Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Schedule Time

I'm recovering from my extended spring break from Raider Take and coming out of hibernation just in time for the 2015 schedule announcement.

Yes, we knew who our opponents would be. But the order of those games and where they are played is mighty important, and now we know how they all fit together. 

At first glance, I think this is one of our more favorable schedules in recent years. 

For example, in 2014, the Raiders played two games on the East Coast and one game in London within the first four weeks. Brutal. 

This year, we have some tough matchups against the Bengals and Ravens to open the season, but both are at home. Then we get two beatable teams in the Browns and Bears on the road. With one home win out of those first two games, we could be in a position to establish some real momentum in the first quarter of the season.

Then we get the Broncos at home, the Chargers on the road, and the lowly Jets at home. The Steelers might prove to be tough on the road the following week, but then there is some real potential to make progress against the Vikings, Lions and Titans over the following three games. At that point we'll be 11 games into the season.

If the Raiders can get their you-know-what together this year and play hard, capable and competitive football, I see some opportunities to exploit this schedule and position the team for an intriguing run on the home stretch of the season.

Those are some big ifs, but at least the schedule is fair, if not favorable, this year, which means we're already off to a good start.

What say you?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say I'm with Jones for another great year to tank....

12:51 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Another transitional year for coaching but there has to be high expectations with all the waiting, drafting, insane salary cap space and now a favorable schedule.

Here's a recent assessment of Reggie McKenzie by RotoWorld. It's a bit harsh and I don't totally agree, but I don't totally disagree either.

RANK 25: Reggie McKenzie: Last Year’s Ranking: 29 (out of 29)

"What’s left to say about the Reggie McKenzie era in Oakland? The team hasn’t improved on the dark ages of Al Davis’ final days. It’s gotten worse, going 11-37 across three seasons. That includes a 2-24 “record” on the road. McKenzie hasn’t added impact players in free agency, and has scarcely done better in the draft. Yes, Khalil Mack is looking like a home run, but your odds of hitting it over the fence aren’t exactly low when you’re picking inside the top five. The hopeful refrain from McKenzie’s early days was “wait until he gets cap space.” This year, he had it. What did he do with it? Sign Trent Richardson, giving the worst running back in the league $600,000 guaranteed. There was no run at Ndamukong Suh, and only a cursory connection to Darrelle Revis. Typically, it’s smart not to build through free agency, but the Raiders may not even hit the league’s cap floor. That’s simply inexcusable for a roster with as little talent as McKenzie’s. McKenzie is overmatched, plain and simple. It’s not a question of if he’ll be around to finish the job he started. He won’t. The question is whether he’ll leave the roster in better shape than Davis did."

Reggie's mentor, Ted Thompson (Packers), is ranked #4, so maybe there's still hope.

5:08 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

The article said, "Yes, Khalil Mack is looking like a home run, but your odds of hitting it over the fence aren’t exactly low when you’re picking inside the top five."

Yet, failed to mention his whiff in Hayden the year prior.

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

As far as the schedule goes, this is a really tough schedule for the Raiders. They have to prove that they can be competitive. They have to have a chip on their shoulder, and play to their potential not what is expected.

Del Rio is a great hire, but can he motivate the lackluster players that Reggie has signed? Only time will tell.

Also, with the timeliness of the Raiders schedule being released; the City of Carson approved the stadium funding for a shared stadium with the Chargers. I really hope the Raiders get a deal done with Oakland.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Nate, I don't see this year's schedule as a tough one.

Last year, three of their first four games on the East Coast and in London, one of which was against the eventual Super Bowl champs. Over the following four weeks, they had to play the Seahawks and Cardinals. Now that was a tough schedule.

This year we open with two games at home, and our out-of-division opponents are a mixed bag with only the Packers and maybe the Ravens being true stalwarts.

A good team could hang with this schedule. We'll see if the Raiders are a good team.

2:39 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Nate might be right. I thought it looked fair too, and definitely offered the benefit of less travel than last year. But here's what CBS Sports reports: Raiders strength of schedule is among the hardest, with Raiders opponents having a .545 winning percentage in 2014.

T-7. Oakland Raiders: 139-116-1, .545

Raiders are tied with KC, so at least all things are relative in the division. Broncos are 10th on the list (easier schedule), probably because they don't play themselves... they play the Raiders.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

6 out of 8 road games at 10 am pst. Based on the Raiders not having one at 10 pst in like 15 years or so that sounds like a hard road schedule in spite of some crappy teams. They can maybe win 2 of the following 3 Chi, Titans, Clev

= 2 wins best case

Broncos twice, ravens, bengals at home to start with new coaching staff = 0 wins

SD-KC 4 games

= 1- 2 wins

Jets Vikes at home = 2 wins

6- 7 wins maybe?

8:32 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

I counted 6 10am games this year, and there were 5 last year.

Let's not make the schedule a built-in excuse.

At this point, there are no valid excuses.

4:31 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Take, "A good team could hang with this schedule. We'll see if the Raiders are a good team."

This is why I look at this schedule as a tough one for the Raiders. Yes, we have home games and don't have to travel to London. But we still have a pretty formidable schedule: Bengals, Ravens, Doncos, Steelers, Lions, and Packers were all in the playoffs last season. While the Chargers and Chiefs were pretty close to getting in. In fact, if the playoffs were expanded last year, those two teams would have been in.

Yes, this schedule is built for competition, which is something we have only seen glimpses of from this team in the last 12-13 years. We do not know what kind of team they have. Are they tough? Are they competitive? We don't know, because coming into this offseason with $$$ to spend, we all had our ideas of who the Raiders needed to pursue, and after the biggest round of Free Agency, there are more questions about this team and their direction, than when the offseason started because the top tier free agents were not pursued, and the Raiders still do not have a top play-maker on either side of the ball.

To any other team, this schedule would push them to be better and competitive; but it becomes a tough schedule for the Raiders because we don't know what kind of team they are, and I'm sure they don't have a clue either. Yes, there are a few competitors on the team (Mack, Moore, Carr, Tuck, and Woodson) but they do not have weapons around them to help them be better. It's going to be tough.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

I'm not saying its easy, but I just don't think it's a daunting schedule, either.

The strength of schedule doesn't really take into the account that, unlike their divisional opponents, they don't get to play a 3-13 team twice per year, because they are the 3-13 team.

Also, when and where games are played are factors that really aren't addressed by strength of schedule. To me, things seem spread out pretty fairly, unlike last year. There are some hard matchups, but no particularly brutal runs of travel or opponents.

Like I said, if they can scratch out a win at home against Cincy or Baltimore, then they face two creampuffs in the Browns and Chicago, so a 3-1 start is there for the taking, which would be an excellent momentum builder.

The toughest break to me comes in December when the Raiders have to play Green Bay at Lambeau in the winter. That's a buzzsaw.

But the rest doesn't look too daunting.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take the Raiders play Greenbay in Oakland. Either way they they will not win that game

10:35 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Ah good catch!

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oakland has not beaten Green Bay since 1987. Let that sink in for a bit.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

The schedule seems reasonably fair and balanced unlike last year where we had only 7 home games and 9 road games.

Ultimately, the schedule itself won't dictate whether or not the team takes positive strides (or not). A big part of the team's success in my opinion boils down to the leadership in the locker room, on the field, and in the meeting rooms.

2:07 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

"Del Rio on the Raiders schedule, which includes back-to-back home games to start the season for the first time since 1969: “I think it’s a great schedule. I think it’s a tough schedule. We play two good divisions and we play a lot of good football teams, and our own division is very strong. I think it’s a great schedule the way it lays out, definitely challenging, but I don’t know. If you’re a Raider fan, you’ve got to be pleased with the schedule.”

4:36 AM  
Anonymous BJ Rassam said...

Looking over the Raiders upcoming schedule, it looks like the Raiders will have 5-6 wins in 2015.

11:16 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Is it too late to eat the +/- $600k guaranteed Trent Richardson and just sign Ray Rice?

Isn't it time to get real about the RB position? Of course, we're still waiting for a top WR too.

Michael Crabtree is acting like a good citizen now but the true test will be if, or when he doesn't get the ball enough to suit his inflated ego.

Crabtree came out of college with the same notoriety being given to Cooper and White. Except Crabtree was a sophomore. He posted insane numbers his freshman year; 134 rec's and 22 TDs. But then dropped off a bit in his second year. I read that his agent(s) advised him to declare eligible for the draft and take full advantage ($$) of his status as a top college WR. Amazingly, DHB was selected ahead of Crabtree (we all know that story!).

IMO, he now has a better QB in Derek Carr, who is more of a pure passer than Kaepernick.

Adding Cooper or White to the mix will be a coup for the Raiders, IMO.

Of course, I'm no scout. I was happy when the Raiders drafted Robert Gallery, Darren McFadden, Michael Huff and, yes, JaBustus "Purple Drank" Russell.

In my defense on Russell, I was pissed that AL and the Raiders never spoke to Russell, nor tried to negotiate a contract prior to the draft, which was their right to do so by virtue of having the #1 pick (pre-draft communication was at least part of the reason Texans drafted Mario Williams over Heisman recipient and college superstar, Reggie Bush). Some of the issues the Raiders faced with Russell could have been vetted out during that process, and perhaps even changed the direction of the draft (to Calvin Johnson!) and the Raiders fortunes for the better part of the last decade.

Those were the Davis vs. Kiffin years. What a joy that was.

It was well-publicized that Kiffin didn't want Russell. He wanted Megatron!

Which brings us back to Cooper and White. One or both of these guys could be stars!

6:19 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Thursday is Draft day!

I think the Raiders are trading down with the Brownies for their 2 picks. If that doesn't fall through, then they will select Leonard Williams at #4. If the trade does fall through, I posted in the last column what I thought would happen, but here it is so you don't have to go back and find it:

#4 - Raiders trade pick to the Browns 2 first round picks at #12 and #19. Browns pick Marcus Mariota, and Manziel gets traded to St. Louis.

#12 - Raiders select Marcus Peters, causing a rumble in the draft like they always do, by selecting a guy they could have gotten in the 2nd or 3rd round.

#19 - Raiders select Jaleen Strong.

Round 2 - Josue Matias (G, Fl St)
Round 3 - Preston Smith (DE, Miss St)
Round 4 - Javorius Allen (RB, USC)
Round 5 - Jordan Richards (S, Stanford)
Round 6 - Josh Harper (WR, Fresno St)
Round 7 - Aundrey Walker (G, USC)

3:03 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

New take is up.

9:21 PM  

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