Raiders far from being competitive

JaMarcus RussellAfter adding quarterback JaMarcus Russell with the first overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft and explosive running back Darren McFadden in the first round this past April, many pundits were high on the Raiders entering the season. It also helped that the team re-signed DL Tommy Kelly and added Pro Bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall and S Gibril Wilson.

But after Oakland was smacked 41-14 by division rival Denver on Monday night, it’s painfully obviously the Raiders are still a year or two away from competing.

Russell (17 of 26, 180 yards, 2 TDs) was under constant pressure and although his final numbers looked good, the Broncos never allowed him to get into a rhythm. McFadden chipped in with 46 yards on nine carries, but the Raiders fell behind so quickly that it was hard to stick with the run.

Perhaps the most staggering thing from the game was how bad Oakland’s defense looked. The front seven couldn’t generate any pass rush and Denver quarterback Jay Cutler completely picked apart the Raiders’ secondary, which was supposed to be a strength. Hall was absolutely abused by rookie receiver Eddie Royal, who amassed nine receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown. At one point Mike Dikta (who was in the announcers’ booth) said, “Hall wants no part of Eddie Royal,” and Da Coach was right. The Raiders gave up multiple draft picks in the offseason to acquire Hall and pair him with Pro Bowler Nnamdi Asomugha, but all the team got from him Monday night was multiple personal foul penalties and crap coverage.

While the Raiders still look a ways awhile, Cutler and the Broncos were outstanding. The defense was relentless, Royal and Cutler were outstanding and the running game was once again effective. Denver will get a great test next weekend when they host division rival San Diego. (A pissed off San Diego, that is.)

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