Raiders

Tebow era over already?

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Tebow era over already?

From Comcast SportsNet

DENVER (AP)Tim Tebow was sacked seven times by the Detroit Lions. Now, he might get sacked by his coach.

A week after salvaging 55 minutes of ineptitude with a miracle comeback in Miami, the Denver Broncos quarterback was good for the first 5 minutes Sunday and then awful the rest of the way in a 45-10 loss to the Lions.

Tebow was off the mark most of the game under relentless pressure by the Lions (6-2), who turned his two turnovers into touchdowns as they snapped a two-game skid and headed into their bye week on a high note.

After the game, Broncos coach John Fox didnt exactly give his quarterback a vote of confidence. Fox said he wanted to evaluate this game before deciding who will be under center when the Broncos (2-5) visit Oakland next Sunday.

It wont be any prettier watching the footage of this one.

Tebow struggled to get the offense into any sort of rhythm, completing just 18 of 39 passes for 172 yards and one score, and most of that yardage came with the outcome long decided. He had happy feet in the pocketmore to do with the Lions pressureand his long, looping throwing motion gave defensive end Cliff Avril enough time to race in, strip the ball and then scoop it up for a 24-yard TD in the third quarter.

Later, cornerback Chris Houston stepped in front of a Tebow pass for the fourth 100-yard interception return in team history.

Just got to improve and get better and come out with a little bit more juice, Tebow said.

Whether thats with Tebow running the show will be a highly discussed and debated topic this week on call-in radio shows. Tebow is keeping out of the fray.

Im just going to get up early and go to work and try to get better tomorrow and consistently improve and be the best person-slash-quarterback for this organization, Tebow said.

He still has the backing of his teammates, who remember the comeback he orchestrated last weekend in Miami more than his lackluster performance against Detroit.

Natural born leader. Hes already proven that, rookie linebacker Von Miller said. Hes a great guy with great character. I feel like he can get it done. Im a believer until the end.

As Tebow struggled, Matthew Stafford picked apart the Broncos secondary, showing hardly any ill effects of an ankle he tweaked the week before against Atlanta. Stafford was on target all day, completing 21 of 30 passes for 267 yards and three TDs.

Feels good now, Stafford said. Feels way better after a win.

His jersey definitely had a lot fewer grass stains than the one belonging to Tebow. Stafford was hardly hit while Tebow was hounded at every opportunity. With a front four featuring standout Ndamukong Suh, Tebow had little time to look for his targets.

That was all part of Detroits game planmake him beat the Lions with his arm.

Hes an athlete. Hes no Tom Brady or Peyton Manning or nothing like that. Or Michael Vick or nothing like that, Houston said. Hes got a long ways to go as far as being a quarterback, but hes a hard worker.

We sent the rush and we were out there on an island most of the time and the D-line just got to him, got a lot of sacks and made him throw the ball up.

Houston was definitely one of the benefactors. He just missed an interception on an earlier play and when the Broncos came back with a similar route, he was ready. Houston jumped in front of the pass and was off to the races.

Given time and patience, Houston believes Tebow can perform at this level.

Hes going to continue to get better in this league, Houston said.

The Broncos started off well in this game by disguising their offensive looks. With Tebow under center, then in shotgun formation, with three backs in the backfield, then none, the Broncos drove down the field on their first drive.

And they looked to have scored on a catch by Eric Decker in the corner of the end zone, only to have the officials rule the catch incomplete and replay validate the call. Denver was forced to settle for a field goal.

From there, the offense went stagnant as Denver gained just 32 yards on its next 22 snaps before going into the locker room trailing 24-3.

We just basically got whipped, Fox said. We got outcoached and outplayed, and weve got a lot of work to do. I think thats very evident.

Last weekend, Tebow inadvertently inspired a phenomenon when he took a knee on the field after a dramatic 18-15 overtime win against the Dolphins and prayed amid all the players celebrating. It became known as Tebowing, and fans all around the country have been posting snapshots online of themselves striking a similar Tebow pose to a website.

Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch got into the act after sacking Tebow, imitating a prayerful pose near Tebow in the first half.

Tight end Tony Scheffler performed a scaled-down version of the Tebow impersonation after catching a 1-yard TD pass against his former team in the second quarter.

Champ Bailey wasnt offended by the behavior, saying that only by stopping teams can that type of celebration be prevented.

Plain and simple, Bailey said. You dont want them celebrating on your fieldstop em. Period.

Inconsistency reigns on underperforming Raiders offense

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Inconsistency reigns on underperforming Raiders offense

ALAMEDA – Johnny Holton has made dynamic plays this season. The second-year Raiders receiver has three touchdowns in nine catches, and averages 24.2 yards per reception. His straight-line speed’s tough to match, which is why he has three catches of 40-plus yards.

Holton’s still developing. Therefore, good comes with some bad. He has lost two fumbles in as many games, with four drops and two passes headed his way that were intercepted.

“I think it all kind of is a great example of how our season’s been as an offense,” offensive coordinator Todd Downing said after Thursday’s practice. “We have flashes of really good production and executing well and then flashes or spurts where we’re not exactly executing the way we want.

“Johnny’s kind of a microcosm of that and so, I would say to him and have said to him and to the team, the message that we preach is let’s look for consistency and let’s look for doing the little things right. And then the big things happen.”

Downing’s analogy works. Inconsistency has plagued a talented offense playing below potential, with just enough flashes to drive players, fans and coaches crazy. Productive victories over the Tennessee Titans, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs provide stark contrast to a new normal, where the Raiders struggle to score or produce.

The Raiders have scored 17 points or less seven times in 13 games. They’re 22nd in scoring and 19th in total offense heading into Sunday night’s home game against Dallas.

That’s a drastic drop after last year’s production, a fact that’s been dissected extensively during a disappointing season thus far. We won’t go over them all here. Everyone, from quarterback to coordinator to skill players to the line, shares some of the blame.

Ultimately, it comes down to the inconsistency Downing discussed earlier. The Raiders have three games left to get it right, and even that might be unworthy of a postseason birth.

“We know how to throw the ball. We know how to catch it. We know how to run the ball. We know how to block,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “Now we just have to do those things better and more consistent. It always comes down to fundamentals of footwork and all those kinds of timing kind of things.”

“…Sometimes we go out there and it’s great. Then sometimes we go out there and it’s crap. That’s on us as players. We have to execute better.”

Carr says little details cause big problems. Problem is, it isn’t something you can circle with a red pen. It isn’t one thing that takes one permanent fix. The mistakes are coming from everywhere, and they’re coming often. That’s why so many Raiders have said they’re close to solid execution so many times this season.

That must drive detail-oriented offensive captains Carr and Rodney Hudson nuts. The entire offensive depth chart, remains committed to the process, hoping a talented roster will realize potential before the season’s out.

“There are a lot of things in life that look good on paper,” tight end Lee Smith said on this week’s Raiders Insider Podcast. “If you don’t put it together in the right way and form itself, it doesn’t matter what the pieces are if the puzzle doesn’t come together.

“We have to keep working as a football family from the top all the way down. We have three more football games to win. We plan on winning all of them. There are three good teams left on the schedule, and it’s excited to see what we’re made of now that we’re back into a corner a little bit.”

The Raiders receivers are backed into a corner, with Amari Cooper likely out a week at least with an ankle sprain. That'll put Holton back in the heavy rotation, meaning he'll have to avoid mistakes to keep the offense going. 

"Johnny is a hard worker and a guy that I know is excited to get back on that field Sunday and have an opportunity to make some plays for us and help us win this ball game," Downing said. "We’re looking forward to that.”

On the heels of arguably his best game as a Warrior, Casspi is fine, right on time

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USATSI

On the heels of arguably his best game as a Warrior, Casspi is fine, right on time

OAKLAND -- Omri Casspi’s timing was impeccable, and not just for the Warriors.

While he played a strong game Thursday night, totaling 17 points and 11 rebounds in a 112-97 win over the Dallas Mavericks, this was one of those cases in which the “when” felt as wonderful as the “what.”

There was a particular significance for Casspi insofar as he had performed so well not only for Warriors fans at Oracle Arena but also for friends and family and brothers and sisters of his faith.

For it was the third night of Hanukkah and also Jewish Heritage Night at Oracle Arena, and Casspi is of the Jewish faith, born in 1988 in Holon, Israel. He is the only current NBA player born Jewish.

“It was fun,” Casspi said of the evening. “My family is in town, always for Hanukkah. So it’s always fun to have family around.”

Casspi signed with the Warriors in July in the wake of a forgettable season in which he fought injuries and was on the roster of three different teams: the Kings, the Pelicans and the Timberwolves. He was looking for a place to land.

It appears he has found one. The Warriors signed him because he is a low-maintenance reserve that fits their style and is capable of shooting 3-pointers.

Casspi was making his sixth start on Thursday, his second straight for the injured Draymond Green. He produced 11 points and nine rebounds in a win over Portland on Monday and took it up a notch Thursday.

“The minutes I’m playing now are not what it’s always going to be,” he said. “I want to stay sharp. I want to stay ready whenever I’m called upon and earn the trust of my teammates and my coaches.”

Casspi’s 17 points came on 7-of-9 shooting from the field, including 1-of-2 from beyond the arc. He also added two assists and blocked two shots. To be sure, this was yet another exhibition of why he has earned the trust of his teammates.

He’s shooting 60.2 percent from the field and an even 60 percent (9-of-15) from deep.

“I didn’t know Omri was this good, to be honest,” Kevin Durant said.

“He could just play. He can make passes, he’s good off the ball, he’s got the funky push shot that’ll touch the ceiling, but it looks like it’s going in every time. He works on his game. He loves to play. He cares for his teammates. He definitely surprised me when he came aboard. I’m excited he’s on our team.”

Upon concluding his postgame interview session, Casspi walked into the embrace of family and friends. He went back out to the court to participate in the ceremony, lighting Hanukkah candles and singing.

The Warriors won. He played well. He felt the love of many. He was in his element.