Awaiting our showdown versus the Oakland Raiders I had a nice conversation with Chris Shellcroft of the Raiders blog Just Blog Baby (www.justblogbaby.com) discussing some key points. You can catch Dan Zinski’s answers on their site as well. Away we go…
1) Oakland made a big splash in trading for Carson Palmer. How has Raider Nation responded to that trade & what are your thoughts on Palmer? Also is there an unluckier human being than Jason Campbell?
I’d say Raider Nation is excited about the prospects of Palmer. He’s settled in very quickly and has already shown how valuable he can be in the offense. Personally, I’ve been a fan of Palmer’s for some time. He has got all the tools to be a great QB it has just been a matter of all of that coming together. No telling if this is the instance when he finally steps into the elite QB club. So far he is trending upwards so the promise is there so long as he cuts down on the turnovers.
As for Jason Campbell…damn…what can I say? You love him cause he is a true pro, first in last out kind of guy. He is a true leader that sets the tone not only with his words but actions too. He was having his best season before the injury and while not a huge playmaker he always seems to make the right decision. JC was exactly what this franchise needed to wash the stench of JaMarcus off the East Bay. I have a feeling that he’ll end up in a great situation where things will really click. I’ve always called him the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL. Now Campbell might be the Roy Munson of pro football. Hope I don’t get Campbell’d for saying that.
2) Sticking with the passing game. Denarius Moore had a monster game last weekend versus San Diego. Is Palmer to Moore the beginning of something special? Our secondary isn’t in the best of shape right now.
Moore has real talent and could go down as the steal of 2011 draft. He’s a rookie so consistency has been lacking but the skill is there. It is hard to say if Palmer and Moore will be the duo of the future only because each week is seems like another Raider receiver steps up. During Palmer’s first start Jacoby Ford was a beast. Darrius Heyward-Bey was playing the best football of his life prior to his sudden two game disappearing act so he might be due. I think Moore will be Palmer’s target as far as getting vertical goes but it is hard to say who Oakland’s primary receiver will be going forward.
3) Uber-talented running back Darren McFadden has been ruled out. How much of a dropoff is there from him to Michael Bush?
To be honest, the only real drop off is that Bush doesn’t have the breakaway speed of McFadden. Bush had 242 total yards last week which was good enough to knock Bo Jackson out of the franchise record book. That is saying something. Overall Bush is not the same weapon as McFadden but like Run DMC Bush is a threat in all aspects of the game. He is a downhill runner that wears out the defense and makes plays as a receiver as well. Plus when it comes to getting touches inside the 5 Bush was always taking the rock even with a healthy McFadden. There is no way to replace everything McFadden does but Bush comes about as close as it gets. The offense has been clicking just the same with Bush starting, ugly loss to Kansas City notwithstanding.
4) The Raiders currently rank 25th against the run. We have someone named Adrian Peterson. How are you going to stop him?
Yeah…about that…Ever heard of Tonya Harding? Hue Jackson might have to take a page from her book on stopping the competition. Oakland’s run defense has been consistently bad for the last 7 years. This season has been a real roller coaster as they are either great or Tim Tebow in an accuracy contest bad against the run. What makes the task of stopping Peterson so troubling is his nature. Oakland’s run D will look great for every snap and then one mistake occurs, next thing you know it is a track meet as some guy goes 60-yards to the house without so much as his jersey being tugged. Peterson is this type of runner. He’ll do nothing of note for his first 10-15 carries and then all of sudden will make two 80-yard house calls. To stop Peterson the D-line has got to get up field while the lackluster Raider linebackers need to make stops at the line of scrimmage. But we know there is no way to keep Peterson at 3 yards a clip all afternoon. Therefore the secondary, specifically Tyvon Branch, will need to make sure those 15 yard gains don’t turn into 50 yard killers.
5) The biggest news of the Raiders season has been the passing of Al Davis. We at TVA pass along our condolences. In 100 words or less tell us something about Al’s legacy that we may not know.
Thanks for the thoughts. Truly appreciate it. I think by now most have heard the stories of all the great things Mr. Davis did that went beyond the football field. So I’ll just share this instead. At Sugar Ray Robinson’s funeral Al Davis crossed paths with Mike Tyson. The two shook hands and had a convo. Davis told Tyson he grew up in same neighborhood as Iron Mike, Lincoln Terrace Park in Brooklyn. Davis told Tyson “I owned that park, Mike.” Tyson stepped back, turned to Don King and said “He’s a tough S.O.B. if he can come out of that park alive.”
Bonus Question — Game Prediction?
I like the Raiders to win in an exciting and close game. Oakland 28, Minnesota 27.
Special thanks to Chris of Just Blog Baby for his time to answer our questions. Any writer that can make a Bo Jackson, Rodney Dangerfield, Mike Tyson and Tonya Harding reference is certainly a joy to talk to. Skol!
Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig