May 12th, 2014 | By TY THA ARTIST
Oakland Raider’s Wide Receiver Rod Streater shows off his new pair of “Beats By Streats” headphones. Written/Directed/Produced by Ryan Eytcheson Twitter @RyanEytcheson
Executive Producer: Jennifer Colli
Producer: Heather Cooney
Writer: Roo Carmichael
Director of Photography: Mariscela Mendez
Assuming Jacksonville and Cleveland pass up on the QB prospect, the Oakland Raiders could be looking at drafting Johnny Manziel at pick #5 due to the lack of stability at the QB position.
The offense still has a lot of work to do without a score in the first half, but overall has shown some improvement on 3rd down conversions. Matt Flynn’s style of play is more methodical and controlled than Carson Palmer from last year who racked up plenty of yardage with his boom-or-bust, big play ability. If the defense is solid, the Flynn offense could be successful especially with all the speed on the field. Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece have as good of hands as any RB tandem and Flynn will love using them on check downs when the receivers aren’t open. Brice Butler stole the day on the drive with Matthew McGloin, but the competition for the #1 receiver spot between Denarius Moore and Rod Streater is the one to watch the rest of the preseason.
Terrelle Pryor’s poise and experience is what was most intriguing in the first half. Even though he didn’t get his TD, he was alot more in control and anticipating instead of reacting. His throws had less air on them and he looked alot more comfortable in the pocket. Pryor should have tucked the ball on the INT in the red zone, but it was most likely due to the voices in his head saying that it will take TDs to take Flynn’s spot and not settling for FGs. Tyler Wilson was a mess mentally, but showed he had the physical tools to make the roster. McGloin vs Wilson for the 3rd QB just got more interesting. We didn’t see much of Darren McFadden in order to keep him fresh, but Rashad Jennings looks like a legit change of pace RB with a bit more power for grinding out 3rd downs. Latavius Murray can also make his way in the mix so watch out for him in upcoming games.
One refreshing improvement which doesn’t show up on stat sheets is the improvement of the offensive line. Even though the Flynn fumble was a bad mistake, the offensive line was a lot more disciplined on avoiding false starts and staying composed. The 3rd and longs from the false starts have been plaguing the offense for years and without the penalties, moving the sticks should be more manageable this year.
Grade: D+ (Down from C- of last year)
Players to Watch: Rod Streater WR, Latavius Murray RB, Mychal Rivera TE
The first team defense were who we thought they were. A different team. Even with nearly all the defensive linemen out from injury, the defense looked improved at every position. Sio Moore stood out with the sack, but Nick Roach seems to have a presence from Day 1 that Rolando McClain couldn’t find in 3 years. We want opposing QBs to avoid the middle of the field and while Tony Romo got some yardage, the 3rd down stops were crucial. The cornerbacks also seemed alot more capable of staying around the ball. Even Taiwan Jones got a nice pass deflection. Trying to squeeze in a roster spot, Chance Casey was a standout in the second half showing good range as a ballhawk.
The Cowboys’ offense was very pass-heavy early on so the run defense is still an untested concern. Getting Lamarr Houston, Pat Sims, and Vance Walker back in the lineup will definitely help with plugging up the middle which has been an issue for years.
Grade: B- (up from D- of last year)
Players to Watch: Sio Moore LB, Nick Roach LB, Mike Jenkins CB
Josh Cribbs looks done. He only took one out, but I’m hoping it was a lack of effort because he showed zero burst. Of course Greg Jenkins had more of an opening on his 51-yard return, but the grumblings of Cribbs’ bum knee holding him back are still a huge concern.
The punters only had one kick a piece, but it was clear that King got the best of Kluwe tonight. Kluwe kicked a dud for 36 yards and King bombed an epic 50 yarder which got muffed in the lights. Kicking 50 yards isn’t even King’s best as far as distance, but the height and hangtime got the Raiders the ball back. Can’t ask any more from a punter.
Fresh off the lucrative contract extension, Janikowski nailed both FGs including a 51 yarder. Nuff said.
Grade: B+ (same as B+ of last year)
Players to Watch: Marquette King P, Josh Cribbs KR
As I fold up my Patrick Willis jersey and remind myself it’s only preseason, I’m certainly not giving up after the first game, and the 49ers sure as hell aren’t. It definitely wasn’t for lack of trying. Kaepernick came in strong, and got to hang onto the ball for thirteen plays on the first drive. Also giving a great chance to show off Lamichael James for his second year with the 49ers, and ready to back up Frank Gore during the regular season. Though he did have a slight fumble during the first drive, he managed to keep the possession. After the first drive Harbaugh thought it best to put in the second string quarterback Colt McCoy, though he didn’t lose yards, he didn’t bring much to table.
McCoy seems to have some shell shock going in and not looking too confident in the pocket, a slight reminder of former QB Alex Smith, Harbaugh had to take him out due to a shoulder stinger and bring in Jim Tolzien. It wasn’t enough to bring a victory to San Francisco, but he was able to bring more confidence to the field and close the deficit a little more than it could have been.
Also to help with the defense was rookie safety Eric Reid, who is proving his place on the team and showing that he has what it takes to be an explosive force to be reckoned with in the Bay Area. Preseason has just begun, and the 49ers had a rough start but their second-string is definitely not keeping their heads down.
Top Performer: Vance McDonald 4 Rec, 66 yds
By: Don Jackson
Well, Raider Nation, here we go again. The NFL season is about to be underway and we are still trying to figure out what to do with DMC. It’s The Raider’s version of Groundhog Day. The DMC era has been filled with a lot of sentences that begin with 2 words “only if”. “Only if he could just stay healthy”or “only if he had a good offensive Line to run behind” & last years favorite “only if our offensive coordinator would trash that zone-blocking scheme & go back to the power-blocking scheme” that McFadden had flourished in the previous year.
The dilemma takes on even more weight this year because it is a contract year. McFadden has proven when healthy that he is one of the most explosive backs in the NFL. The problem is he seems to never be healthy! There lies the McFadden Dilemma , lets say he somehow plays 12-14 games and runs for 1500-1700 yards. Should the Raiders reward him with a new contract worthy of a top tier back or let him walk figuring it was a fluke and he is just going to revert back to the injury-plagued player he has been so far in his career?
Knowing the Raiders luck over the last 15 years they won’t resign McFadden and he ends up going to another team and never misses another game in his career on the way to a career filled with Pro Bowl and Super Bowl appearances, while the Nation is left behind with nothing but another “only if” sentence: “Only if we would of resigned McFadden when he was here?”
What would you do Raider Nation?
After three trades, the 30th overall pick cost them a 2014 2nd round pick and $600,000 cash considerations. Nedovic is considered an athletic shooting guard who is explosive while driving to the rim. Last year, the Warriors stashed foreign center Ognjen Kuzmic and Nedovic may also play a season overseas before playing with the Warriors in Oracle.
Pablo is hasn’t played a full season since 2010, so 110-game seasons from him are normal at this point.The defense will improve with him gone, but the playoff picture talk is premature because more than half the schedule remians.
As long as solid starting pitching and effective relief continue to elude the Giants, the offense will need to carry the burden. Not having his bat will hurt on that level, but the Giants are used to not having Pablo in the starting lineup. Joaquin Arias can get hot for a few weeks at a time, but we won’t ever put up the power numbers Sandoval does. His key contributions will be making plays Pablo doesn’t have the range for and beating out infield singles.
TY THA ARTIST
Pablo hit a little slump leading up to the injury, but his April stats had him comfortably above .300 for awhile. Marco Scutaro is definitely overperforming at 37 years young and Buster Posey is his normal self batting .319. If the pitching was as good as last year, the Giants would be coasting right now on top of the division, but the rust has been hard to shake off with none of the starters with a sub 3.00 ERA. I predicted Mad Bum would be the best pitcher of the bunch, but I never thought Matt Cain would be struggling to keep an ERA below 5.00. Due to the pitching woes, the Pablo absence will be even harder to stomach.
With Sandoval, the RBI’s were hit or miss so far and without his cleaning up the garbage pitches, I see the Giants losing even more to sub par teams. On the positive side, the farm prospects should get some good experience as the infield is shuffled game to game.
The San Francisco Giants had many faces in their run last year to win the World Series so while a Pablo Sandoval foot injury hurts it’s not that devastating this season. Joaquin Arias has been a serviceable backup at third base proving SF has depth and is possibly an upgrade defensively. The big area for concern is replacing Sandoval’s power in the batter’s box. However, with Hunter Pence and Buster Posey among others healthy, I think the Giants will be just fine with the Big Panda sidelined.
Of course San Francisco’s a scarier opponent with Pablo in the lineup, but without him there’s no reason they still can’t keep treading water above .500 heading into the All-Star Break.