Week 5 NFL Power Rankings: Cleveland brings up the rear

NFL Power Rankings

32. Cleveland Browns (0-5), Last Week: 32

Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson and the Browns may not win until Week 14 by the looks of their upcoming schedule. They do however welcome back Joe Haden. 

Five Weeks down, 12 weeks to go in the 2012 NFL season. Through nearly the first third of the year, the Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams, Green Bay Packers, and Detroit Lions are the true surprises of the season. The Vikings and Rams, two teams which combined for six victories in 32 games a year ago, have already combined for seven victories in ten games. The Packers and Lions finished in the top half of the NFC North division a year ago, and

sit on the bottom half of the NFC North division in 2012.

These surprises are the reason why it is easy to love football: any team has a chance in any game.

Here are the Goat’s Week 5 NFL Power Rankings:

31. Tennessee Titans (1-4)

Last Week: 31

Maybe letting go of Jeff Fisher wasn’t the best option for the Titans

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4)

Last Week: 29

Is Blaine Gabbert honestly the best quarterback the Jaguars have?

Last Week: 30
29. Oakland Raiders (1-3)

Hopefully the bye week will help the Raiders’ chances in Atlanta on Sunday

28. New Orleans Saints (1-4)

Last Week: 26

The Saints finally get their first win of 2012 under interim for the interim head coach Aaron Kromer. 

Read more…

Oakland Raiders: The autumn wind is a long snapper

Jacoby Ford

Source: Christian Petersen

The San Diego Chargers defeated the Oakland Raiders 22-14 on Monday night in front of a West Coast and sleepy East Coast television audience to what turned out to be a lackluster game. (I’m sorry to the east coast people who stayed up for such a sloppy performance.)

Man, finally the Black Hole was loud and full for once, but the Nation will forever remember this name, Trevor Goethel. The Raiders backup Long Snapper, who hadn’t snapped an actual game since his days at Vista High School, stepped in for the mid-game concussed All-Pro Jon Condo. What could’ve gone wrong DID go wrong for Oakland, I almost feel bad (almost) a la David Binn 2010 for you Bolt fans.

Now the Chargers benefited from this greatly, because the offense as far as the run game goes was a no-show (Ryan Mathews will be needed ASAP!) Special teams absolutely gets the game ball thanks to a healthy leg from Nate “Regular Season” Kaeding and a great punt block on Shane Lechler from Dante Rosario. Defense gets a “Most Improved” award for not getting totally pushed over by Darren McFadden (Just 32 yards rushing, but 86 receiving) and putting pressure on Carson Palmer. (Chargers also benefitted from no Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford) and all guts award to Quentin Jammer for playing the rest of the game with a broken hand. (As pops used to say “Just run it out” damn that must’ve hurt). Read more…

Special teams makes the difference for Chargers in win

San Diego Chargers v Oakland Raiders

The San Diego Chargers got a good game from quarterback Philip Rivers. The Oakland Raiders got a good lesson in the importance of a competent long snapper.

In the Chargers’ 22-14 victory over the Raiders on Monday night in Oakland, Rivers (who completed 24 of 33 passes for 231 yards) was accurate and efficient and everything San Diego needed him to be. But Rivers wasn’t the biggest story coming out of the game.

No, the biggest story was just how disastrous the Raiders’ special teams became after long snapper Jon Condo left the game with a concussion. Most fans only notice long snappers when they screw up, and sure enough, everyone noticed that Condo had left the game because Raiders linebacker Travis Goethel kept screwing up when he was pressed into service as the backup long snapper. Twice Goethel sent such bad snaps back to punter Shane Lechler that Lechler was unable to get the punt off at all, and on another occasion the Chargers blocked the punt when Goethel got off a shaky snap to Lechler.

You’d better believe that every head coach and special teams coordinator in the NFL is going to give practice reps this week to the backup long snapper, because the Raiders demonstrated just how important that position can be. This was a debacle.

Of course, the Raiders’ offense deserves some of the blame for the fact that Oakland had to punt so often. Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer threw short passes almost exclusively, was under constant pressure from Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips, and wasn’t able to engineer any sustained drives until finally leading the Raiders into the end zone with less than a minute left in the game. Raiders running back Darren McFadden was Oakland’s biggest receiving threat but couldn’t get much going on the ground. The Raiders have speed on offense, but that speed didn’t translate into many big plays. Read more…

Fantasy Football receivers to grab in the middle to late rounds

With the start of the regular season under 10 days away and as the biggest Fantasy Football draft weekend of the season draws near, here are some additional tips for you to consider.

This list of wide receivers are made up of mid to late round players that can fill your WR2 and WR3 slots. In fact, two receivers below will begin the season as the WR1. They all currently tier four and above receivers.

Darrius Heyward-Bey-Raiders: With more and more defenses keying in to Denarius Moore, I think that DHB who is more consistent than Moore, will reach that higher level this season. His tremendous speed and versatility will make him QB Carson Palmer’s favorite receiver especially with Jacoby Ford not being a reliable option and TE Brandon Myers not a real receiving threat. Drafted #7 in 2009 he had a top 10 like last four games of 2011, and could be poised for a breakout year.

Devery Henderson-Saints: After the Saints let WR Robert Meachem go in the off-season to San Diego, it allowed Henderson to slip into the WR 3 slot and thus be the lone recipient of deep passes from Drew Brees. We were never fans of Meachem so we think the 30-year-old veteran will have a breakout year. If you remember Henderson had back-to-back 100 yard games at the beginning of last season so there is reason to believe he can return to his ’09 form. Read more…

Raiders refuse to ‘baby’ Darren McFadden

Darren McFadden

Earlier this month, Raiders running back Darren McFadden argued that his injury history was a matter of bad luck and not some personal failing that causes him to miss a chunk of every season.

It would seem that the Raiders agree. There are no plans in place to hold McFadden back this season in hopes of protecting him from injuries and the team isn’t going to do it in the preseason either. Coach Dennis Allen explained the team’s feelings during an appearance on the NFL Network, via Vic Tafur of theSan Francisco Chronicle.

“He’s 100 percent,” Allen said. “He’s been extremely explosive throughout camp and in the preseason. He’s very vital to our offense, giving our offense a chance to be explosive and keep the defenses honest. We’re going to have to be able to keep him healthy and use him throughout the year. The thing that you look at as a running back, it’s a tough position and they take some shots. That’s part of football and we can’t baby him, we can’t protect him. We have to go out there and play football and give him an opportunity to carry the ball, and we hope that he’s able to stay healthy.”

Whether you believe McFadden is uncommonly injury prone or not, there’s not much argument with Allen’s approach to handling him once it comes to the regular season. There isn’t a great difference between McFadden not being available because of injury or because his playing time is being limited by the coaching staff when the end result is McFadden not being on the field for the Raiders. Read more…

Raiders won’t lose another first-round pick for Palmer

Carson PalmerDespite reports that the Raiders could have to send their 2013 first-round draft pick to the Bengals in the Carson Palmer trade, Oakland is locked into sending only its 2013 second-round pick to Cincinnati.

A Raiders official told Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times that the Raiders, who already traded away this year’s first-round pick for Palmer, will conclude the trade by sending next year’s second-round pick to the Bengals. Read More…

Carson Palmer endorses T.O.

carsonpalmerterrellowensGetty Images

At least one of Terrell Owens‘ former quarterbacks likes him. Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer, who completed 72 passes to Owens during the 2010 season when they were teammates in Cincinnati, invited Owens along for a workout this offseason with Raiders receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey and Eddie McGee and tight end David Ausberry. Palmer said it was great for those youngsters to see how an old veteran like Owens works. Read more here…