Raiders not ready for prime time, not yet anyway

November 7, 2011, 2:52 am
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OAKLAND -- The Raiders are not ready for a playoff run.They are not the best team in the division.They are not ready for Prime Time.None of which bodes well for Oakland, considering the Raiders have a prime time game coming up on a short work week, Thursday night in San Diego.

"We're not a very intelligent football team right now," offered Raiders coach Hue Jackson.And not a very opportunistic one, either.Whereas the Raiders could and, yes, should be enjoying a two-game lead in the AFC Worst, er, West, they instead are in a three-way tie for first with those same Chargers and Kansas City at 4-4. Denver is now only one game back.In consecutive home games, sandwiching a bye, the Raiders looked lost, disinterested and, at the tail end of Sunday's embarrassing 38-24 loss to Denver, as if they committed the mortal sin in sports -- quitting.Yes, I know all about injuries and roster turnover and chemistry. But with so much at stake, and with so much purported talent on the roster, the Raiders were supposed to handle the Chiefs and the Broncos, right?The talk in the streets of Silver and Blackdom this week went something like this: if the Raiders can't beat the sorry Broncos with Michael Bush at running back, they don't deserve to go to the playoffs. And this was two weeks after the same thing was shouted from the top of Mt. Davis: well, if they can't beat the Chiefs with Kyle Boller ...
But that's the beauty of the NFL.The Raiders get back on the field in four day's time to get the nasty taste of Tim Tebow's cleats out of their mouths, rather than having to marinate in such utter embarrassment a full week.The 298 rushing yards the Raiders allowed the Broncos are the fourth-most in franchise history, behind the 319 compiled by Seattle in 2001, the 316 by the New York Jets in 2009 and the 306 by Buffalo in 1962."Ridiculous," huffed defensive tackle Richard Seymour.What stings more, though, is Denver piling up 230 of those yards in the second halfon 23 carries.And on the same plays the Broncos ran in the first half. The same plays the Raiders prepared for all week. With his 117 yards, Tebow became just the second quarterback in Denver franchise history to rush for at least 100 yards. And no, it was not John Elway. Paging someone named Norris Weese."In the first half, we got off the field," said defensive tackle Tommy Kelly. "In the second half, we spit the bit."They ran the same things since they put (Tebow) in there, that college (stuff)."And yet, to their own dismay, the Raiders could not stop Tebow's rather simplistic zone-read option. Even if, as mentioned above, they knew it was coming.Jackson said he'd have to look at the video to see if it was scheme. If not, then it's talent, or lack thereof, or desire.In any case, it's just further proof that the Raiders are not ready. Not yet anyway.They had a chance to do something special over the past three weeks, especially on Sunday. Instead, they threw it away. Literally, and figuratively.Does that sound like a team ready to make that next step?