Oakland Raiders Week Five: Keep/Discard

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Oakland Raiders DE Benson Mayowa
December 21, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive end Benson Mayowa (95) during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Bills 26-24. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Khalil Mack didn’t talk to the media in London Sunday and who could really blame him? After all, many in the NFL world were left with stunned silence after the Oakland Raiders handed Mack’s Chicago Bears a 24-21 defeat across the pond. Mack was perhaps left speechless by his own ineffectiveness (3 tackles, 0 sacks, 1 fumble recovery) coupled with the Bears' inability to stop an “inferior” Raiders squad and thus, didn’t have anything pertinent to say. To say No. 52’s performance wasn’t up to his normal Khalil-ness is an understatement.

In a game where he tried to downplay the importance, Mack wasn’t just a mere footnote, he was made to be as useless as Bruce Irvin. In a game where everything was seemingly going wrong for the Raiders — after the team sprinted to a 17-0 lead into halftime — there was no Mack. Did he alter running lanes, yes. But Mack, along with the rest of the Chicago defense, had no answer for scintillating rookie running back Josh Jacobs. Raiders boss Jon Gruden engineered a game plan that left Mack at the kid’s table and the players executed.

KEEP

1. Following Gruden. Yes, there are times where you wonder if Chucky really knows what he’s doing, however, when his schemes are executed, you can’t argue the results. Gruden devised ways to attack the Bears attacking defense and for three quarters, Chicago had no answers.

2. Foster Moreau involved. The rookie tight end is a solid blocker and catches defenses off guard with his speed and route running. His blend of physicality and athleticism is something the Raiders haven’t had since Zach Miller wore No. 80.

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3. Benson Mayowa active. Don’t care for the reason why the Raiders sack leader was inactive last week, as long as he’s active from here on in. In limited snaps, the veteran defensive end wreaks havoc and is a tone setter.

4. Josh Jacobs healthy. He’s one of the Raiders must-account-for players and is improving with every carry. While he hasn’t had the big breakaway run, he’s consistent and falls forward constantly. The Raiders need him healthy if they have high aspirations for the rest of the season.

DISCARD

1. The roller coaster intensity. Good teams find ways to win in the face of adversity. The Raiders showed they can do that. Great teams, however, are dialed in from first snap to last — all four quarters. The Raiders need to get rid of the inconsistency and play four complete quarters.

2. Boneheaded penalties. No, I’m not talking about the bogus roughing the passer flag thrown on Maurice Hurst. It’s the infractions by Richie Incognito. The unnecessary roughness penalty early coupled with the chop block later are two mistakes that shouldn’t come from a veteran like Incognito.

3. Prior notions. The Raiders could have fallen in the trap of one thing goes wrong and all hell breaks loose. That’s surely something Oakland is accustomed to. Yet, the team showed resilience and resolve and won. The team must rid itself of the woe-is-me mentality and continue to fight.

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