NFL@L.A.: Chuck Breshnahan
January, 1, 2012
By Bill Williamson | ESPNLosAngeles.com
A look at a blown opportunity by the Oakland Raiders as they lost 38-26 against the San Diego Chargers.
What it means: The Raiders will never forget this day. All Oakland had to do was beat the eliminated Chargers at home and they would have won the AFC West title because the Denver Broncos already lost at home to the Kansas City Chiefs. Yet, the Raiders were thumped by the Chargers, a team that the Raiders had completely handled the past three times they met. San Diego was the better team as the Raiders ended the season losing four of their final five games to finish 8-8. The Raiders haven’t been to the playoffs in nine years and are tied for the second longest drought in the NFL.
Support for Turner: It was probably too late, but give credit to the Chargers for playing hard for coach Norv Turner. He will likely be fired because the Chargers failed to make the playoffs for the second straight year. Still, if this was the end, it was impressive.
Jackson’s prediction doesn’t come true: Oakland rookie head coach Hue Jackson predicted earlier in the season the Raiders would win the AFC West. He and his troops had their chances, but they couldn’t get it done. Next season, Jackson needs to just coach and not prognosticate.
Palmer isn’t a difference maker: The Raiders traded two premium picks (including their first-round pick in April) to Cincinnati for Carson Palmer.Palmer did throw for 417 yards, but he wasn’t the difference. Now, the Raiders have to move forward with the 32-year-old and hope he doesn’t continue to decline as he had for the past three years. The Raiders went all in for 2011 with the Palmer trade and all they got was a second straight 8-8 season and no playoff berth.
Penalty kings: To add injury to insult, the Raiders set the NFL season record for penalties and penalty yardage Sunday. Oakland was penalized 163 times for 1,358 yards, surpassing the totals of 158 penalties for 1,304 yards set by the 1998 Chiefs.
Another bad defensive day for Oakland: San Diego was awesome on offense. It had 463 yards and never punted. Expect the calls for Oakland defensive coordinator Chuck Breshnahan to be fired to get very loud.
October, 2, 2011
By Bill Williamson | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Cary Edmondson/US PresswireOakland defensive end Richard Seymour racked up three penalties in a loss to the Patriots.OAKLAND – The Oakland Raiders’ loss to the New England Patriots isn’t devastating in the grand scope of the season.
Oakland is now 2-2 and trails San Diego by one game in the AFC West. Not being ready to hang with Tom Brady and friends is not the end of the world for a program that is growing early in the season. The Raiders still can be good in 2011.
But what the 31-19 loss to the Patriots did show the Raiders is they are not yet ready to be considered a top AFC team. They can get there and now know exactly what they have to do to take the next step.
They must play better defense, they most stop the self-destructive penalties and quarterback Jason Campbell has to play mistake-free.
All three areas were major issues for Oakland in a game where it simply couldn’t keep up with a better team.
“We just didn’t play well,” Oakland coach Hue Jackson said. “That’s the way it is.”
New England’s offense moved the ball at will. Brady, who was more efficient than electric Sunday, threw for 226 yards and the Patriots ran for 183 yards. New England spark-plug receiver Wes Welker picked on a young, hurt secondary as he caught nine passes for 158 yards. The Raiders have now allowed 113 points in the first quarter of the season.
Oakland helped the Patriots by committing nine penalties for 85 yards. The Raiders, who have been the most penalized team in the league in recent years, have committed at least seven penalties in each game this season.
Campbell endured his first poor game of the season even though he passed for 344 yards. Campbell, who has been efficient, threw two terrible interceptions. An interception in the second quarter in the end zone by New England safety Patrick Chung was the turning point of the game. Campbell threw the ball right at Chung.
“I don’t make those kind of mistakes,” Campbell said. “As soon as a I threw it, I said, ‘Oh shoot, I hope he drops it.'”
It wasn’t dropped. However, Oakland did drop an opportunity to show the Patriots and the rest of the conference it is ready to make a serious run at the playoffs for the first time in nine years. Oakland came roaring into this game off the glow of a tremendous win over the New York Jets last week at home.
The Raiders were opportunistic and authoritative in that game. They dictated the game. That never happened Sunday.
Oakland knows it has shoring up to do.
The mood in the Oakland locker room after Sunday’s game was as it should have been. It was quiet, but there was not an air of despair. The Raiders know they were outplayed Sunday and they know their mistakes were too plentiful. But they aren’t packing in it because of a loss on October 2.
“One game doesn’t change a season, but we do need to play better,” said Oakland defensive end Richard Seymour, who was clearly fired up to play the team that traded him two years ago. Seymour committed two 15-yard penalties on the Raiders’ first defensive drive. He added another 5-yard penalty later.
“They outplayed us. We couldn’t make enough plays. But we can fix those things,” Seymour said.
Oakland’s most urgent issue to address is the defense. There are talented players on this unit, however, it continues to get gutted in both the run and passing game. If Oakland’s stellar defensive line doesn’t harass the quarterback, the Raiders’ defense fails. Brady was sacked just once and he was hit just four times Sunday.
New England kept Oakland off balance because it passed and ran the ball so well. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Patriots ran for 174 yards on 21 carries (an average of 8.3 yards per carry) when the Raiders played seven or fewer defenders in the box. The Raiders entered the game allowing 6.6 yards per carry in those situations, which led the league.
Cary Edmondson/US PresswireJason Campbell had his worst game of the season in a loss to the New England Patriots.
Oakland was no better against the pass. They had no answer for Welker. This secondary has been picked on all season. Opponents -- beginning at potent Houston next week -- will continue to peck away Oakland’s secondary until the Raiders prove they can make stops defensively.
Jackson and defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan have a lot of work to do, or the Raiders will simply have to outscore opponents all season.
Campbell wasn’t up to that task Sunday. Once the Patriots started taking control in the third quarter, it was evident the Raiders couldn’t keep up. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Oakland sputtered deep in New England territory. Campbell completed just 54.5 percent of his passes inside the Patriots’ 35-yard line. He completed 67.9 percent of those passes outside New England’s 35.
“We’ll learn from this game,” Campbell said. “That’s the good thing.”
This game will provide plenty of coaching points for Jackson and his staff this week. These Raiders now know what they can’t get away with against the NFL’s elite teams.