With five weeks officially in the books, the Oakland Raiders have celebrated some tremendous triumphs and have succumbed to some unfortunate circumstances. Although most teams go through the same sort of trials and tribulations, the Raiders faced an insurmountable empty pit in their stomachs prior to the Houston Texans game with the death of their beloved Al Davis. But the Raiders swung through the punch and came out with a victory on the road. Thus far this season, they’ve given themselves and Coach Davis much to be proud of.
Jano’s very special leg
Sebastian Janikowski came to a point early in his career where some owners/GMs would have thrown in the towel. There was trouble on the field and trouble with the law. Al Davis never quit on his first round pick kicker and Jano is showing exactly why Davis would later make him the highest paid kicker in the NFL.
Several times Raider fans have believed Jano to be deserving of the AFC Pro Bowl nod at kicker and several times Jano has been denied the opportunity to join his teammate and friend, punter Shane Lechler, at the event. Well if the world didn’t know how good he was before, they do now. In week one, Jano tied the record for the longest field goal in history. In week five, on the road, he tied the NFL record for most field goals over 50 yards in a single contest. Both weeks he won the award for AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Jano has become the all-time leading scorer in Raiders’ franchise history and all he is going to do now is solidify himself a spot in Canton at the end of his career. The hope of the team is that he will get more and more opportunities and Lechler’s opportunities will dwindle moving forward under Hue Jackson. Jano has proven he is a special kicker and now he is showing the world why Al took a chance on him in the first round.
Moore hits the wall
Rookie wide receiver Denarius Moore has exactly 0 catches in the last two contests the Raiders have played. The first game, you can honestly say, it was not for a lack of targets. Moore and quarterback Jason Campbell seem to have lost their rhythm as of late while Campbell has struggled to find a reliable target other than Darrius Heyward-Bey.
It was expected Moore would hit the wall much sooner in his young career, and when that didn’t happen people started to hypothesize that perhaps somehow he would avoid it. But alas, the youngster is finding it more and more difficult to make a name for himself lately.
Certainly one of the reasons could be that teams are keying on him and putting their best coverage scheme on his side of the ball. If that is the case, then the emergence of DHB and the return of Jacoby Ford and Louis Murphy will force teams to think twice before pulling this type of gameplan. If it is not the case and Moore is indeed struggling as rookies often do, then he could find himself getting less and less playing time moving forward.
Pryor for QB… Really?
Several folks this week have mentioned that they would like to see rookie supplemental draft choice, QB Terrell Pryor, take over for veteran Jason Campbell sooner rather than later. But I have one question for you Campbellphobes: Are you serious right now?
True, Campbell has struggled at times this season, but there’s no reason to be calling for his scalp yet. His team is 3-2 and going into a stretch where he might be made out to look like John Elway – facing some teams that are not of the Raiders’ caliber right now. Going into the Houston game, Campbell was completing over 65 percent of his passes. There’s no way you’re going to get that type of production from a rookie.
Granted, Pryor will go down in Raider lore as the last draft pick of the great Al Davis, but he is not ready for the bright lights just yet. His throwing motion is horrible and he has no idea what is going on out there. He doesn’t have the playbook down and is as raw as sushi. I like him too, but you don’t want him out there right now, trust me.
DHB pulling a DMC
Prior to the season, some folks had written DHB off as the next great Raiders’ bust. This is quite similar to the situation with Darren McFadden going into the 2010 season. DMC had a career year in 2010 and now there are no questions. DHB has had really nice back-to-back games and the questioners have rescinded their previous position.
It’s a long way to week 17 and Heyward-Bey still has a lot to prove. But the intensity he showed in sparking the offense in Houston on Sunday would make any owner in the league proud. In spite of not being a me-first player, DHB is getting the lion’s share of opportunities in the Raiders’ offense since he came back from a brief injury.
DHB has a chip on his shoulder from everyone saying that he was drafted too high and that he has stone hands. He is going into this with determination and putting in the hard work to prove all the critics wrong. In 2011, he just might do that.
Mike Mitchell: Eliminating the competition
Look, I don’t want to condone taking out your own teammates for playing time, but Mitchell delivered one hell of a hit to poor Matt Giordano on Sunday. When Houston’s tight end caught a pass, looked up and saw number 34 coming at him full speed, he got down fast. Giordano did not do the same and took the brunt of the assault.
Giordano went to the ground limp. From the look of his body and position, I would not be surprised to learn that he was momentarily knocked out. It did actually look worse than that until he came to and started moving his lower extremities. Giordano is officially ruled as having a concussion. But it is a serious concussion by the looks of it, most likely keeping him out of the lineup for a while.
Mitchell didn’t mean it, but he may have given himself extra playing time against Cleveland.
Nnamdi Asomugha the biggest loser
When cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha left the Raiders to fly with the birds in Philadelphia, he talked of how the Eagles were a stable organization with an implanted head coach, talented players, and a system that consistently produced winning ball clubs. Boy was he wrong.
If you haven’t been paying attention, the Eagles are at the bottom of the barrel in the NFC East at 1-4 and are in serious jeopardy of knocking themselves out of playoff contention very early in the season. Nnamdi Asomugha is playing the slot position in their defense and people are beginning to criticize him and label him as a pure outside corner that has a problem dropping his hips and changing direction.
Granted, the Raiders could certainly use his presence in their secondary across from Stanford Routt, but the Raiders are doing just fine without him this season. The Raiders are going to be in contention this year, while the Eagles have a lot of things to figure out and look very much like the former Raiders at this point.
Here's something to consider... since the Raiders sucked since Aso was drafted, perhaps the man is cursed and he took it to the Eagles with him.
Follow me on Twitter @Raidersblogger