Best of Times, Worst of Times
by, 08-05-2013 at 08:32 AM (8538 Views)
I have been pretty pleased with the effort I have been seeing from the players. Today was no different, as far as EFFORT goes.
I can't say I was over-all pleased with much else.
First of all, with 7 defensive linemen out, today the Raiders went no pads. The bad part of this is that we still don't know what we have on the DL. This isn't good. Players are being left behind because they aren't able to prepare physically, let alone mentally.
Then there was the offense.
To start off with, in the passing/wide receiver drills, it was Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor and Tyler Wilson. Matt McGloin was working with the tights ends and running backs.
In simple wide receiver drills, Andre Holmes dropped so many balls he became the butt of jokes from the fans in the stands. Catcall from the stands "What else do you expect? He's from New England!" He was the recipient of huge cheers when he managed to hang on to the ball. Not a good day for Mr. Holmes.
Terrelle Pryor had a very rough going of it, too. He wasn't looking great in the passing drills, throwing behind, too far in front and just flat out LATE to the receivers. This was without a defense in front of him. Isiah Williams was left waiting. Then he threw nicely and hit Jacoby Ford in stride. Right after that? Low and too far in front of Denarius Moore, who was lucky to have gotten a hand on it. I don't know how he can be throwing late in a passing drill. This carried into to the 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 drills. With the 11 on 11, one play he got the ball off, but had it been a game he would have been sacked. He got the ball to Ford over the middle, but Ford was waving his hand to get Pryor's attention. After that? Pryor was in shot gun, and the nearest person to the ball was Taiwan Jones who dove and missed the pick, but who the intended receiver was is a huge question mark. Another play, the throw to Holmes was late and Jones broke it up. Phillip Adams did get an interception. He kind of made up for it on a fade to Ford over Jones, buying himself some time running, but then again, there is the possibility that protection wouldn't have held up. Without pads, there was no going full speed by the defense. Timing, not just during the play, but calling the play in the huddle are still issues. His basic throwing is much better, his footwork is better. There are times he can look really good. Today was definitely not one of those times.
When Matt McGloin had his reps, he did a poor job of selling the play fake, and the defense was not fooled. he tried to throw to Sam McGuffie, but the ball was behind him and Chance Casey was able to make a play. Omar Gaither would have had a sack on what was a slow developing screen. In a nickel defense, and while in shot gun, the pass intended for Greg Jenkins was way off. Mr. Fantastic would have trouble catching that particular pass attempt.
On the Tyler Wilson front - it had to sting when he was told that Coach Allen says he has the physical skills but is just behind the in the mental game. In his own interview, Wilson seemed to roll with the critique well, and I give him kudos for that. He talked about adjusting to all the motion sets, the difference in plays, the number of plays, the different names of plays. He made specific mention of th 3 and 5 step drop plays, and getting used to the reads on these plays. If he can command a huddle with the same the same level of cool, he might actually make it in the pros.
Matt Flynn did fairly well, He had one bad pass under pressure, but connected with Brice Butler, and threw a very nice pass to David Ausberry. Part of what made that pass stand out to me was the way Ausberry used his body to shield the defender from it. he was at the hlm when we ran a reverse that had the defense completely fooled. He had a nice pass to Isiaih Williams, who managed to get by Kevin Burnett in coverage. On another play, Rashad Jennings got the reception, again against Burnett. Both plays , however, YAC would have been very limited, based on Burnett's position. he can tackl, and his improvd his play over the last years. His pass coverage skills seem adequate, but it could be that this is one area he might be able to improve. getting back to Flynn, he had another nice slant to Jennings. Rod Streater caught a ball in front of rookie DJ Hayden.
Today there were also more special teams drills. Last season, I am sure most of you remember that special teams was far from anything worth watching. part of it was because of the injury to Ford, and the carousel of returners we had. Some of them with ball handling issues. Today was focusing on the return game. After shagging quite a few punts yesterday, Josh Cribbs wasn't involved in kick off returns. Again one of those "precautionary" things, with very little information, just that it was to ensure no further injury. Back to return - Jacoby Ford, Denarius Moore and Tyvon Branch. Those that would have made tackles: Sam McGuffie on Tyvon, inside the 10- kick about 6 yards deep; Cory nelms on Ford, at about the 10 on maybe a 4 yard deep kick; Mitchell White on Ford inside the 10; Isiaih Williams on Ford, inside the 10, this time returning from the back of the end zone; there were more, but it seems like these were for gunners, and not so much for the reurns, or blocking for the return man. The return game still makes me nervous.
One interesting move today, was moving Khalif barnes inside, to make up for the missing Mike Briesel. He has had to fill in at guard before, had a "little dibble" in at left guard. he knows that he can be more valuable to the team ifhe can back up at another position, not just focus on tackle. In the gap/power blocking scheme the offensive line is working on now, it does allow Barnes to move in, use his size to really t-off on the defensive line.
Taiwan Jones isn't on the offens any more. he was actuall a corner in high school and was converted to a running back in college. Some of his college coaches thought he'd be convrted back right away ont the pros. While disappointed he couldn't show what he could do at running back, he is happy and ecited to be on the team, and likes to be on the giving end of the hits, rather than the receving end.
The last thing - Jon Condo is our long snapper for at least the next 3 years. Was Condo thinking about it? Nope. He works every day as it is a new day. Though he wasn't thrilled with not being a line backer, he still gets to hit and sometimes tackle on special teams. This means 2 of 3 pieces of the succssful kicking team we have had for many years are set. The holding duties today were covered by Mr. Kluwe. I get the idea that having him with the squad for a year already, Coach Allen would like to see Marquette King do better, but his consistency just is not there. Even King himself admits that Kluwe can get the ball off faster , and that can but huge in a game.
Coach Allen discussed this quite a bit. we have one of our draftees that hasn't even see a single down of play time. How will he be able to catch up with the rest of the team? How can we know what we have on the defensive line, when we don't have the guys practicing? He's been pleased with Tyvon Branch, Jason Hunter and Chimdi Chekwa defensively, barnes, Darren McFadden and Stefen Wisniewski on the other side of the ball. he made mention of Nick Roach, the improved LB corps and the improved secondary. But as I mentioned just above, the defensive line is a HUGE question mark.
So that's what we have. Some good, some bad, and it's injuries and the inconsistency of the play that may be our nemisis. Let's hope we can get some guys healthy so we can see what they can do, and see some solid execution.
As always -
Win , lose or tie, RAIDERS til I DIE!