Raiders

Raiders report card: Grades on offense, defense in 42-24 loss to Packers

Raiders report card: Grades on offense, defense in 42-24 loss to Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Raiders knew they had to score consistently to keep up with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. This had the makings of a shootout early as teams exchanged blows, but the back and forth went lopsided during a second-quarter swing that turned this game on its ear.

It was the first of three Raiders red-zone disasters, with Derek Carr’s fumble out of the end zone for a touchback, Josh Jacobs’ turnover on downs after getting stuffed before the goal line and Carr’s late interception. That’s 21 points taken off the board in an 18-point loss to the Packers.

“We were able to throw it and run it efficiently for most of the game,” Carr said. “When we got inside the 5 is where we let it go. Turning the ball over down there can’t happen. At the end of the day, we have to finish. We have to finish those drives. We were doing a great job on third down, but finishing in the red zone will be a point of emphasis this week.”

That was a major Raiders failing in this outcome, where the Silver and Black struggled in some area and excelled in others. Let’s take a look at the complete Raiders report card from Sunday’s loss to the Packers:

Rushing Offense

Josh Jacobs keeps on breaking personal bests. The rookie had a career-high 124 yards on 21 carries, including a bruising opening salvo certainly felt by Adrian Amos, with a 42-yard scamper two plays later and a 27-yard run in the second half. He churned out 5.9 yards per carry and was as effective and efficient as ever in his latest performance, continuing a stack of excellent showings. 

Jacobs said the fullback and offensive line set the tone, but he was the star of the show. Jacobs got shut down at the goal line, however, with a leap that went nowhere after the Packers sniffed it out. He has been excellent near the end zone but couldn’t get it done on a few occasions Sunday and Carr was running when he fumbled out of the end zone. Those play really that hurt the team.

Grade: B-minus

Passing Offense

Carr missed some early throws high but found great rhythm after that, completing 22-of-28 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns. His interception in the end zone came late but still isn’t a risk worth taking trying to throw over double coverage trying to connect with Foster Moreau.

Carr was efficient despite not having Tyrell Williams and Zay Jones, who were rendered inactive. Darren Waller was awesome as usual and Moreau had another solid day. Tight ends paced the passing game yet again and have become a formidable force each week.

Grade: B

Run Defense

The typically stout Raiders run defense had another strong day, allowing just 60 yards on 23 total carries. Take away Aaron Jones’ 15-yard run and the Packers averaged 2.04 yards per carry. That’s a solid sum and a sign that the linebackers, defensive linemen in the base defense especially were typically solid slowing down the opposing ground game. 

That’s the Raiders’ defensive bedrock and will be all season. It’s a positive that run defense has held strong since getting gashed by Dalvin Cook back in Week 3.

Grade: A-minus

Pass Defense

Rodgers had a perfect passer rating over 31 throws. Wrap your head around that. That has happened just a handful of times in modern NFL history. That’s how good Rodgers was on Sunday. He completed nine passes of 21 yards or more, including three scores, and had five passing touchdowns total. Sure, Rodgers is awesome. The Raiders also didn’t play well. 

Gareon Conley in particular struggled to cover and tackle well, though most cornerbacks got beat handily at least once. It was a bad day at the office for all involved, from the pass rush -- Clelin Ferrell was invisible on Sunday -- to the guys asked to cover in the secondary. This constituted a no-good, very-bad day for the pass defense, giving up 429 yards through the air and averaged 13.2 yards per attempt. That’s terrible. The Raiders simply must do better.

Grade: F

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Special Teams

Trevor Davis had a a nice kickoff return and a nice punt return against his old team. A.J. Cole only punted twice and put both attempts inside the opposing 20-yard line and had a 59-yard boomer. Daniel Carlson hit his lone field goal attempt. The Raiders pinned the Packers deep on every drive, but then couldn’t stop them defensively. That’s not the kicking game’s fault.

Grade: B

Overall

The Raiders don’t have the talent and quick-strike capability to make up for major mistakes, and they made too many against an excellent Packers team. That’s a recipe for trouble. The costly late-first-half swing completely changed this game, and the Raiders never recovered. They have won games playing their way, establishing early leads held by an efficient run game. 

The Packers' passing attack was relentless, and Rodgers went for the knockout when he saw the Raiders wobble. This doesn’t mean the Raiders are a bad team or have no chance to beat similarly proficient competition. But, on this day, they were the inferior team unable to rebound after a major setback.

Grade: F

Jason Witten's leadership crucial for Raiders during 2020 NFL season

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USATSI

Jason Witten's leadership crucial for Raiders during 2020 NFL season

Two notable Raiders additions in the offseason, tight end Jason Witten and linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, met with the media via a Zoom call Monday.

Here are five takeaways on what was said.

1. One major reason the Raiders brought in Witten, who became one of the NFL’s top tight ends over 16 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, was for his veteran leadership. Coach Jon Gruden even asked Witten to speak to the team a few days ago about the importance of high character.

“It’s vital,” Witten said. “This league’s too hard regardless of how talented you are, and I shared this with the guys. … The margin for error is so small in this league that’s how you have to approach it. I was blown away by the skill set. You can see it. I’ve also seen the guys love football. They work hard. They’re accountable.”

Read more at the Las Vegas Review-Journal

 

Raiders rookie Henry Ruggs' insane one-handed catch shows potential

Raiders rookie Henry Ruggs' insane one-handed catch shows potential

It's no secret how fast Raiders rookie receiver Henry Ruggs is. With his 4.27 40-yard dash speed, he's in the end zone in the blink of an eye.

The Raiders were enamored with Ruggs' speed, and rightfully so. That certainly played a big role in the Silver and Black selecting the former Alabama receiver with the No. 11 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. But it wasn't the only reason. 

Ruggs had some of the best hands in the draft, and he proved that with an insane one-handed grab for a touchdown early on in Raiders training camp. 

It's easy to see why the Raiders fell in love with Ruggs before the draft. He tallied 86 receptions for 1,487 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns his final two years for the Crimson Tide. Ruggs should have a big role in the offense, and the hope is he connects right away with quarterback Derek Carr. 

So far, so good. 

Ruggs should be used all over the field as a rookie, as the Raiders find ways to get the ball in his hands. And it appears he will start off in the slot. 

[RELATED: Raiders rookie Edwards compared to two Pro Bowl wideouts]

“We’ll start with Ruggs III in the slot and do some things with Ruggs III," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said to reporters last week, via Raiders Wire. "But those guys (Ruggs and Bryan Edwards) are very multiple in what they can do and that’s the goal is to be able to move all of them around to different spots; the one, two or three position at the wide receiver.”

Whether it be on the inside or outside, Ruggs will play a big part in the Raiders' offense right away. His ridiculous one-handed grab was just another preview of what's to come.