Re-Focused – Raiders @ Broncos, Week 1

| September 15, 2011

The Denver Broncos simply couldn’t cope with an Oakland Raiders team that has proved to the public that this new era of Raiders football is one to be proud of.  There were still the kinds of problems that we’ve grown accustomed to with the Raiders (penalties), but there were plenty of positives that have to make you wonder if this could be the year that they finally could have a taste at some playoff football.

For Denver, their team is very much a work in progress.  The offense played poorly, and their offensive line is a big reason for concern, as they were unable to contain Oakland’s front seven.

Let’s break down some of the more interesting things from the game.

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Oakland: Three Performances of Note

Worth the money?

Three tackles.  On the surface, that’s not that many for a hard day’s work, especially when you spend 33 snaps rushing the passer.  But if one was to go beyond those numbers, they would see a player that Kamerion Wimbley (+8.3) absolutely terrorized Orlando Franklin, Denver’s rookie right tackle.  The former Cleveland Brown was so quick off the snap; the he consistently forced Franklin to over commit to the outside rush, which allowed Wimbley to consistently beat him with a wicked spin move.  It wasn’t just his pass rushing that impressed, but his work in run defense.  Watch him with 12:35 left in the first quarter, as he beats both Julius Thomas and Ryan Clady to make a tackle for a substantial loss, and it would be hard to argue that Wimbley wasn’t one of the best defensive players on the field.

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Does this add up?

It may seem amazing that the Raiders, who ran for 190 yards, managed to score so poorly with their run blocking, and that Darren McFadden only managed to earn a +0.2 rating for his rushing.  Firstly, it should be noted we grade the individual and not the collective unit, however there is a logical reason for this, and it comes down to the nature of the Raiders rushing attack.  While they did rack up 190 yards on the ground, 87 of those did come on three carries and Oakland’s line should be characterized by being either being boom or bust.  Although it did get job done, there were just as many times where linemen like Stefen Wisniewski (-5.6) were either beaten, or failed to make any impact when they were left free to get to the second level.

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Special Teams

It’s rare that we mention special teams, but when they’re as good as the Raiders you just have to sometimes.  Some people can moan about Shane Lechler’s (+4.5) kicking, as if to insinuate that he’s line driving punts straight down the throat of the returner, but the reality of the matter is that he’s not.  With excellent hang time, direction and great distance, Lechler rarely lets the Raiders down.  Remember that punters are people to, so give this one some credit and watch what he was able to do with six of his punts in this game.  It would almost be rude not to mention Sebastian Janikowski (+3.1) with his record-tying day and touchbacks which will become par the course for him.

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Denver:  Three Performances of Note

Anything but a Rookie

We maybe expected more dynamic plays from Von Miller (+4.9), but instead what we got was an extremely professional NFL debut where he looked like anything but a rookie.  He wasn’t used to rush the passer quite as much as expected, (nine plays) but did generate a pressure where he just breezed by Jared Veldheer with an explosive first step.  Throw in a forced fumble and some excellent work against any lineman that got the next level and you get the impression that you could be watching someone who could prove special in the NFL.

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Line Troubles

If the Oakland line had some issues, then what about Denver’s unit?  Not only did they ensure that Kyle Orton was faced with pressure on 50% of the plays that he faced, but the right side of the line just looked down right pathetic at times.  We already mentioned Orlando Franklin’s (-4.0) rough NFL debut, but next to him was Chris Kuper, who had just as many problems in  pass protection (he gave up one sack and four pressures).  Whether it was Tommy Kelly or Lamarr Houston, both men were simply too quick off the snap for him to handle.  More could be written about each lineman and their struggles (Ryan Clady and his -0.5 was the best grade of their day) but you get the point.  They got pushed around in every way imaginable.

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No Doom Yet

While Elvis Dumervil (-0.7) was limited to 17 snaps, Jason Hunter demonstrated enough to suggest he can still contribute to this team.  The former Detroit Lion picked up a sack and four other defensive stops on a highly productive night.  He comprehensively won his battles with the Raider right tackles, picking up his sack on Stephon Heyer, and beating Khalif Barnes to make a couple of tackles for short gains.

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Game Notes

● Kyle Orton saw his completion percentage drop from 64% to 38.1% when pressure got to him.

● The Raiders picked up 31 total quarterback disruptions and missed only three tackles.

● In this game alone Matt Giordano (+2.9) played more snaps than he had in the previous two years.

 

PFF Game Ball:

Kamerion Wimbley, LB, Oakland Raiders

When you look at how badly Orton struggled under pressure, you know how big an impact that had on the game.  Take a bow Kamerion Wimbley, chief tormentor.

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Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled … and be sure to follow our main Twitter feed: @ProFootbalFocus . .
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