AFC West: Darrne McFadden

Wrap-up: Ravens 55, Raiders 20

November, 11, 2012

A look at an embarrassing outing for the Raiders:

What it means: The Raiders tied their team record for points allowed in a single game. They have allowed 97 points in the past two games. They are 3-6 and not improving as they go into the second half of the season.

Total domination: The Ravens started rolling early and never took their foot off the pedal. Baltimore scored on a fake field goal and a kickoff return late in the game as the rout was on.

Nowhere to run: The Raiders had 72 rushing yards on 24 carries as they played without Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson. Both have high ankle sprains and could be out next week as well. Oakland simply could not establish a ground game Sunday.

Penalties a problem: Oakland was penalized 10 times for 105 yards. After improving in the area early in the season, Oakland has taken a step back again. The team set NFL records for penalties and penalty yardage last season.

What’s next: Oakland will host New Orleans on Sunday. The Saints look like they are getting it together, and they have one of the most dangerous offenses in the league.
I have received a lot of questions from readers this afternoon about how much of the 2012 season Oakland middle linebacker Rolando McClain will miss because of his court case in Alabama.

Right now, it is impossible to guess.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that after being sentenced to 180 days in jail, McClain's attorney, Harvey Steinberg, said McClain has filed a request for a jury trial and now, under state law, "the process starts all over again." Steinberg said McClain will be notified at a later date as to when the jury trial will begin.

If the jury trial is a quick process and McClain is sentenced, he could face jail time during the season. But who knows how long the process will be and there are appeals and other situations at play. Often, when athletes serve jail terms, their attorneys try to arrange it that the time is served during their offseason.

Also, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell could decide to discipline at any time if he chooses to suspend McClain. Again, this is a legal situation that is fluid. Any speculation on McClain missing time would be mere guesswork.

UPDATE: The Raiders released this stamement on the McClain situation: “The Raiders are well aware of the proceedings in the Alabama courts today. The team will continue to closely monitor the legal process, understanding that when appropriate the NFL will review the situation under its personal conduct policy.”

In other AFC West news:

The Broncos and kicker Matt Prater have a model to work with on a new deal. Fellow franchised kicker Conner Barth received a four-year, $13.2 million deal from Tampa Bay on Thursday. Prater has yet to sign his tender and he is not with the team during OTAs.

San Diego coach Norv Turner turned 60 on Thursday. Turner has proclaimed Chargers star tight end Antonio Gates ”back.” Gates has been dealing with foot injuries for several years.

Oakland running back Darren McFadden talks about his return to health on ESPN radio.

The Broncos announced they've signed fourth-round pick Omar Bolden. The cornerback is the team’s first pick to sign.
Weekend mail call:

Mike O’Connell from San Diego writes: What type of impact do you expect running back Mike Goodson to have in Oakland?

Bill Williamson: Goodson was acquired from Carolina for guard Bruce Campbell. It was a trade of players who didn’t fit with their former teams' plans. Goodson has some ability, but he did not carry the ball at all in 2011, and was active for just four games. So, to expect him to be Darren McFadden’s primary backup might be a tad risky. Perhaps Goodson (who has 501 yards on 125 career carries) will carve a role for himself in Oakland as a running back, but he is far from established.

Matt Duench from Waterloo, Ontario, writes: What do you expect from Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas in 2012?

BW: I expect big things form Thomas. He is growing as a player, and having him work with Peyton Manning should be a major boost to his career. I fully expect Thomas -- if he can stay healthy -- to take the next step in his career in 2012. I think he can be a star.

Darren from Kansans City writes: Do you think Rodney Hudson is ready to be the Chiefs’ starting center?

BW: I think so. He is a second-round pick entering his second season. We really won’t know until we see him, but the Chiefs believe in him and plan for him to play this season. Hudson is known for being a smart, tough player. He has a chance to develop into a solid pro.

One player to watch

December, 29, 2011
One player to watch from each AFC West team in Week 17:

Denver Broncos, Tim Tebow, quarterback: It’s been all about Tebow in Denver as the Broncos fought their way into the playoff picture. It won’t change as Denver tries to get into the playoffs with a win at home over Kansas City. Tebow is coming off a miserable performance at Buffalo, in which he threw four interceptions. Tebow must be better Sunday. If he is terrible in the game and Denver doesn’t make the playoffs, his future with the Broncos could be clouded.

Kansas City Chiefs, Kyle Orton, quarterback: Tebow replaced Orton in Week 5 as Denver’s starter and the Broncos cut him in November. He was claimed by the Chiefs and we’ve all wondered if the Week 17 matchup in Denver would give Orton the chance to get back at his former team. Not only does Orton have an opportunity to knock the Broncos out of the playoffs, he is also playing for his own future. A win over Denver would give Orton a 2-1 record as the Chiefs’ quarterback and they could be interested in bringing back the pending free agent as their starter in 2012.

Oakland Raiders, Michael Bush, running back: Whether or not Darren McFadden comes back, Bush will be a big factor against the Chargers as the Raiders try to stay alive. Bush ran over the Chargers in November where he had a season-high 157 yards on 30 carries against in Oakland’s win in San Diego. Expect the Raiders to give Bush a chance to do the same thing in this game as he just 89 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season. While Bush hasn’t had more than 78 yards per game in his last five games, perhaps a second date with the Chargers will ignite him.

San Diego Chargers, Vincent Jackson, receiver: This could be Jackson’s final game as a Charger as he is a free agent at the end of the season. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jackson is franchised again, but it depends on who will be making the decisions in San Diego. If general manager A.J. Smith is replaced, maybe the new regime will want to give Jackson a new deal. He is having a strong season despite injuries and has 58 catches for 1,077 yards and eight touchdowns.

2011 Raiders: Tale of two QBs

December, 13, 2011
Jason Campbell and Carson Palmer have been the quarterback for the Oakland Raiders for about the same amount of time this season.

Who was better for the Raiders?

Even though the Raiders have thrown the ball more with Palmer, they were more effective with Campbell and had a better record with him.

Campbell started six games for the Raiders before suffering a collarbone injury in Week 6 against Cleveland. The Raiders were 4-2 in Campbell’s six starts. Palmer -- who was acquired from Cincinnati for two premium picks two days after Campbell went down -- has also started six games for Oakland and has played in seven games as a Raider. The Raiders are 3-3 in Palmer’s six starts and 3-4 in games he has played in.

Palmer has thrown 13 interceptions in 219 passes. Campbell threw four interceptions in 166 attempts. Palmer has thrown for 1,730 yards and nine touchdowns on 123-of-219 passes. He has completed 56.2 percent of his passes and he has a 70.8 quarterback rating.

Campbell has thrown for 1,170 passes on 100-of-166 passes. He has completed 60.8 percent of his passes. He threw six touchdowns and had a quarterback rating of 84.2. Also, Campbell was sacked five times while Palmer has been dumped 14 times.

It seems like the Raiders’ passing offense has been more dynamic and was more used with Palmer, but it has been more mistake prone.

Yes, Palmer has played without running back Darren McFadden, who starred when Campbell was playing. But until recent games, the Oakland run attack was strong.

What does it all mean?

It boils down to wins and losses. Palmer was brought to Oakland to win and he has three games to get the Raiders -- who are 7-6 and a game behind Denver in the AFC West and who is a game behind in the wild card race -- to the playoffs. The key for him is to cut down on his mistakes.

As for Campbell, there was originally hope he’d be ready at the end of the season. Oakland has not put him on the injured reserve, but it’s likely the only way he’d play again this season is if his health quickly improves and Palmer gets hurt. Campbell is a free agent at the end of the season and has said he wants to be starter in 2012. The Raiders are essentially married to Palmer because of what they gave up for him.