Much has been made about the Raiders ineptitude on offense this year. Ultra-conservative play calling and the unwillingness to modify the game plan plagued Oakland all season. Raider Nation was given a minor glimpse of what this once high-powered offense can do in the right situations on Monday Night Football.
Scout it Out
Jon Gruden was quick to point out Philadelphia’s over-aggressive secondary on Monday Night Football. Aggression is exactly what you want from your defense in the NFL. However, a crafty offense can turn aggression into a big miss in a split second.
Amari’s 63-yard catch and run exposes Jalen Mills and provides a perfect opportunity for Jon to highlight the weakness of Philadelphia’s secondary.
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In turn, it would appear that the coaching staff actually DOES scout their opponents prior to game day. Can’t be! However, what happened to the double move later in the game? Time and time again it seems what works in Oakland, doesn’t stay in Oakland.
Self-Scouting is Scouting Too, Scout
To further illustrate my point, let’s take a look at the Raiders’ run schemes and what has worked and what isn’t working. Ted Nguyen wrote about Oakland’s success running an angle opposite zone blocking scheme in 2016 and its ability to compliment their inside zone rushing attack. Bait a defense going one way, use it against them the other way. This is football 101. The Raiders were able to jumpstart a struggling inside zone scheme by adding in an element of surprise.
We’ve seen similar work this year as well. The implementation of power blocking and more angle opposite blocking has helped jumpstart a failing outside zone attack. In this 51-yard scamper against the NY Giants KO pulls and clears out a lane for Lynch who shows he’s still got fuel in the tank.
#Raiders RBs are averaging 8.00 yards per carry (!!) on power runs this season (16 carries for 128 yards). And even without Marshawn Lynch’s 51-yarder against NYG, OAK is averaging 5.13 YPC on power runs.
— Austin Gayle (@AustinGayle_PFF) December 8, 2017
Furthermore, against Miami, Oakland dialed up a trap run with KO pulling to his right. The new wrinkle tricks Suh who falls to the ground and Marshawn pushes through and makes some great downhill moves to find the end zone.
Now with a modicum of unpredictability we are starting to see Lynch have more success in Downing’s zone stretch scheme. Monday Night’s game against the Eagles showed Lynch CAN have success in the zone as he tallied 95 yards on the night with the team posting 137 yards on 33 attempts. Sadly, the passing game accumulated just as many yards through the air. Lynch’s highlights can be seen below.
Watch to see the best plays of Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch during the Raiders’ Week 16 Christmas Night matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.
What Happens Next?
The future of the oft-ridiculed Todd Downing is uncertain. Downing will likely either be demoted or fired before the start of the 2018 season. However, the rookie coordinator could very well be retained for another go at it (hold your tomatoes please) next season.
Was the conservative and restricted playbook merely a mask to hide an injured Carr’s deficiencies? Or was it the horrible truth that Todd isn’t ready to assume the position of an offensive coordinator in the unforgiving world of the NFL?
What remains clear is that the responsibility to oversee all game day preparations and to ensure the proper scouting and self-scouting is done to set his players up for success still sits squarely on head coach Jack Del Hairdo’s (TRF©) shoulders.
The lessons learned in 2017 should have been known from the start. 2017 is in the rear-view mirror and there’s no going back and changing what already happened. The greatness of the Raiders is still in its future.
Written by: Kenny Stapler