The five bright spots of the Oakland Raiders’ season
The Bright Spots of the 2012 Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders have been bad this season and their 1-3 record shows it. However, there have been some bright spots amidst the bleak year in the Bay Area.
There are four players and one unit on the list of five good things about the 2012 Raiders’ season. These players are ranked in order from the “worst” bright spot to the “best” one. All of these players and units have done a lot of good for Oakland this season, but there is still a lot to improve on.
A lot of players you would expect to be on this list do not show up because their performance has been subpar this season. The most obvious example is Darren McFadden, who is a talented back, but has not performed up to expectations so far this season. Unfortunately, there are a couple of other players who can join McFadden on the list of players you would predict to be on this list before Week 1, but have not earned it after Week 4.
Luckily for the Raiders, they don’t play Sunday so many players can still improve and make the midseason version of this list. Players like Matt Shuaghnessy and Rolando McClain were close to making this list, but who knows which players will cool off after a blistering start and who will heat up in the next segment of the season.
Stay tuned for the list of the five biggest disappointments of 2012 on Thursday and the five biggest questions on Friday.
5. Carson Palmer
Palmer may not be throwing a lot of touchdowns, but he hasn't been throwing many interceptions. The fact the quarterback has been able to protect the ball is paramount to Oakland's success. He is also on pace for nearly 4,400 yards this season, which will be important if the running game doesn't get going.
4. Tyvon Branch
The safety has quietly had a good season despite the issues with the pass defense. Branch ranks second on the team with 31 tackles, including 25 solo stops. His help in the run defense has helped stabilize the defense somewhat, but Branch needs to do a better job defending passes, although the help in the rush defense is needed.
3. Special Teams
Arguably the two best players so far this season, Shane Lechler and Sebastian Janikowski have been impeccable in the special teams. Janikowski has hit all 13 kicks of the season and Lechler is booming punts an average of 49.4 yards per kick. Lechler's average can improve and more can be downed inside the 20, but for the most part there is not much to critique from this group.
2. Philip Wheeler
Wheeler has the capability to get 100 tackles this season, even though his career high is only 84 stops. He has done a much better job at getting solo tackles after having 37 of his career-hihg 84 tackles being assisted. Wheeler needs to step up and lead the defense the rest of the way if Oakland is going to turn it around especially when defending the run.
1. Brandon Myers
Some players come from nowhere to make a big impact. Myers might not be that extreme, but the tight end is the team's leading receiver with 228 yards and is second on the team behind McFadden with 16 receptions. Those are both career highs for Myers, whose previous best was last season when he had 16 catches for 151 yards. More importantly he has 12 catches for first downs, which is as many as he had in his career before this season. Myers needs to stay involved in the offense to give Palmer a solid target especially since he has caught 16 of 17 passes intended for him.