Originally published on SBReport.net on Nov. 30, 2012
The Raiders hosted the Cleveland Browns last season in their first home game since the passing of longtime owner Al
Davis, just eight days after. Just one season later, the Browns come into Oakland after a week that saw an altercation between Raiders head coach Dennis Allen and linebacker Rolando McClain that resulted in a two-game suspension for the linebacker.
Browns running back Trent Richardson told local media that McClain was one of his “idols” while attending the University of Alabama but will now face a defense that will feature Omar Gaither at the middle linebacker position. All this in addition to the fact that the Raiders have given up an average of over 42 points per game over their current four-game losing streak.
With both teams at 3-8, the Raiders begin a three-game home stand in hopes of finding something to build on in the offseason.
The Browns feature a rookie quarterback in Brandon Weeden along with a bruising rookie running back in Richardson. The Raiders have struggled with their tackling as of late and things certainly won’t be easier with Richardson in the backfield for Cleveland. Richardson has rushed for 755 yards and six touchdowns this season heading into the game.
It appears that Weeden will get the start despite coming off of a concussion. Weeden has thrown for 2,456 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his rookie year, while completing only 55.9 percent of his passes.
The Raiders will need to find a way to stop wide receivers Josh Gordon and Greg Little to slow down the passing game as they are two wide receivers that are capable of producing a big play against a struggling secondary.
Oakland defensive line needs to find a way to apply pressure on Weeden and try to force a mistake to give Carson Palmer and the Raiders offense extra possessions.
It was during the Browns game last season that Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell went down with a broken collarbone that evnetually prompted Hue Jackson and the Raiders to trade for Carson Palmer. During the eight seasons Palmer was with the Cincinnati Bengals, Palmer posted a 9-3 record against the Browns while throwing for 2,834 yards and 25 touchdowns in the 12 games played.
This year, Palmer faces a defensive backfield that features former first-round pick Joe Haden and veteran cornerback Sheldon Brown. The Raiders will need to get their wide receivers involved more than they did last week should they find a way to succeed through the air. In particular, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp needs to incorporate Denarius Moore frequently as he has struggled the last couple of games despite hauling in a touchdown last week with his only catch of the afternoon.
Both Mike Goodson and Darren McFadden returned to practice this week from their high-ankle sprains but it still remains to be seen how much time each of them will be on the field. Expect utility back Marcel Reece to continue to see a heavy workload with the two other running backs’ health still in question.
To make the week more interesting, the game is expected to be played during stormy weather that should feature strong winds and heavy rain in Oakland.
The Raiders must come away with the win in order to snap their four-game losing streak, the longest the team has had since the 2008 season.
Out: Jack Crawford (toe), Rolando McClain (team suspension), Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring)
Questionable: Mike Goodson (ankle), Darren McFadden (ankle)
Probable: Tyvon Branch (neck), Carson Palmer (right thumb), Marcel Reece (hamstring/quadricep)
Out: Dimitri Patterson (ankle), Ray Ventrone (calf), Usama Young (head)
Questionable: Joshua Cribbs (shoulder/chest), Eric Hagg (illness)
Probable: Johnson Bademosi (hip/shin), Jordan Cameron (groin), Trent Richardson (chest/rib/finger), Frostee Rucker (shoulder/finger), Alex Smith (chest/ribs), Brandon Weeden (head), T.J. Ward (knee)
Originally published on SBReport.net on Nov. 30, 2012
The Oakland Raiders announced Friday that they have chosen to suspend middle linebacker Rolando McClain for two games for “conduct detrimental to the team.”
Speculation arose that the team was set to cut the former Butkus Award winner when he was listed as a healthy scratch from practice on Wednesday and again on Thursday.
The decision to suspend him leaves open a possibility of holding on to the linebacker until the offseason when the team can try and trade him to get something in return as opposed to just releasing him with no compensation.
It is believed that Omar Gaither will take over McClain’s responsibilities while he remains off of the playing field. Gaither is a former fifth-round draft pick for the Philadelphia Eagles out of the University of Tennessee. Gaither has accumulated 321 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles in his seven seasons in the NFL.
The team has announced that McClain’s suspension from the team is set to end on the morning of Dec. 10.
Originally published on SBReport.net on Nov. 28, 2012
Reports quickly surfaced during the Raiders practice on Wednesday that linebacker Rolando McClain was being withheld from practice due to team reasons. These reports, along with statements made on Rolando McClain’s Facebook wall led to belief that the linebacker was on his way out of Oakland.
McClain wrote on his Facebook wall earlier Wednesday that he was “Officially no longer an Oakland Raider!!” but later erased his statements.
McClain was widely regarded as the best linebacker in the draft before being taken 8th overall by the late Al Davis in 2010. The former Butkus Award winner, given to the Nation’s top linebacker in NCAA Football, has widely struggled during his time in the NFL and has seen his playing time cut down significantly this season.
Head coach Dennis Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver released him of his duties as the player with the green dot on defense in favor of fellow linebacker Philip Wheeler.
McClain was again a victim of a long run as he whiffed on a tackle last week that enabled Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis to scamper for a career-high 48-yard run. McClain also notably whiffed when attempting to take down Buccaneers running back Doug Martin that allowed a long touchdown run.
The Raiders will either have to fill the void via free agency or possibly insert newly acquired Omar Gaither into the starting lineup should McClain be released on Thursday as expected. The roster move will save the Raiders nearly $7 million dollars in salary cap next year, something that the Raiders need after general manager Reggie McKenzie inherited a team with minimal cap space last offseason.
After placing Aaron Curry on waivers last week, the release of McClain would mark the second former Butkus Award Winner that the team has released in two weeks. With Travis Goethel currently being on the injured reserve, McClain marks the last linebacker on the active roster that was on the roster last season.
It is largely believed that McClain’s future with the team will be made known tomorrow.
Originally published on SBReport.net on Nov. 25, 2012
Members of the Oakland Raiders talk to the media about the on-field brawl and the return of Carson Palmer to Cincinnati.
Originally published on SBReport.net on Nov. 25, 2012
The Raiders were unable to halt their losing streak as they fell on the losing end of a heated battle against the Cincinnati Bengals that saw three players ejected.
Things became heated in the fourth quarter when Bengals offensive tackle Andre Smith committed a false start just before the snap and Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston dropped Andy Dalton for what would have been a sack. The simulated sack prompted offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth to shove Houston, sparking a brawl between all players on the field, and some from the bench.
The scene even included Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver on the field trying to help hold players back including his former 49er’s linebacker Manny Lawson, as well as former Raiders head coach Hue Jackson attempting to break up the brawl.
When all the smoke settled, it resulted in the ejections of Whitworth, Houston and Tommy Kelly, who was ejected for entering the field from the bench.
All this occurred one play after it seemed as if the Raiders had scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery that would have brought the Raiders deficit to just 27-17 with time to formulate a late-game comeback.
Dalton found wide receiver Mohamed Sanu who was stripped by cornerback Joselio Hanson, who managed to dive and tip the ball to safety Tyvon Branch for what seemed to be a defensive touchdown for the Raiders.
Upon a completion of a meeting among the referees, they determined that the Bengals had the option of taking the ball where it went out of bounds or nullifying the play because of an “inadvertent whistle.”
“I thought it was a bad call. And like I said, it’s fourth down, it’s a dead ball,” Hanson said following the game. “You don’t give a team another chance. It’s tough enough to stop them on three downs and then give them a fourth. It’s tough to give them another chance.”
The call changed the whole complexion of the game as the advantageous Bengals capitalized with a touchdown pass to tight end Jermaine Gresham to give the Bengals a 34-10 lead.
“I feel like if we would’ve got that touchdown, we would have been down by ten with ten minutes left so we had a chance. But you know, things happen,” Hanson said.
It was a rough homecoming for Palmer even without the odd sequence of events in the fourth quarter. Palmer finished 19/34 for 146 yards, one touchdown and one interception while continuously being hit hard by the Bengals stout defensive line.
The Bengals set the tone when they applied pressure and recorded two sacks in Palmer on the Raiders first offensive series.
Oakland’s only points came in the third quarter after the defense gave up 24 quick points in the first half. The Raiders porous defense once again caused the Raiders offense to play catch up. In fact, the Raiders were out gained 289 total yards to just 83 in the first half.
“It’s just something we need to work on and watch the tape and focus on and just do our jobs,” Houston said of the first half defensive struggles.
The defense was able to turn it around and forced three consecutive three-and-outs to begin the half while and shutting the Bengals out in the third quarter.
“Our guys executed what they were being asked to execute better in that third quarter and we didn’t tackle well in the first part of the game,” head coach Dennis Allen said following the game.
With the final score, the Raiders have now given up 172 points to their opponent during their current four-game losing streak.
Being down for much of the game forced the Raiders to abandon the run as Marcel Reece finished with just 15 carries for 74 yards.
The Raiders porous rush defense once again showed up as BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for 129 yards, one touchdown and 19 carries. The Raiders continuously took poor angles and missed tackles, much of it occurring in the first half.
While the Raiders were able to limit Dalton to just 210 yards, he still found the endzone three times.
“Not a lot went right from start to finish and obviously we this wasn’t the way we came here expecting to play but you’ve got to tip your hats off to Cincinnati, they were the better team. We’ve got to get better,” Palmer said of the game.
Oakland heads back home to take on the Cleveland Browns back in O.Co Coliseum next Sunday.
Originally published on SBReport.net on Nov. 24, 2012
The Oakland Raiders have announced the promotion of linebacker Kaelin Burnett just a day before they take on the quarterback Carson Palmer’s old team, the Cincinnati Bengals.
Burnett attended training camp with the Raiders after being signed as an un-drafted free agent out of the University of Nevada in the offseason. Upon being released, Burnett signed with the team’s practice squad on Sept. 1 before being called up today.
Burnett would become the 27th player acquired by Reggie McKenzie to play for the Raiders this season, as well as the third un-drafted free agent.
The rookie linebacker adds a pass-rushing dimension to a Raiders team that can use the added help. The Raiders have only recorded 11 sacks on the year, last in the NFL.
Burnett’s brother, Kevin, is a linebacker for the Miami Dolphins.
Originally published on SBReport.net on Nov. 23, 2012
The Oakland Raiders head into Cincinnati as quarterback Carson Palmer looks to redeem himself against his former team.
Palmer was acquired by the Raiders during last season for a 2012 first round draft pick in addition to what turned out to be a 2013 second round draft when former head coach Hue Jackson saw his starting quarterback, Jason Campbell, go down to injury.
To make things more interesting, Jackson was fired by new general manager Reggie McKenzie at the end of the year and rejoined the Bengals as secondary coach and assistant special teams coach. Following the death of the late Al Davis, it was Jackson that made the trade for Palmer in hopes of reaching the playoffs.
Even with the reunion on the line, Palmer and the Raiders would likely enjoy a win for the mere fact it would end a three-game losing streak in which the Raiders have given up 135 points.
Meanwhile, the Bengals seem to have resurrected their season with back-to-back wins following a four-game losing streak that dropped them to 3-5 midway through the season.
Palmer’s successor in Cincinnati, Andy Dalton, has quickly adjusted to the NFL and become one of the league’s up-and-coming quarterbacks as he made the Pro Bowl as a rookie last season. The young quarterback has increased his completion percentage this season (64.2 percent as opposed to 58.1) and already has the same amount of touchdowns as he did through all of last season (20).
It would certainly make it easier to slow down Dalton if they can limit the play of A.J. Green. Coming into the league as a rookie last year with Dalton, Green quickly emerged as a favorite target of Dalton’s and has made numerous big plays in his short career.
Like Dalton, Green is on pace to exceed his Pro Bowl rookie season. Green already has 64 receptions (65 in 2011) for 911 yards (1,057 yards in 2011) and 10 touchdowns (seven in 2011). It will no doubt be a tough task for a Raiders secondary that ranks 24th in the NFL while allowing 253.2 yards per game.
The Bengals have struggled to get the running game going (103.2 yards per game) luckily for the Raiders. Though the Raiders have struggled mightily against the run as of late, giving up 169 yards per game on the ground during their three-game win streak.
Palmer and the wide receiving corps will have to have a big day in order to alleviate a Raiders rushing attack that has struggled and is still missing Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson due to high-ankle injuries.
Reece will get the start again after finding some open running room against a porous Saints defense last week. Reece rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries against New Orleans, just the third time the Raiders have had a 100-yard rusher this season.
The Oakland offensive line will have to play better to prevent Palmer from being hit and to give him enough time to let his receivers run their routes. Oakland’s offensive line has allowed 48 quarterback hits on Palmer while they take on an aggressive Bengals defense that has 31 sacks this season, good enough for the third most in the NFL thus far.
Though they failed to sellout to avoid a television blackout, Paul Brown Stadium is expected to feature a hostile crowd that remembers the Carson Palmer Era well that ended in his retirement after demanding a trade.
Be sure to follow along with SBReport.net as members of the site are live in Cincinnati covering the game!
Photo by Bob Carr
Originally published on SBReport.net on Nov. 20, 2012
The Oakland Raiders have waived linebacker Aaron Curry following a brief stint with the team after being acquired from the Seattle Seahawks last season.
Curry, who the Raiders gave up a 2012 seventh-round draft pick and 2013 fifth-round draft pick for in October of last season, missed all of preseason along with the first eight weeks of the regular season while being on the physically unable to perform list with hurt knees. Curry even spent some time in Los Angeles with a specialist during training camp in August.
The former Butkus Award winner, given to the best linebacker in college football, was widely regarded as the best linebacker entering the 2009 NFL Draft before being drafted fourth overall by the Seattle Seahawks out of Wake Forest.
The development of rookie linebacker Miles Burris likely made this decision easier for general manager Reggie McKenzie. Burris has showed he can be more than a viable option for the Raiders after being forced to start for the injured Curry after being drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Burris has recorded 51 tackles and one sack in his 10 career games played for the Raiders.
Curry, who restructured his contract in the offseason to stay with the Raiders, racked up 47 total tackles during his 13 total games with the Raiders.
Photo by Bob Carr
Originally published on SBReport.net on Nov. 18, 2012
The Oakland Raiders failed to get back into the win column as the New Orleans Saints came into town and came away with a 38-17 victory on Sunday.
Oakland was unable to capitalize on a porous Saints defense and was only able to put 17 points on the board and never could catch up to the Saints.
"We just couldn't keep up," Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer said following the game. "They scored pretty quickly and we tried to stick with the run game and we did adn we were doing a good job. To have a fullback-turned-tailback to run the ball the way we did the first half was really, really good to see."
Meanwhile, Drew Brees orchestrated the Saints offense flawlessly as his team took an early lead and never let go. The Raiders defense has given up 135 points in the last three weeks.
Brees continued his streak on the Saints' first drive of the game as he found his tight end Jimmy Graham wide open for a the game's first touchdown. Brees has now thrown a touchdown pass in 53 straight games.
Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer struggled throughout the game as he finished 22/40 for 312 yards, two touchdowns and two costly interceptions. Palmer was first picked off by cornerback Malcolm Jenkins who took it all the way back to the endzone to give the Saints a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Palmer's second interception was just as costly as his pass soared through the hands of his tight end Brandon Myers and into the hands of a Saints defender.
Palmer and the Raiders were unable to get into the endzone until late into the second quarter when the quarterback rolled out of the pocket to this right and kept the play alive long enough to find Myers, who was able to haul in the pass for the touchdown.
Fullback-turned-running back Marcel Reece was a bright spot for the Raiders as he had 19 carries for 103 yards in addition to four receptions for 90 yards. Reece has been given a tough responsibility as he has taken over the running back job with high-ankle sprains sidelining Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson. The Raiders have only had two 100-yard rushers this year coming into the game.
But all these stats mean nothing to Reece if the team doesn't get the victory.
"Stats are really irrelevant when you don't get the W," Reece said. "The bottom line is if you don't win the stats are irrelevant. The numbers are irrelevant. I don't even know what they were, I don't care they were and I don't want to know what they were. I want to get in, watch the film and get ready for Cincinnati."
Rookie wide receiver Juron Criner was also a bright spot for the team as the young wideout hauled in his first career touchdown when Palmer found him on a fade route for a three-yard touchdown late in the game. Already down 38-17, head coach Dennis Allen called an onside kick that failed and gave the Saints the ball back with only four minutes remaining.
The Raiders defense still couldn't stop the Saints offense as they were able to get the necessary first downs and run the clock out to end the game while handing the Raiders their third-straight loss.
Though frustration is growing with each loss, safety Mike Mitchell knows his team is committed to turning things around.
"We are committed bunch but we've just got to be spot-on. We have to be spot-on. It's the National Football League. Everybody probably has a play today they want to take back, but you can't take it back. You just got to play better."
Originally published on SBReport.net on Nov. 16, 2012
The Oakland Raiders take on another tough team as they face the New Orleans Saints and their explosive offense on Sunday at O.Co Coliseum.
Oakland is coming off of back-to-back losses while the Saints are coming off back-to-back wins that include handing the Atlanta Falcons their first loss of the season.
A week after giving up 341 yards and three passing touchdowns to the Baltimore Ravens, the Raiders will have to face arguably one of the best passing attacks led by quarterback Drew Brees. The six-time Pro Bowl quarterback has led the Saints offense to a league-second best 303.9 passing yards per game.
Oakland’s pass defense, which is ranked 24th in the league, will need to have a good day to slow down the Saints passing attack. With so many weapons, it will be tough for Ron Bartell and the secondary to cover all of them. The Raiders safeties will have to be aware of Saints explosive tight end Jimmy Graham.
While their passing game is explosive, the Saints offense lacks much of a running game though it has been given a boost by Chris Ivory. Ivory is averaging 7.1 yards per carry since being given a chance in New Orleans due to the loss of Darren Sproles. The Saints are averaging just 88.4 yards per game this season, but is averaging 144 yards per game over the last two weeks since Sproles left with a broken hand.
With the Saints scoring 27.7 points per game (seventh in the NFL), the Oakland Raiders offense will need to be clicking on all cylinders to keep the Raiders in the game. The Saints provide the fourth worst scoring defense in the league, just one better than the Raiders. The game is expected to be a shootout as two of the bottom five defenses will be featured.
It appears that it will be fullback Marcel Reece and running backs Taiwan Jones and Jeremy Stewart that will get the bulk of the rushing carries with running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson still out with high-ankle sprains. The Raiders once again are going up a porous rush defense that is ranked last in the NFL while giving up 162.0 yards per game. The Raider offensive line will have to find a way to open up holes for the running back corps, something they’ve been limited at throughout the season so far.
Quarterback Carson Palmer can be expected to have a big day going up against a Saints defense that is second worse is pass defense, giving up 307.3 yards per game. With wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey questionable on the injury report, Denarius Moore and undrafted rookie Rod Streater will need to have a big game and get open for Palmer to find. There’s no question that the absence of Heyward-Bey will likely increase the opportunities for Reece to bring in some receptions as he has the past couple of weeks.
The possible return of right tackle Khalif Barnes may bring a much-needed boost to an offensive line that has struggled this season. Barnes may be able to help stabilize the pass rush while open up holes in the rushing attack.
The Raiders would love to get back into the win column as they head into Cincinnati next week to take on a tough Bengals team with an explosive passing game of their own.
Out: Mike Goodson (ankle), Darren McFadden (ankle), Richard Seymour (knee, hamstring)
Questionable: Tyvon Branch (neck), Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring)
Probable: Khalif Barnes (groin), Matt Giordano (concussion), Richard Gordon (hamstring), Sebastian Janikowski (left groin), Brandon Myers (shoulder/concussion), Marcel Reece (hamstring)
Out: Zach Strief (groin), Junior Galette (ankle), Corey White (knee)
Questionable: Darren Sproles (hand)
Probable: Courtney Roby (shoulder)