Thursday, December 20, 2007

Still Asking - Can We Stop the Run?

It was July question #2, which one could argue was answered by the Raiders' current 31st ranking against the run. But then every once in a while the run defense shows up - vs. Chicago, Denver, Indy. Why? Kiffin, Sapp, and others argue that it's a matter of each defensive player "doing his job." Jerry McDonald presents a matchup explanation, that the Raiders stop the run only when offenses operate out of a spread formation.

Jacksonville will be a good test. A game on the road against a playoff team who runs physically and stops the run. JaMarcus will be turned loose. Fargas is out. And with two punt returns for TDs in two weeks, it seems we really miss Coop. If we get another Indy game this brutal end-of-year schedule could turn out to be a great way to enter the offseason by building confidence that the Raiders can hang while figuring out who steps up against competition.

But I've chosen to stay in Wisconsin through the end of the year, which means I'll miss the game on TV. It also means I don't get to watch NFL Network thanks to this stupid feud with Time Warner. That makes Thursday and Saturday nights particularly annoying.

6 comments:

John Sousa said...

but hey, Ira Miller dedicated a whole paragraph to not answering your Question!

Sllaacs said...

Yeah, ole Ira just did the Al Greenspan on your ass.

I got to say though, a "test" game for a team as shitty as the Raiders? Yeah, the experience of losing can help Russell next year, but this is a roster that should look much different next year, and the Raiders have pretty much failed in all "test" games for the past 5 years.

Sllaacs said...

Every team in the league knows who the Raiders are - they are who we think they are - on the field any given Sunday. If Russell is not a great QB, this team has no future -look across the Bay for a growing potential first round bust - so the upcoming draft and any free agent pickups should dramatically overhaul this team. The recievers are all 3rd-guy types. The defense is over-rated, and many changes can be made there, also.

Dan Hauenstein said...

I think the "test" for the defense is whether they are overrated or showing renewed promise. The extent of the overhaul will have a lot to do with how they fare these two weeks.

Sllaacs said...

I agree with you to the extent that last year at this same time the Raiders were in the same situation - looking for positives going into the next year. The only real changes the team made was to sign two QB's to run a cheesecake offense. I mean they even brought back an old number 3 reciever (Curry). History seems to be repeating itself with this team, and if Russell is not the answer - the defense certainly isn't either. What Raider fans should hope for it that this is the last time they will have to see certain guys lining up in an Oakland uniform - like Warren Sapp, for instance.

Dan Hauenstein said...

Now I can't agree with that. This year is very different from last. "Looking for positives" vs. "Seeing positives." I grant you that as a Niner fan you may be a bit jaded given that the positives seen late last year didn't carry over in SF, but here in Wisconsin late season improvement is noticed. ;-)