Raiders 'D' deserves an 'F' for effort


Raiders 'D' deserves an 'F' for effort

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- That was Ryan Fitzpatrick under center for the Buffalo, not Bills comeback maestro Frank Reich.And yet, the Buffalo quarterback sliced and diced the Raiders defense like it belonged to the old Houston Oilers in that epic Jan. 3, 1993 playoff game on this same field.Only difference was, those Oilers had a defense; these Raiders showed nothing in the second half against the Bills in their eventual 38-35 loss.

Consider: for the first time since Stats LLC started charting such figures in 1993, a team scored touchdowns on all five of its second-half possessions. That team was the Bills, against the Raiders. On Sunday.To paraphrase boxing announcer Larry Merchant from his in-ring interview the night before with Floyd Mayweather Jr., even Merchant himself would have kicked the Oakland defense's, um, backside.It was that bad. It was even more sad, what with the Raiders offense showing up and taking a 21-3 lead into the half and then re-taking the lead with 3:41 to play on Jason Campbell's 50-yard bomb to Denarius Moore. All the Raiders defense needed was one stop. One."When they did get rolling, it wasn't like they were running something different from what they did in the first half," defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said. "They were running the same stuff. But for some reason, we started helping them out in the second half."There were blown coverages. Sloppy arm tackling. No pressure on Reich, er, Fitzpatrick.It ran from the D-line to the linebackers and through the secondary. It was an embarrassing display that, rightly or wrongly, surely has to have defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan in hot water already with Al Davis, who did not make the trip."Not a whole lot to say other than that effort isn't going to be good enough, period," said defensive tackle Richard Seymour. "We hold ourselves accountable for that."As they should.Buffalo had 25 first downs ... in the second half. The Bills had 326 yards of total offense ... in the second half. They scored 35 points ... in the second half.Perhaps most galling for the Raiders was holding a lead with less than four minutes remaining and the Bills needing to go 80 yards and score a touchdown. Which, of course, is what they did as they lined up on the Raiders' 6-yard line on 4th-and-1 with 18 seconds to play and no timeouts remaining."Finish the game," Raiders coach Hue Jackson said he implored the defense as it took the field for that final, fateful drive.Rather, the Bills finished them. A blown coverage in the middle of the field left receiver David Nelson wide open coming from left to right and he safely cradled Fitzpatrick's throw for the game-winner."I don't know if David's guy got picked or, I don't know what happened, but I think they misaligned, to be honest," Fitzpatrick said. "It looked to be an extra guy on Stevie (Johnson's) side and David obviously made a good catch."Said Raiders cornerback Chris Johnson, who had his own issues on the day though nearly ended things with an interception in the back of the end zone two plays earlier, but Donald Jones knocked the ball away: "Fitzpatrick knew where he wanted to go. It as an easy pitch and catch."Replays showed middle linebacker Rolando McClain leaving his spot and trailing the running back coming out of the backfield on the play, leaving the middle open. Still, no one would finger any particular player for the blown coverage."For a guy to score on the last play of the game wide open, c'mon, man," Kelly bellowed. "Do your job. That's what the man pays you for. Do your job. If you got that guy, follow him to the bathroom."Instead, all that was left was to clean up the mess."They weren't doing nothing different," Kelly said. "They hopped in a draw, run the one-back run, run out of the spread, clog down the middle to slow down the rush and they're going to throw drag routes. And that's what they did. I mean, c'mon now. The third, fourth receiver (Nelson) had 10 catches in the game? C'mon, man. Not a third or fourth guy. Nah. If anybody's going to beat us, Stevie Johnson (should) beat us. Not the fourth wideout. Nah. That hurt. That hurt bad."Just get the man on the ground. And we just didn't do it as a defense for some reason. I don't know why. But we got a six-hour flight to figure out what the hell happened."Indeed, the defense should spend lot of that time looking in the mirror. And beware a punch from Merchant.

Tom Hanks rants about Raiders leaving Oakland for Las Vegas

Tom Hanks rants about Raiders leaving Oakland for Las Vegas

Tom Hanks went to Skyline High School in Oakland.

He is not happy that the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas.

“When the Raiders leave, I am going on an NFL moratorium for two years," Hanks said on Monday night, according to Peter Hartlaub of The San Franicsco Chronicle. "You cannot take the Silver and Black, put them in an air-conditioned dome in the desert, make them play on artificial turf within a stone’s throw of the fountains of Caesar’s Palace, and call them the Raiders.

“Here’s the thing I don’t quite understand. And I’m not trying to -- this isn’t one of the causes I’m fighting for. I’m just thinking as a fan: It’s a billion-dollar industry, they have billion-dollar TV contracts. All the owners are billionaires. And yet when they want to build a stadium they’re going to use for 10 weeks out of the year, they expect the city taxpayers to buy the building.

“The only good thing that is going to come out of the Oakland Raiders leaving -- and there is nothing good that will come out of that, by the way -- is that the Oakland A’s might get their own ballpark.

“I must say I hate that frigging D.H. rule. I always have, ever since that bastard Charlie Finley installed it. We’re not proud of that over on the other side of the East Bay.”

The Raiders' new stadium in Las Vegas is scheduled to open in 2020.

Defense on the menu as Raiders enter 2017 NFL Draft

Defense on the menu as Raiders enter 2017 NFL Draft

The Raiders offense is stacked. It was before this offseason, when tight end Jared Cook, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse entered the mix.

Then Marshawn Lynch signed up on Wednesday and filled the last immediate offensive need.

The Raiders have talent and depth at most every offensive position, contrasting the defensive depth chart.

The Raiders need help there, possibly with a few instant impact players taken in this weekend’s NFL draft. The first round starts Thursday evening, with the next two rounds Friday afternoon and the remainder of this draft starting Saturday morning.

Despite clear needs, Reggie McKenzie says position is secondary to his ranking system.

“We’re going to take the best player,” McKenzie said in his pre-draft press conference. “There are some good defensive players in this draft, but we’re going to follow our board like always.”

The Raiders general manager says that could lead to an unexpected draft haul. At least he tried.

“Don’t be surprised if I draft all offensive players,” McKenzie said, unable to keep a straight face. “How about that?”

McKenzie knows his roster is strong, with clearly identifiable needs on defense. The Raiders need a starting inside linebacker. They need a slot cornerback. They need help rushing on the defensive interior. They need safety help.

McKenzie tried to fix some of those areas in free agency, but could find a match beyond weakside linebacker Jelani Jenkins. The draft offers the best opportunity to upgrade on defense, and volume could help fix that unit.

“Hopefully we can get a couple of defensive players that can help our team,” McKenzie said. “But, like we both said, we just want to help this football team, regardless of who comes at a spot whether it’s first or seventh round. And hopefully we get some good players after the draft. That’s the plan, we just want to keep stocking and let the chips fall.”

This draft is critical as the Raiders enter a new phase. He deconstructed the roster and reconstructed it while getting right with the salary cap. Now they need to extend members of the awesome 2014 draft class, including quarterback Derek Carr, guard Gabe Jackson and edge rusher Khalil Mack. Drafted quality must continue to cycle through to keep the team strong and the team’s competitive window open.

McKenzie must keep an eye on the horizon, though a few more quality players could push his unit into serious contention for a conference title.

“What we want as a team moving forward, we just want more impact players,” McKenzie said. “You can never have enough playmakers on both sides of the ball and depth on both sides. That’s when you come in and try to get you the best player who can do those things. We’re not just going to plug holes if that’s what you’re asking. We’re going to get some good football players regardless of who we have here.”