AFC West: Shaun Hill
A look at the Raiders’ 31-20 home victory Saturday night:
Oakland's first preseason win came courtesy of some late-game offensive explosions.
Terrelle Pryor can run and he’s exciting. There’s no doubt. He lit up the stadium with a 59-yard run and a 17-yard touchdown jaunt, totaling 90 yards rushing on five carries. But most importantly, he made some nice passes and hit rookie Juron Criner for two touchdowns (39 and 76 yards) in the fourth quarter. Pryor finished 3 of 5 passing for 137 yards. If he can throw the ball consistently, he could have a future. Saturday was a promising day for Pryor, who has struggled this summer.
As for Criner, it was a nice show for the home fans after impressing his teammates in camp all summer.
Oakland quarterback Carson Palmer’s uneven preseason continued. He had his moments, but he also threw two interceptions. Palmer has thrown four interceptions in the preseason; he threw 16 picks in 10 games last season. Again, that is Palmer’s biggest area of concern.
Palmer did engineer a long scoring drive in the first half -- a promising sign.
Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski suffered a groin injury and left the game after trying to make a tackle on a 79-yard kick return. It is not known how long Janikowski -- the best kicking weapon in the NFL -- will be out. His replacement, rookie Eddy Carmona, drilled a 56-yard field goal, and perhaps he’d kick if Janikowski’s injury lingers into the regular season. Still, Oakland needs Janikowski to have a quick recovery.
Oakland’s special teams need some work. They are usually stellar, but have been a little sloppy this preseason. The Raiders have had key injuries on special teams and I don’t think it is an issue yet.
Oakland’s defense played solidly again. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford went down with a hand injury in the second quarter; he had been pretty successful before getting hurt. His backup, Shaun Hill, took over and had some success.
Undrafted rookie receiver Rod Streater had five catches, giving him 18 for the preseason. He started Saturday because of injuries, which is a major accomplishment for an undrafted rookie. It looks like he will get a chance to contribute when the regular season starts.
The Raiders had some early penalty problems after being pretty clean in the first two games. They had four pre-snap penalties and were penalized a total of nine times for 59 yards. Cutting down on penalties has to be a priority for Oakland, which set NFL records for penalties and penalty yardage in 2011.
Oakland reserve running back Taiwan Jones had a nice game with 50 yards on 10 carries. He will be a key factor behind starter Darren McFadden.
Fellow Raiders back Mike Goodson had 18 yards on seven carries. But he didn’t fumble after fumbling twice last week.
Oakland allowed just one sack all game.
Young defensive linemen Jamie Cumbie, Jack Crawford and Christo Bilukidi all looked good and all have promise.
Both teams are expected to add a quarterback during the offseason. Let’s take a look at the current unrestricted free agents, who could intrigue either team. The list doesn’t include the Colts’ Peyton Manning. But once he is cut, expect both teams to at least consider signing him with the Chiefs being the more likely of the two teams.
Jason Campbell: I could see the former Raiders starter in Kansas City. He played for Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn for two years in Washington.
Dennis Dixon: He could be a backup option in Denver if the Broncos are looking for a mobile quarterback.
David Garrard: He may be rusty after sitting out the 2011 season and he won’t be a top option. But he is an experienced backup that could fit in with either team.
Chad Henne: There has been talk Denver will be interested and he could push Tim Tebow. Kansas City could also be interested. He played for new Kansas City offensive coordinator Brian Daboll last season.
Shaun Hill: I could see him being on Denver’s list as a backup.
Josh Johnson: Denver could look at him as a backup to Tebow.
Byron Leftwich: Like Garrard and Hill, he is an experienced backup who could be interesting for Denver if other options don’t develop.
Kyle Orton: If he doesn’t get a better option, Orton could come back to Kansas City and try to take Matt Cassel's job.
Brady Quinn: I doubt he returns to Denver, but if other options don’t pan out in Kansas City, he could be looked at as a backup. He played for Chiefs’ coach Romeo Crennel in Cleveland.
Sage Rosenfels: Put him in the Garrard, Hill, Leftwich category for Denver.
Vince Young: Giving Tebow a similar backup would be compelling and you never know, maybe the light would finally come on for Young in Denver.
|Oakland and San Francisco have fallen on hard times recently. Who is more likely to be successful this season: Darren McFadden and the Raiders or Patrick Willis' 49ers?|
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The Raiders and 49ers each have strung together six consecutive losing seasons, sustained futility that once would have seemed unfathomable for either Bay Area franchise.
Which team stands a better chance of breaking through this season? AFC West blogger Bill Williamson took the Raiders and I took the 49ers during the latest Football Today podcast, with Jeremy Green of Scouts Inc. as the moderator and producer Jason Soderberg picking the winner.
Bill and I had some fun with the fisticuffs Raiders head coach Tom Cable allegedly unleashed on assistant Randy Hanson. Perhaps the rest of us were premature in awarding toughness points to 49ers head coach Mike Singletary for merely talking about hitting people in the mouth.
We debated whether 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis or Raiders running back Darren McFadden would have the bigger season. Bill said he thought Oakland had the potential to field the best rushing attack in the NFL this season. While Willis will be harder to evaluate because he will not carry the football 15 or 20 times a game, I left little doubt as to which player I thought would enjoy the stronger career. Willis is already a perennial Pro Bowl player. I think he has a chance to put together Hall of Fame credentials before he's finished.
The debate featured quite a bit of discussion about the quarterback situations of each team. I'd take Shaun Hill over what JaMarcus Russell offers right now, although Jeff Garcia's presence in Oakland does give the Raiders a proven fallback option.
Check out the Football Today podcast for the rest of the discussion.
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
I played along with our quarterbacking ranking feature.
It was an interesting exercise. I learned it's a pretty good league for quarterbacks these days. Some of the players I had ranked low are quality players and are winners.
Here's my list:
1. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis: Manning may be the best quarterback ever to play.
2. Tom Brady, New England: OK, Brady is 1b.
3. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh: Big Ben isn't pretty, but he's a winner.
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans: Brees has had his share of doubters. Not anymore. He's got the goods.
5. Philip Rivers, San Diego: Rivers is a winner. End of story.
6. Carson Palmer, Cincinnati: A good quarterback in a lousy situation.
7. Jay Cutler, Denver: He is not elite yet, but he's on his way.
8. Matt Ryan, Atlanta: What he accomplished as a rookie was astounding.
9. Tony Romo, Dallas: He may need to focus better, but he's a big-league talent.
10. Kurt Warner, Arizona: A future Hall of Famer.
12. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia: He isn't perfect, but McNabb's a solid player.
13. Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle: Hasselbeck is a gamer.
14. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay: He'll be a Pro Bowler by 2010.
15. Chad Pennington, Miami: A gutsy, hard-nosed player.
16. Matt Cassel, Kansas City: We'll see how he does outside of the Patriots' bubble.
17. Trent Edwards, Buffalo: He has a chance to be very good.
18. Joe Flacco , Baltimore: He has a chance to move up this list quickly.
19. Jason Campbell, Washington: This is a big year for him.
20. Matthew Stafford: Detroit may be wise to take him with the top pick.
21. Matt Schaub, Houston: I expect a big year from him.
22. Mark Sanchez: He has a chance for fast success.
23. Jake Delhomme, Carolina: He's slipping, but he's had a nice career.
24. Kerry Collins, Tennessee: He's finishing his career strong.
25. Jeff Garcia: He still has something left in the tank.
26. Brady Quinn, Cleveland: He will move up this list soon.
27. David Garrard, Jacksonville: He doesn't make many mistakes.
28. Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota: He's still raw and he needs to improve.
29. Marc Bulger, St. Louis: The end is near.
30. JaMarcus Russell, Oakland: The jury is still out, but he hasn't been impressive yet.
31. Derek Anderson, Cleveland: He needs a fresh start.
32. Kyle Orton, Chicago: He's just so-so.
33. Shaun Hill, San Francisco: Same with this guy.