BGA Preview: Raiders at Jets

During the season, Bent’s Game Analysis charts games for some of the Jets’ upcoming opponents, enabling a break down of what to watch out for on gameday…

The struggling Raiders, behind the 8-ball all season because so much of their salary cap is tied up in dead money, head to the East Coast for an early game against their fellow strugglers the New York Jets. That’s historically tough for West Coast teams, but the Raiders do have the benefit of a long week to prepare and get adjusted to the early start, following their loss to the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

After the jump, I break down the positional groupings (BGA-style!) to try and highlight what the Jets need to look out for.

Quarterbacks

Rookie Matt McGloin has far exceeded expectations since becoming the Raiders’ starter three games ago, following an injury to Terrelle Pryor. McGloin had looked pretty good in training camp, but fell down the depth chart after an underwhelming preseason. However, he’s made the most of his opportunities since getting a chance during the regular season. McGloin doesn’t have good measurables, but he’s put up pretty solid numbers so far. One thing that has really helped the Raiders is that he gets rid of the ball quickly and, as a result, has only been sacked twice in his four appearances (both by JJ Watt). That’s behind a line that had given up the most sacks in the league for much of the season.

Pryor is now healthy and head coach Dennis Allen has been dropping some hints that perhaps he will start to see some action soon, maybe even in this game. Presumably that would be in some kind of read-option package. Pryor had struggled as a passer, but did rush for over 500 yards at 7.4 yards per carry before McGloin replaced him. As a general rule, he looks pretty good when rolling to his right, but when he rolls left, his technique is poor.

Offensive Line

The Raiders have had a bunch of injuries on their offensive line all season and offensive line coach Tony Sparano has struggled to get any kind of consistent lineup on the field. That doesn’t change this week as right guard Mike Briesel, a steady veteran presence, has been ruled out. That means the Raiders are seriously weak at the guard spots. Lucas Nix, an undrafted free agent, grades out as the worst guard in the NFL per PFF, but Allen has confirmed during the week that he’s likely to get the starting nod at right guard over another veteran, Andre Gurode. The other guard spot is filled by Khalif Barnes, who had been playing left tackle until being kicked inside last week. Barnes is tied with Willie Colon for having committed the most penalties in the NFL this season (11).

Barnes’ move was a by-product of Jared Veldheer’s return. He had been injured all season, but made his return last week at left tackle. Veldheer is probably the Raiders’ most talented linemen. In his absence, center Stefan Wiesniewski has led the unit, grading out as the second best run blocking center in the NFL per PFF. Veteran Tony Pashos rounds out the line and has actually been a solid cheap pickup for them this year.

The Raiders have sometimes been rotating their linemen, so don’t be surprised to see Gurode or British rookie Menelik Watson out there for a series or two. Watson also sees plenty of action as an extra tight end in jumbo packages.

Running Backs

The Raiders have major injury concerns at the running back position. It’s no surprise to see Darren McFadden on the injured list, but he’s joined by backup Rashad Jennings and third stringer (and, briefly, former Jet) Jeremy Stewart. McFadden and Stewart are both out with ankle injuries and Jennings – the former Jaguar having a career year in 2013 – is questionable following a grisly-looking concussion suffered last Thursday.

In their absence, the Raiders have two options. Marcel Reece, who is listed as a fullback, but is actually a converted receiver who plays multiple roles, is option number one. He’s been in that role before with McFadden injured so often. Last year, when McFadden and backup Mike Goodson both went down, he carried 47 times over three games and averaged 4.7 yards per carry, with a 100-yard game against the Saints in week 11. The other option is cornerback Taiwan Jones. Jones hasn’t seen any action on defense so far, but plays a key role on special teams. He converted to cornerback last season, but did used to be a running back and has carried 22 times for 94 yards in his NFL career.

If Reece plays more as the tailback, the Raiders have another option at fullback – Jamize Ozawale, who was an undrafted free agent last year and has seen action on over 10 snaps per game so far this season.

One other outside the box thought – could they perhaps use Pryor as a running back in certain packages?

Receivers

The Raiders do boast some serious big-play potential in their receiving corps, which is worrisome for the Jets, given their struggles in terms of defending the deep ball and tackling in the open field. Denarius Moore, who averages 15.4 yards per catch on 37 receptions and is the only Raider with more than two touchdown catches (five), has been ruled out, but Andre Holmes has really started to emerge over the last month. The 6-4 27-year old, who entered the season with two catches for 11 yards in his NFL career, had seven catches for 136 yards on Thanksgiving.

The Raiders’ leading receiver is actually Rod Streater, who has 43 catches and only two drops. Diminutive speedster Jacoby Ford has only 99 receiving yards all year, but is dangerous on screens and reverses. Streater was playing in the slot a lot, but with Moore out, perhaps he will move outside and Ford will play the slot.

At tight end, former Dolphin Jeron Mastrud is listed as the starter, but he’s mostly a blocker. Mychal Rivera is more of a receiving threat.

Defensive Line

On defense, the Raiders play mostly 3-4 when in base, even though their depth chart displays them as a 4-3 team. On the inside, two veterans – Vance Walker and Pat Sims – are solid but unspectacular. Sixth round pick Stacy McGee has been doing reasonably well as a backup and the Raiders may look to increase his reps over the last month of the season. Ex-Jet Daniel Muir is solid against the run and pass off the bench too.

Off the edge, their most dangerous player is Lamarr Houston, who plays the majority of the snaps and has developed into a productive pass rusher. During the week, he vowed to improve upon what he considered to be a poor performance against the Cowboys. On the other edge, Jason Hunter has been less impressive than Houston. He has two sacks. Off the bench, they’ve been giving a few pass rushing reps per game to another Brit, Jack Crawford, who was a 5th round pick last year.

Linebackers

Although Houston is their best pass rusher, linebacker Nick Roach actually leads the Raiders with 5.5 sacks. He’s been very poor against the run though. Veteran Kevin Burnett has been very good against the run, but has missed 15 tackles on the season to lead the team. Third round pick Sio Moore has also been starting and has played well on the whole, but is inconsistent.

The Raiders aren’t afraid to blitz their linebackers. Roach, Burnett and Moore have rushed the passer over 100 times each and combined for 11.5 sacks and over 50 total pressures.

With backup Kaluka Maiava out, the Raiders are thin at the position.

Defensive Backs

The Raiders secondary is thin, especially at the safety position. The team has intercepted just seven passes all year (the same as the Jets).

Usama Young was just placed on injured reserve and, despite being listed as a starter, Tyvon Branch remains out having not played since week two. That leaves veteran Charles Woodson, who has battled gamely all year but isn’t close to the player he once was, paired with yet another former undrafted player Brandian Ross, who has struggled badly against the run and pass all year. If they use any three-safety looks, they’ll be forced to use another inexperienced player or play one of their cornerbacks out of position.

Their starting cornerbacks are two former high 2008 draft picks – first rounder Mike Jenkins and former Super Bowl hero Tracy Porter. In nickel packages, Porter moves into the slot and Phillip Adams plays on the outside. He’s struggled over the last few weeks.

Special Teams

The Raiders finally broke up perhaps the most dominant kicking tandem the league has ever seen when they let punter Shane Lechler leave for Houston in the offseason. However, rookie Marquette King gets terrific distance and hang time on some of his kicks. He does need to work on his consistency though – and does give up a lot of return yardage (389, third in the league).

Sebastian Janikowski is still there. He has arguably the biggest leg the NFL has ever seen, but sometimes can be inconsistent on shorter kicks. Two of his six misses this year were from within 40 yards.

With so many athletes on the roster, the Raiders have a ton of options to return kicks. At the moment, it’s Jones on kickoffs and undrafted rookie receiver Greg Jenkins on punts. However, if the Raiders want to keep Jones fresh to use him at running back, then Ford is another option they’ve used this year. Jones is also their leading tackler in coverage and Allen has said he is playing at a Pro Bowl level.

>>>

I’ll be back tomorrow to recap the game.

Stats from PFF were used in the completion of this article.




96 comments
gameday
gameday

Geno is beginningto look alike like Sachez in every single way. Three O coordinators and 2 QBs and the same results ? Hmmm

frustjetfn
frustjetfn

Bent, you noted that McGloin gets rid of the ball quickly: is that due to a quick release or football smarts (that you also cited)?


As we all know (even Rex), Geno is holding onto the ball too long. So my question is: How does Geno's release time compare once he decides to get rid of the ball? Is his windup too long, reflexes too slow or strictly knowledge of the game? This is EXTREMELY important b/c playing time / game experience will NOT change the first two causes, but WILL cure the knowledge part. Also, the fan are being sold false hope if he has a long windup or slow reaction time that's inherent.

harvlis
harvlis

I really don't want to see Geno start the game, throw two INT's against a beatable team, and have Simms come in in the second half.  For a team that was not far off from a playoff spot, I can't understand the need to throw Geno to the wolves and bring down the team.  Geno is simply not ready.  I hope that this directive came from Idzik.  If Rex is behind Geno playing -- he needs to go.  

Simms has looked okay, whenever I have seen him.  As I have said before, Simms is the QB who has the potential.  They should have given him the opportunity to beat the Raiders. I feel he would beat them whereas, I have zero confidence in Geno.  The team needs to know if Simms has anything, for next season, and the Raiders would have been the perfect test.

nesboogie
nesboogie

We lost Silent Hill, big whoops lol

here2win
here2win

Bent

mybe you can help me out, I need my old avatar back, I created a new handle on sny.tv

Bent
Bent

Stephen Hill, downgraded to questionable with an injured knee on Friday, is inactive today.


Rashad Jennings, not unexpectedly, can't go for the Raiders, but that puts Marcel Reece, who is no slouch, to starting tailback.  He's one of their better players and will arguably have more of an impact there than he would at FB.

nesboogie
nesboogie

SIGN CHRIS JOHNSON, HE'S EXPECTED TO GET CUT BY THE TITANS

frustjetfn
frustjetfn

Good analysis as usual. Don't laugh, but it sounds as if the Jets are getting the lowly Raiders at the right time. If Geno blows this one,,,er, no consequences, he'll start again next week. - That's Rex's way of holding everyone accountable.


Go get ;em Geno, Rex believes in you (no matter what you do).

ssxtricky
ssxtricky

If we lose this game im finally going to jump off tge rex bandwagon. Ive been an apoligest for him the past 2 years but he just isnt getting it done. I hope that he gets the teams head out of there collective asses and makes them play to their full potential.

I dont have high hopes though and we are probably going to get blown out today.

BringBackDaveTelghe
BringBackDaveTelghe

I hate getting into this mode but losing the next 4 puts this team in a better position for the future.

a57se
a57se

HATER!

Geno played GREAT TODAY!

Bent
Bent

@frustjetfn I see Geno holding the ball too long not because he can't get rid of it, but because he is indecisive or doesn't read the defense fast enough.  Hopefully the game will slow down for him the more experience he gets, but that doesn't seem to be the case as this season has gone along.


McGloin has just been a lot more decisive.  Let's see if he falls into any traps today though.

jets4ever
jets4ever

I somewhat agree with you, though I think Cleveland will also be a good team to see Simms in two weeks.

a57se
a57se

Oh, nice edit! Radha would be proud!

Bent
Bent

@here2win You can't add avatars to an SNY account yet, but apparently they're working on it.  Anyone who does have an avatar must be logged in via twitter or facebook.

frustjetfn
frustjetfn

Bent, I'm surprised at you. Hill's been playing all this year with two injured hands and a concussion that inhibited his ability to get open, know where he was on the field or come back for the ball.


Hmmm, come to think about it, maybe he was injured when we drafted him. :)

a57se
a57se

Oh, well losing Hill means nothing for the Jets as he doesn't do anything anyway.


a57se
a57se

Not a bad idea if he doesn't want a boatload of money from us.

a57se
a57se

Are you someone who has posted here a lot? I ask because your handle is not familiar......

Bent
Bent

@BringBackDaveTelghe I'd say that actually winning beats losing but for a totally different reason.  The Jets have a ton of cap room coming up and if no free agents want to come here because they ended the previous season with a whimper (and maybe because the allure of playing for Rex is no longer an attraction) then the Jets will end up overspending which would set them back far more than (a) missing the playoff or (b) not improving their draft position.

a57se
a57se

That is true......

a57se
a57se

B-b-but we have the WORST WR's in the NFL who can NEVER get open and DROP WAY too many passes!!! You must be a GENO HATER!!!!!

Bent
Bent

@a57se Today might have been a time when he could do something with Kerley, Holmes and Winslow all in the game drawing attention away from him.

Bent
Bent

@a57se He's been posting here for ages.

jets4ever
jets4ever

@a57se So much for letting people have their say and be done with it. lol

a57se
a57se

Do you really think that will have more of an impact on the team then the possibility of getting better quality from the draft?

Beating Kansas City the last week of the 2007 season hurt the Jets in the Draft far more then anything else.

johnnyl65
johnnyl65

@DarrolRayFanClub @BringBackDaveTelghe How do you figure that?

Geno plays well enough to stop us from getting a real franchise QB,we still miss the play off and end up with a worse draft spot.

I don't see the positive.

a57se
a57se

I'm pretty sure he was referring to our draft position which winning does not help.

a57se
a57se

Darn, I wish I had thought of that!

frustjetfn
frustjetfn

a57se, I assume you mean "he's just a b-b-bust." :)

a57se
a57se

B-b-but he hasn't done nothing for like weeks, he's just a bust!

a57se
a57se

Ah, I was just wondering if he was one of our regulars that I haven't seen since the new commenting system went up!

a57se
a57se

Is that was it is?

a57se
a57se

I never root against the Jets, that's just the way it is. Once the game starts, I can't help myself.

Bent
Bent

@a57se Plenty more guys have been overpaid and unmotivated when joining lousy teams.


Have fun rooting against the Jets though.

a57se
a57se

Meh, plenty of guys have signed contracts with lousy teams.......

Bent
Bent

@a57se That proves my point.  I don't want a guy who "will happily accept money" and "play to get paid".  I want guys who will come here and buy in and work hard so the Jets can build around them, not guys who are going to clock in and only came here in the first place because they were getting more money than they'd get elsewhere.


If you were a promising youngster, would you come here, knowing that if they draft a guy in your position, he'll probably get reps over you even if you outperform him?

a57se
a57se

Meh, players play to get paid....there will be plenty of guys who will happily accept money fro the Jets.

Trading up is how we got into this situation in the first place with Tanny giving away draft choices for one guy.

We have to improve our depth through the draft as well as our talent.

Bent
Bent

@a57se Eh, we've got plenty of excess picks to enable us to trade back up if we have to.  They can't pick 12 players and fit them all on the team.


I'm much more concerned that they'll have money burning a hole and nobody will want to come here, so they'll overspend on junk.

a57se
a57se

Given DRFC's dichotomy, we weren't talking about a few spots, but even that can have a significant impact on your future....ask Ron Wolf hen he was with the Jets.

Bent
Bent

@a57se Yes, absolutely.  I'm not talking about one game, I'm talking about whether it's helpful to stop winning with four games still remaining.


And the 2008 draft is not a good example because the Jets ended up with the 6th pick in a five player draft for all intents and purposes.  This draft is deeper.


Also, do you even have faith in their drafting that going up a few spots will make any difference?  They might end up with another "A-plus" group of busts, but picking higher will just mean they earn more.

Bent
Bent

@DarrolRayFanClub @a57se Yeah, that's not a great idea, since I'm not in a position to turn a blind eye to it right now.  If it gets flagged up to the authorities, they'll probably just ban you.

levi
levi

@johnnyl65 Its all good. Its just a lot of scrolling and reading silly arguments but Im fine with it. Carry on fellas.

jets4ever
jets4ever

Isn't that exactly what DRFC was asking you to do?

johnnyl65
johnnyl65

@levi @a57se  I kind of thought that's what done on a football blog. I mean we're not discussing matters of importance.

a57se
a57se

Well if you didn't have your own completely inaccurate definitions, people would actually be able to communicate intelligently with you......

a57se
a57se

You are right, I shouldn't lower myself and argue with the morons of the world.....just let them have their say and be done with it.

levi
levi

@a57se  I like you 57 but you do argue a lot over stupid shat.

a57se
a57se

Are you really that ignorant?

Look, try Google before you post definitions of big words that you really don't understand.....

a57se
a57se

Being an agnostic says it all......

johnnyl65
johnnyl65

@DarrolRayFanClub @johnnyl65 @BringBackDaveTelghe

There is absolutely nothing in the three games since the bye that tells me we will even win one more game none the less four.  And winning any games is only for prides sake give me the draft position to bring in a franchise QB in 2014!!!!

a57se
a57se

I have no idea what the future holds but I also know that you have no idea either. That is the difference between you and I.

a57se
a57se

Oh, I know that but DRFC seems to think he has a crystal ball that works and is infallible......

a57se
a57se

How do you figure the Jets WILL make the playoffs if they win the next four?

a57se
a57se

How do comments disappear here?

johnnyl65
johnnyl65

@a57se The truth probably is that since he is a Geno apologist he would prefer Geno plays well enough to keep his job but at this point he would never admit it.

a57se
a57se

What a clown....if the Jets win out and make the playoffs. the highest they will draft will be is 21st while if the Jets lose out, they will be in the top ten and probably closer to the top 5 so we are talking about 11 to 16 slots....which is very significant.

a57se
a57se

and you are the one with a dumb ass comment after it that made no sense given the obvious context of the original.......if you don't think having a better draft position is best for the future of any team, well then say that. Let's discuss what you really mean instead of dumb comments.

a57se
a57se

Well, if it was so obvious, why would you leave your comment?