Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Skill Drill

So, our offense will ostensibly be led by Matt Schaub this year. My hope is that we get good Matt, and not bad Matt, ie: the 2013 edition.

Last year, bad Matt had Andre Johnson (1,400 yards) on his side, as well as a half season of Arian Foster (4.5 yards per carry). 

If good Matt shows up this year, he still may find his support group lacking in the skills (ie: skill position) department. 

Here are the Raiders' 2014 projected top two skill position players at WR and RB, along with their stats from last year:

James Jones - 59 catches, 817 yards (for the Packers)

Rod Streater - 60 catches, 888 yards

Darren McFadden - 379 yards, 3.3 yards average per carry

Maurice Jones-Drew - 803 yards, 3.4 yards average per carry (for the Jaguars)

TE: Ausberry (injured last year) or Rivera (38 catches, 407 yards)

Not sure there's a real #1 at either the receiver or running back position, which could really handcuff our offense this year. 

Even good Matt Schaub can only do so much. Needless to say, our RBs and WRs not only need to step up, but also stay healthy. 

If they do, significant progress can be made. If they don't, it could be brutal. 

Which way do you think the offensive wind blows this year?


Blogger Storminator said...

The O line is much more important than the skill players. Let's assume there's another Take coming about them.

This group looks like the part of the team that was neglected to upgrade other areas. Jones and Jones-Drew were decent, low cost additions that will help with professionalism and can made modest impacts.

If the rest of this year's moves pay off we'll be able to do some serious upgrading here next year, and we need it. We're going to have win games with the OL, smart QB play, and an improved defense. It looks like we want our skill players to not lose games for us.


9:32 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Thanks for the refresh RT.

Pretty obvious that players will have to step up above what we know most, or most recently about them.

Schaub is a vet and was probably worth the risk. Which Schaub shows up is anybody's guess, but I don't see Derek Carr being a better option anytime soon.

Re-signing McFadden still has me scratching my head. To say McFadden's career as a Raider has been disappointing is an understatement. MJD is an interesting acquisition, but maybe nothing more. I believe in the Broncos' "old" M.O. of keeping the RB position young, and fresh. How many years in a row did they keep spinning out top RBs.

Raiders have some imposing WRs who may do well if Schub can get them the ball. Ausbury is a former WR and I don't think any Raiders fans doubt his receiving skills.

O-line will be critical. I feel strongly that we've downgraded the LT position. Penn gave up something like 13.5 sacks last year. A repeat of that could be tough for Schaub to overcome.

We've struggled across the line but the quick maturation of young guys like Gabe Jackson may be dictate our success.

In the end, even if all the players and positions come together, it will be up to Olsen and other coaches to put a game plan out there to wins games.

Here’s to looking for the perfect storm.

4:57 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

I think there were a lot of differing variables that led to Schaub's horrible season.
First, the offense was ran by Kubiak. Kubiak was losing his grip on the team as a HC, and was losing his health. From what I've heard here in TX from local sports guys, is that Kubiak was different mentally and behaviorally last season. He took away Schaub's ability to make adjustments to the play, and only gave him rights to change protection schemes.

I think this has a lot of merit in how the team's wheels fell off pretty quickly in the season. I know the players still have to make the plays, but if it's true that Schaub wasn't able to make adjustments to the plays, that would explain a lot.

I think we end up with a good Schaub, who is already making an impact with the staff and players. I'm concerned about the WRs. The unknown in the RB department is Kory Sheets, George Atkinson III, and Latavius Murray.

DA is already concerned about Denarius Moore's consistency. They haven't even began to hit! That's a problem. I hear we are in the running for Jermichael Finley, which would be cool in a way; but he's coming off a major neck injury. Santonio Holmes is the only reasonable free agent. It seems that it won't likely become better unless we make a trade; which rarely happens. Mike Wallace is a possibility unless the Dolphins are asking too much.

In the long run, though WR is the weakest position on the team, it is still not an excuse. Time to pull it together Raiders.


7:29 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Chiefs released Brandon Flowers! Maybe the Raiders can pick him up and solidify our CBs.


12:45 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Obviously, a salary cap issue with Flowers (not aware of any injury).

2:41 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Our skill players will have an oppportunity to flourish if the other key elements of the offense come together such as;

(1) OLine meshing/continuity -- providing good pass protection and run blocking

(2) Savvy QB Play -- adjustments, decision-making, leadership

(3) Coaching -- scheme, play calling, and in-game adjustments

5:11 PM  
Blogger Storminator said...

Given Streeter got 888 yards with our woeful QB play, he is likely to break 1K with even an ordinary level of competence.


10:39 AM  
Anonymous Madstork said...

I say the beefed up offensive line gives us enough push to get production out of MJD, DMC, and a surprising Murray. This leads to something Schaub is very comfortable with; the play action passing game. I also say if a guy like Streater can get nearly 900 yards and 4 TDs with Pryor and an undrafted rookie at QB, he will be a legit 1000 yard, 7-9 TD guy with Schaub. Jones will contribute and Holmes will continue to develop, as will Rivera at TE.

Call me an optimist but that's how I see it. In June, anyway!

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Raider00 said...

Good Schaub, bad Schaub, it doesn't really matter.

The truth is, the success or failure of 2014 draft, and GM's, and HC's future, are all riding on the right arm of Derick Carr.

This team will rise or fall on the performance of Carr. And I believe that proccess will begin at some point this year.

Can Schaub hold a clipboard ? That is the only question.

BTW. NFL has outlawed Justin Tucks unique facemask.

Surprise, surprise. NFL had no problem with Tucks facemask while he was a member of leagues beloved Giants.

But now he's a

As I always welome new Raider players with the jarring reality.

Mr. Tuck, the facemask is just the start.

Get ready to be held all season long, without any flags coming your blockers way.

And get ready for some of the strangest penalty calls you've ever seen in your life.

That's just how it goes when you wear the silver & black.

And it will always be this way as long as a Davis, owns the team.

6:08 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Raider 00,

Carr could have a bright future but seems odd that you've more or less already written off Schaub.


4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you guys think about the stadium situation. I would much prefer the Raiders to be called the Oakland Raiders. However, to continue playing in the Coliseum is a disgrace and hurts the team in many ways. I can not see a new stadium being built in the bay area. Mark should bite the bullet and move to LA the value of the franchise would increase dramatically.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I think that the Raiders and the city of Oakland should find a way to make it happen. The "LA" Raiders just never felt right to me. The city of Oakland should embrace being a major league town (A's and Raiders), but I realize that they don't want local taxpayers to get fleeced by multi-millionare ownerships. There has to be a middle ground.

The next best option (from my perspective) would be to move nearby, ie: Fremont, Santa Clara, etc. If not Oakland, at least stay in the Bay Area.

I don't want the Raiders to leave for L.A., but if they do, it's going to seem pretty silly to me that the Niners built a new state-of-the-art stadium in Santa Clara despite the long odds and cost of building something like that in the congested and expensive Bay Area of today, only to play 8 home games per year in it while the Raiders up the road languish and move to L.A. because they don't have a legitimate place to play. Seems like a local stadium share would be better a last resort than a move to SoCal.

7:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raider Take I think you it the nail on the head if the Raiders are not sharing with the niners, LA is in their future.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

I think the plans for the stadium with a "city walk" is the best plan Oakland has to help boost their economy and city. I don't think it will solve all their problems, but the crime, the police, and the politics of Oakland are ruining a once great and proud city (my birth city as well).

The problem, I believe, that Oakland has is the Raiders have been terrible. Not selling out, and not gaining the support promised. The Raiders saw the same thing in Los Angeles. Fans are not as "die hard" for their teams anymore. There is a lot of disloyalty when a team struggles. Who wants to throw in multi-billion dollars in support of a team that seems to lost it's winning ways?

This is why this season is so HUGE for the Raiders. If they can prove with their play that they are on the up-and-up (like the A's are doing), then I don't think this will be a problem.

The other problem is the politics of Oakland. Sometimes they cut their arm to spite their face. The Raiders need to get out from under the politicians controlling the stadium, which is where the plans for a stadium with shopping, etc. would work so well. The politicians do not want that because it pulls power and $$ away from their pockets; so they are delaying at every opportunity they can to try and negotiate for the power and $$ they stand to lose. Though they may stand to lose power and control over the sports arena leases, the monies made with shopping and sports would make a more effective impact on the community of Oakland. Sadly, because of the politics involved the end result may be the loss of the Warriors, A's, and Raiders; then they have nothing.

The fans and the people of the community need to contact their city representatives and start making your voice heard on the matter. Don't give our government the power to run your lives and make decisions that are based on what they think you need. Let them know yourself, let your voice be heard. They work for you!

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

How about this for news you can't use! is putting out their 32 team preseason ranking, and guess who they rank DEAD LAST at #32. Yup, the Raiders. No, not the Jaguars, or the Browns, or the Texans, or the Rams, or the Bills. The Raiders!
Dumbest ranking ever.

10:47 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

ESPN went all out and ranked the Raiders 31st: But who cares about the pundits?

More troubling is that Vegas doesn't seem to like the Raiders much this year, either. They're not in the business of bias, but rather making money.

It could have something to do with this, via CBS Sports:

"The Oakland Raiders haven't had a winning season since 2002 and if the NFL's 2014 strength of schedule is any indication, that streak is likely to continue for another year.

Based on 2013 records, the Raiders will play the toughest schedule in the NFL next season. The Raiders will play a total of nine games against 2013 playoff teams, plus a game against the 10-win Arizona Cardinals."

But you know what Al Davis would say, Just Win Baby!

And this is largely the team's own fault (and not just under Reggie, but also Mr. Davis) for failing to keep up in its division and being the only team in the division to not to build a playoff contender. Not that long ago, 8-8 won the division.

Time to shut 'em all up with a Return to Glory!

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Raider00 said...


Not so much writing off Schaub, but facing reaity.

The Raiders schedule is brutal from start to finish.

Raiders will be lucky to have 2 or 3 wins by mid way point.

I think the cry will go up to play rookie Carr, and DA will put him in.

Carr, hopefully, will show something.

Show that he can be the QB, and lead the Raiders in the future.

It will save Reggie's job, and maybe DA's too.

Most importantly, it would finally, finally, give Raider fans real hope.

Because I know this much. If Carr is a bust, it will set the Raiders back big time.

Back to the drawing board looking for a QB. Looking for a leader.

Probably looking for a new GM & HC as well.

Not a pretty picture.

As I said. There's a lot riding on that right arm of Mr. Carr.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

I agree with some of your points Raider 00 but would equally argue that a lot is riding on the right arm of Schaub (and his leadership abilities). The Raiders need to establish themselves as a good, smart, competitive team. I might be wrong but I think it would be more desirable while the team gains traction, that we have a veteran leading the way as opposed to throwing a rookie into the deep pool.

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Raider00 said...


Well, in a perfect world, it would be great if Schaub could lead Raiders to 8-8 record.

Give Carr time to learn from sideline, and break in slowly.

But I just don't see it.

Raiders ahve some good WR's, but no great ones.

MJD will carry the load running the ball. Mcfadden will be hurt.

The 0-line, is a bit of a make shift line. We'll see if it, and Schaub, can hold up.

Up against a tough schedule, and with the officials ready to throw a million flags.

I think pressure will build to get Carr playing at some point.

I guess we'll see what happens soon enough.

9:37 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

The stadium issue has been dragged out beyond reason. The Raiders long-term lease expired years ago and they keep prolonging occupancy with short term rentals. Meanwhile, it doesn’t seem as though anything has been accomplished.

Does a stadium deal fall to the city or to the county? Seems like resources should come from the county which has a much larger population to distribute the cost of bonding the project. And doesn't the NFL kick in a big chuck? Allowing the Raiders to leave would be penny wise and pound foolish, IMO. Raiders are much bigger than the city or county. They draw visitation to Oakland from around the world. That has to mean something to their businesses long-term.

Oakland is the true home to the Raiders. I don't know if LA wants the Raiders back. I have a buddy who lives in LA and he says they don't televise many Raiders games.

Unfortunately, the last decade has left the Raiders with little leverage to strike a deal, as their value has gone down dramatically.

Maybe the NFL needs to step in and shepherd this thing for the good of the league.

5:19 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

WRT QB, Raiders have a big investment in Schaub and, IMO, can't afford another Matt Flynn debacle. They can't just keep throwing millions in guaranteed money out the window every year.

Hopefully, Carr won't play in 2014 because that will mean things are going as planned with Schaub. And no way Carr's failure (if that happens) sets the team back the way JaMarcus Russell did. Look no further than Tyler Wilson (waived in pre-season) and Matt Flynn (dumped after one start) to see Raiders won't have the patience of past regimes.

The O-line is a huge factor. IMO, Raiders will need to be successful running the ball this year, and I think it will come down to some of the younger players (Jackson & Watson) to step up and become starters.

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

I would be willing to trade Moore and a 2nd or 3rd Round Draft for Andre Johnson. I hope we are one of the 4 teams inquiring about him.

I think this year's offense is key to this seasons' success. How will our O-Line do in pass protection? Will our WRs be consistent and healthy? Will Schaub come back to his old form, or will his demons from last season rear it's ugly head? It is clear right now that our future QB is Carr, who is a better player than his brother. If all goes right, he doesn't play this season.

The area that needs to show the biggest improvement on the team, however, is Special Teams play.

The biggest concern of the Raiders (IMO) is if Allen, Tarver, and Olson are the coaches the Raiders need to win. They certainly have had their share of finger pointing, except when it comes back to them. Injury, salary cap, and depth are always going to be an issue, but creativity should not be. The winning teams are creative when they have injury and depth issues. To be frank, the Raiders have not been creative on either side of the ball since Hue was here. The coaches are claiming they have the talent they want, and I want to see more creativity on both sides of the ball. Most of all, I want to see the coaches with a COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE!

Time to stop the finger pointing. It's time to show the League what kind of coaching abilities you have. It's time for the Raiders to get back to their winning ways. It's time to JUST PROVE IT, BABY!

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Raider00 said...

You know, I had to laugh when even the hapless commish of baseball, Alan H. "Bud" Selig..LoL...was able to step in and help the A's owner, Wolf.

If Raiders are waiting for Roger Goodall to lend a helping hand. Well, there will be snow storms in hell before that happens.

8:15 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

The message remains the same; no more built-in excuses. Davis is not going to be happy with the same brand of football he's watched over the last couple seasons... none of us will.

8:57 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

1st 7 games the schedule is favorable -- Raiders need to get off to a good start because the last 9 games is especially tough. Without improvements over the last 2 seasons, we are looking at another rehaul.

The recipe would seem to be a ball control/possession offense that runs the ball, moves the chains, and has very few turnovers coupled with a D that is vastly improved.

We shall see ...

9:46 PM  
Anonymous Raider00 said...

Just wanted to mention the passing of great actor, James Garner.

Mr. Garner was a huge Raiders fan, right til the end.

James Garner was a mans man. That, unfortunately, is quickly disappearing from our country these days.

So here's to better times.

When James "Maverick" Garner was on the sidelines, and the Raiders were throwing the long ball.

We may not have had cellphones, gadgets, instant/slow, replay, and 30 penalty flags in every game.

But trust me. The NFL was a better league, and the world was a better place.

R.I.P. Mr. Garner. The Raider nation remembers you, and will miss you.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

New take is up.

1:20 PM  

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