Saturday, August 23, 2008

Waiting for Tape Delay

We should be used to tape delay after weeks of Olympic "spoilers." While watching track & field and unfortunately already aware of the disastrous results, I couldn't help but think of Al's love for Olympic sprinters at the WR position as the US men's 4x100 relay team dropped the baton in qualifying. It looked painfully familiar.

So tonight we will watch to see whether any of the current Raider WRs can get open and catch. The good news is that Walker and Carter welcome the attention. The bad news...well, all visual evidence so far suggests they shouldn't. Making this more difficult will be the tantalizing presence of a disgruntled Anquan Boldin, one of my favorite WRs in the league.

Run defense is another area of focus for tonight's game. I'm afraid we may have to discount positive results, however, given the stagnant Arizona running game. But we can look to the details - Kelly blowing up lanes, Sands staying low and eating up blockers, Morrison running free, Wilson plugging gaps, etc. Based on the Tennessee game, long runs continue to be a problem for this defense, so it would be nice to see them eliminate those tonight.

Johnnie Lee Higgins. This guy is under my microscope. He has thus far proven to be worthless as a WR, yet somehow we've stuck ourselves with him as the only viable returner on the team. (Is it even worth pining for Carr in light of our thin CB ranks? Of course not.) If JLH does something dumb - again - tonight, then it's time to look to the scrap heap for a punt returner and give Schilens a roster spot.

The offensive line should be interesting to watch tonight given the pass-heavy game plan and extended playing time for both JaMarcus and the OL starters. I'm not yet a Kwame believer, but Cable is, publicly, which is at least nice to read. And Gallery's continued improvement, along with Grove's potential to take over at Center, makes for heartwarming TV.

Saving the best for last, I really look forward to watching JaMarcus tonight. He is beginning to look like a starting quarterback. Maybe we'll even get an Al Pleaser to the deep post, just for fun.

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