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Here's my first instalment of the NFL Bay Bridge Awards; 10 weekly awards given for especially exceptional (or unexceptional) play/conduct I feel worthy of an imaginary decoration.
Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden left Sunday's victory over the Jets midway through the fourth quarter with a groin injury. McFadden put together a monster performance in the game but sat out the final five minutes due to the injury. Michael Bush came on in his place and was able to help the Raiders move the ball enough to cap off the victory.
After the game, McFadden was asked about the injury and said he was good, seemingly brushing off the significance of the injury. We'll likely hear a little bit more about it Monday during Hue Jackson's day after press conference. Whatever Jackson has to say, McFadden will likely have to test it in practice before we can get any kind of definitive answer. McFadden will probably be listed as limited for much of the week, although a quick healing could change that.
Whether McFadden can play or not, I'd suspect we'll see more of Michael Bush. When healthy, McFadden is an absolute beast, but the problem has always been keeping Run DMC healthy. Mixing in Bush a bit more might be the key to keeping McFadden in the lineup for 16 games this year.
For more on the Raiders, head over to Silver & Black Pride.
Darren McFadden and the Oakland Raiders absolutely dominated the New York Jets on the ground in their 34-24 upset victory. Ever since Rex Ryan took over as the Jets head coach, they have prided themselves on their defense. There is no doubt that this performance was humiliating for the Jets.
Before McFadden and the Raiders ran all over them on Sunday, the most rushing yards given up by Rex Ryan's Jets was 153 yards in 2009 against the New Orleans Saints. Darren McFadden topped this number all by himself with 171 yards on the ground, including a 71 yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The Raiders as a team combined for 234 yards on the ground against the Jets.
McFadden started the season off strong against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night football with 150 yards but followed that with a good but not great performance against the Buffalo Bills where he put up 72 yards on the ground. This week, he was back to being great as he made a good Jets defense look helpless while putting up more yards than any back or combination of backs had done in a single game since Rex Ryan has been head coach of the Jets.
Through three games, McFadden has compiled 393 yards and three touchdowns on the ground and has caught 11 balls for 84 yards and another touchdown. That means that right now McFadden is on pace for over 2000 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground and over 400 yards and 5 touchdowns through the air. Those are some really impressive numbers and would put McFadden in the conversation for the best back in the NFL.
Denarius Moore continues to show the skills to be a star in the NFL. It is only the third game of the year, and only the second game where Moore received significant playing time, but this man needs a nickname. He is too good not to have one. Luckily for us, Raiders fullback, Marcel Reece has already provided a suggestion, "The Truth".
Personally, I think it is kind of perfect. Throughout training camp and the preseason, anyone who followed the Raiders at all, heard nothing but great stuff about Moore. Of course, all optimism was tempered with commentary on the fact that it was only camp and the preseason, only regular season play is truly telling of a player's likelihood for success.
Well, it turns out that everything we heard about Moore during training camp and preseason was The Truth.
In week two against the Buffalo Bills, Moore had a break out game with 5 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown. This week, Moore did not have anywhere near the same kind of game in terms of numbers, making 4 catches for 34 yards, but he made one of the best and biggest plays of the game.
Late in the 3rd quarter, with the score tied, Moore scored a touchdown on an incredible 23 yard end around. (You can watch the Denarius Moore touchdown here). The play looked as though it was destined for a no gain, when Moore stopped on a dime and turned up field with an impressive burst of speed, only barely getting tripped at the four yard line as he stretched the ball across the goal line.
The play was not a game changer, per se, but it took a lot of air out of the Jets defense and gave the Raiders the lead for the first time since early in the first quarter. More importantly, it showcased the skill set that Moore has and the maturity he exhibits when on the field. That play easily could have been a no gain or even a loss of yards had Moore just ran to the sideline or tried to double back. Instead, he cut up field, guaranteeing positive yardage in the process, and broke off a huge play.
The Truth of the matter is, Denarius Moore is a big time play maker and the Raiders must find a way to get the ball in his hands much more often.
For more on Raiders football, head to Silver and Black Pride.
The Oakland Raiders had all sorts of heroes step up in their Sunday victory over the New York Jets, but it starts and ends on offense with Darren McFadden. McFadden compiled up big rush after big rush, averaging an incredible nine yards per carry against the usually dominating Jets rush defense. McFadden averaged nine yards per carry, put up a 70 yard touchdown rush to help push the Raiders back in it and finished with 171 yards on the game. Campbell only had to be effective to win, completing two-thirds of his passes for 156 yards on 5.8 yards per pass attempt, and it was more than enough to keep Oakland moving to victory. McFadden was injured near the end though; his status is uncertain.
Oakland then used their defense to punish New York. Rolando McClain piled up ten tackles to lead Oakland in stopping the run attack, but everyone stepped up. Tyvon Branch picked off a Mark Sanchez pass in the end zone. Taiwan Jones recovered a fumble off of poor fielding by Antonio Cromartie. Jarvis Moss, Kamerion Wimbley, RIchard Seymour and Tommy Kelly combined for four sacks on Sanchez. The Raiders deflected nine passes, two each by Quentin Groves and Chimdi Chekwa, along with one each for Lamarr Houston, Jerome Boyd, Stanford Routt, Wimbley and Moss.
The Raiders move to 2-1 on the season. It won't get any easier when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots come to town next week.
In the midst of a monster game against the New York Jets, Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden has unfortunately left the game in the fourth quarter with a lower body injury, according to sources.
It looks like something to do with his right leg, possibly his knee, though that is unclear at the moment. McFadden has racked up 171 rushing yards on 19 carries at the sold-out Coliseum already, as well as two touchdowns. He had been having some problems with a sore shoulder but that seems to be completely unrelated to this injury.
Michael Bush has come in to replace McFadden, and it is still uncertain if he is possible for return. With a ten point lead at the moment he likely will stay on the sideline, much to the chagrin of Raider fans and fantasy owners alike. Hopefully it won't be anything too serious, because Run DMC has become the spearhead of this Silver and Black offense.
For more on the Raiders, head over to Silver and Black Pride.
The Oakland Raiders defense has stolen the M.O. of the New York Jets, using bruising physical defense to batter Mark Sanchez. Sanchez has been sacked three times in the third quarter, with Jarvis Moss, Kamerion Wimbley, and Richard Seymour all getting in on the action. Sanchez has been hit numerous other times, and the Jets offense has been caught stalling. On a 4th down and two and situation at the Oakland 37, Sanchez's little slant pattern to Plexico Burress was defended properly by Chimdi Chekwa, and the Jets turned it over on downs.
Oakland responded quickly. Darren McFadden faked a pass on a toss left, then just decided to run with it. Shockingly, there was no one watching him, and he took it for a fairly easy 27 yards. Then Denarius Moore took the reverse 23 yards into the end zone to give the Raiders a 24-17 lead.
On the kickoff return, Antonio Cromartie couldn't handle the ball, ending up kicking it forward toward Raiders coverage members. Taiwan Jones recovered the ball, and two plays later, Michael Bush punched in a one yard touchdown run to put the Raiders up two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter.
The Oakland Raiders and New York Jets are shooting it out in the Coliseum. Or at least in Oakland's case, they're grinding up the yards. Darren McFadden took an outside pitch left late in the second quarter, juked his way away from Oakland defenders, and then blasted his way into the end zone on a 70 yard touchdown. After a final possession by the Jets stalled, Jason Campbell completed six straight passes to receivers Denarius Moore, Chaz Schilens, Michael Bush, and Kevin Boss to set up a routine Sebastian Janikowski 50+ yard field goal (this one from 53) to help Oakland tie things up with New York at halftime.
Antithetical to the defensive stylings of both teams, the Jets and Raiders have combined for 481 total yards. Behind McFadden's 121 rushing yards (on 11 yards per rushing attempt!), the Raiders have put 146 rushing yards on the ground. The Jets have gotten most of their offense through the air, the majority coming on a LaDainian Tomlinson 74 yard catch from Mark Sanchez.
The Oakland Raiders did a good job marching up the field on their opening possession to take an early 7-0 lead. They were assisted by a pass interference call on Antonio Cromartie that took the Raiders from their own 42 to the Jets 33. Then Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell found his tight end Kevin Boss for 28 yards to set the Raiders up on their own 5. Darren McFadden punched it in from two yards out.
The Jets got going on their second drive of the game when Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez found LaDainian Tomlinson on a screen pass, and Tomlinson did most of the work with his feet, scooting 74 yards down the field. Sanchez then rolled out and kept it himself for a one yard touchdown run. After Sanchez threw an interception to Tyvon Branch in the end zone, the Jets marched down the field thanks to Shonn Greene rushes and a Sanchez-to-Santonio Holmes connection, setting up a Sanchez-Tomlinson touchdown score to make it 14-7 Jets.
Wide receivers Nick Miller and Louis Murphy, running back Jacoby Ford, and tight end David Ausberry all won't be suiting up for the Silver and Black this afternoon, severely limiting Jason Campbell and the rest of the Raiders offense with all these weapons on the sideline. Veteran offensive tackle Stephon Heyer won't be playing either, another big loss to the O-line trying to protect Campbell and let him do his job.
Cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke and safety Mike Miller will be the only members of the defense not ready to go at the sold out Coliseum, as the rest of the D will be out to stop Mark Sanchez and his quiver full of talent with the Jets.
Oakland Tribute beat writer Jerry McDonald speculates that Taiwan Jones and Denarius Moore will split kick off and punt return duties, which likely will be the case with all these injuries. Look for both to have an impact this afternoon, with Jones hopefully showcasing some of the lightning speed in the special teams game.
For more on the Raiders, head over to Silver and Black Pride to get in on the action.
The Raiders final injury report for the week is out and there aren't very many surprises. Wide Receivers Louis Murphy and Jacoby Ford will sit out; Murphy with a groin injury and Ford with a hamstring issue. Safety Mike Mitchell will miss Sunday's game as well with a knee injury.
Cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke is listed as questionable with a knee injury and quarterback Jason Campbell, kicker Sebastian Janikowski (left foot), wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (knee), running back Darren McFadden (shoulder), safety Jerome Boyd (knee) and cornerback Chris Johnson (groin) are all listed as probable.
With key offensive players Jason Campbell, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sebastian Janikowski, and Darren McFadden listed as probable, it's a good bet that they'll play, which should be a big boost the Raiders as they take on the Jets vaunted defense.
All-pro center and lynchpin of the New York Jets' offensive line Nick Mangold will not be travelling with the team to California this week due to a high-ankle sprain, thusly leaving him out for Sunday's matchup with the Oakland Raiders.
Head coach Rex Ryan said Mangold simply is "just not ready," but is coming along "really well," noting that he could likely play next week against the Ravens in Baltimore. Ryan felt that there were too many negative factors going against Mangold's hopes of playing, including the long travelling process from coast-to-coast and a stiff Oakland defensive line. Mangold was on the field during practice this week, wearing a protective boot on his right foot. And even though he is walking without a limp, he can't put enough pressure on it to be effective just yet and endure the physicality of an NFL game.
Colin Baxter and Taylor Boggs are the remaining centers for New York this Sunday, both of them rookies, likely opening up the possibility of getting to Mark Sanchez and hopefully recording a few sacks in the box score. Defensive Coordinator Chuck Bresnahan will undoubtedly be ready to let the dogs of the chain at the Coliseum this Sunday.
The Oakland Raiders have played their first two games of the 2011 season without one of the key pieces to their offense, tight end Kevin Boss. That is set to change this week with reports that Boss was a full participant in practice this week and should get the call to play against the New York Jets on Sunday.
Throughout his career, Jason Campbell has always loved his tight ends. When he was in Washington with the Redskins, it was Chris Cooley. When he got to the Raiders it was Zach Miller. Now, after Miller left Oakland during free agency to sign with the Seattle Seahawks, Campbell has Kevin Boss.
While the two have not had a lot of time to play together since Boss injured his knee in a preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers, what little time they did spend playing together, it was obvious that Campbell intended to use the former New York Giant just as he has used all of the tight ends he has played with.
The return of Boss this week could not have come at a better time. The Raiders are coming off of a heart breaking loss to the Buffalo Bills and will have to try to bounce back against the New York Jets team that has been in the last two AFC Championship games. If the Raiders want to pull out a win against the Jets in Oakland on Sunday, they can use every piece of talent available to them, and Boss is a big talent.
The Oakland Raiders lost their best player, Nnamdi Asomugha, in free agency this past off season. Rather than making an attempt to re-sign the biggest free agent on the market, the Raiders decided to give Stanford Routtnumber one cornerback money, making it clear that Al Davis and the Raiders saw him as a potential star in their secondary.
Two weeks into the season and the Raiders secondary does not look good, but not due to the play of Stanford Routt. Last Sunday, his counterpart, Chris Johnson, struggled massively as the Bills' Stevie Johnson used and abused him the entire second half. The Raiders coaching staff have said that they expect other teams to follow the lead of what the Bills did in the second half by spreading out their offense and attacking the Raiders weakest point on defense, their secondary.
This could mean a long season for the Raiders if they cannot figure out a way to effectively stop opposing teams who attempt to spread out the Raiders defense, taking away their strong point in the front seven and putting pressure on the secondary. While this notion is perhaps a scary thought, if Routt can continue playing the way he has started the season, at least one thing will be certain, the Raiders were right in giving him such a large contract.
Albeit it is a small sample size, but through the first two weeks of the season, Stanford Routt leads the league in burn rate. Burn rate is a statistical category that measures the completion rate of passes against individual defenders. After two games, Stanford Routt has a league low burn rate of 28.6 percent. He has been targetted 14 times and has only surrendered four catches.
Those statistics are even more impressive when you compare them to some of the best corners in the league. Former Raider Nnamdi Asomugha has given up just one less reception but has done so on only 6 targets for a 50 percent burn rate. Darrelle Revis has also given up one less reception than Routt and has done so on 9 targets for a 33.3 percent burn rate.
Again, it is early and these numbers by no means stand for the proposition that Routt is in the same league as Asomugha and Revis, but if he can keep up this pace, there might start to be talk of Routt as being one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL.
The Oakland Raiders missed Jacoby Ford in week two, but not in the way most thought they would. Most believed that Jacoby Ford would be the Raiders leading receiver this season. So when he went out with an injury, it was feared that the Raiders passing game would struggle to find success.
On the contrary, the passing game thrived in week two as rookie Denarius Moore broke out for a huge game and Derek Hagan added a solid performance. But that doesn't mean that Ford was not missed greatly by the Raiders. Besides being a serious threat as a wide receiver, Ford is also a dynamic kick returner. His rookie season he took three kickoffs to the house.
Without Ford, the Raiders struggled greatly in the kick return game. Back up Nick Miller looked just plain terrible. Unlike in week one where every kick off went deep in the endzone or out the back of the endzone, the Bills realized early on that their best bet was to kick to Miller who struggled to even get the ball to the 20 yard line. As a result, the Raiders started drives at the 12 yard line, the 14 yard line and the 18 yard line.
Truth be told, it was rather shocking that Hue Jackson opted to put Miller out there for the injured Ford. In the final preseason game of the year, Miller muffed a kick off out of bounds at the 4 yard line. With very little value in the passing game, and serious struggles being effective in the return game, I thought Miller was a potential target to get cut.
Now, it appears that Jackson has seen the error of his ways, as Miller was not taking the first team kick off reps in practice this week. Instead, the Raider Nation will get an opportunity to see what the speed running back out of Eastern Washington, Taiwan Jones, can do with the kick offs.
Earlier this year, it was reported that the Raiders would have a special set of plays designed to get the ball in Jones' hands and take advantage of his ridiculous speed. Now, Jones will get to use his speed in the return game as opposed to just on offense.
It will be a tough interview for Jones, however. The Jets have one of the better kick coverage teams in the league and the change in kick off rules has allowed good kickers to place the ball in a tempting place to return it, but with more hang time than in previous years so that the coverage team can get further down the field.
The Raiders face a real tough test against the Jets in week three. With two real solid defenses, field position will be incredibly important in this game. If Jones can impress in the return game, not only could he continue to be the returner when Ford comes back (no sense in risking injury to Ford if Jones can be as big of a threat), but it could also convince the Raiders coaching staff to get the ball in his hands more often on offense.
The New York Jets are a team that can move the ball down the field in a multitude of ways. Their primary option is to hand the ball off to Shonn Greene in the backfield and use their talented offensive line to push the defense back and open up holes for the running back.
Their second option is Ladainian Tomlinson, who no longer quite has the burst of speed he did in his prime with San Diego, but is still a threat to break away on occasion and does a lot of his work as a receiver out of the backfield.
If these two talented backs were not enough, Mark Sanchez has progressed as a quarterback and has the arm to make deep throws down the field. Santonio Holmes' nagging quadriceps injury should slow him down some, assuming he plays this week. Still, though, the Jets are a team capable of gaining large chunks of yards in a hurry.
Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan recently addressed a few of these topics:
Q: What do the Jets like to do on offense?
Coach Bresnahan: This is a team that runs the ball extremely well since Rex [Ryan] has been there. They have been the leading rush team since he took over as head coach, but they are a team that, Brian [Schottenheimer] does a great job of mixing in their play-action passes to match their run game. It's going to be a challenge for us but the initial goal every week, or objective, for us is to stop the run, and force this to be a one-dimensional team, and we'll do that.
And a question on any potential changes the Jets may make this week to attack Oakland:
Q: At the same time, will they try to spread you out a little bit too more like Buffalo did?
Coach Bresnahan: Would you? It's funny because it is a copycat league and when you watch Buffalo's offense and then you go back and look at the Jets, who have gone to the AFC Championship game two years in a row, it is very mirrored to what they did. So, we are expecting some of the same things, but I do know Rex's mentality is a physical, no B.S. type of deal and they are going to establish the run game as well when we're here.
This should be a good one on Sunday, folks. A victory on Sunday would be big for the Raiders.
For more coverage, head over to Silver and Black Pride.
The Oakland Raiders injury report was released, and it looks a lot better than Wednesday's report. Although a lot of the same names are still laying low in practice, there's a lot of good indications that they'll be ready to play on Sunday versus the New York Jets. Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times reports.
Limited in practice
All signs from Corkran indicate that Campbell, Johnson, Van Dyke and McFadden should be ready to return to action on Sunday though. Should be a fairly healthy Oakland squad suiting up outside of the injuries that were present before today.
For more on the Raiders, head to Silver and Black Pride.
The Oakland Raiders have already had issues in figuring out how to survive in the post Nnamdi Asomugha era. It was assumed that the Raiders might have some issues with their secondary this season and that assumption became a reality in the second half of their week two game against the Buffalo Bills as Chris Johnson had one of the worst games of his career trying to cover Stevie Johnson of the Bills.
Well, things may have gone from bad to worse to epic levels of despair this week. Both Chris Johnson and Demarcus Van Dyke sat out of Wednesday's practice with injuries sustained in last week's game. It appears as though Johnson aggravated a groin injury that caused him to miss part of the preseason. Van Dyke, a rookie taken by the Raiders in an attempt to help make up for the loss of Nnamdi Asomugha, suffered a leg contusion against the Bills.
With Jerome Boyd playing well this season, the Raiders have been able to use their safeties in many of their nickel formations. If the Raiders are without two of their cornerbacks, they will be forced to play back up safeties Boyd (who also is nursing an injury) and Matt Girodano much more often in order to free up Huff to play some corner.
With news coming out this week that Raiders owner Al Davis made a personal pitch to Jets corner Antonio Cromartie during the off season, it begs the question, if the Raiders knew they needed help at the cornerback position, why on earth did they start the season with only five cornerbacks on the roster, two of which are rookies?
The Oakland Raiders had one of their best offensive seasons in recent memory last season. After struggling for years to score consistently, the Darren McFadden led offense broke out in 2010, finishing 10th in yards per game and 6th in points per game.
Two games into the 2011 season and the Raiders are picking up right where they left off. The Raiders are currently 12th in yards per game and 8th in points per game. Darren McFadden has the second most rushing yards this season and Jason Campbell has the 10th best passer rating so far this season.
However, the Raiders will have a tough time keeping up their high offensive standings this week as they play one of the NFL’s tougher defenses in the New York Jets.
Jets head coach Rob Ryan, the brother of former Raiders defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, is one of the better defensive minds in the NFL and has one of the best cornerback tandems in the NFL with Darelle "the island" Revis and Antonio "I can't remember my kids names" Cromartie. They boast a top ten run defense and have only given up 13.5 points a game this year.
With the Raiders defense struggling to find consistency, the Raiders offense has had to pick up the slack in the first two games of the season. So far, they have answered the call, averaging 29 points per game through the first two games of the season.
This week will be a huge test for the Oakland Raiders offense. If they want to compete for a playoff spot this season, the Raiders offense will need to prove that they can put points on the board against some of the tougher defenses in the league.
While Jason Campbell and Darren McFadden are the leaders on offense, the Raiders will need some of their other explosive players like Denarius Moore and Marcel Reece to step up and make plays in order to take pressure off of McFadden and Campbell.
The Raiders certainly have the weapons necessary to score on a defense like that of the Jets, the only question is whether or not they will be able to execute on a consistent enough basis to keep up with a team that has been in both of the last two AFC Championship games.
The Oakland Raiders released their Wednesday injury report, and a lot of notable faces cluttered the list. Thanks to Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times and Vittorio Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle for compiling this info.
Did not participate
For more on Raiders football, head to Silver and Black Pride.
The New York Jets were a trendy pick in the preseason to be the AFC's representative at the Super Bowl and they're off to a strong start at 2-0. Armed with a balanced attack offensively and tough defense that blitzes frequently, they will be a tough team to beat on Sunday. That being said, the Jets are just a slight favorite over the Oakland Raiders in week three.
OddsShark.com has the update on various betting lines for the matchup:
Bodog: Jets (-3 1/2; -110), Raiders (+3 1/2; -115)
5 Dimes: Jets (-3 1/2; +105), Raiders (+3 1/2; +125)
Top Bet: Jets (- 3 1/2; -110), Raiders (-3 1/2; -110)
As for the game itself, each team has shown both flashes of brilliance this season, though a fair share of costly mistakes have been made as well. Oakland will be looking to avenge a tough defeat to the Bills last weekend and one should expect the team to come out angry and determined to pull the upset. The Jets will not be an easy opponent, though, especially with most of their starters on defense healthy for week three.
For more Raiders coverage, Silver and Black Pride is the place to check out.
The Oakland Raiders just lost a shootout to the Buffalo Bills and are now looking to actually have an easier time against the New York Jets and Mark Sanchez. They'll have their work cut out for them on offense to keep up, though, and it should be a good one as the Silver and Black look to keep in front of the AFC West. For more on the game and the team in general, go to Silver and Black Pride, SB Nation's Oakland Raiders blog.