Halfway through the 2012 season, the Oakland Raiders have a 3-5 record. Here are the midseason grades for every offensive position:
Carson Palmer has done everything possible to will the Raiders to victories. He has the Raiders passing offense ranked 7th in the NFL averaging 281.3 yards per game. The veteran quarterback has thrown for 2,355 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions. His toughness and resiliency have been tremendous. The only blemish on Palmer has been his decision making and devastating interceptions. Because the Raiders have trialed so much this season, Palmer is visibly pressing to make plays. However, his interceptions have come at horrible times for Oakland.
Running Backs- C-
The Oakland running game has struggled mightily all year. Running back Darren McFadden still possesses all the talent and physical gifts to be an elite back. However, the Raiders are ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing offense at a pedestrian 77.3 yards per game. McFadden has been hampered by poor offensive line play and play calling at times, but has yet to put together that huge game he is capable of producing. He has only 455 yards and two touchdowns this season. He is averaging a marginal 3.3 yards per carry. Mike Goodson has filled in nicely when McFadden needs a rest, averaging 6.5 yards per carry on his 17 attempts. Marcel Reece broke out against Tampa Bay last week and has the versatility to help the offense drastically, but he isn't utilized as much as his ability indicates.
Offensive Line- C
The Raiders offensive line has not adapted well to the zone blocking scheme. They have been put in bad positions by having to pass block so often, but they have lacked the consistency necessary each game. They have pieces to build around in Stefen Wisniewski, Jared Veldheer, and Mike Brisiel, but the right tackle spot is a disaster. When Khalif Barnes went down with an injury in week two, Willie Smith took over as the starting right tackle. Since that point, he has struggled and proved he is not the answer. His penalty issues as well as his inability to block quicker defensive ends has devastated the Raiders.
Wide Receivers- B
Before the season began, the Raiders receiving corps was thought to be a strength. Despite some ups and downs, they have lived up to the hype. Darrius Heyward-Bey still isn't an unquestioned number one receiver, but he has developed into a complete package of speed, route running, and catching. Denarius Moore has quickness and the ability to get separation from defenders. He has a chance for a 1000 yard season if he stays healthy. If Moore continues to develop, he has a chance to be special. When Jacoby Ford was lost for the season, the Raiders picked up Derek Hagan, who has filled in nicely. Rookie Rod Streater looks like a gem as an undrafted free agent. He has incurred some growing pains, but has made several big plays for the Oakland offense. Juron Criner, who is also a rookie, has been used as a big red zone target. He made a really nice catch for a crucial two point conversion against the Buccaneers.
Tight Ends- A-
Brando Myers has been a pleasant surprise for the Raiders. He leads the team in receptions with 39 and has amassed 442 yards, two touchdowns and converted 21 first downs. His only weakness has been some missed blocks. Richard Gordon has been inactive for several games and has not been the blocking sensation he has hyped to be. Once he gets healthy for an extended period of time, real evaluation can be made. David Ausberry has some flashes of the speed and strength combination that could be dangerous. He has four catches of over 10 yards this season, but has seen little action in the last three weeks.
Tags: Brandon Myers, Carson Palmer, Darren McFadden, Darrius Heyward Bey, Denarius Moore, Football, Marcel Reece, Mike Goodson, NFL, Oakland, Oakland Raiders