Originally published on SBReport.net on Dec. 31, 2012
The Raiders announced the firing of four coaches, including offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, just one day after their loss to the San Diego Chargers to finish 4-12 for the season.
Special teams coordinator Steve Hoffman, offensive line coach Frank Pollack and linebackers coach Johnny Holland were fired in addition to Knapp.
"Decisions like this are very difficult," Allen said. "I have a great deal of respect for all of these men and I appreciate their contributions to the Oakland Raiders this season.”
Knapp inherited a Hue Jackson offense that averaged 22.4 point per game but dropped it down to 18.1 points per game with virtually the same offensive unit. Knapp had been criticized for much of the year for his "predictable" play calling. Knapp brought offensive line coach Frank Pollack and the zone-blocking scheme with him that produced just 3.3 yards per carry, a career low.
The turnover seemed imminent due to Knapp's inability to get in the end zone this season.
Originally published on SBReport.net on Dec. 30, 2012
Raider Nation members longing to see quarterback Terrelle Pryor get saw their wish come true on Sunday, as starting quarterback Carson Palmer remained out with a rib injury.
Though a different quarterback was inserted behind center, the results were similar as the Raiders fell to the Chargers 24-21 in San Diego. The loss was the Raiders' eighth loss in their last nine games.
Unlike the Raiders offense of the past two weeks, Pryor was able to provide a spark and lead the offense into the end zone, scoring 21 points.
"He obviously provided a little bit of a spark so I think there's something to build on there," Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said following the game.
Though Pryor finished just 13/28 for 150 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, he did suffer from his wide receivers dropping catch-able passes.
Overall, Allen was pleased with what he saw from his quarterback.
"I thought he did some good things," Allen said. "Obviously I thought there's still some work that needs to be done there."
The second-year quarterback's speed proved to be beneficial numerous times as he was forced out of the pocket and forced to scramble. The speedy quarterback rushed the ball nine times for 49 yards and one rushing touchdown. Pryor's rushing touchdown came on a play that left Pryor rolling out to his left from the Chargers four-yard line and sliding into the end zone, to bring the Chargers lead to 24-14.
The young quarterback looked comfortable and confident while on the field. Pryor handed the ball off twice and rushed the ball on a read option play in his first drive, resulting in a three-and-out.
Pryor's first pass attempt came on the second drive as he was able to look around at his receivers and find a open Marcel Reece, who dropped the pass.
Overall, the young quarterback showed play-making capability but did miss some throws to open receivers. Pryor seemed to have a tendency to loft a ball too often, as he did during his interception when he attempted to find Darrius Heyward-Bey in the end zone.
Pryor's first career touchdown came when he found Heyward-Bey on a well thrown fade route in the corner of the end one in the first half. His second touchdown of the day came when he was able to scramble right and extend the play to find Denarius Moore in the end zone to bring the Chargers lead to just three.
"The scramble there late in the game and [Pryor] hitting Denarius Moore there in the back of the end zone, that was a heck of a football play," Allen said of his quarterback's athletic play.
But that was as close as the Raiders would get to the Chargers lead. With just under two minutes remaining in the game, the Raiders were forced to attempt an onside kick that failed, all but ending the game.
The Chargers started the game off with a bang when Michael Spurlock returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, giving the Chargers the 7-0 lead just 12 seconds into the game. San Diego would extend that lead with a field goal later in the first quarter.
But down just 10-7, the Raiders defense faltered as they left tight end Antonio Gates wide open for a touchdown to give the Chargers the 17-7 lead at the half.
Pryor's interception came at a bad time as he had the Raiders driving to score but then lofted the ball too much to Heyward-Bey and was intercepted by Quentin Jammer.
The Raiders attempted to mount a late comeback when they blocked San Diego's punt and recovered at the Chargers' 11-yard line, leading to Pryor's third touchdown of the game. Down 24-21 and under two minutes remaining in the game, Janikowski was unable to get the ball back to the offense as his onside kick attempt failed, allowing the Chargers to run out the clock for the victory.
Raiders running back Mike Goodson and Chargers linebacker Takeo Spikes were ejected from the game early on after a scuffle in the first quarter. One positive that came from the scene was Pryor showing leadership by running into the scuffle and separating Goodson and getting in his face about it. The Raiders would have had a first-and-goal situation had Goodson not committed the penalty.
Raiders head coach Dennis Allen walks off the field after finishing just 4-12 in his first season as an NFL head coach
The loss gives the Raiders a 4-12 record, tied for third worst in the NFL, giving Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders the third overall draft pick after tie breakers.
Originally published on SBReport.net on Dec. 23, 2012
The Raiders failed to get in the end zone for the second-straight game en route to a 17-6 loss on the road to the Carolina Panthers.
Starting quarterback Carson Palmer left the game late in the first quarter after Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy hit him hard, making the game even tougher for a struggling Raiders offense. Palmer remained out for the rest of the game with a rib injury, finishing 3/3 for 31 yards.
Head coach Dennis Allen turned to Matt Leinart with Palmer out instead of inserting Terrelle Pryor, who has become an obsession for much of Raider Nation. Leinart struggled to find any rhythm as he finished 16/32 for 115 yards and one interception.
Pryor did enter the game on three separate occasions, one of which he threw his first NFL completion.
Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp was unable to get Darren McFadden and the running game going as the Panthers kept McFadden to just 33 yards on 17 carries, a measly 1.9 yards per carry.
Oakland had a chance to get into the end zone in the fourth quarter and potentially tie the game but Leinart’s screen pass to McFadden on fourth down was batted down by Hardy, the same man that knocked Palmer out of the game.
Oakland’s inept offense only totaled 189 total yards and 12 first downs for the whole game.
Meanwhile, Cam Newton and the Panthers were able to do just enough to earn their sixth victory of the season. Newton finished 18/29 for 170 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The former Heisman winner also rushed the ball 12 times for 60 yards and one touchdown.
One bright spot for the Raiders was rookie linebacker Miles Burris who recorded his first NFL interception, snapping Newton’s streak of 176 pass attempts without a pick. Burris also had seven tackles and half a sack for the afternoon.
The Raiders head into San Diego next week to finish off the season against the San Diego Chargers. With both teams already out of playoff contention, it wouldn’t be surprising if Allen and the coaching staff turn to some of their young players for the game in order to evaluated for the offseason.
Originally published on SBReport.net on Dec. 22, 2012
Oakland heads to Carolina to take on the Panthers after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 15-0 last Sunday to earn their first victory since October.
The Raiders hope to put together a win streak to finish up the season but will have to do so on the road, starting with the Carolina Panthers.
Carolina will prove to be a tough test as they feature a valuable asset in quarterback Cam Newton, who is a big play waiting to happen on every play.
The former Heisman Trophy Award winner possesses freakish athletic ability that allows him to take off running at any moment. At 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, Newton is a tough tackle for anyone on the defensive side of the ball.
Newton, who set new rookie records for passing yards (4,051) and rushing yards (706) last season, has rushed for 647 yards and seven touchdowns to go along with 3,451 passing yards and 18 passing touchdowns. Newton is currently the Panthers leading rusher with his 647 yards over DeAngelo Williams and the running back corps.
The Raiders will need to find a way to contain Newton in order to slow down the Panthers offense that is coming off two games in which they have averaged 30.5 points against the Falcons and Chargers.
Michael Huff and the Raiders secondary will be going up against a familiar face in wide receiver Louis Murphy. Murphy played for the Raiders three seasons after being drafted in the fourth round by Al Davis, accumulating 90 receptions for 1,371 yards and six touchdowns.
Murphy was traded in the offseason to the Panthers in exchange for a draft pick. The fourth-year wide receiver, who was friends with Newton during their time at the University of Florida, has hauled in 21 receptions for 274 yards and one touchdown.
Murphy isn’t the only that will be seeing familiar faces in the game on Sunday. Raiders running back Mike Goodson played his first two seasons in the league for the Carolina Panthers before being traded to the Raiders in the offseason for offensive lineman Bruce Campbell.
Goodson has quietly put together good numbers when he has seen the field, fighting injuries and sitting behind Darren McFadden for most of the year. There’s no doubt that Goodson’s 6.7 yards per carry should warrant more playing time for the young running back.
The Raiders will need to get McFadden and their running game going to help ease the passing game. McFadden rushed for his third 100-yard game of the season against the Chiefs last week.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor is expected to see some more playing time after seeing the field for the first time in his NFL career last week. Pryor was on the field for one series that included just three plays, two handoffs and one incomplete pass.
It still remains to be seen how much time Pryor will get against an underrated Panthers secondary that is allowing just 217.7 yards per game, 10th best in the league.
The coaching staff has expressed the desire to use the remaining games of the season in order to help evaluate some of their younger players.
Oakland continues on the road to finish the season as they head into San Diego to take on the Chargers to finish out the season.
Photo by Bob Carr
Originally published on SBReport.net on Dec. 16, 2012
The Raiders were able to stop their longest losing streak since 2007 by beating the Kansas City Chiefs without scoring a touchdown.
All it took was five field goals from Sebastian Janikowski (20, 50, 57, 30 and 41 yards) and a shut out to beat the the lowly Kansas City Chiefs 15-0 on Sunday at O.Co Coliseum.
While it wasn’t always pretty, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen knows you have to take a win when you can.
“Obviously we want to score touchdowns and not be able to get field goals,” Allen said following the game. “At the end of the day, we’re trying to win football games and we were able to do that today.”
With Dewayne Bowe out and Brady Quinn starting, the Raiders shut down Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs running game. The result was a Chiefs offense that had only 10 rushing yards, and only 119 yards of total offense all together. Charles had nine carries for 10 yards while Quinn finished 18/32 for 136 yards and one interception.
I think we were able to play a real physical game,” Raiders defensive tackle Desmond Bryant said. “We play them twice a year and we kind of know what they’re trying to do in the running game and we were able to go out there and execute and stop the run.”
The Chiefs’ inept offense didn’t record a first down until the third quarter when utility player Dexter McCluster hauled in an eight-yard reception for the first down. The same drive resulted in the Chiefs’ first plays executed in the Raiders’ territory.
To make matters worse for the Chiefs, head coach Romeo Crennel went for it on fourth down on three separate occasions, not converting a single fourth down.
Down just 12-0 in the third quarter on the Raiders four-yard line, Crennel decided to leave the offense on the field. Crennel stuck with his decision even after a delay of game, but Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston got in the backfield and forced Quinn to check the ball down short of the endzone.
The Raiders defense recorded four sacks on Quinn and consistently applied pressure on him to force him to dump the ball off short.
“I like to think that we play a pretty physical brand of football and I think against a team with that kind of running game it kind of plays to our strengths, so we were able to go out there and play really physical and it gave us the edge on their o-line,” Bryant said.
Oakland was able to get the running game going while the Chiefs struggled. Darren McFadden surpassed the 100-yard plateau with a 110 yard rushing effort. It was the first time McFadden rushed for over 100-yards since he last played the Chiefs on Oct. 28. Fellow running back Mike Goodson was able to give McFadden a break by having a big day of his own by rushing for 89 yards on just 13 carries.
“It gives DMac a break. He takes a lot of carries, a lot of hits,” Goodson said of his ability to spell McFadden. “And once he’s out there fresh, he can go the distance on any run.”
Palmer did what he need to by protecting the ball and throwing for 182 yards on 18/29 passing with no turnovers and no touchdowns.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor officially saw his first regular season action in the NFL, handing the ball off twice and throwing an incomplete pass. Pryor would not return as it was decided beforehand that he would only play one drive.
On a different side of the story, a pigeon seemed to be unable to fly and spent nearly the entire first half marching around midfield. Players from both teams were seen trying to encourage the pigeon to leave the field but it wouldn’t budge.
That thing is in between the defensive end and outside linebacker, I mean, that’s kind of deadly for that thing,” left guard Mike Brisiel said laughing. “I was trying to shoo it along and then I get bood for it. I turned around as soon as I heard the boos and was like ‘holy …’, they’re watching that thing.”
The pigeon was eventually escorted off of the playing field during halftime.
Oakland finishes up the season with two road games starting with the Carolina Panthers next Sunday.
Originally published on SBReport.net on Dec. 16, 2012
Former Raiders great linebacker Phil Villapiano has co-founded The Foundation to Save the Jersey Shore in an attempt to help rebuild his native state of New Jersey.
Hurricane Sandy swept across the East Coast during late October and caused billions of dollars worth of damage while leaving thousands of residents homeless.
The four-time Pro Bowler saw the devastation caused by Sandy and decided that him and his friends needed to help his fellow New Jersey residents.
“One day, when you’re sitting there and have people half a mile away from you, and businesses are gone, you sit there and thing ‘we’ve got to do something to help,’” Villapiano said. “So I was talking to a friend of mine named Brian, and then I called another named Kevin [Leahy], then I called another one named Warren [H. Diamond], and I called another one named Terry, and we all started getting on the phone ‘Yea, lets go, lets do something.’ Everybody’s chipping in.”
The end result: a non-profit organization put together to raise money and accept donations to help rebuild the Garden State.
Villapiano and company’s Foundation to Save the Jersey Shore is just three weeks old but has already made progress in what is proving to be a difficult task. Besides accepting monetary donations, the foundation is also gathering tools and supplies to assist in renovation.
“Last week, and we’ve only been around three weeks, we had a donor form Richmond, VA say ‘hey, we have a truckload of dry wall and it’s coming up there,” Villapiano said. “We brought it to Seabright and it was gone in two seconds. We’re trying to do everything we can just to help out. We will take anything that you’ve got, and 100 percent of it goes back to the people that hurt.”
Villapiano and the foundation are working closely with city and state officials to ensure that the donations go to “hot spots” and places of need.
“We have a group of mayors and we’re going to go to the towns and ask ‘where’s your hot spot?’” Villapiano stated. “Your football field is blown down? We’ll get you another one. You’re school is blown down? We’ll get you a new one.’ So what we are going to try and do is raise money and give it back to the people that need it. Every single penny, and I can’t believe how good the people are.”
In addition to gathering donations, the foundation is also in the process of planning numerous charitable events such as concerts. Villapiano hopes that the foundation will be able to put together a concert for the summer featuring numerous New Jersey-native musicians.
“It’s either going to happen at the start of the summer at the Garden State Center or at the very end of the summer, one or the other,” Villapiano said. “We have this thing called the Garden State Art Center, hopefully it all works out. Maybe Bruce [Springsteen] will come back, Joey will come back, Southside Johnny… we have all these Jersey artists and they all feel passionate like I do about our Jersey Shore. We are going to try and do as many events as we can to raise money.”
Villapiano came to California to light the torch in honor of Al Davis and hopes that his former family, the Raider Nation will contribute in helping rebuild one New Jersey.
“I’m out here in California, and if we’ve got any Raiders fans, it’s www.SaveJerseyShore.org, just do the website and there’s a little red button and you can donate.
“A little something about us, we’re there, we’re not going to go away and this thing isn’t going to go away for a long time so we’ll be there for as long as it takes to help rebuild,” Villapiano said. “The money, send it today, send it three months from now, who cares. Lets stick together and not forget what happened.”
For anyone interested in making a donation, visit www.SaveJerseyShore.org for more information.
Originally published on SBReport.net on Dec. 14, 2012
The rivalry between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders has lasted 107 hard-fought, heated games thus far. Sunday will be the 108th when the Chiefs take the field against the Raiders, who have dropped their last six contests.
That last win for the Raiders? A 26-16 road win against the Chiefs on Oct. 28.
Head coach Dennis Allen hopes his team can find the same fate on Sunday to get his team back into the win column in front of their final game in front of the Raider Nation at home.
Much to Allen’s viewing displeasure, the Chiefs have had similar success on the road in the rivalry as of late, posting a 8-2 record over their last 10 trips to Oakland.
Kansas City is coming off of a tough couple of weeks following the well-documented tragedy that hit the Chiefs organization on Dec. 1.
Oakland is coming off an extended week after facing the Broncos on Thursday Night Football last week and hopes that the added preparation time will get his team back on the winning side of the outcome.
The Raiders defense will need to find a way to contain running back Jamaal Charles the same way they did during their last matchup. Charles finished with just five carries for four yards. Charles is capable of running the distance on any play and is the leading rusher in the AFC with 1,220 rushing yards on the season.
Kansas City will likely lean on Charles and the rushing attack even more with wide receiver Dewayne Bowe out with a rib injury.
Oakland’s defense will have to maintain gap control in order to keep from letting Charles getting into the secondary and making guys miss.
Brady Quinn gets the start again for the Chiefs after the Raiders knocked him out of their previous contest, putting Matt Cassel in the game. Quinn finished just 2/4 for one yard and one interception before leaving the game early on Oct. 28.
The (lack of) rushing attack has been a big part of the demise of the Raiders offense this year. In fact, the Raiders have reached 100-yards rushing three times all season, and just once since the Raiders last took on the Chiefs over a month ago. That was also Darren McFadden’s last 100-yard rushing day.
McFadden hopes to find similar running room against the Chiefs this week after rushing for 114 yards last contest between the two rivals. If the rushing attack can get going some it would be beneficial in slowing down the Chiefs pass rush that features linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. The Chiefs have 31 sacks on the season, good enough for tenth in the NFL. Hali and Houston have combined for 18 of the 31 sacks.
The Raiders offensive line will have to find a way to contain Hail and Houston to give Carson Palmer adequate time to throw the ball and keep him off his back.
The wide receiving corps will also have to fix their repeated mistakes such as drops and running wrong routes. Denarius Moore has continued to not be on the same page with Palmer and has even caught a case of the drops that have recently re-found fellow wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Palmer won’t have former Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt on the other side of the ball this time around as he was released by the Chiefs earlier this season. Palmer and the offense continuously picked on Routt, earning big plays and penalties on him last contest.
There’s a chance Terrelle Pryor could see his first NFL regular-season playing time come Sunday, should their be the right opportunity to insert him. Allen stated after the Broncos game that there had been a package for Pryor but the right moment had not shown up yet.
It remains to be seen how much playing time Rolando McClain will receive, should he even be active after coming off of a coach-instilled two-game suspension. Allen has already stated that McClain is coming back as the backup middle linebacker to Omar Gaither.
This will be the Raiders last chance to give the home crowd a win as they head out on the road to finish their struggling 2012 season.
Originally published on SBReport.net on Dec. 11, 2012
The Raiders announced four significant roster moves on Monday including the activation of linebacker Rolando McClain off of the suspension list.
The move puts the McClain back on the active roster, but questions still remain as to how much playing time he will receive (if any), as well as how long he will remain on the team.
To little surprise, McClain is listed as the second-string middle linebacker on the Raiders’ depth chart released this week. It wouldn’t be surprising if McClain remains on the sideline until Reggie McKenzie can figure out what to do with the disgruntled linebacker.
While Omar Gaither, McClain’s replacement, has not displayed anything special, McClain has struggled throughout his tenure in the Silver & Black.
McClain is expected to meet with head coach Dennis Allen upon his return from Texas, where he is attending his father’s funeral.
In addition, the Raiders also announced the promotion of cornerback Chimdi Chekwa from the practice squad, as well as the releasing of fullback Owen Schmitt and cornerback Ron Bartell.
Bartell got benched against the Denver Broncos last Thursday in favor of Phillip Adams, who earned recognition from Allen for his play. Allen stated that Adams would be seeing an increase in playing time due to his recent strong play.
It is likely that McKenzie and Allen want to see what they have in Adams for the remainder of the season to see where they stand at the cornerback position.
Originally published on SBReport.net on Dec. 7, 2012
Frustration continues to build in the Raiders organization as the continued the losing as they fell to the Denver Broncos 23-16 on Thursday night to extend their current losing streak to six games.
“Extremely frustrating to rack up this many losses in a row and in the fashion we’ve done. It is just extremely frustrating.”
The Raiders defense struggled in the beginning of the game as Peyton Manning carved up the defense for scores on Denver’s first three drives. Manning took advantage of the Raiders deferring to the second half by driving down the field 68 yards in 10 plays resulting in a touchdown pass to a wide open tight end Joel Dreesen in the end zone to start the game off with a touchdown.
Manning used two more 10-play drives that each resulted in just field goals to give the Broncos the early 13-0 lead.
While Manning was orchestrating scoring drive, Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer was struggling to get the ball moving.
In what seems to be summing up his Raiders career, Palmer followed up a perfect throw with an imperfect throw. Palmer found rookie wide receiver Rod Streater for a 58-yard gain on a perfect ball into Broncos territory. As pretty as the throw was, the next throw was just the opposite. On the very next play, Palmer threw behind tight end Brandon Myers and was intercepted by veteran rookie Champ Bailey.
The interception marked Palmer’s ninth game in a row with an interception, the most of any Raiders quarterback in franchise history.
Oakland wasn’t able to score until the two-minute warning of the first half on a great call from offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. Palmer faked a throw to the right but came back left to find running back Darren McFadden on a screen pass that allowed him to walk into the endzone to bring the deficit to just 13-7.
It was McFadden’s first game back after missing the past four weeks due to a high-ankle sprain, though the running back did leave the game after tweaking the same ankle late in the game. McFadden finished with just 11 carries for 52 yards, thanks to a 36-yard run he broke loose to start the third quarter.
It appeared that the Raiders would have gained the momentum after a goal line stand that forced a field goal, but the tables quickly turned.
After return man Mike Goodson took out a deep kickoff to only the eight-yard line, Broncos pass rushing specialist Von Miller was able to get around right tackle Khalif Barnes to force the fumble on Palmer and Denver recovered on the Raiders’ two-yard line. The Raiders were unable to stop them this time as Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno rushed the ball into the endzone to put the Broncos up 23-7.
“[Miller] got a good pass rush and being in that situation, backed up like that, I’ve got to throw the ball out of bounds,” Palmer said of his fumble. “I didn’t have the guy that I wanted to throw it to open and I tried to pull the ball back and throw it to another guy. Obviously, looking back on it now, I wish I would’ve just chucked it out of bounds.”
Barnes struggled much of the day against Miller, giving up a some pressures along with a false start and a couple of holding penalties.
“He’s a good player,” Barnes said of Miller following the game. “He’s real flexible and has a variety of good moves and is pretty good at what he does. He’s pretty elusive and he’s good in the run and he’s good in the pass.”
The Raiders were unable to overcome the deficit as they were only able to score one more touchdown during what was relatively garbage time.
With a little over five minutes remaining, Palmer found wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey who eluded a tackle and scampered 56 yards for the touchdown. After a failed two-point conversion, the score sat at what would become a final of 23-13.
The silver lining this week comes from the play of cornerback Phillip Adams, who took over for Michael Huff after he left with a wrist injury.
Adams had a couple of nice plays including an interception in the endzone on Manning. It appears that his play the last couple of weeks has caught the eye of Allen and warrants more playing time.
“I was real pleased with the way Phillip Adams played and Phillip has earned the right to get more playing time,” Allen said after the game.
Allen returned to Oakland to coach the game Thursday night after heading to the Dallas area to make the decision to take his father off of life support. As hard as it was for him, he believes that his father Grady would want him to be back with the team and coaching them.
“You know, I went home on Sunday and took my father off life support and that’s not easy to do. So, was it hard? Yeah, it was hard. But I know my father would want me to be here with this football team. And I wanted to be here with this football team. I’m sure you guys can imagine that wasn’t an easy situation.”
Allen noted that he has received a great deal of support from the team, the organization, and from all over the NFL.
Originally published on SBReport.net on Dec. 4, 2012
The Raiders announced the addition of fullback/running back Jamize Olawale to the roster on Tuesday.
Olawale, who was signed off of the Dallas Cowboys practice squad, was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent rookie out of the University of North Texas.
Olawale hauled in eight receptions for 88 yards during his two years at North Texas, while also contributing to the team’s 2,112 rushing yards when he was a senior.
The San Francisco native has familiar faces on the Raiders team after playing ball at El Camino Junior College in Torrance, Calif., the junior college that current fullback Marcel Reece attended. Olawale also played with wide receiver Travionte Session and Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Session is currently on the Raiders practice squad.