In Monday's post, we did some breaking down of Saturday nights Raiders/Niners preseason game, but we focused mostly on the 49ers. So today we're going to talk a little Raiders football.
The Silver and Black are once again having trouble stopping the run, and it showed big time in Saturday's loss to the 49ers. The Niners ran for 275 yards against the Raiders and although it's still just pre-season, this is becoming a pattern that has to cause some concern for Tom Cable and co. Last season, the Raiders were one of the worst in the league at stopping the run, as they allowed nearly 160 yards per game on the ground. There problem on Saturday was their tackling, it seemed like Niners running backs were breaking at least a tackle on every run, and that's something that's going to have to be fixed asap. And I don't think it's a scheme thing with the Raiders and their run-stopping problem. In order to help bolster their run defense, the Raiders brought back a familiar face a few days ago when they signed Napoleon Harris to a 1 year deal. Harris was a mainstay on the Raiders defense from 2002 through 2004, before being dealt to Minnesota in the Randy Moss trade in 2005. He alone isn't going to turn around the Raiders run defense, but at least they're starting to move in order to help that weakness and he'll help improve the linebacker depth with Kirk Morrison shelved for the foreseeable future.
Offensively, the Raiders were OK, not great, but not bad either, on Saturday night. JaMarcus Russell started off slowly, but picked it up before he exited the game. He ended up going 7-11 for 77 yards with a 24 yards TD pass to the quickly rising Louis Murphy. Rookie Brandon Myers also stuck out on Saturday as he had a 4 catch, 75 yard performance, including a touchdown. The area that didn't really get going in Saturday's game was the rushing attack. The Raiders ran the ball 18 times and only netted 69 yards for an average of 3.8 yards per carry. Darren McFadden ran 4 times for just 5 yards and Justin Fargas gained 3 yards on just 2 carries. In order to jump-start the running game and bring a new dynamic to there offense, the Raiders are considering using Michael Bush in the backfield along with McFadden. Bush hasn't really gotten much of an opportunity as a pro yet, as he's still behind Fargas and McFadden on the depth chart, so using him as a fullback may be the best way to get him some touches without messing with the Fargas and McFadden two-headed monster at tail-back. The Raiders may also just figure out that Bush's upside is about 3 times that of Justin Fargas, and they may start weaving Bush into Fargas' role. Either way, the Raiders need to find a way to get the 6'1", 250 pound beast at least 12 touches per game. Just look at what he did against Tampa Bay in the season's final week last year.
Up next for the Raiders will be the New Orleans Saints, as Drew Brees and Co. will come to Oakland in what will be the most important preseason game of the bunch. The third preseason game is one in which most starters will play at least the first half and probably well into the third quarter as a lot of the important players won't play in the final preseason game... Also, with the NFL season right around the corner, NFL betting is getting ready to start up as well. For NFL picks and NFL odds, check out our friends at Locksmith Sports.