As the Raiders get ready for their 1st Big game of the year... ok last 3 years. I've gone back to the Miami game tape to check out two players.
Lets start on the Offense
Zach Miller with the ball... not what we are talking about, but a nice picture
Why has KW2 (a Fuckin Soldier) been able to laugh off Joey Porter's insults this week. He has seen the film of the Raiders game. If this game was any indication of what Porter has left in the tank the only guarantee he should be making is that this is his last year in the NFL.
I've read in a couple places these last two weeks that Miller has been the key to the Raiders resurgent run game. I had laughed these reports off due to two factors:
1 - the sources
2 - Millers preseason play
I admit that I hadn't broken down a game yet this year, so I shouldn't have been so quick to dismiss these reports, but now that I have broken down 1 game, I can say that he had at least one very good game of run blocking, but the reports that he is the key are a bit of an exaggeration.
The Raiders ran the ball at will against the Dolphins, and Miller was a valuable part of the run game. Out of the 49 run plays the Raiders ran, Miller missed his block on only 5 plays (my DVR cut out at the 2 minute warning, so that stat may be slightly off) Of those plays, his man made the play on only 1. When he was left 1 on 1 backside with the DE.
So based on that Miller was dominant in the run game right... not so fast. On the majority of the run plays the Raiders ran away from Miller. He was left walling off the backside backer. While this is incredibly important in the zone/cut system that Cable has installed this year, Millers job was made easier as he was blocking Joey Porter on allot of these plays.
Early in the game this was a great match up, Miller was earning his Money as he clawed and scrapped (and held) Porter. But by the 2nd half Porter was content to watch the play and keep backside contain.
That said, Miller did have a couple key blocks against Jason Taylor, one which opened the hole on Fargas' first long run, and another that walled off the LB on Fargas' 2nd big gain.
The most impressive thing I saw while watching Miller was that he never quit on a play. When he missed a block, he immediately looked to the next level for someone else to block. There is no quit in this kid. He is the type of player the Raiders need to turn this team around. (short pause as I take a shot so that I can write my next line) He reminded me of how the NE tight ends play, they never stop on a play, they may not be the best or the biggest names, but they are always working... FuCk the patriots.
So why won't I give him a dominant grade, this was the Dolphins, I think all of their LBs are old enough to have married Anna Nicole at one time.
Anna Nicole and Jason Taylor in happier times
It will be interesting to see how Miller performs against the faster, more athletic LB's that SD has in this weeks game. But the potential is there for something special.
QB Killa don't play no run
Oh Warren Sapp, what has happened to you. Did the 52 pounds you lost this offseason contain your heart and desire? You were never great against the run. The key was always to run right at you, but you were still a pain in the ass. Now you are getting handled 1 on 1 by such luminaries as Chris Liwienski and Vernon Carey.
I gave Warren a win on only 4 plays the entire game. First a little humble pie, I incorrectly blamed Sapp for not fighting through the pressure and instead spinning his way out of the hole on Browns long run from the shadow of his endzone (that was Brayton). But I have an excuse (I know like an asshole) Brayton's non-play looked like so many of Sapps all day.
Sapp was constantly knocked off the line of scrimmage 2 or more yards. When he wasn't he took himself out of the play by not fighting through the pressure and trying to use the speed he hasn't had in years to make the play.
BUT BRICK he's the QB KILLA
Sapp was the QB killa, and it looked like that had come back last year. But it was incredibly evident that if Sapp's initial move did not gain penetration he gave up on the play. The 3 (yes 3) times that his initial move worked he was a factor. Once leading to T. Kelly's sack, once getting held but applying pressure and once where he hit Green low. (The low hit earning Sapp a fine and Green some negative Karma points for his Soccer player impression).
Dida and Green, separated at Birth?picture
So I'm left with two options for my assessment of Sapp based on the Miami game. Either Miami's Oline is much better than advertised, or Sapp's performance last year was an aberration and the Terry McDanial sydrome of growing old overnight has struck.
The play of both Miller and Sapp will be key to the San Diego game tomorrow.
Can Miller repeat against much stiffer competition, I like his chances.
Did the week off allow Sapp to find his legs so that he can be a factor like last year when 8 of his 10 sacks came after the bye week (week 3). If not hope you started LT in you fantasy league.