Are The Raiders Finished?

By Zack Cimini

How often do you see a returning AFC champion struggle through their first six games? Well if you haven?t, now you have with the Oakland Raiders who are now 2-4. In fact, they could very easily be 0-6. Their wins against San Diego and Cincinnati could have easily been losses. So what is wrong with this team?

Have the Raiders really aged that quickly? From the looks of it they do look old, but for the most part they just aren?t putting it together on the field. Rich Gannon has struggled to move the ball effectively, and their whole offense has been non existent. In years past their ability to move the ball up and down the field on short passes worked tremendously. Now it just dies out because they can?t get any momentum going.

Another huge reason is that the Raiders have been missing Joey Porter. He brings so much to the teams wide receivers and takes a lot of pressure off of Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. Last year while Joey Porter used his physical skills, Rice and Brown were able to use their knowledge of the game to have big seasons. Let?s face it Rice and Brown are no longer number one options at receiver, and they need Porter to be that option.

Charlie Garner also needs to be more of a factor. The Raiders have been known for abandoning the run and it has cost them in the past. Garner is a top ten back if he would get the touches. They have a great stable of running backs, with all different types of abilities. If they could utilize them more, they could control the clock again.

Rich Gannon has looked shaky in the pocket, but he hasn?t lost much. He still has plenty of mobility, and just needs a little more protection in the pocket. All last season he was known for his 300 plus passing games week in and week out, and now he is struggling to reach the 200 yard mark. He is a solid veteran, and if anyone can turn it around he can.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Raiders defense hasn?t done much to help out their offense. In fact they are leading the league in yards given up on the ground. It seems like every week the best rushing game is coming against the Raiders. Last week William Green had his best game of the year, and things don?t get easier this week against Priest Holmes.

Overall at 2-4 the Raiders aren?t necessarily finished. A big win this week against the Chiefs could turn their whole season around. That?s the type of win that could lead them to a four or five game winning streak. The Titans were in a similar situation last season, and pulled off a long winning streak. If the Raiders are going to do it, it?ll have to start this week. At 2-5, I don?t think they?d be able to win seven of their last nine.


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