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Oakland Raiders’ Key for Sunday is Establishing the Running Game

October 23rd, 2014 at 10:38 AM
By Nicholas Gill

If there is ever a time for the Oakland Raiders to finally get their running game into gear, it will be this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. The Browns come into the match-up against the Raiders with the NFL's worst run defense. The Raiders enter the match-up with the league's worst run offense. Something is going to have to give on Sunday.

There is no question that in order for the Raiders to be successful, they must establish a run game. The only time this season that the offense was humming was against the San Diego Chargers. It is no mistake that the Chargers game is also the only game this season in which the Raiders were able to run successfully. In that game, Oakland rushed for 114 yards and averaged 5.7 yards per carry. They scored a season-high 28 points and rookie quarterback Derek Carr threw for a season high 282 yards and four touchdowns.

Last week, against the NFL's number one ranked run defense, Oakland was shut down. The Arizona Cardinals held the Raiders to just 56 rush yards and a 2.9 yards per rush average. The same problems have plagued the Raiders when it comes to their inability to run. The two most glaring issues are that they continue to get behind early and they are horrible on third down.

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Oakland Raiders LaMarr Woodley, David Ausberry Sustain Serious Injuries

October 22nd, 2014 at 6:44 PM
By Nicholas Gill

The Oakland Raiders had two serious injuries coming out of their 24-13 defeat to the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday. Interim head coach Tony Sparano confirmed that both defensive end LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and tight end David Ausberry (foot) have significant injuries. Neither were able to practice on Wednesday.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport is reporting that Woodley tore his bicep and is done for the season. The Raiders have not confirmed that, but have indicated that the injury is serious.

Woodley was brought in this offseason as a free agent to help the Raiders' pass rush. That has never materialized, with Woodley struggling to make much of an impact at all. So far this season, the eight year veteran has combined for five tackles and zero sacks in six games. If Woodley is done for the season, chances are he has played his last game in silver and black.

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Oakland Raiders Will Look to Keep Running Game Moving Against Stout Arizona Cardinals’ Defense

October 16th, 2014 at 5:40 PM
By Nicholas Gill

One of the most important keys to the Oakland Raiders' offensive resurgence against the San Diego Chargers last week was the running game. After four dreadful performances on the ground to open the season, the Raiders finally kicked the rushing attack into gear. The success of the run allowed the Raiders opportunities to push the ball down the field and prevent San Diego from getting comfortable on defense.

After four games to begin the season, Oakland only combined to rush for 246 yards. Last Sunday, the Raiders put together 114 yards and averaged 5.7 yards per carry. Running back Darren McFadden looked healthy, strong, and fast; carrying 14 times for 80 yards. Maurice Jones-Drew chipped in with four carries for 30 yards. McFadden had burst and finished runs with power.

“Having a healthy Darren McFadden will be key to us being able to move forward and hopefully be able to continue to move the football on a consistent basis,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “When Darren is healthy, he can run and he is fast. We have to do what we can to keep him healthy and keep him going.”

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Oakland Raiders CB DJ Hayden Returns to Practice Wednesday; No Timetable for Game Action

October 15th, 2014 at 5:38 PM
By Nicholas Gill

The much anticipated practice debut of Oakland Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden happened on Wednesday. The former 2013 first-round pick was able to participate in practice and even impressed Raiders head coach Tony Sparano with an interception. Hayden has been on the physically unable to perform list all season, which stems from foot surgery over the summer.

“He did a good job today out there,” Raiders head coach Tony Sparano said. “I anticipate taking it day by day and evaluating with coaches and Reggie [McKenzie] to see where we are with him. He obviously hasn't played in a long time so we don't want to hurry the process. We will make sure he is ready to go and everything is alright.”

Technically, Hayden is eligible to be taken off the PUP list and activated to the roster immediately, but he will need time to knock off the rust and get caught up. His only activity since the injury was working out on the side at practice. The Raiders will have three weeks to decide if Hayden is fit to play this season or he would be shut down for the year, and it sounds like they will let the process play out before making a decision.

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Oakland Raiders Open up Offense, Allowing Wide Receivers to Show Big Play Ability

October 14th, 2014 at 5:51 PM
By Nicholas Gill

The Oakland Raiders' wide receiving corps have been much maligned during the first four games of the season. The position group has failed to consistently get separation and have been plagued by drops. However, against the San Diego Chargers, the Raiders opened up the offense and it allowed the wide receivers to show their big play ability.

There were several reasons why the passing game came together. The offensive line did a tremendous job in pass protection, which allowed Derek Carr time to push the ball down the field. The running game finally came to life for the Raiders and that balance forced the Chargers' defense into guessing and never being able to get comfortable. Oakland was terrific on third down, converting 8-13 to extend drives and establish a rhythm. Quarterback Derek Carr was magnificent. He put the wide receivers in great position to make plays with his arm strength and accuracy on deep balls.

“I think they just got called more and we were able to make the plays on them,” Raiders wide receiver Andre Holmes said of the big plays. “The ball was thrown in the right places and we were able to make the play. There really wasn’t that much of a change in other weeks other than we might have dialed them up a little bit more.”

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