Welcome to the Week 11 edition of the Raider Ramble Roundtable where some of the Ramble’s finest contributors and guests will bring you their thoughts on all the rumblings, rumors, stats, and even fake news.
Without further ado let’s get into it as the Ramble welcomes the crew of The Pillaging Podcast this week as our guest panelists.
What game are you most looking forward to?
The Raiders Chiefs game has got to be the best game going forward. Derek Carr has never won in Kansas City, and after a couple of soft matchups against Cincinnati and the Jets – I’m interested to see what kind of game he has with the AFC West lead possibly on the line.
The Pillaging Podcast
The December 1st matchup against the Chiefs at Arrowhead stadium will be the ultimate litmus test to determine this team’s caliber of play and Derek Carr’s growth. This is the game that I am most looking forward to. On the heels of what should be two winnable games, this will tell us all we need to know regarding the Raiders readiness for the postseason.
Week 14 vs Titans for a couple of reasons. The Raiders have a realistic chance of winning the next two games (Bengals/Jets) and being 7-4 going to Arrowhead in Week 13 vs Chiefs. That will be a tough match-up considering Andy Reid’s coaching record when he has a bye to prepare for opponent. At 7-5, the Raiders could be coming home in what may amount to a “must win” to stay alive in AFC wildcard race and Titans (currently 5-5) could be a team we will need head to head tie-breaker on come end of season.
December 1st, at Arrowhead. The Raiders should be 7-4 by this game and Carr and Co. should perform better than their 1st match up. This will be a tell of a better Raiders team and possibly a playoff contender, or still a team that has a ways to go before doing so.
What player needs to step up the most?
The Pillaging Podcast
After seeing him flash in pass rush situations against the Chargers, Clelin Ferrell will need to repeat that type of productivity as the regular season moves towards its conclusion. Maxx Crosby has come on in a fierce way. If Clelin can continue to complement Crosby, offensive lines are in for a heavy sprinkling of that salt and pepper!
DB Nevin Lawson. He will mostly likely be filling in for injured slot CB LaMarcus Joyner and Raiders desperately need depth in a suddenly depleted secondary with S Karl Joseph going on IR. Lawson needs to provide veteran experience and hold down the position, especially vs the run as Raiders have been primarily a nickel defense since losing Vontaze Burfict to suspension. Will Lawson be able to show the physicality required to stop run and stay with slot receivers?
Clelin Ferrell. He had a breakout game vs the Chargers but must continue to produce that same pressure as the season winds down and possibly heads into the Playoffs.
Maurice Hurst. Where is this guy? Outside of the Bears game (2 sacks) Mo hasn’t been much of a factor. His last game against the Chargers was the first time in four games he’s even had a tackle. He has not shown up a lot for a first round talent, and the Raiders could use the help inside.
What player were you most wrong about this season?
DT Maurice Hurst. I was expecting big things from Hurst as he showed plenty of promise in his rookie season (31 tackles, 4 sacks). He has been a rotational player (12 tackles, 2.5 sacks) in 2019. I expected him to make jump to above average starter (6-8 sacks) this season but that hasn’t come to fruition. Two of his sacks came in the Bears game, but the Raiders really need him to step up in second half of the season and boost the interior pass rush.
Benson Mayowa. No one predicted that Mayowa would have more Sacks than Khalil Mack at this point in the season. I thought of Mayowa as an afterthought and yet, he has become the Raiders primary pass rush specialist this season. Honorable Mention: Maxx Crosby. Sure we all hoped that the kid from Eastern Michigan would flash here and there. Boy has he brought the energy and excitement to possibly finding TWO starting DE’s in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The Pillaging Podcast
Lamarcus Joyner. I said before the season started that his veteran presence in the secondary would raise the level of play around him. The hype surrounding him as the top nickel back in free agency has yielded nothing but disappointment. Prior to getting injured, Joyner was allowing a 113 passer rating when targeted. Joyner rolled over against Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, and Jacoby Brissette earlier in the season. Now, the six-year veteran is week-to-week with a hamstring injury rendering him completely ineffective. Major disappointment.
Maurice Hurst. I thought he would continue where he left off last year (4 sacks) and help rookie defensive ends Clelin Ferrell and Max Crosby make more of an impact, but the Raiders have actually had to play Ferrell more inside due to lack of pass rush there. It’s not too late for Hurst to up his game but it is concerning that he hasn’t shown more progress.