week for the home opener.
Next Up; hosting the NY Jets:
If you are a hardcore sports fan, you know nothing is more entertaining than the NY media when one of their teams suck. Well the Jet’s suck. They are probably the worst team in the NFL. In fact some in the media say the slogan for this years Jet’s is “Suck for Sam”, pertaining to tanking the season so they could draft USC QB Sam Darnold.
Lachlan Edwards was named the team MVP for NY in week 1; he’s their punter. They have Josh McCown at QB and 31 year old Matt Forte at RB. Matt looks like age has caught up to him, but Bilal Powell has fallen out of favor. Their offense is really bad and their defense looks uninspired. The Buffalo Bills are also rebuilding but they still handled New York 21-12 in Orchard Park in week 1.
No win is for sure, but it’s hard to see the Raiders not wiping the floor with New York. Look for a big game from the RB’s and Carr and the defense could pile up some sacks in this one.
The second half of the Raiders season is brutal so they need to win the games they should. I’m still stunned that some people see the Raiders losing 7 games, because that isn’t happening with the offense they have. The Raiders will play the Jets at home and Washington on the road before a key game in Denver.