The time has come. Everyone is 0-0 and in first place. All of the offseason work will now have to pay off. Besides that, I get to write my first article of the “What The Bright One Hopes To See” series. (We will explain how we chose the name later.) Until then, time to quickly breakdown what I hope to see on Monday Night against the Oakland Raiders.
The first topic that quickly sticks out in my mind is about our Run Defense. Our last pre-season game is still fresh in my mind. We had a hard time stopping the run against the 49ers. We gave up 176 yards on 30 rushing plays. An average of 5.9 yards per carry. This was against a 49ers offense that lacked Frank Gore. Now that the games are live, all of our 1s will be running the defense. Also means that the Raiders will be utilizing Darren McFadden. Maybe I am biased towards the AFC West and we have to face the Raiders twice a year, but I feel that McFadden is the most dangerous running back in the league. One thing I did notice was that I saw Bigby in the box often. I try not to look at our defensive schemes too much in pre-season because It feels very “vanilla.” However, I am curious to truly see what type of scheme John Pagano runs. The front seven is going to have their hands full. One other thing before I move on to the Offense is thankfully Carson Palmer isn’t much of a mobile quarterback. Kapernick from the 49ers was able to break containment and extend plays with his legs. Hopefully they learned from the game and fixed these issues for Monday night.
As for the offense, we know that Rivers will show up with his usual gritty self. He did make a few mistakes in the offseason trying to force a throw into an extremely tight window. I haven’t seen that good of a connection with Robert Meachem yet. Just doesn’t seem like it’s there yet. Thankfully Gates feels he is at his healthiest in years and will continue to be part of the strong foundation that our Offense has. Eddie Royal did not have a spectacular offseason. The only game I remember seeing him was the 49ers game. He had one catch for 10 yards. I remember seeing a few passes that he should have caught slipped through his hands. I do hope that Rivers worked on his rapport with both Meachem and Royal after our last preseason game. We already know that Mathews will be out at least for the first game so it’s going to be running back by committee. I do like our backfield group that will be carrying the ball on Monday. Ronnie Brown, Le’Ron McClain, Curtis Brinkley and Jackie Battle are all capable backs to carry the load on Monday night. Hopefully Norv can get the play calling right and use our backs to their individual strengths. They bring a nice balance based on their skillset so I do hope that they run the ball well so that it opens up better passing opportunities for Rivers and Company.
As usual, we are extremely excited for the upcoming season here at Rock The Bolt. I look forward to spending the rest of the year with all of you. As for the explanation on how we came up with the series name “What the Bright One Hopes To See,” my last name Liwanag means “Bright” in Tagalog. Hopefully, we have a “Bright” season ahead of us and bring on the Raiders!