By Ryan Leong
Where do the Raiders go from here?
Losing that game in Week Four at Denver did them a lot more harm than good. 2-2 is much different than the 1-3 record that appears next to the Raiders in the win-loss column, making any playoff hopes appear bleak.
Adding insult to injury is that the team’s game on offense is looking as lost as someone in the Twilight Zone. Under first-year offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, the Raiders offense ranks dead last in the NFL in rushing at 60.8 yards per game. By comparison, the Raiders ranked seventh last year and in 2010 were second in rushing.
Running back Darren McFadden seems to be regressing, having rushed for only 56 yards at Denver. He is at 201 yards through four games. Last year at the same time he had 468 rushing yards.
The Raiders had practice sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday. Because of the new collective bargaining agreement, the team must take four days off before reconvening on Monday.
Quarterback Carson Palmer said he’ll take the four days to evaluate video and expects many of his teammates to do the same.
“It’s not four days off,” Palmer said. “That’s something you’ve really got to relay to young guys. You don’t just sit on the couch and watch TV. Everybody’s taking home film. I know I’ve got a bunch of stuff on my computer I need to watch, and even young guys are taking home film. It’s a chance to get some rest physically but not mentally.
“That’s something coach (Dennis Allen) really emphasized. You can go one of two ways. You can say, ‘Screw it, I’m going to Vegas and party for four days,’ and that’s not what this team is about. Most of these guys are sticking around, are going to come in and work out. Guys understand we’ve got a lot of football left, and it’s not time just to relax. It’s time to get healthy but continue to work, to work out and stay in shape and be ready to go on Monday.”
Tackle Khalif Barnes has been out with a groin injury while cornerback Shawntae Spencer has a sprained right foot. Both have missed the last two games and both have not practiced with the team this week. They’re also doubtful to play in the upcoming Atlanta game. Barnes also underwent a surgical procedure back on September 21.
Receiver Darrius-Heyward Bey is making progress. He practiced on both days following his fourth quarter concussion hit from Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Mundy. Coach Dennis Allen says Heyward-Bey is showing signs of improvement, which is encouraging.
Defensive end Andre Carter was signed by the Raiders just before their game in Denver but was not active for that contest. He practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday and will possibly play in the upcoming game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, October 14.
The success of the other tenants of the Oakland Coliseum could affect the next Raiders home game. If the Athletics baseball team is playing in the American League Championship Series, the October 21 game vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars could be moved from Sunday to Monday night.
The Raiders play in the last remaining facility to house both an NFL and Major League Baseball team. The Miami Dolphins and Marlins shared Sun Life Stadium until 2012, when the Marlins moved into Marlins Park on the site of the old Orange Bowl.
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Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.