When the Oakland Raiders defeated the Detroit Lions, there’s little time for turnaround. However, the Raiders evened their record and began to give their fanbase something truly missing for years: hope. With that said, FPC Raiders writers Ray Aspuria and Terrance Biggs reflect upon this game and the previous seven.
What four things did you see in the Lions game that gave you hope for this season?
Four touchdowns from rookies.
Watching Josh Jacobs find the end zone twice with Hunter Renfrow’s toe-tap go-ahead TD and Foster Moreau’s diving scoring grab, Gruden is showing he can pick ’em and coach ’em, as well. That’s something that was sorely missing from the former personnel man (Reggie McKenzie) and coach Dennis Allen and Jack Del Rio.
Clelin Ferrell altered plays.
While his stat line is barren, the No. 4 overall pick powered into a stunt allowing Arden Key to get a sack (as unbelievable as the QB take down was) and he forced Matthew Stafford to throw off his back foot on the final play of the game when he didn’t bite on play action and charged right for the Lions QB.
Josh Jacobs is a workhorse.
Yes, he sat for a bit, and DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard go totes — but as Jon Gruden and Derek Carr said, JJ needs rest, too. But when Jacobs is on the field, the Raiders offense is a different beast all together. Jacobs runs hard, is patient and goes from agility to power within a snap of a finger.
Trayvon Mullen is a starting corner.
The Clemson product is showing his second-round status is legit and he can break the 2nd-round curse started by Reggie McKenzie. He’s a physical press-man corner who doesn’t have qualms about getting dirty in run support.
Derek Carr’s improvement
While some want to tout 2016 as the watershed year for Carr, this season feels different. Instead of the constant checkdowns and timidity, Carr looks strong Sunday. As a result, the Raiders drove the length of the field with authority.
Gruden the Gambler
With another fake punt, Jon Gruden continues to climb the ranks of the top playcallers in the league. More importantly, a looser Gruden attacks vertically and gashes with the run. The Raiders offense executed his plan to near perfection.
Granted, very few people, other than my colleague Ray Aspuria appreciates what fullbacks do. Yet, Ingold clears a path for Josh Jacobs to feast on run defenses. While you may not focus on 45, it doesn’t mean he’s not making life rough for a linebacker.
Now, we all know that Jalen richard and DeAndre Washington appear to be redundent backs in the offense. However, clearly slides into the number two spot, well ahead of Washington. A fresh-legged Richard torched the Lions for 68 total yards on just five carries.
What surprised, upset and annoyed you most about the first 8 games?
The most annoying — and Gruden brought it up a the postgame presser — is the Raiders penchant for giving up explosive plays. Whether it’s over 10 yards or 20 yards, the Raiders secondary gets lit up way too much. Highly likely due to talent, but you’d figure the coaching staff would make adjustments eight games into the season.
The surprising aspect is the Raiders offense clicking despite only having it’s projected starting five lineman for 10 minutes. The Raiders have shuffled the line numerous times and there’s been little drop off.
In all honesty, the only reason the Raiders sit at .500 is the defense. From scattershot pass rush to atrocious zone coverage and sloppy linebacker play, that side of the ball continuously fails to hold up their end. If the Raiders want to build a complete team, some sort of overhaul defensively needs to happen.