Matts Thoughts – Week 8 – Buc’ing hell!

Matts Thoughts - Week 8Firstly, that’s the most Al Davis of ways to win a game, play ugly and nearly kill yourself with penalties but power through it with amazing QB lead offence.
I personally would be happy to see the back of Just win, baby if it means we don’t get performances like that. Pride and poise should include discipline, and we lacked it in spades.

Of all the penalties yesterday, Crabtree continued to be penalised for referees continuing to get his celebration wrong. It might be time to stop doing it, shame but you can’t fix dumb referees.

What you can fix is everything else bar two of them (which I’ll cover after) especially the 12 men/false start penalties.

The two exceptions are on a pair of first round picks. Cooper’s flag was harsh, illegal use of hands on what was incidental and not intentional contact would have been a fairer call. I’m more annoyed at him dropping the damn ball on a previous play. The other is one we’ve heard time and again.
“Pass interference, defence, number 25”

Yep, Hayden once more. But I’m glad for this one because he saved a touchdown on that play in doing so. Yes it means the defence has to stop on a short field but we have the chance to reduce to three points, rather than eat seven without any opportunities.

“Couldn’t he just cover him better?” Not really, he was beaten by a brilliant double move that would leave most corner backs for dead, go back and watch it, it’s really something. The only way you’re going to not be beaten there is if you guess the fake and get lucky, and if you’re wrong you will look an idiot.
Ultimately quick thinking by Hayden drew the flag but saved the score. I’ve often been a critic of our 2013 first pick, but this season has finally brought good, consistent, play out of him. Moving him to the slot has paid off well, and his coverage has improved significantly.

Also with Sean Smith out we got to see TJ Carrie doing something other than kick returns, I still like the guy, hard hitting and has a good read of the offence. While I was critical of his rookie year (so many kick returns out of the endzone that didn’t make the 15) he continues to put in a good show whenever he takes to the field.

In other thoughts, roll back a year and a half to the pre-season of 2015. Faith in Reggie was finally starting to show across the Raider Nation, sure there had been some die hards that stuck with him from the beginning, but for the majority they were seeing the potential after the amazing draft that came in 2014.
Then he went and signed Crabtree and out came the pitchforks.

“Oh god, he’s doing that prove it crap he offered Schaub, this guy is toxic and we don’t want him here.” Of course it doesn’t help that Crabtree was one of three free agent gambles that year, we also grabbed Aldon Smith (and boy I can’t wait to see him back) and Trent Richardson, yes it’s quite easy to forget that T Rich was a Raider… till you remember that giant hole he missed.

It’s safe to say we were all wrong, and while it pains me to say it, Crabtree is the best steal Reggie has pulled off in his tenure as GM.

It doesn’t pain me because I was wrong to doubt Reggie, it pains me because I rank this higher than his waiver claim of David Amerson (which is a comfortable #2)

Nothing shows Crabtree’s value more than these last two games. While all season he’s been the reliable hands to throw to on 3rd and whatever the hell we need, he showed these last two weeks why Oakland has 2 #1 receivers.

With Cooper covered the majority of the Jags game by Ramsey, Crabtree had a much more favourable matchup and he dominated. Carr was able to pick on the left side of the field all day and nothing could be done to stop him. There are few teams with an elite corner duo that can cover Crabtree and Cooper, that forces everyone else to pick their poison.

And the ones that can, have to put up with Seth Roberts making a joke out of their linebackers.

Donald Penn of the Oakland Raiders stares into the stands after catching a touchdown pass. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images)
Donald Penn of the Oakland Raiders stares into the stands after catching a touchdown pass. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images)

This is where Crabtree’s other strength comes in, his mentorship of Cooper and Roberts has been phenomenal, they’ve been able to learn from his hindsight and not make the mistakes he made in his early career. That they’ve remained humble and hungry this whole time is part of what makes this offence so dangerous.
Now if only he could teach them how to catch as reliably as he does.

But all those weapons mean nothing without having a QB who can utilise them, Derek Carr is the right man at the right time. In only his third year the signal caller has taken over this offence, able to read and call audiables (even in road games with a loud Tampa crowd this week) with the comfort of a 10 year pro. We haven’t seen his kind in Oakland since Gannon.

At a time when other QBs of his era are regressing, Derek Carr continues to make strides, staying as hungry and humble as he was at 0-10 just chasing that first win. The game is still exciting to him, it’s still a passion and he continues to improve week after week.

The mid-season MVP discussions are in full swing and Tom Brady seems to be topping everyone’s list. But that team went 3-1 without him, they’ve proven they don’t need him under center to be successful. Sure they’re better with him, but they don’t suck without.

Credit - Mike Carlson Photography
Credit – Mike Carlson Photography

Imagine if this season had run with McGloin under center since week 1? I’d put us at a generous 2-6. Carr has one contender right now for that discussion, Matt Ryan.

Ryan is doing for Atlanta what Carr does for Oakland. The difference is the Falcons are rather terrible outside of a few key players, the Raiders are brilliant but undisciplined. One can only hope that this young team that has really only formed over the last three – four seasons, will mature together.

And now on to a home divisional game in Prime time, fun fact but Derek Carr has never lost a prime time game, he’s 3-0 (remember that late LATE game against the niners?)

I’ve probably cursed him now, but with two back to back either side of the bye week, the Raiders have a real shot at going to 8-2.

I’ve sat off on talking playoffs all season, and continue to do so. But if Oakland come back from Mexico with that record? Cancel your January plans.

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