From The Other Side, Part 1

To get the lowdown on the Dolphins' next opponent, the Oakland Raiders, we checked in with Michael Wagaman of Silver & Black Illustrated (oak.scout.com). In Part 1, we get his take on the Oakland offense.

Q: Just how bad is the Raiders offense?

Michael Wagaman: Bad. Real bad. Two weeks ago against Atlanta the Raiders had a net minus-2 yards in the first half and finished with 77 yards for the entire game, the lowest mark for the franchise since 1961. The problems are everywhere, from the poor pass protection at the tackle spots to wide receivers who either can't catch or can't get open. Add in the coaching shake-up coupled with the recent revelation that offensive coordinator Greg Knapp has been stripped of the play-calling duties and you have all the recipes for a team that hasn't scored a touchdown in nine straight quarters.

Q: Has JaMarcus Russell shown any signs he'll become a good NFL quarterback?

MW: Russell quietly got off to a good start, throwing just one interception in his first 99 attempts while mainly working short and intermediate passes. After Lane Kiffin was fired as head coach, however, the Raiders tried to open up the passing game and put more of the offense on Russell's shoulders, and he struggled. Much of the reason is due to a serious lack of talent around him, particularly along the offensive line.

Q: Are you expecting Darren McFadden to play on Sunday; and, if so, how big of a threat is he?

MW: Right now McFadden probably has a 40 percent chance of playing. He's had turf toe injuries in both feet and he's been limited in practice as a result. That's been a big blow to Oakland's offense, which seemed to work best with the rookie healthy and in the backfield. If he does play, it's doubtful the Raiders would put a big load on his shoulders.

Q: Is there anybody in the passing game the Dolphins need to worry about?

MW: The only real consistent threat has been second-year tight end Zach Miller. The guy has unbelievably solid hands and he rarely misses anything thrown his way. The problem is that Miller is also the best blocking tight end Oakland has, and with all the problems the team has had in pass protection, Miller has been forced to stay in and help out more in that department, taking him out of the passing attack.

Q: Has Robert Gallery been any better at guard after switching from tackle?

MW: Though it's taken him a few years to make the adjustment, Gallery is infinitely better now that he's found a permanent home. Gallery works better in smaller, more confined spaces than he did at tackle, where he had trouble against speed rushers. His most progress has come in discipline; he has been penalized far fewer times this season than any other since he entered the NFL.


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