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The Raiders get their first win streak of the year by beating the Cleveland Browns, take a look at how the team faired in that win.
In both of the Oakland Raiders' losses this season, the run defense, or lack thereof, played a major factor in the loss. First the Raiders allowed Fred Jackson and the Buffalo Bills to run wild all over the Raiders defense in week two of the season. Since then, Jackson has been in the top three running backs as far as yards are concerned, so perhaps that was not such a big deal. However, in week four, the Raiders allowed the New England Patriots to run a muck as they amassed 183 yards on the ground. Yeah, the New England Patriots. Now that was embarrassing.
Since that game, the Raiders have really tightened up their run defense. Last week against the Houston Texans, they held star running back Arian Foster to 68 yards on the ground, a rather impressive feat. This week, the Raiders held the Cleveland Browns to a total of 65 yards on the ground as a team. Now, Peyton Hillis did have to leave the game early with a hamstring injury, but even so, it was an impressive feat for a team that has struggled severely in rush defense.
Additionally, the lack of Hillis did not prevent the Browns from trying to run the ball. While the Browns only called 17 run plays against Oakland on Sunday, that had more to do with the fact that they were trailing than it did with giving up on the run game. Even late in the second half, Pat Shurmur continued to call run plays in the hopes of Montario Hardesty busting a big run and getting the Browns back into the game.
If the Raiders can continue to stifling opposing team's running backs, perhaps the loss of Jason Campbell will not hurt quite as bad.
As expected, it was a very emotional homecoming for the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Returning to the Coliseum for the first time since the passing of Al Davis, the Raiders organization and their fans paid tribute to their patriarch both on the field and off.
A sea of black and silver cheered their hearts out as the Raiders defeated the Cleveland Browns 24-17, and there were multiple tributes to Davis throughout the day. CBS showcased a lovely tribute video to the late football pioneer during the broadcast, and tribute videos were presented to the live audience as well. The Raiders had simple yet striking "AL" stickers firmly affixed to their helmets. Ice Cube and MC Hammer were in attendance, decked out in the appropriate attire. A moment of silence followed the national anthem.
The halftime show was also all about Al. Members of the Oakland Raiders "Ring of Honor" stood at midfield around the Raiders crest while John Madden ignited a flame on the plaza level of the stadium. According to Oakland's public address announcer, this fixture will be an eternal flame in memory of Davis.
From top to bottom, the Raiders organization did right by their former boss, and perhaps the Raiders themselves provided Davis with the honor he would have liked best of all.
They just won.
The Oakland Raiders owe their week six victory over the Cleveland Browns in large part to the play of their special teams. This is not surprising considering the Raiders boast the dynamic duo of kicking tandems in Sebastian Janikowski and Shane Lechler, however, it was not the kicking game that made the difference in this game.
The Raiders scored 14 of their 24 points on special teams. The first touchdown came on a 101 yard kick off return by Jacob Ford. Last season as a rookie, Ford took three kickoffs to the house. This is his first kick return for a touchdown this season and it couldn't have come at a better time. The touchdown came right after Cleveland had scored to tie the game, and immediately put the momentum back on the side of the Silver and Black.
The second special teams touchdown came on a fake field goal in the third quarter that put the Raiders up three scores. The Raiders lined up for a Sebastian Janikowski chip shot (a 53 yard field goal), but when Lechler caught the snap, rather than place the ball for the kick, he stood up and threw a perfect pass to tight end Kevin Boss who sneaked off of the right side to find him self wide open streaking down the field for a 35 yard touchdown.
In a game where the Raiders lost their starting quarterback to a broken collarbone, the special teams stepped up big time to help secure the win and improve the team to 4-2.
The Oakland Raiders nearly made a critical error when they didn't allow Sebastian Janikowski to kick a chip-shot field goal up 14 with 4:44 left in the game. Oakland let Michael Bush try and run for the first down on 4th-and-1 at the Cleveland 5, and the Browns didn't let him get anywhere. That kept the lead at two possessions, and gave Cleveland enough life to rally.
Rally they nearly did. Colt McCoy completed nine of his 12 passes on the next drive, hooking up with Benjamin Watson for 12 and 18 yards, Monterio Hardesty for six yards and 12 yards, Evan Moore for a short one yard pick-up, Greg Little for 10 and 13 yards,and Mohammed Massaquoi for 10 and 12 yards. The last throw to Massaquoi was for a touchdown, cutting the Oakland lead to a touchdown with over a minute remaining in the fourth quarter.
James Dockery then managed to recover the onside kick to give Cleveland one last chance, but McCoy ran out of magic and threw three incompletions. Oakland managed to run out the clock to improve to 4-2 on the season, but they do have that Jason Campbell injury to worry about ...
The Oakland Raiders aren't likely to have Jason Campbell the rest of this game, but they're still pushing way ahead on the Cleveland Brown in the second half. Kyle Boller has only had to make one big play, which was a 27 yard hookup with Jacoby Ford. The Raider drive stalled from there and Sebastian Janikowski had to kick a 48 yard field goal to push the Oakland lead to two scores.
Then the Raiders defense stepped up. Colt McCoy fumbled the ball when faced with heavy Raider pressure; Tommy Kelly recovered it to set up Oakland with great field position. The Raiders drive stalled at the Cleveland 35 after Boller was sacked, stripped and recovered his own fumble.
But Oakland had a classic trick that Al Davis would have loved to watch. Everyone went for the field goal block, Janikowski blocked for his holder, and Shane Lechler found Kevin Boss slipping out of the backfield past the Browns defense. Skip up to about :13 to watch the play unfold.
Cleveland managed a field goal later on, but they're still well behind the Raiders.
There is no official word as to what type of injury Campbell is nursing. There are two early candidates.
Greg Papa said that Campbell suffered a dislocated right shoulder, which might have taken him out for some period of time. Dislocated shoulders take some time to heal, but they usually take weeks rather than months. But it could also be a more serious collarbone injury (which the Raiders are running tests on), particularly a broken collarbone. That type of injury could knock him out for the majority of the season. In any case, we probably won't be seeing him the rest of the afternoon.
The Oakland Raiders started off the scoring by running the ball right through the Cleveland Browns. After the Oakland defense forced a three-and-out, Darren McFadden got things going for the Raiders with a 24 yard gain. He had a few more rushes for three, six, four, four, and five yards before punching it in for the early 7-0 Raiders lead. Jason Campbell helped McFadden out with some big passes to Jacoby Ford and David Ausberry and some assisted rushing by Manase Tonga and Michael Bush, but this was McFadden's drive.
Campbell fumbled the ball on his side of the field to set up an early Cleveland score--Colt McCoy found Joshua Cribbs, Evan Moore and Greg Little to set up a one yard score to Alex Smith. But then Jacoby Ford took the ensuing kickoff return 101 yards to put the Raiders back on top early in the second quarter.
It should prove to be one of the more special days ever to take place at the Oakland Coliseum as the Oakland Raiders get set to honor their legendary owner and NFL luminary Al Davis in pre-game and halftime ceremonies during their matchup with the Cleveland Browns this afternoon. Both teams will be relatively healthy for their meeting at the O.Co as both look for most needed wins to stay within the race of their divisions.
The Raiders will have four players inactive at the Coliseum this afternoon, including CB Chris Johnson (hamstring/groin), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), TE Richard Gordon (hand), and DE Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder).
As for the Browns, Cornerback Joe Haden is not expected to play after some speculation he might due to a knee injury, while center Alex Mack is a game-time decision as he is still recovering from an illness.
Kickoff is set for 1:05 pm PT this afternoon.
The Oakland Raiders take on the Cleveland Browns in Week Six of the 2011 NFL season. The Raiders return home from an emotional 25-20 win last weekend against the Houston Texans and will look to put on a show for their fans this week.
Following is some more information (including TV and radio scheduling) about Sunday's Raiders-Browns game:
Kickoff: 1:05 PM PDT/4:05 PM EST
TV: CBS. Commentators: Marv Albert (Play-by-Play), Rich Gannon (Color Analyst).
Radio: KITS LIVE 105.3 FM. Commentators: Greg Papa, Tom Flores.
Betting Line: The Raiders are currently three-point favorites.
The Raiders are 3-2 on the season and begin a two-game homestand with this game. If the Raiders can take care of business this week against the Browns (2-2) and next week against the Kansas City Chiefs (2-3), the Raiders can give themselves a nice 5-2 record heading into their bye week.
The Raiders will look to take the momentum gained from last week's win over the Texans and keep things rolling this week when they take on the Cleveland Browns at home. They'll have to do so without a few key players though, as TE Richard Gordon, CB Chris Johnson and DE Matt Shaughnessy have all been declared out. S Michael Huff and LB Rolando McClain are a couple of key defenders that have been listed as questionable, so the Raiders are a little banged up.
Here are both teams' full injury reports for this weekend:
OUT: CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), TE Richard Gordon (hand), CB Chris Johnson (hamstring, groin), DE Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Rock Cartwright (calf), S Michael Huff (ankle), LB Rolando McClain (ankle), RB Marcel Reece (ankle)
PROBABLE: S Eric Hagg (knee)
For more on the Raiders, check out Silver and Black Pride.
The Oakland Raiders are wasting no time with their newest acquisition. New linebacker Aaron Curry will be starting at the weak side linebacker position on Sunday when the Raiders host the Cleveland Browns, replacing incumbent starter Quentin Groves.
Before the season started, many believed that one of the key positions of need for the Raiders was at the outside linebacker position, specifically, at the weak side position. The other linebacker positions are solid with 2010 first round draft pick Rolando McClain holding down the middle linebacker spot and recent trade acquisition Kamerion Wimbley holding down the strong side linebacker position.
However, as the off season came and went, the Raiders did not go out and find another linebacker. Well, that changed earlier this week when the Raiders traded for Aaron Curry. At first, it was assumed that Curry would primarily be a back up who could possibly challenge for a starting position as the season went on. As it turns out, the Raiders have no intention on waiting for Curry to prove himself.
Though the Raiders have not commented on the benching of Quentin Groves, it is believed that Groves issues with run defense were a major reason they have decided to bench him. However, there are also rumors that the coaching staff was not pleased with Groves' mentality and that thought process came to a head when he failed to get off of the field in time, causing a penalty for 12 men on the field, during the final drive of the Texans game.
Regardless of the reason for the benching of Groves, Sunday begins the era of Curry.
As the Oakland Raiders get prepared for the matchup with the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, NFL oddsmakers are busy making sure the lines are appropriate for their meeting at the Coliseum this weekend. And as the odds have been shifting in the Raiders favor as the week goes on, so are the chances of trying to make some money off of them by average Joes like you and me.
Oddshark.com had the Raiders as a three point favorite to start the week, but has jumped to as much as 7.5 by some of the online sites, and as low as 6.5, but still a significant jump. The Silver and Black have been playing well in front of their home crowd and Cleveland tends to struggle on the road, specifically the West Coast, leading me to believe that a 7 point spread shouldn’t be too hard to cover for the Raiders.
Just what does this mean for your bets this weekend? It means that taking a serious look at the Raiders might be a good decision for you and your wallet. Choose wisely.
Oakland Raiders starting middle linebacker, Rolando McClain, has had a tough start to the 2011 season. Now, it looks as though he is at risk of missing a start after injuring his ankle in the Raiders 25-20 win over the Houston Texans. McClain injured his ankle during the game, but opted to play the remainder of the game. Perhaps as a result of that decision, McClain has been limited in practice this week.
As of Thursday, McClain had still yet to participate fully in practice. This means one of two things. Either McClain is starting on Sunday and his limited participation in practice is just a decision by the coaching staff to allow his body a little extra time to heal before Sunday, or, McClain's status is unsure as of yet and whether he starts on Sunday could be a game time decision.
Should McClain be unable to start Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, back up linebacker Darryl Blackstock would be the starting middle linebacker for the Raiders. Technically, Blackstock is akin to the fourth string middle linebacker. McClain's back up for this season was supposed to be Travis Goethel. However, an injury back in August put Goethel out for the season. As a result, Oakland brought back former Raider Ricky Brown to back up McClain. Then, Brown got injured and was placed on the injured reserve last weekend. Cue Darryl Blackstock.
Last season, Blackstock was playing under Chuck Bresnahan in the UFL. During training camp this season, the Raiders brought blackstock in for a look. His experience with Bresnahan and his contributions in the special teams game enabled Blackstock to land a roster position on the team for the 2011 season.
Though Blackstock has played primarily on special teams, he has seen some time on the field as a linebacker this season. While it is hard to really determine his talent as a linebacker given the relatively little time he has spent playing the position for the Raiders, he has made a few plays, and more importantly, I have not seen him make any major mistakes.
Blackstock is already a feel good story for making the team after playing in the UFL last season. However, if McClain is unable to start on Sunday, it could be Blackstock's opportunity to turn his feel good story into a fairy tale ending. Blackstock knows this, and is preparing as though he will be the starter because he does not want to let such an opportunity pass him by.
After a huge win over the Houston Texans last weekend, the Oakland Raiders are looking to keep the momentum on their side in the AFC West with another victory. The Browns have been a decent team thus far in 2011 and certainly have the ability to pull the upset this week, especially with quite a few members of the Raiders banged up with injuries.
Here is the full injury report after Thursday's practice:
Did Not Participate in Practice:
RB Rock Cartwright (calf), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), TE Richard Gordon (hand), S Michael Huff (ankle), CB Chris Johnson (hamstring, groin), RB Marcel Reece (ankle), DE Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder)
QB Jason Campbell (foot), S Matt Giordano (concussion, groin), S Michael Mitchell (knee), WR Louis Murphy (groin), TE Brandon Myers (ribs)
Did Not Participate in Practice:
CB Joe Haden (knee), C Alex Mack (illness)
LB Titus Brown (ankle), WR Joshua Cribbs (knee), T Tony Pashos (ankle)
For more on the Raiders, check out Silver and Black Pride.
With their week six game only four days away, two of the Cleveland Browns better players missed practice on Wednesday. Starting center Alex Mack and starting cornerback Joe Haden did not practice as they recover from injuries.
Mack is still recovering from an emergency appendectomy that he underwent one day after the Browns week four game against the Tennessee Titans. Meanwhile, Haden is attempting to recover from a knee injury that he sustained in the Browns loss to the Titans in week four.
Browns coach Pat Shurmur declined to state whether or not either of the players would be ready to play this Sunday when the Browns travel to Oakland to take on the Raiders. While it is never a good sign when a player misses a practice this close to a game, Shurmur stated that he remains hopeful that one or both of the players could still play in the game against the Raiders.
If one or both of these players miss the game, it could be a big benefit for the Raiders. Alex Mack is the second best offensive lineman on the team after Joe Thomas. In addition, center is a very important position as the center is the player who is responsible for calling out blocking assignments and essentially being the leader of the offensive line. Joe Haden is clearly the Browns best defensive back. Though he does not have any interceptions yet this year, he finished his rookie season with six, and already has 8 pass deflections this season.
Only time will tell if either of these two key players for the Browns will be able to suit up against the Raiders, but it does not look good so far.
The Oakland Raiders are dealing with their usual assortment of injury problems before they face off Sunday with the Cleveland Browns. It hasn't kept them from performing well from week-to-week, but it would be nice to see a healthy team for once.
The one to keep an eye on is the health status of Rolando McClain, who is dealing with ankle problems and did not practice on Wednesday.
Other injuries include the following.
Raiders who did not practice
RB Rock Cartwright (calf). He's the guy who did the fake punt direct snap last Sunday.
CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring). Had his helmet, but apparently didn't do anything of note.
TE Richard Gordon (hand). No helmet.
LB McClain (ankle). See above.
Raiders who were limited in practice
S Michael Huff (ankle)
CB Chris Johnson (hamstring). Just like the more famous Chris Johnson, that hamstring is bugging him.
Raiders who fully practiced
Here are the Browns injuries.
Non-participants: CB Joe Haden (knee), C Alex Mack (appendectomy). Both Haden and Mack have sat out the last two practices.
Full participants: SS Eric Hagg (knee)
The majority of the stories surrounding the Oakland Raiders and their upcoming home game against the Cleveland Browns have had a theme of remembering and honoring Al Davis. Meanwhile, the majority of stories surrounding the Cleveland Browns in advance of this weekend's game have had a theme of questioning Peyton Hillis.
As many of you know, Hillis, who is in the middle of contract negotiations with the Browns, missed their week three game against the Miami Dolphins due to being sick. I am sure that it is not uncommon for players in the NFL to sit out of games due to being ill. In fact, under a lot of circumstances, sitting out rather than trying to play despite being sick, can actually help a team if the player who is sick is going to underperform.
However, much like the Jay Cutler is a wimp stories that dominated the media following last year's playoffs, the Peyton Hillis missed the game because he doesn't have a contract stories have been dominating Cleveland Browns stories for weeks now. On Tuesday, Hillis went on a radio tour in an effort to do some damage control.
Unfortunately for Hillis and the Browns, and perhaps fortunately for the Raiders, his Tuesday radio appearances really did not help. During one interview, Hillis was asked whether he would have played against the Dolphins if he was being paid $10 million a year. Hillis made a huge mistake by saying that he could not answer the question, thus implying that money might have influenced his decision whether or not to play.
For most sports enthusiasts, there should only be two considerations in deciding whether or not a player sits out or plays in a game. The first, would it be a serious threat to that players health if they played, and the second, would playing help or hurt the team.
As Mike Florio of Profootballtalk.com pointed out, Browns starting center Alex Mack played in a game despite having appendicitis. Thus, it is clear that Mack put the team before his personal health concerns. While I would never argue that a player should risk his health like that, it begs the question, if Mack was willing to do that, what does it say about Hillis who refused to play while sick?
Regardless of whether Hillis was right or wrong about his decision not to play, all of the controversy surrounding him could easily be a distraction to the Browns and good for the Raiders.
It is no surprise that the Oakland Raiders plan on honoring former owner Al Davis on Sunday when the Raiders play in Oakland for the first time since his passing. For the most part, people had assumed that there would be a pregame ceremony honoring Mr. Davis. However, it now looks as though the entire game will be filled with tributes to the Raiders' fallen leader.
While the Raiders have been tight lipped about what exactly the tribute will consist of (perhaps they are paying tribute to Davis by keeping the media in the dark, one of Davis' favorite pass times), Raiders CEO Amy Trask confirmed on Tuesday that they would honor and pay tribute to Mr. Davis throughout the game.
That means that while Raiders fans will likely be treated to a significant pregame ceremony in honor of Mr. Davis, they can also expect tributes to be going on during most of the major breaks in action. I would assume that this means during the breaks between quarters and during half time, there will be tributes to Mr. Davis. If the Raiders really want to go big with their tribute, they could conceivably show videos honoring Mr. Davis during every television timeout and regular timeout throughout the game.
No matter how the Raiders decide to honor Mr. Davis, one thing can be assured, it will be no small gesture. I am sure the Raiders plan on following Al Davis' committment to excellence by making his tribute one that will not soon be forgotten.
The Oakland Raiders are seriously thin at the linebacker position. Not only have the starting backers not played up to par so far this season, there is very little depth behind them. One of their more promising back ups, Travis Goethel, sustained a season ending injury back in August and on Saturday, the man they signed to replace him, Ricky Brown, was placed on the injured reserve this past Saturday.
Add to those problems, the fact that Rolando McClain injured his ankle in the Houston Texans game, and there is real cause for concern with the backer group. As a result, the Raiders worked out two linebackers earlier this week, Kevin Malast and Prescott Burgess. Malast has yet to see time in a regular season game since he entered the NFL back in 2009. He has spent time with the Chicago Bears and the Tennessee Titans. Burgess, on the other hand, has played in 38 regular season games, all as a back up. He has spent time with the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots.
While neither player is likely to make a huge impact for the Raiders, they would add depth to a position desperately in need of it. On first glance, it would appear that Burgess would be the better candidate as he not only has more playing experience than Malast, and he played with one of the better linebacking corps in the league with the Baltimore Ravens.
Following the conclusion of week five NFL action, the newest gambling lines were released by NFL oddsmakers and they installed the Oakland Raiders as three point favorites against the Cleveland Browns. The home team automatically gets three points in their favor before factoring anything else in and the opening line would indicate oddsmakers believed these two teams could put on a fairly close game.
However, in the 24 hours since the line was released, it has moved up to as high as six points for some folks. This indicates people are really liking the Raiders in this matchup and think the cover is an easy one.
This is an interesting game for the Raiders. They are coming off a huge, emotional win on the road against the Houston Texans. Even if you don't factor in Al Davis' passing, there was a chance for a letdown. But factor in the emotion of the game and Raiders-Browns has the makings of a letdown game.
At the same time, you could also argue the Raiders have a mission or a purpose the rest of the season and could ride this emotion to great things. In terms of wagering you probably want to wait and see how they perform against the Browns at home. However, if you want to get a little frisky, the Raiders could be a dynamic force the rest of the season.
The Oakland Raiders just got a huge win over the Texans, and are now heading home to host the Cleveland Browns. They should be riding solid momentum into the game. For more on the game and the team in general, go to Silver and Black Pride, SB Nation's Oakland Raiders blog.