• There's Always 2013: Oakland Raiders



    The 2012 season was a microchasm of the nickname for their rowdy fan section at home. It was a black hole. Finding things that went well for first-year coach Dennis Allen is a difficult thing to do. No, really, I am still searching for more than I found.

    WHAT HAPPENED:The list of things that went wrong is long and depressing. First, after a solid season from Darren McFadden in 2011, the running game completely fell off the face of the earth. McFadden went back to battling injuries and missed four games this season. He rushed for only 3.3 yards per carry. Marcel Reese, a good-blocking back with soft hands, ended up second on the team in rushing with only 271 yards. As a whole, the Raiders were the 28th ranked rushing team in the NFL.

    The passing offense was much better than the rushing offense, but was completely devoid of wide receiver production. Reese was second on the team in catches while the lone offensive break-out player, tight end Brandon Myers, led the team with 79 catches. Carson Palmer finished with over 4,000 yards passing with 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and still managed to average 7.1 yards per attempt despite the lack of production outside. The Darrius and Denarius Show at wideout combined for just 92 catches. While the former USC quarterback did an admirable job this season, he still seemed to lose some ability to throw the ball deep and is not getting any younger. Faced with an age issue at quarterback, the Raiders gave one start to Terrelle Pryor, the biggest name from the Ohio State tattoo and memorabilia scandal. Pryor looked every bit the guy that had questionable accuracy in college and like a guy who had not thrown a meaningful pass in over a year. The other name in the quarterback mix was Matt Leinart, a name now synonymous with injury. While sticking with names that were part of schools that recently had NCAA sanctions may be a way to continue to foster the reputation of the Raiders rough and tumble mantra, it is probably time to start looking elsewhere for the future. There are plenty of holes for an offense that managed more than 20 points just once during the final 8 games of the season.

    Perhaps the best definition of a team with a lot of problems is one where the best weapon is their kicking game. Shane Lechler averaged nearly 48 yards a punt and Seabass Janikowski's three misses were all from 50+. Unfortunately, they also have a combined age of 70 and may see some regression soon.

    The Raider defense was not a much better unit than the offense. In a league where success is determined by cornerback skill, pass rush and causing turnovers, the Oakland Raiders excelled at none of those things. The leader in sacks was linebacker Lamarr Houston with 4.5 and team "pass rush" mustered 25 sacks for the entire season. While former defensive back Stanford Routt was a bust for two other teams in 2012, the loss of him still had a negative effect in pass coverage for the Raiders. The pass defense pilfered 11 balls from opposing quarterbacks. With a schedule that included the Chiefs twice, the Jaguars and the Browns, that total just won't cut it. The team was 28th in points allowed which inflated Palmer's passing numbers above. All of those stats managed to mitigate a large amount of fumble luck on defense for the Raiders.

    The bright spot of the entire team could have been an offensive line that managed to keep itself together better, but even they were the 24th ranked unit, according to Pro Football Focus.

    The worst thing this 4-12 team might have done was manage three wins against teams drafting ahead of them in April. The lone win against a team that finished with more than two victories was against the Steelers in week 3. They beat the Chiefs twice and won in overtime against the Jaguars. The highlight of the 2012 season came on September 23rd for the Raiders.

    WHAT CAN BE DONE: Better drafting. Waiting. Hoping. The Raiders need the following: an impact pass rusher, better cap management, better drafting, another wide receiver, another solid running back, two corners, a guard or two, two linebackers and a defensive tackle. This article probably should have been titled: "Perhaps By 2015."

    Comments 18 Comments
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Good summation. I thought the Raiders would be able to run the ball. Instead, the games I saw were almost unwatchable. They were horrible.

      Were I a Raider fan, I'd take heart from the lack of off-season drama so far. The coach isn't being flayed. The GM is moving forward with his plan. No crazy moves or rumors are floating around. It feels like the organization is stable. Whether or not the plan works is a separate matter. But at least it feels like it has a fighting chance, that the franchise is being run professionally.
    1. Pruitt's Avatar
      Good write up on an epically bad team.

      A guy I work with is a Raider fan and he holds no hope whatsoever for the future. Even Browns and Bills fans think they can see light on the horizon. According to this guy (and he follows the team very closely), as long as Mark Davis is running the show things won't get any better. But hey, at least they may now sell out more games now that capacity at the (Insert name here) Coliseum has been slashed.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
      Good write up on an epically bad team.

      A guy I work with is a Raider fan and he holds no hope whatsoever for the future. Even Browns and Bills fans think they can see light on the horizon. According to this guy (and he follows the team very closely), as long as Mark Davis is running the show things won't get any better. But hey, at least they may now sell out more games now that capacity at the (Insert name here) Coliseum has been slashed.
      You should ask him if my list of holes is good enough, but you should do it with NO sharp objects around.

      Thank you to both you and wax for the support.
    1. Andy Freeland's Avatar
      This article probably should have been titled: "Perhaps By 2015."
      Very true. The Raiders aren't close. They don't have a coach or a QB. As you said, their best players are kicker/punter, an underachieving running back and a fullback who played WR in college. When John Fox was looking for a defensive coordinator his first year in Denver he called the Saints and asked to interview DB coach Dennis Allen, the Saints said 'interview him for what?'. A year later he was the Raiders head coach. 2 years later he'll be looking for a job as a DB coach.
    1. darvon's Avatar
      Who will go to the SuperBowl last from the AFC?

      Browns or Raiders?
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by darvon View Post
      Who will go to the SuperBowl last from the AFC?

      Browns or Raiders?
      Based solely on recent history in evaluating players for draft and free agency, I would give the edge to the Raiders to be the last to go.
    1. edave's Avatar
      Lotta love in this thread.

      Bagging on their draft last year is like robbing little old ladies as they cross the street.

      This year they actually have picks. I think the only one they've given up is the 2nd rounder to the Bengals for Carson Palmer 18 months ago. If they do stupid stuff draft wise from now on, have at 'em but it does take time to put the affairs of crazy people in order (especially when the first executor -- I'm looking at Hue here -- is even crazier).

      Based on what Raider friends tell me, they still have some cancers on the team, so they might still have to do a couple more playerectomies this season.

      Last seasons move to a ZBS scheme blew up in the teams collective faces... where are they going? Hard to tell.

      Rich, if playing all of seven games before being injured (turf toe IIRC) and never playing again is a solid season, then yeah, McFadden had a solid 2011. Last year he played more games but did less. Likely a result of the ZBS changes.

      The smoke from the internal wars won't likely clear until 2015 but they might surprise in 2014. 2013 isn't happening.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Andy Freeland View Post
      Very true. The Raiders aren't close. They don't have a coach or a QB. As you said, their best players are kicker/punter, an underachieving running back and a fullback who played WR in college. When John Fox was looking for a defensive coordinator his first year in Denver he called the Saints and asked to interview DB coach Dennis Allen, the Saints said 'interview him for what?'. A year later he was the Raiders head coach. 2 years later he'll be looking for a job as a DB coach.
      He does look like a kid out there and his game management, IIRC, wasn't good. Let's if he gets the team to improve this year.
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by edave View Post
      Rich, if playing all of seven games before being injured (turf toe IIRC) and never playing again is a solid season, then yeah, McFadden had a solid 2011. Last year he played more games but did less. Likely a result of the ZBS changes.
      Do you kick the homeless, too?

      FWIW, I do believe the seven games he gave last year were better than the 12 he played in this year.
    1. Pruitt's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by darvon View Post
      Who will go to the SuperBowl last from the AFC?

      Browns or Raiders?
      Oh God...

      Skipped right over the Jags, Bills and the Chiefs as well.

      Clearly, Hue Jackson's Carson Palmer trade was a debacle for the ages. And clearly the Bengals feel a debt to Jackson having just moved him from being the Assistant Defensive Backs Coach to being the new Running Backs coach. Clearly, someone in Cincinnati feels that Jackson's well of knowledge is deep as well as diverse.

      To answer the question posed by Darvon - I'll take the Browns and hopefully in my lifetime. They have a new owner who doesn't dress like this...

      http://espn.go.com/photo/2012/0508/n...vis_wm_400.jpg
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by edave View Post

      Bagging on their draft last year is like robbing little old ladies as they cross the street.

      This year they actually have picks. I think the only one they've given up is the 2nd rounder to the Bengals for Carson Palmer 18 months ago. If they do stupid stuff draft wise from now on, have at 'em but it does take time to put the affairs of crazy people in order (especially when the first executor -- I'm looking at Hue here -- is even crazier).

      Based on what Raider friends tell me, they still have some cancers on the team, so they might still have to do a couple more playerectomies this season.
      Its not just the draft. Bringing in Dennis Allen to coach your team is a joke. I wouldn't exactly be inspired in the direction these new Raiders are going after that hire last year.
    1. edave's Avatar
      I'm certainly not competent to judge this now.

      We've certainly seen examples where popular opinion of this type was completely wrong. As a Reggie McKenzie fan I'll wait and see how it works out in the long run.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by edave View Post
      I'm certainly not competent to judge this now.

      We've certainly seen examples where popular opinion of this type was completely wrong. As a Reggie McKenzie fan I'll wait and see how it works out in the long run.
      I agree with you. If nothing else, the structure to succeed seems to be in place. If they hired the right people, it'll work. If they didn't, they'll fire Mckenzie and Allen and start over. But for a change in Oakland, they have a rational structure in place.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      The Raiders were in a really bad spot both capwise and playerwise. Im with Dave, its kind of hard to judge the coach and gm when they started offin a worse place thanthe 2013 Jets will.

      They have 10+ years of drafting for 40 speed to undo
      They have 30+ years of thug behavior to control. Been intimirating is useful. Giving away first downs for late hits is not.
      They mortaged the short term future for a big name QB that hasnt played well in 5 years.

      All this was done by people who no longer are part of the team. Unlike Jets fans that can blame their owner, all they can do is look at Mike Brown's devious plan to steal from them with what clearly looks like the biggest inside job ever

      Prepare for Hue Jackson to become the HC of the Bengals after Marvin Lewis mysteriously becomes ill.
    1. tubbs1518's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by iwatt View Post
      The Raiders were in a really bad spot both capwise and playerwise. Im with Dave, its kind of hard to judge the coach and gm when they started offin a worse place thanthe 2013 Jets will.

      They have 10+ years of drafting for 40 speed to undo
      They have 30+ years of thug behavior to control. Been intimirating is useful. Giving away first downs for late hits is not.
      They mortaged the short term future for a big name QB that hasnt played well in 5 years.

      All this was done by people who no longer are part of the team. Unlike Jets fans that can blame their owner, all they can do is look at Mike Brown's devious plan to steal from them with what clearly looks like the biggest inside job ever

      Prepare for Hue Jackson to become the HC of the Bengals after Marvin Lewis mysteriously becomes ill.
      They were terrible cap wise. I started a franchise on Madden with them (I like playing crappy teams and seeing if I can get them to be good) and i had to basically gut the team because of all the bad contracts and cap problems. It was unreal how bad it was.
    1. mikesteelnation1's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by darvon View Post
      Who will go to the SuperBowl last from the AFC?

      Browns or Raiders?
      The raiders have been to plenty of superbowls. Their complete ineptitude and utter suck the last decade may have erased that from our conciousness, but they've been. Matter of fact, they're the only AFC team in the last 13 year's to go to the superbowl that isn't the ravens, pats, Steelers, or colts.
    1. edave's Avatar
      Wow, this really hurts the Raiders. I was comparing the rookie pool estimates for the Raiders against the Ravens just to see what the differences look like.

      http://www.overthecap.com/rookiepool.php?Team=Raiders

      http://www.overthecap.com/rookiepool.php?Team=Ravens

      Assuming no additional trades, compensation picks, etc and with the Raiders missing a second rounder, it'll still cost the Raiders 2+ million more to sign their picks. Fair enough, higher picks, they cost more.

      Boy do they. Look at 2015. Assuming no massive misses on either side, it'll cost the Ravens just a shade under 6M for their 2013 class. The Raiders class is now up to 9.6M. Ouch, that hurts and those are more or less fixed costs.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Makes perfect sense and I'd never thought about the new structure that way. Thanks.
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