Posts Tagged ‘Oakland Raiders’

The Brod View: NFL Mock Draft #3

All will be revealed May 8th in NYC

May 8 is rapidly approaching as many teams are finalising their draft boards. Yet here on The Brod View, the draft board has once again changed quite significantly. Nobody has dropped out of my top ten, but within that top ten there are seven changes in order of selection. I think what my mock draft has accomplished is basically stating the obvious: It’s too unpredictable!

Anyway, typical mock draft rules apply here with no trades being included. Also, I am only giving analysis to my top ten, and then I will feature the other 22 picks of the draft in a list for you to discuss.

You can read my last mock draft click here

With the 1st pick in the 2014 draft…….


1              Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney (DE) (No Change) I don’t think there can possibly be anything else left to discuss about this young man. He is the top talent of the draft according to many and he should be drafted accordingly. There could be a couple of QBs that could dethrone him on draft day in the form of Johnny Manziel or Blake Bortles, but I highly doubt that will happen.

2              St Louis Rams: Jake Matthews (OT) (Up 4) Again, not much can be said other than St Louis are likely to trade down. In the scenario they don’t though, we have seen a swap on who is the number one offensive lineman of the draft – paralleling last year’s draft. Some pundits believe that Matthews might be better than Greg Robinson, who previously occupied this position. Furthermore, and off tangent to the OT discussion, if St Louis doesn’t negotiate a trade, they could be very tempted to draft Sammy Watkins.

3              Jacksonville Jaguars: Johnny Manziel (QB) (Up 5) Here’s Johnny! I am not fully certain that Manziel will be drafted in as the top QB, let alone at number three in the draft, but many believe that he is heading to Florida. Coach Gus Bradley is a defense-minded head coach and therefore I used to think the Jags will draft Khalil Mack. Yet the franchise is begging for a quarterback or someone with star power that can catapult their popularity. This is a business move, not a football move.

4              Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins (WR) (No Change) Like Clowney, everything that has been said about Watkins has already been regurgitated many times before. The same applies to Cleveland’s strategy as they will aim to draft a QB with pick 26 and then a running back in the second round. Obvious and boring, the only thing that could jeopardise the Browns’ draft is if Watkins is selected by the Rams and that the top four QBs will go before their next pick.

5              Oakland Raiders: Khalil Mack (LB) (Down 2) Sorry to blaspheme but the phrase “God only knows” is the only thing apt that can be said when it comes to this organisation. Until recently I felt certain that the Raiders would draft Blake Bortles but then they signed Matt Schaub. And with everything this organisation has said as well as the money invested in the failed QB from Houston, then I see them drafting Mack – the top available talent. This is usually a good thing but Oakland really need to cater to team needs throughout this draft.

6              Atlanta Falcons: Greg Robinson (OT) (Down 4) “It is boring to select offensive lineman, but undoubtedly Matthews is a top tier talent that Atlanta need.” – That’s what I said last time and all you need to do is just replace Matthews with Robinson. Either way, the Falcons will leave May 8 with a top O-Line talent. Unexciting but necessary.

7              Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans (WR) (Up 2) With Mike Williams departing the franchise via a trade, the Buccaneers will be looking to add some offensive weapons. Every pundit that I have read believes that the Bucs will pick Evans but I reckon they could be up for trading down considering this is a receiver heavy draft.

8              Minnesota Vikings: Blake Bortles (QB) (Down 3) Minnesota could either select Bortles or Bridgewater at this point. I have only gone for Bortles in this scenario because I believe that he will be considered the second best QB in this draft. With the Raiders going for Mack in my scenario— it does lead to Minnesota having several options here when it comes to filling an empty place in their depth chart.

9              Buffalo Bills: Anthony Barr (LB) (Down 2) With Mike Evans moving up in the draft order, the Bills could either select a tight end or a SAM LB. I reckon they will look to strengthen up their linebackers and Barr will be an excellent addition to their ranks.

10           Detroit Lions: Justin Gilbert (CB) (No Change) They need a corner back. They will get a corner back. They will end up with the top corner back. End of that discussion.


11 Tennesse Titans Ha Ha Clinton Dix S Up 2
12 New York Giants Eric Ebron TE No Change
13 St Louis Rams Calvin Pryor S Up 2
14 Chicago Bears Timmy Jernigan NT No Change
15 Pittsburgh Steelers Darqueze Dennard CB Down 4
16 Dallas Cowboys Aaron Donald DT No Change
17 Baltimore Ravens Taylor Lewan OT Up Round
18 New York Jets Marqise Lee WR No Change
19 Miami Dolphins Zack Martin OT Down 2
20 Arizona Cardinals Bradley Roby CB No Change
21 Green Bay Packers CJ Mosley LB No Change
22 Phildelphia Eagles Kelvin Benjamin WR Up 10
23 Kansas City Chiefs Odell Beckham WR No Change
24 Cincinnati Bengals Louis Nix NT Up 1
25 San Diego Chargers Kyle Fuller CB Down 3
26 Cleveland Browns Teddy Bridgewater QB No Change
27 New Orleans Saints Brandin Cooks WR Up 1
28 Carolina Panthers Davante Adams WR Up Round
29 New England Patriots Ra’Shede Hageman DE Up Round
30 San Francisco 49ers Jason Verrett CB No Change
31 Denver Broncos Xavier Su’a Filo OG Down 12
32 Seattle Seahawks Morgan Moses OT Up Round


This piece was written by Broderick Sutherland. Broderick is from Bath, UK and he is a massive New York Giants fan. He has recently started a blog that covers a variety of sports called Armchair Analyst. Follow him @BrodSutherland. And visit



The Brod View: Picking Between Bortles, Bridgewater and Manziel

One of the bigger stories leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft is which quarterback will be drafted first. All three of the quarterbacks in the contention, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel have all previously been considered to be the number one overall pick of the draft. Unfortunately, for all three men, it is starting to look like the Houston Texans they are going to draft Jadaveon Clowney at that number one position.

These three men were all considered top five picks at one point considering that Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland and Oakland all require a QB. Moreover, the St Louis Rams are also considering trading down from their number two pick and a team like the Minnesota Vikings could climb the draft order.

Yet the three quarterbacks in question have had questions raised about their attitudes and performances in events like the scouting combine in Indianapolis or their pro days. Every pundit in the NFL are rating and slating the quarterbacks; evidence of which is seen in the mock drafts.

I have already produced two mock drafts for the first round. In the first draft I had Manziel at three (Jacksonville), Bortles (Oakland) at five and Bridgewater at eight (Minnesota). In the second draft I had Bortles at five, Manziel at eight and Bridgewater at 26 (Cleveland).

Could Bortles go #1 overall?

Even then I am not fully confident on my own analysis of what will happen in the draft. Bortles to Oakland always look set to happen until Reggie McKenzie decided to sign Matt Schaub from Houston. With the likes of Schaub and McGloin at the Raiders, there may not be a place for the QB from UCF.

Johnny “Football” Manziel is arguably the most popular choice of the quarterbacks. He looked like a guy who would go at number one but as mentioned earlier it looks like the Texans will be selecting Clowney. Cleveland are clearly interested in Sammy Watkins and will be looking to draft a QB either at 26 or in the second round. Jacksonville is still a valid option as they desperately need a QB, but one wonders if they are going to sign a defensive player—after all Bradley does like a tough defense.

And Bridgewater, the original number one pick, could be up for a massive fall in this year’s draft. Some critics are even suggesting that he could go behind Derek Carr, since Cleveland are rumoured on recruiting him at 26. Bridgewater still could be a top ten pick if teams choose by need rather than talent—but that is enough to have cause for concern.

So where has it all gone wrong for the top quarterbacks of the 2014 draft class. I would argue that Bortles is the most complete player in the draft. The QB from UCF has drawn comparisons with two time Super Bowl winner, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. That is not to say Bortles has some issues to iron out—he, like Roethlisberger, tends to hold on to the ball for quite a long time, something which cannot be done in today’s NFL.

Bortles has been a consistent and calm performer and that’s why he probably hasn’t shot up to number one, but at the same time, has not fallen below the top five.

Manziel is the most marketable player in the NFL draft and that is the only reason why I cannot see him dropping down lower than eight in the draft. Any business minded general manager would probably aim to get his services; it’s why the Jaguars wanted him for a long time because they desperately need to put bums to seats.

Yet I think Manziel could be a bust in the NFL. He needs to play in a West Coast system to thrive. He’s very small and needs to escape the pocket a lot and therefore he needs a strong O-line to accommodate him. Furthermore the guy could not do play action in college. I will defend his attitude in some senses though, because despite some big questions over it, he has performed well in front of scouts both physically and mentally.

Bridgewater has shown why scouts have every right to be concerned. A lack of willingness at the combine plus a dismal display at his pro day has put the Louisville QB down in everybody’s mock draft. Although top NFL scouts understand that you cannot solely judge a player based on a pro day and combines but on game footage too. If it were just down to game footage, then one would recognise he possesses the ability of a number one overall pick. Furthermore everybody knows he has great arm strength and accuracy and he knows how to win.

Yet to reiterate the point, he blew his opportunity to convince scouts that he is the best quarterback in the draft class by failing to ace his pro day—that will prove costly for Bridgewater.

It seems like a near impossibility to pick between the three quarterbacks. All have major upsides and some significant downsides. I think Bortles would be best suited for a franchise that just needs someone who can be consistent and can adapt easily to situations. Manziel would be best suited for a franchise that needs reenergizing and Bridgewater would be best suited for a franchise that needs a man who really knows how to win games.

By that analysis alone though, it’s pretty suggestive that it’s hard to decide who the best quarterback is but if I was a struggling franchise then Bortles would be my guy.

 This piece was written by Broderick Sutherland. Broderick is from Bath, UK and he is a massive New York Giants fan. He has recently started a blog that covers a variety of sports called Armchair Analyst. Follow him @BrodSutherland. And visit

The Brod View: NFL Mock Draft #2

The free agency market has shaken up what teams might or might not do in this year’s draft. And since the one I wrote for Overtime Ireland last month there have been four changes to my top ten picks. Not only that but the current draft order that I envisage sees one new entrant to that top ten as well as one quarterback dropping down.

And like with many mock drafts, I have not included any potential trades that could occur within the draft (e.g. even though we expect the St Louis Rams to trade down their second overall pick and Robinson to go slightly later in the draft, we are following the current draft order. Also I will not any changes of position between the first and second mock draft here in The Brod View.

You can see my first mock draft here.


1              Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney (DE) (No Change) 

Clowney should be #1 overall

After an unbelievably good pro day and with the signing of veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, it is highly unlikely that the Texans will look elsewhere in this draft for the first overall pick. Clowney and Watt as a pass-rush combo will be too good to pass up for new Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien. Factor in that the QBs in this draft class are being viewed in a lesser light than a month ago, then it is seems certain that the Texans will draft Clowney.



2              St Louis Rams: Greg Robinson (OT) (No Change)

 The Rams will probably trade down in order to get more draft picks. Therefore I am just basing this pick purely on team need and that is the top OL talent in this draft, Greg Robinson. Although, it is a huge possibility that the Rams could keep this pick and add Watkins as their WR and have a new explosive receiving corps which they desperately need.

3              Jacksonville Jaguars: Khalil Mack (LB) (Up 4) 

Khalil Mack has seen a massive surge of interest over the past couple of months, so much so that he could very well be a top five pick in the draft. The Jaguars’ Head Coach Gus Bradley is a defensive minded person and I reckon he will be more tempted to boost his defense than work on a QB talent like Johnny Manziel.

4              Cleveland Browns: Sammy Watkins (WR) (No Change) 

The top receiver of this draft has compared himself to current Baltimore Ravens receiver Torrey Smith. Yet there will still be the odd comparison with Calvin Johnson as many experts believe Watkins will have a huge impact on the NFL from day one. Cleveland will look to bring him in to add to a pretty good receiving corps.

5              Oakland Raiders: Blake Bortles(QB) (No Change) 

Even though the Raiders front office signed former Texans QB Matt Schaub and proclaimed that he could very well be their franchise QB for the next few years, I will say it again; Don’t trust the Raiders front office. I expect Bortles to be the first QB to be off the board in this draft and Oakland seems like the perfect match.

6              Atlanta Falcons: Jake Matthews (OT) (No Change) 

It is boring to select offensive lineman, but undoubtedly Matthews is a top tier talent that Atlanta need. Matt Ryan was sacked way too often last season and this franchise desperately needs to strengthen their O-line. It also would not surprise me if Atlanta will look to improve their defense instead.

7              Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Anthony Barr (LB) (Up 2) 

Barr is a Top 10 talent

With Khalil Mack going to the Jaguars in this mock draft, I expect the Buccaneers front office to go for the next best linebacker on the board which is Anthony Barr. They have a need there and quite a lot of people believe he is worthy of a top ten pick.

8              Minnesota Vikings: Johnny Manziel (QB) (Down 5) 

Last time round I had Manziel as the number one QB in this draft with him going to the Jaguars. People still believe he could be the number one pick but with Clowney nearly cementing his position and with the rise of Mack has seen Manziel falling all the way down to eight. Minnesota could be a good fit for the rookie though as he has a lot of talent on that offense with Peterson, Jennings and Patterson.

9              Buffalo Bills: Mike Evans (WR) (Up 4) 

With Mack and Barr both rising in this mock draft, it leaves the Bills selecting Mike Evans- arguably the second best receiver of the draft. The Bills are lacking in terms of offensive talent in my opinion and it will be refreshing to see someone like Evans shake things up in Buffalo.

10           Detroit Lions: Justin Gilbert (CB) (No Change)

Detroit have a need for this position and he’s the number one talent at that position heading into the draft. Moreover he will be a necessity to a Detroit backfield considering the team has to heavily rely on their offensive talents.” – The Brod View, Mock Draft #1. It’s seemingly rude to quote yourself but I just think this pick is almost certain to happen.


11 Tennesse Titans Darqueze Dennard CB Up Round
12 New York Giants Eric Ebron TE Up 9
13 St Louis Rams Ha Ha Clinton Dix S Down 2
14 Chicago Bears Timmy Jernigan NT No Change
15 Pittsburgh Steelers Calvin Pryor S No Change
16 Dallas Cowboys Aaron Donald DT No Change
17 Baltimore Ravens Zack Martin OT No Change
18 New York Jets Marqise Lee WR No Change
19 Miami Dolphins Xavier Su’a Filo OG Up Round
20 Arizona Cardinals Bradley Roby CB Up 2
21 Green Bay Packers CJ Mosley LB Down 1
22 Phildelphia Eagles Kyle Fuller CB Up Round
23 Kansas City Chiefs Odell Beckham WR No Change
24 Cincinnati Bengals Dee Ford DE Up 3
25 San Diego Chargers Louis Nix NT No Change
26 Cleveland Browns Teddy Bridgewater QB Down 18
27 New Orleans Saints Kony Ealy DE Up Round
28 Carolina Panthers Brandin Cooks WR No Change
29 New England Patriots Stephon Tuitt DE Up Round
30 San Francisco 49ers Jason Verrett CB Down 6
31 Denver Broncos Ryan Shazier LB Up Round
32 Seattle Seahawks Kelvin Benjamin WR No Change


This piece was written by Broderick Sutherland. Broderick is from Bath, UK and he is a massive New York Giants fan. He has recently started a blog that covers a variety of sports called Armchair Analyst. Follow him @BrodSutherland. And visit


The Brod View: Best Free Agency Signings by Division

With the free agency market coming down from its busy period (a.k.a the first few days), I thought I should provide a list with my favourite free agency signing for each division. We have had some brilliant signings, shrewd roster management as well as some totally bizarre and ridiculous decisions from some “fine” footballing minds (a.k.a. Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie).

Revis will play with the Patriots in 2014

AFC East: Darelle Revis (CB) to New England Patriots (Former team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Many people have said that Revis’ move to the Buccaneers was a disaster because he didn’t live up to being the best corner in the game. The fact of the matter is that his statistics last season showed a similar sort of performance to his last full season with the Jets – if only slightly worse. That’s not too shabby considering he was in a new system and he was part of an underperforming defense. Patriots have definitely made a great signing here to replace the outbound Aqib Talib.

AFC North: Donte Whitner (SS) to Cleveland Browns (Former team: San Francisco 49ers)
Whitner is a solid defensive back and he was pretty good for the impressive 49ers defense last season. I think it could be a tough season for him as he does have to fill T J Ward’s shoes as a safety but I think he can cope with that expectations. He will also be buoyed by the knowledge that a lot of focus will be on his new team’s offense which can ease the pressure on his new role.

AFC South: Red Bryant (DE) to Jacksonville Jaguars (Former team: Seattle Seahawks)
The Jaguars front office has made two smart decisions this offseason by recruiting Red Bryant and Chris Clemons, two members of the legendary pass rush from the Seahawks last season. It’s not the most surprising of signings however, as these two men worked with head coach Gus Bradley, when Bradley was their defensive coordinator in Seattle.

AFC West: Aqib Talib (CB) to Denver Broncos (Former team: New England Patriots)
A lot of talk this free agency has been about the “arms race” between the Broncos and the Patriots. And if there was a winner of this “arms race” then it would be the Broncos—Aqib Talib’s signing epitomises this as he left the Patriots to join Elway’s dream team. Talib is one of the best corners in the game but there will be questions over his fitness and whether he can play a full season or not.

NFC East: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (CB) to New York Giants (Former team: Denver Broncos)
Giants GM Jerry Reese has been one shrewd general manager this free agency period. With limited cap room, the Giants have made some promising signings and the man known as DRC is the biggest of Reese’s signings. The Giants desperately needed help in the corner position and he will help alongside new recruit Walter Thurmond.

Sack master Allen has gone to the Bears

NFC North: Jared Allen (DE) to Chicago Bears (Former team: Minnesota Vikings)
Switching sides within in the division for the sake of money will make any player look rather unfavourable—just ask Brett Favre. Although Allen’s signing is essential for the Bears’ defensive line after the loss of Julius Peppers to their divisional rival, the Green Bay Packers. The veteran defensive end will have question marks over his age and productivity but he did show last season that he can still hang with the best.

NFC South: Jairus Byrd (SS) to New Orleans Saints (Former team: Buffalo Bills)
The “Around the League” guys from put Byrd as their favourite free agent from this free agency period and it was not long before the Saints snatched him from the rest of the league. Byrd was fantastic for the Bills last season and I expect he will work well with youngster Kenny Vaccaro under Rob Ryan’s defense. I reckon this signing could mean the Saints will win their division next season.
NFC West: Jared Veldheer (OT) to Arizona Cardinals (Former team: Oakland Raiders)
If the Cardinals are insistent on using Carson Palmer as their starting quarterback then it is essential that they boost their offensive line. Veldheer was injured for most of the season last year, but he has still developed into a very good offensive tackle. Hopefully he can contribute to an exciting offense in Arizona, one that could potentially lead to a playoff run.

This piece was written by Broderick Sutherland. Broderick is from Bath, UK and he is a massive New York Giants fan. He has recently started a blog that covers a variety of sports called Armchair Analyst. Follow him @BrodSutherland. And visit

Bookie’s Playbook: Nick Foles’ 7 TD Performance

In the first game of the season, Peyton Manning threw an impressive 7 touchdown passes to start his amazing season. In Week 9, when the Eagles played the Raiders, everyone was shocked to see Nick Foles throw 7 touchdowns to tie Manning and five others for the most touchdowns thrown in a single game. Some people may think that Nick Foles’ 7 touchdown performance was a fluke since he was a backup and has had trouble at quarterback before. I’ll take you through each of the seven touchdown drives, explaining what led to each touchdown, and break down a few big plays within each drive.

First Touchdown: Q1 5:23 – 10 Plays 3:58

The Eagles ran the no-huddle on every play but two on the first drive. On the second play of the drive, Foles hit Riley Cooper for a 42-yard screen pass, but the drive really got going a few plays later.

The defence  was playing zone coverage so the defenders wouldn’t have to run around too much after all of the no-huddle plays, and Foles had Jeff Maehl run a deep crossing route to the middle and he needed to open up the field, so he pump faked to the left.

Play before TD1a

The pump fake made the defender on that side go after the fake, leaving a big enough hole in the middle, and Foles made a great pass, threading the ball right through three defenders.

Play before TD1b

A few plays later came the touchdown pass. The Eagles ran a common play that every team has in their goal line play book. Brent Celek was lined up next to he right tackle and made his way to the left side of the field away from the other receivers.


Only one defender noticed, but it was too late as Celek already passed him and got an easy touchdown.


The first dive exhibited a good variety of play calls and good throws by Foles. The Raiders didn’t have good pass rushing on the drive, which made it easy for Foles to find the open man. Foles was 6 for 7 on the drive, with each completion going to a different receiver.

Second Touchdown: Q2 14:23 – 8 Plays 2:35

The offence came out running the ball heavily and running the no-huddle, which very much tired out the front seven leading to a big 32-yard run by Bryce Brown. The Eagles kept switching between Brown and McCoy to keep their run game fresh.

After getting in range for the touchdown, the defence was still first looking for the run, thus stuffing the box. Foles noticed the one safety giving help on top, who stepped up the help in the middle.

TD2aOnce Cooper beat out his man on the go route, Foles threw a perfect pass to the back of the end zone where only his receiver could get to the ball.


Foles was 3 for 3 on the drive, and after all of the runs the defence got tired and didn’t put much pressure on Foles, once again giving him plenty of time to find the open man.

Third Touchdown: Q2 11:26 – 1 Play 0:09

Nick Foles threw a touchdown to Riley Cooper on a deep post route on the first play of the drive. This play was more of the Raiders secondary messing up than good offensive play. D.J. Hayden was playing outside leverage on Cooper, relying on safety help in the middle, but both safeties help on opposite sides of the middle of the field for the second time of the game.


Hayden was forced to chase Cooper at a bad angle and fell down, giving Foles a wide open throw. The Raiders must have gotten really upset after that one.


Fourth Touchdown: Q2 4:10 – 8 Plays 3:24

The drive started off with an incomplete pass and a couple of penalties, which slowed down the pace of the speedy offence. However, three of the five plays before the touchdown were big gains from a broken play where Foles was able to a good job moving around and getting out of the pocket to find the open man. On the touchdown, a similar thing happened. Cooper was running a crossing route shallow of DeSean Jackson’s post route, and Zach Ertz was running a go route, then, if nothing happened, an out to the side of the end zone.


Foles was looking for Jackson in the middle of the end zone, but when he noticed he was covered he scrambled out of the pocket and found Zach Ertz to the right side of the end zone.


Foles was 4 for 5 on the drive and ran the no-huddle after the incompletion and penalties to start the drive. Foles showed good mobility, buying time for his receivers to get open without rushing the pass.

Fifth Touchdown: Q3 14:21 – 4 Plays 0:32

On the first play of the drive Foles made a good choice on an interestingly designed play where Foles first fakes the handoff to McCoy then starts scrambling ,and, if he doesn’t have space to run, he throws a lateral to the sideline where a wide-open Riley Cooper awaits.

Play before TD5a

Cooper then had plenty of space in front of him to start of the string of big plays on the drive.

Play before TD5b

On the touchdown play, LeSean McCoy starts in motion and continues on the swing route. The receivers on the same side cross to the other side and their defenders follow. There are no linebackers on that side either, which leaves no defender for McCoy.


The safety doesn’t notice him so he’s left wide open to run for the end zone.


Due to the quick big-play no-huddle drive, the defenders don’t notice McCoy by the sideline and are already exhausted by running around silly to react quickly to all of the running around. The play calling was great and just focused on getting the ball out of Foles’ hand right away.

Sixth Touchdown: Q3 11:41 – 3 Plays 0:43

Here was another very quick drive which resulted in a big-play touchdown due to the defender falling down, again. DeSean Jackson simply gets off the press coverage and run a go route to the end zone.


There’s no safety help over the top because they went to help in the players crossing over the middle, once again, and Jackson easily gets the touchdown.


The defence looked like zombies on that drive, probably due to the exhaustion of the no-huddle throughout the entire game.

Seventh Touchdown: Q3 4:34 – 3 Plays 1:12

The seventh touchdown drive consisted of yet another quick three-play drive, yes, all in the no-huddle. On the first play of the drive, Jackson beats out Hayden on a deep post route again with no deep safety help.

Play before TD7aFoles made a perfect pass on that play as the ball was a centimetre out of Hayden’s reach. That 59-yard play set up the touchdown pass two plays later.

Play before TD7b

On the touchdown play, Foles faked the handoff while the two receivers on the left crossed over to the right side of the end zone.


The Raiders were running zone coverage, and when Nick Foles saw that, he rolled out of the cote to the right and waited for Riley Cooper to get into the empty spot of the zone and hit him for the touchdown.


And that finished off Nick Foles’ record day.


Nick Foles made a bunch of great passes in tight windows and in good locations where only his receiver can catch it, while recognising man and zone coverages. With the offence being primarily run in the no-huddle, the defence got tired on the long drives in the beginning of the game, and by the end they lost all of their energy and just couldn’t keep up and missed assignments. Also, the safeties consistently guarded the middle of the field instead if at least one of them guarding deep.vThis is the way Chip Kelly’s offence needs to work, fast with the right mix of plays, which consist of general plays, read option, and a couple of trickery plays.

This piece was written by Eli Bookstaber. Eli is from Silver Spring, Maryland. Naturally, he is a fan of America’s real Team, the Washington Redskins. Eli is a big fan of every American sport but the NFL is his favourite. He has strong opinions on many topics and therefore started to write about them. Every week, Eli writes a NFL power rankings article for OTI and “Bookie’s Playbook” article, where he breaks down different teams’ plays, formations, etc. You can always find his opinions and his shenanigans on Twitter @Ebookstaber. He welcomes any comments and feedback.

The Luxury Box:


A Rory Anderson Column, follow me on Twitter @holistic_pickle

The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, all the way through week five and now into week six of the NFL season. I have to say, week 5 had three very compelling performances that had me absolutely giddy for one reason or another. Before I begin I want to mention two very serious injuries that have just been announced. From the news that is circulating, both Ahmad Bradshaw and Julio Jones have been lost for season. These are both serious blows to their respective teams and for the Falcons to lose Jones after a fourth loss, a still injured Roddy White, and rumors circulating around Tony Gonzalez, the panic button needs to pushed hard in Atlanta.

The Oakland Raiders:

I believe NFL fans should unite and try to force Roger Goodell to change the way games are scheduled. Every Sunday the Raiders or Chargers should play a home game at 8:35 PST or 11:35 EST. This was awesome to have a nationally televised game this late and it’s a way for us west coasters to finally have something more beneficial in media viewing than the east coast. At this point the entire NFL is designed around their day, not ours. This would be a great way to throw a bone to the west coast.

Woodson has helped the Raiders D a lot

On the football side of things, the Raiders finally put together a complete game and they eventually made the fifth ranked quarterback in the NFL look bad. The Raiders will always give up yards. It is the way in which the defense is devised. Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver has said since he was hired what he cares about are impact plays. This means sacks and turnovers. Although the Raiders with their heavy blitzing defense has been able to rack up the sacks, it has been lacking in the turnover department, but in this game they forced five turnovers. The Raider picked off Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers in the first drive and immediately turned that into a touchdown on the first play. Later in the game after the Chargers had battled back from a 17 point deficit, the Raiders defense was ready to step up for the struggling offense. The Chargers were in striking distance and the much maligned first round pick cornerback DJ Hayden made an amazing play to intercept what was an easy touchdown with a diving grab. Then late in the fourth quarter the Raiders got pressure on Rivers once again forcing another interception to Charles Woodson. O yeah speaking of Woodson, the 37 year old safety also recovered a Danny Woodhead fumble (and he got stood up and crushed by a swarming Raiders defense) and returned it for a touchdown earlier in the game. Raider Nation finally got to see what this defense was intended to do, and that’s without their stud strong safety Tyvon Branch meaning the Raiders defense had ten new starters from last year. A word of advice, watch out for Lamaar Houston. He has three sacks, several tackles for loss, and a forced fumble and may get an opportunity to go to the Pro Bowl this season.

Matt Schaub

This isn’t about a team or a squad, this is about one guy. A pick six in four straight games is unbelievable. It really is stunning. What is even more humiliating is that this pick six came on the third play from scrimmage! Right now Schaub is doing everything wrong. He is staring down receivers, he isn’t anticipating when and where his receivers will get open, and his offensive line is playing miserably. I had the Texans winning the AFC South again and I was in no way expecting Schaub to single handedly win games for this team, but I also never expected such utter failure. With the weapons on the outside that the Texans had, they should have been able to work sidelines in and move the ball against the mediocre San Francisco defensive backfield, but instead they tried working middle out, and that went terribly.

I do not know what the solution in Houston is. I have never been sold on TJ Yates, and I am also not a big fan of Case Keenum, but they have to make a change soon. At minimum this should happen to perhaps give Schaub a week or two of to get his head right. If he can’t get it down after that, then the Texans are going to have cut him next year and eat 10.5 million of his 14.5 million dollars that are due to him. On the bright side, they may be able to draft Jonny Manziel. That team could use an immature whiny and entitled brat for a quarterback.

Peyton versus Romo

OMG!!!! I honestly cannot remember a regular season game that was this exciting! This was something else. Before I dig in full disclosure is needed. I am a football traditionalist. I enjoy low scoring defensive games and sometimes even more than these board burners, BUT this game was something else.

Peyton Manning is officially the most talented quarterback to ever play football. That doesn’t mean he is the best. What I am saying is, he is the epitome at the tail end of perhaps the greatest generation of quarterbacks we have ever seen. The league goes from John Elway and Dan Marino and the torch got passed to Peyton Manning and Tom Brady with Drew Brees close behind. The NFL is clearly a passing league and this game is the future for the NFL. I think we will continue to see more and more mobile quarterbacks that may not run, but are very nimble behind the line of scrimmage with the ball in their hands. What the world witnessed between these teams on Sunday was one of the greatest displays of pure passing I have ever seen.

I would of course be remiss to leave Tony Romo out of this discussion. Peyton may have 20 touchdowns and only one interception, but Romo set a team passing record this day and had five of his own touchdowns. I feel bad for the guy because he played an amazing game, but because of a slight misthrow with a lineman all over his feet and an amazing play by the Denver linebacker, every Romo hater out there is sandbagging the guy again. I am no Romo apologist, but he is a heck of a quarterback and if Cowboys want to blame anyone they should blame Al Davis, I mean, Jerry Jones. Yes I said it, Jerry Jones is the new Al Davis in the sense that he overspends on guys and never allows for real stability in schemes due to his impatience at his age.

All in all, this was an amazing performance by two fantastic quarterbacks and both deserve an immense amount of respect. Of course there was absolutely no defense in this game and the tackling reminded me of a high school football game where both defenses were from small schools and the offenses were from juggernaut private schools, but that’s only the future of this league. So who am I kidding with that sarcasm?

One Last Note

I am writing this column on October 8, 2013 and that marks two years to the day that the legendary Al Davis died. I am a Raiders fan through and through so this is a bit of a football memorial day for me. I am just ecstatic that his final draft pick, Terrelle Pryor is showing the NFL that he has the potential to be a legitimate quarterback in this league. To wrap it all up, today we found out that the Raiders will be playing a “home” game at Wembley next year. I as a Raiders fan will be upset if the rumors are true and the Battle of the Bay game (Niners at Raiders) is played there, because it means so much to the East Bay. Everyone remembers two years ago the violence at the preseason game at Candlestick and I think if it happens that will be why. It is a blow for season ticket holders because the teams are not required to lower their ticket prices for the loss of an actual home game and the teams get nothing from the league for this game. On the other hand, the Raiders have two British players (Menelik Watson and Jack Crawford), and both tweeted their excitement to play a game back home. I believe both are from London as well.

This Column was written by Rory Anderson. Rory is a Diehard Oakland Raiders Fan. You can Follow him on Twitter: @holistic_pickle

Cut: Whats Next for Josh Freeman?

After being dropped as starting quarterback for 23 year old rookie Mike Glennon last week against the Arizona Cardinals, Josh Freeman has been released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It’s not been an easy time in Tampa

Needless to say the news does come as a slight shock to the NFL with many people expecting Freeman to be traded for a mid to low level draft pick in next year’s draft.

However with the Buccaneers being lead to 0-3 under Freeman they decided to pay the brunt of his $6.25m salary for 2013 and release him. Glennon will probably be the starting quarterback for the remainder of this current season, considering their chances of reaching the playoffs are now slim with an 0-4 record.

Despite every team in the NFL apparently rejecting a trade offer for Freeman, with 59 starts from the last five seasons, there will be a team out there that could possibly hire him either as a starting QB, or in a more likely scenario, a backup QB. Below is a comprehensive list of potential suitors for the former first-round pick from Kansas State:

TENNESSEE TITANS: With Jake Locker out for the season with a major hip injury, Freeman could tempt the Titans to recruit him even as a backup QB since they only have one QB currently on the depth chart. Locker’s backup, Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was a starting QB before with the Buffalo Bills in the previous four seasons is certain to start for the remainder of the season. Therefore if Freeman were to be signed by the Titans, he would be their backup.

NEW YORK JETS: It would seem farcical that the Jets would get themselves into another QB problem, but unfortunately for them Geno Smith has been far from impressive in his first four games in the NFL so far. And even if Mark Sanchez returned next season for the Jets, it is highly unlikely they would pick him because of his poor performance in the last two seasons. With all that being said, it is still hard to see Freeman in a Jets jersey just yet.

OAKLAND RAIDERS: Neither QBs at Oakland seem like the long term answer to their problems. Whilst Terrell Pryor has shown flashes of brilliance (particularly against the Colts) there is scepticism according to about his potential to be the starting QB for years to come. Matt Flynn, who replaced Pryor last week, was unimpressive and just like Pryor, he will not be the answer to Oakland’s QB problem. If Freeman was recruited by the Raiders right now, I could see him fitting in between Pryor and Flynn in the depth chart.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS: Freeman would start, but he would not be the long-term solution, if the Jaguars were to sign him. Moreover, with Jacksonville being the worst team in the NFL right now in terms of both results and performance, and looking to have the first pick of the draft, would it be of actual benefit to hire Freeman. That answer would be a resounding no. They would probably be better by playing Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne as starting QB until the end of the season and recruit a QB in next year’s draft.

GREEN BAY PACKERS: noted that Alex Van Pelt, the current Green Bay running backs coach, was also the QB coach at the Buccaneers during Freeman’s time, three years ago. It would not be unthinkable that Freeman could be the backup to Aaron Rodgers if Freeman can get Van Pelt’s ear. Oh, and let’s not forget that the Packers have been looking for a decent backup since Matt Flynn departed after the 2011 season.

There are probably more potential suitors for Freeman to join, however I feel that these are the five franchises that look the most likely to sign Freeman.

One thing is for certain is that Freeman will take a cut to his salary (and his ego) if he still wants to be a quarterback in the NFL. And for the time being, he looks unlikely to be a starting QB, even at the Jags or the Raiders, too. However, I think it will be only a matter of time, before Freeman signs with another franchise, with many teams looking for a decent and experienced backup.

This piece was written by Broderick Sutherland. Broderick is from Bath, UK and he is a massive New York Giants fan. He has recently started a blog that covers a variety of sports called Armchair Analyst. Follow him @BrodSutherland. And visit

The Luxury Box:
A Josh Freeman Sweepstakes?

A Rory Anderson column, follow me on twitter @holistic_pickle

There is a lot going on in Tampa Bay and frankly most of it I just don’t understand. Not only is there the entire Josh Freeman situation, but there is also news today that defensive end Adrian Clayborne will no longer be starting and is dealing with “confidence issues”. I entirely support any head coach that wants to put his stamp on a team, but there is an utter disaster brewing in Florida. From an outsider’s perspective, something simply does not add up. It seems as if the culture of chaos is so deeply engrained in this franchise they just cannot shake it. I wonder if these were the statements people made when the Buccaneers ruined and wasted the talents of Steve Young and then he got traded to San Francisco and went on to be a hall of fame player.

Freeman Gets Cut

Where does Josh go from here?

This is a very practical solution for this entire debacle. If this happens although I find it unlikely, any team can go after Freeman, and he may even be inclined to sign with a team that has a solidified starter simply to do some learning as a backup. If he is cut the Buccaneers will save 8.5 million dollars and will have done him a huge favor. Remember, Freeman is only 25 years old and has pretty solid mechanics, but he could definitely use a mentor to help teach him all the things he never learned in Tampa Bay. If he is cut there should be some pretty solid interest from multiple teams and I am sure he would get signed fairly quickly wherever he would want to play. A team such as the Texans may consider signing him to a multi-year contract for a minimal salary and see how things progress with Matt Schaub.

Cleveland Browns

Brian Hoyer has led the Browns to two consecutive wins and is a favorite of new general manager Mike Lombardi, but that does not stop me from thinking he would not jump on the opportunity to grab Freeman if only for a backup. I am not entirely sold on Hoyer and I doubt he is the long term solution in Cleveland. At a minimum the Browns could bring in Freeman to compete with him and see if one of those guys can be their franchise quarterback going forward. Freeman would be a nice fit with the Norv Turner offense and its downfield passing working off playaction, but most of all, Norv could really have a calming influence on him. Of course, all of this goes out the window if in fact the Browns are preparing themselves to draft Teddy Bridgewater quarterback from Louisville.

Jacksonville Jaguars

This team is clearly headed for the number one overall pick and the opportunity to draft Bridgewater, but that does not stop a general manager or a head coach from wanting to add a better player especially at the quarterback position. The combination of Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert is an insult to the position and this team has a pair of solid receivers now that Justin Blackmon is off suspension. Overall this seems like a fairly unlikely place for Freeman to be traded to unless the Jaguars wanted to trade Maurice Jones-Drew and operate with a run heavy scheme with two very talented running backs. Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano has expressed his intent to have a run based offense and the NFL has seen some prolific tandems including the pairing of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew when MJD was a rookie.

Oakland Raiders

As all the readers should know, I am a Raiders fan and I can tell you first hand, the performance of Matt Flynn on Sunday was beyond atrocious. Granted the offensive coordinator had some terrible play calls making it even worse, but what Flynn proved is that he may be book smart, but he cannot translate that into on field success. The biggest issue for the Raiders is the huge difference in skill sets between Flynn and Pryor. In the second half, every pass play was a downfield route concept and the Redskins countered perfectly with two deep safeties and a lot of man coverage underneath. This meant every receiver was covered downfield and it threw Flynn of his timing and he held onto the ball too long getting him sacked seven times. If Pryor played he would have rushed for 150 yards because the defensive backs all turned their backs to the quarterback leaving huge running lanes.

Understatement: Matt Flynn did not impress!

I am sure Flynn has had some positive impact on Pryor and has probably been a great teammate, but the Raiders need someone that can play like Pryor and although Freeman isn’t as fast as Pryor, he is very athletic and can run decently. I think the Raiders should offer up Flynn and McFadden for Freemand and defensive end Adrian Clayborn who is also on Schiano’s hit list. The Raiders have two million in cap space. By trading Flynn they open up 1.2 million more, but they eat five million. With McFadden, the Raiders would pay 5.8 million of his 10 million dollar salary in the final year of his contract. The Bucs would eat 1.5 million of Freeman’s contract, but the Raiders would have to pay him 8 million. The way this would work is for the Raiders to work out a contract extension ahead of time with Freeman and then make the trade. A restructure would possibly be cutting his 2013 salary to 2.5 million and spread the other 5.5 million over 2-3 more years.

This may seem farfetched, but could you imagine the tandem of Doug Martin and Darren McFadden in Tampa Bay with those guards blocking? It would be exactly what Greg Schiano would want to do with his football team and the splitting of carries would be best for both Martin and McFadden. McFadden’s days in Oakland are done. Reggie McKenzie will not pay big money to a running back, instead he will move forward with Latavius Murray who is on IR this year and he will probably draft a couple of players.


When it’s all said in done, none of us know what will happen with Freeman. Most likely he will be cut by the Buccaneers and he will go somewhere where he can have a breather, but it only takes one team to make everything exciting. Watch for any potential movement on Freeman with the trade deadline approaching in a few weeks. Deadlines always make things happen.

Picking Winners: Browns, Bears, Bengals, Colts, Ravens, Giants, Packers, Rams, Chiefs, Cardinals, Broncos, 49ers, Falcons, Raiders

This Column was written by Rory Anderson. Rory is a Diehard Oakland Raiders Fan. You can Follow him on Twitter: @holistic_pickle

Games of the Week: Week 4

There are a handful of interesting match-ups this week, and we also have the first bye week of the season, with the Panthers and Packers relaxing this Sunday. Are you a fan of one of those teams and don’t know which games to keep up with this week? Or you’re at the International Series game and don’t know what to do during halftime. I’ve got you covered.

Wembley should be electric!

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Minnesota Vikings (in London)

Let’s kick it off with the International Series. Maybe when the NFL scheduled this game, they thought that these teams would be doing better, but not to worry! Even though this game is between two 0-3 teams, there could be some interesting things to look forward to. The Steelers are the 22nd ranked run defence, allowing 115.3 yards per game. So this could be the first game this season when Adrian Peterson breaks out for a huge game, which everyone would be very excited to see (sorry Steelers fans). Also, both of these teams are near the top of the turnover list, tallying 8 turnovers each. Whenever there are a bunch of turnovers, the game is always exciting.

New York Jets @ Tennessee Titans

This should be a very close game. I don’t think anyone expected the Jets to be playing this well, especially this early in the season. Both of these teams have mobile quarterbacks, which adds another element to this quarterback matchup. However, the statistic that interests me the most about this game is that even though these teams are mostly even, they’re complete opposites when it comes to turning over the ball. The Jets have given up possession a total of eight times this season, while the Titans are one of two teams (Chiefs) to have zero turnovers on offence this season. That will likely be the biggest difference in this game, although both of these teams are prone to winning or losing close games. I wouldn’t be surprised if this game comes down to the final drive.

Washington Redskins @ Oakland Raiders

This could be the game when RG3 and the Redskins pick up their first win of the season. They made big improvements in Week 3, and it looks like RG3 is getting more mobile each game. On the Raiders’ side, Terrelle Pryor may not play on Sunday, and we would see Matt Flynn, who lost two starting jobs in two years before each season began. The main factor in this game is defence. The Redskins rank in the bottom of the pack, while the Raiders sit in the middle. The Raiders have enough to win this game if they keep playing the way they have been, so it’s on the Redskins to make the leap. I expect RG3 to make a few runs this game, which could be a big factor if the Raiders don’t expect it.


Will Gronk play this Sunday?

New England Patriots @ Atlanta Falcons

the Falcons could be in danger of falling early, and ruin their playoff chances, in what is likely Tony Gonzalez’s last season, if they lose to the Patriots. Since 1990, only 9 percent of teams that have gone 1-3 to start the season have made the playoffs. However, the most recent team to make that 9 percent was Tim Tebow and the Broncos. Even with the Patriots being 3-0, I wouldn’t be too worried. The Patriots haven’t looked like an undefeated team in their first two games when Tom Brady couldn’t get much help from his receivers. However, last week against the Buccaneers, Brady finally got on the same page as his receivers. That’s the key to beat the struggling Falcons pass defence, although it may not be too easy. The Falcons are 34-7 at home under Mike Smith.



Miami Dolphins @ New Orleans Saints

This is a game between two undefeated teams, both trying to make their way back to the top of their divisions. Each team has improved a lot over last season, and is playing good all-around football. However, there are single issues with each team that can cripple them in this game. The Dolphins  and the Saints have not done a good job protecting their quarterbacks, allowing a league-leading 14 sacks and 10 sacks respectively. You can’t do much if your quarterback is on the ground. They also have not done a good job getting the run game going, which is important to relieve pressure off the quarterback.

This piece was writing by Eli Bookstaber (@Ebookstaber) . Eli was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland and cuurently resides in Israel. Growing up in the Washington D.C. area, Eli is a die hard Redskins fan, and never misses a game. He likes writing about the Redskins, but most of his articles are about his take on the hot topics around the league.

Why the possibility of a Los Angeles team is looking increasingly unlikely?

This side of the pond has been hyping up the move of a NFL franchise, in particular the Jaguars, to London. After all it’s quite right that European fans of the game are excited about the prospect of a NFL team playing in the UK’s capital at least eight times a year. Roger Goddell’s comments of Wembley Stadium showing a third NFL game is ground-breaking but unsurprising considering the two games, one of which features the Jaguars, have sold out quite quickly, will surely hype up the idea of a London franchise.

However, the Raiders franchise could possibly face a move away from Oakland next season after their contract expires with the Coliseum. It is also no surprise that there have been rumours of the Raiders franchise possibly moving up north in California to Los Angeles. If the Raiders returned to Los Angeles it would mean that Los Angeles would have its first team since 1994.

Does the International Series hinder the possibility of LA getting a Franchise?

However there have been lots of instances where the idea of a Los Angeles team was merely a rumour set up by a franchise just to leverage more financial assistance for stadium improvements or a new stadium from that franchise’s city hall. These franchises have included the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks. And the Cleveland Browns were going to be the Los Angeles team back in 1996 but they decided to become the Baltimore Ravens instead.

With that all being said there has been significant movement to warrant the idea of a Los Angeles team as more than just rumour. Despite Bloomberg’s  recent Sportfolio programme stating that a stadium in Los Angeles is being ruled out due to financial issues, the current woes of the Raiders with their stadium in Oakland has given the idea of a LA franchise a new sense of plausibility.

The perspective of the LA City Council is that they want to build a new stadium in Farmers Field in downtown Los Angeles. The proposal was accepted last year by the council but since then the proposal has been stalled and now two more sites have been proposed in the form of the Dodger Stadium and the “L.A. Stadium” at Grand Crossing in the City of Industry. Even with the stalling proposals, Councilman Tom LaBonge was calling for the city of Los Angeles to have its own NFL team and seems determined in attaining said team whether that be the Raiders or not. He has even gone as far as to write to the NFL commissioner to push forward that the idea of an NFL team in the United States’ second biggest city is a great idea. Needless to say it is an embarrassment to both the NFL and Los Angeles that a team is not located in a market which has a population of over 18 million in the Greater Los Angeles area.

On the other hand, the Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis told him that he would like to keep the Raiders in Oakland and not move to Los Angeles, according to ESPN. He wants a stadium with a capacity of 58,000 as he believes that is enough to cater to the Oakland market. He has already ruled out the possibility of sharing the new stadium in Santa Clara where the San Francisco 49ers will make their home next season. It is interesting that Davis has come out and stated that he is fighting to keep the Raiders in Oakland and the L.A. rumour appears not to be manufactured from the franchise itself.

However, Davis has significant competition as the NBA’s Golden State Warriors are looking set to move to San Francisco and the MLB franchise the Athletics also want to move out of the Coliseum. What’s worse is that the Dolphins franchise has also had rumours of moving from Miami to Los Angeles, and they don’t even need a new stadium. This makes the Los Angeles idea look fantastic.

Could we see the LA Raiders again?

Although one cannot really blame the Raiders owner for trying to secure a significant deal from Oakland’s city hall to build a new stadium. After all the Raiders franchise was notorious for not filling its 90,000+ stadium in Los Angeles and thus suffered television blackouts. Moreover, the former owner Al Davis, Mark’s father, never had a great link to Los Angeles. The LA Coliseum was reduced slightly in capacity but the poor attendances would be off-putting to any sensible owner.

And the current NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also stated last year on an edition of NBC’s Costas Live that he does not like the notion of any franchise moving to the city and the only way the city were to get a team is if the league were to expand to 34 teams. Goodell, like Davis, probably recognises that a Los Angeles franchise would probably not be the wisest of ideas considering the civic disinterest in the NFL franchises they have had in the past.

Despite Los Angeles calls for a franchise in the city, I think it is becoming increasingly unlikely that the Raiders or any other franchise that are having stadium issues are going to move to the city any time soon. Whether the LA rumour is just an owner’s way of manipulating a city hall for more financial assistance for a new stadium or not, it appears that Davis is determined to keep the Raiders franchise in the city of Oakland. You know things are bad for LA when it appears that if there is any franchise movement in the NFL in the next decade when London looks more likely to get an NFL team.

This piece was written by Broderick Sutherland. Broderick is from Bath, UK and he is a massive New York Giants fan. He has recently started a blog that covers a variety of sports called Armchair Analyst. Follow him @BrodSutherland. And visit