Raiders don’t have time to rest
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) – The Oakland Raiders don’t have much time to get over Sunday’s lopsided loss in Miami.
With a trip to undefeated Green Bay this week, whatever problems the Raiders (7-5) had against the Dolphins need to get corrected in a hurry.
There’s plenty to fix, too.
A sputtering offense that punted on eight of its first nine possessions against Miami. The defense which allowed 209 yards rushing, continuing a season-long troublesome trend. The special teams also had a critical breakdown.
There’s also the controversy over middle linebacker Rolando McClain playing three days after his arrest on misdemeanor assault, firearms and other charges in his Alabama hometown.
Moving on from all of that might be just as challenging for the Raiders as facing the Packers (12-0).
“We’re going to let it go but we ain’t going to forget,” coach Hue Jackson said on Monday. “We didn’t play well, I didn’t coach well. But the psyche of this team is very strong.”
That was the message Jackson delivered to his team less than 24 hours after the loss to Miami, a setback that dropped the Raiders into a first-place tie with the surging Denver Broncos in the AFC West.
Oakland fell back into many of its old habits against the Dolphins. The Raiders couldn’t stop Miami’s running game, converted only 2 of 11 third downs and were penalized 10 times to pad their league-leading total.
It was in stark contrast to the way the team played during its three-game winning streak and left Jackson and his staff scrambling for answers while trying to get their players focused on the Packers.
“Yeah, but it’s always been that way,” right tackle Khalif Barnes said. “We never lost that perspective. But when you drop one like that, it just puts it a little bit more into perspective. We’ll be OK.”
Apparently so will McClain.
Jackson initially said he wouldn’t wait for the NFL to take action against McClain for the incident, but backed off after meeting with the second-year player Saturday.
Now Jackson is taking a wait-and-see approach.
“I’m comfortable in my mind that the charges that people are saying and the things that they’re saying that he did, I don’t think that he did that,” Jackson said. “If I find out differently, if I’ve been led down the other brick road, then I will adjust accordingly. At some point I got to take a stand, and I’m taking a stand behind my player.”
McClain did not start but played extensively against the Dolphins. He’s expected to be back in Oakland’s starting lineup in Green Bay.
Lambeau Field isn’t exactly the best place for the Raiders to correct their on-field issues.
Oakland’s run defense is 28th in the NFL and opponents are gaining a league-high 5.2 yards per carry against the Raiders.
Green Bay’s defense has struggled at times, which might be encouraging if the Raiders were not coming off one of their worst offensive performances of the season.
Although they managed 304 yards of offense, the Raiders trailed 34-0 midway through the fourth quarter before quarterback Carson Palmer threw a pair of late touchdown passes to avoid the shutout.
“(Miami) provided the blueprint for everybody else, so it’s time for me to go back to the drawing board,” Jackson said. “These challenges don’t get any easier. They get harder.”
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