"Play like a Raider on every play...Never take your foot off the pedal," chides Hue Jackson from the locker room, and the fiery nature of his coaching shows in the snippets that showcase his screaming, "jog off, jog off, jog off..." to his team, as we have come to learn he expects all practice opportunities to be uptempo, and representative of a silver and black team of old, and one the Nation can be proud of and liken to those very teams.The future versions of these installments will be much more timely, most times up by Tuesday morning following Sunday games, but it will require my ability to break down games afterwards via DVR, which will require a purchase of NFL ticket via my cable network, which isn't Comcast, because it's not available where I live.
This one will resume where we left off, with a breakdown of our second team offense taking the field, following our mostly second team defense providing a courageous goal line stand against a mostly first team Arizona Cardinals offense and Kevin Kolb to get the ball back, deep in our own territory. I was about 50 feet from all this action in my new seats, and let me tell you firsthand: the Black Hole experience is all it's cracked up to be, and so much more.
Hit the jump for details on what the depth might look like, who took advantage of their brief chances on the field, and who, well... didn't.
1st and 10. 3-0 Raiders. Jason Campbell in at QB, and the Raiders come out in 22 personnel, Michael Bush and Marcel Reece are the RB/FB combo, with Kevin Boss and Brandon Myers still on the field. This play is still primarily first team offense, with the exception of Stephon Heyer coming in at LG in place of Daniel Loper. Don't be surprised to see this guy make a push for the starting LG position before preseason is done. The give is to Marcel Reece, on a FB inside run, an obvious attempt to get some breathing room and a good call, getting almost two yards. AZ in a goal line, five man front look, 3 backers and 3 safeties, who appear to be in quarter, quarter, half zone deep (indicating one guy responsible for a quarter of the field, the next for the next quarter, and the last, who probably gets the most cb help, the last half of the zone).
2nd a 8 on the 3 yard line, back to 21 personnel. Myers leaves the field and a second wideout comes in. Michael Bush and Marcel Reece in the I formation, Jason Campbell still under center, and Heyward-Bey and Schilens still on the field, with Chaz flanking strong side. AZ has five guys up on the line against our tight six front. Campbell seems to audible the call, or at least call out something to his backfield, while Reece and Bush confer before setting. A fake give to Reece then handed off to Bush on the Reece lead play. Big #89 getting a head of steam hitting the B gap between G a T, carries it out to the 9 yard line for a gain of six.
3rd and 2 on the 9. 11 personnel, single back formation offset strong, with Jason Campbell in the Shotgun, three wide receivers: looking like Nick Miller joining Schilens and Heyward-Bey on flanks, in the right slot position. Kevin Boss seals off the pursuit lined up on the weak side (left, basically a strong formation flipped, with RB on what would be the strong side, but in a trad'l offset singleback weak formation), and Bush hits the hole off tackle in the C gap, between Veldheer and Boss, who makes this hole possible. First down Bush on a nice run on third down netting 7 more yards to the 16 yard line. Big Boss looked like an adept LT on this play.
Allow me to take this opportunity to say Kevin Boss is a bully, and this was a great pickup.
1st and 10, 16 yard line. Raiders in 21 personnel again, Bush and Reece in the backfield, Boss back at strong side TE, Heyward-Bey flanking weakside, Schilens on the strong side (left and right from Jason's perspective, strong indicating the typical side where the TE will line up), Campbell under center. Reece starts offset weakside then motions to the strong side. It should be noted, he's already got the attention of the Mike backer on AZ, as well as the safeties and maybe the entire defensive backfield. Jason fakes the handoff to Bush, and hits DHB on a nice out cut for a 14 yard pickup and out of bounds. Is Marcel the best weapon we have on the team? I believe just because he came out lined up offset weakside, and AZ was seemingly expecting pass, that the weakside corner gave that side huuuuuge space, and stayed deep, respecting the threats represented by Bush, Boss, Reece, and Heyward-Bey. DHB the benefactor here, with a nice grab.
1st and 10, 29 yard line. Same set, same formation, same shift by Reece. This time no play action to Reece, but it looks more like a draw, and Jason drops back to avoid the pressure allowed in, and throws a risky screen pass (and slightly overthrown) to Reece who makes a dynamite one-handed grab and go to pick up seven yards behind Cooper Carlisle, getting to the second level nicely and demonstrating a desire to play like a Raider on every down.
2nd and 3, handoff to Bush, 21 personnel, for no gain, and maybe a loss of a yard. Interior imploded here. RG and C especially. Guard situation still getting worked out, and I think Heyer will be the solution. Interestingly, it seems Carlisle will outright win the battle for the opposite guard spot with Loper, a bigger man.
3rd and 6. Reece comes out, and looks like single back formation with three wideouts, but it's hurry-up (me likey), and Nick Miller coming in from the slot makes the first down grab I think we were attempting on that first drive with all first teamers in the 3rd and 2 situation, that--let's face it--should'be just been a give to Mike Bush with two TEs on the field. Anyways, it's a nice route, grab, and throw by Jason to net the first down. Nick also "playing like a Raider."
1st and 10 with the forward progress, to put us on the 41. Miller trots off the field. Looks like single back, 12 personnel (I could be wrong here, but only see one back.) Heyward-Bey runs a nice double move here, and gets off the line well, stutter stepping at the second level to get a step on A.J. Jefferson, 6'1" defensive back out of Fresno State. Sadly, I have to report again, Jason failed to lead his guy, and threw a horrible deep ball again. I swear, if you gave me a few days with Jason, I think I could get him over what I believe are the "yips" when throwing the long ball. He has that look of Jamarcus wishing the ball on most of his passes, and that, Nation, is a comparison I absolutely loathe to be making.
2nd and 10. Looks like I form again, 21 personnel, two wideouts, still DHB and Schilens, who appear to be alternating sides randomly, and Boss still manning the TE spot. Another play we lost the battle at the line of scrimmage, specifically at the point of attack. They appear to be reading what we're doing, and keying on it, and we are no longer exerting our will, and for the moment, not looking like a team of guys "playing like Raiders." Not going to key on a guy here, since it wasn't replayed and I can't pin it on any one person. It's about a three yard net gain, all Bush yards (YAC).
3rd and 7. Single back, 11 personnel, three wideout set, and our man, Denarius Moore, #17 is on the field wide right. Nick Miller is lined up slot right, and motions to the left side. His motion indicates AZ could be man to man in the secondary, as the nickel back immediately follows him to the weakside. First false start for Khalif Barnes. All in all, I'm surprised there weren't more penalties, but it's clear Khalif wasn't prepared for real game time, and it's been too long since he's gotten real time reps, but no excuses: he jumped in reaction to the 6/7 technique lining up in the gap, and instead of counting on his abilities to get where he needed to be, he anticipated and tried to beat him with a step. This is a baaaaaddd habit, and one that some guys never break. Not a good sign for the future of Barnes at RT, but maybe a blessing in disguise, because we all have our questions about this move.
3rd and 17 on 38. Papa mentioning this could mark the end of the line for all first team offense. Time out is called.
Jason in shotgun, 20 personnel lined up pro formation, with Bush and Reece slightly behind Jason on either side, three wideouts again: looks like DHB left, Nick Miller on the slot on the same side, Denarius wide right on his own, no TE. Denarius immediately makes a nice run slant in and gets a step on AJ Jefferson on the crossing route, and gets about 13 more YAC. This kid will be special to watch all year, and he almost made something happen for a home run through the infield (gimme a break! grass, and he's gone!). 26 yard gain.
1st and 10. Looks like same set, and Schilens runs a decent comeback but doesn't get much separation (Jefferson again), and the late timed ball by JC doesn't help. Incomplete.
2nd and 15. Schilens comes off the field. Looks like 21 personnel, two wideouts. Still Reece, Bush in the backfield, and Boss at TE, lining up on the left side again. Timeout called. Still 3-0 Raiders.
Same formation, DHB wide right, Schilens left. Fucking Khalif jumps again; same mistake. If he does it one more time, he's no longer a tackle prospect in preseason next week.
2nd and 15 on the 42yd. line. A lousy end around attempt by Schilens, not at all set up by the team, yields nada.
3rd and 15. Michael Bush the single back, one Te, and a three wideout set (11 personnel). Immediate loss by the line at the point of attack, and a collapsed pocket forces captain Checkdown to checkdown to Michael, for a gain of maybe 3 yards. Poor call imo, especially since the obvious pass play called for the D to dial up pressure. I'd have gone max protect and had Moore cross again, with a TE sitting midfield.
Out comes Jano, to attempt, long 52 yarder off the infield, but khalif false starts again... Lechler punt for the touchback.
From here on out, it's all second teamers, so I'll resume the next post with our next possession, which is a nice drive. No need to play by play Josh Skelton against our second teamers, which we don't really want to see again. If these guys look even close to that bad in the final game, or if any of them remain on the roster even, I'll be much more worried. This preseason will be the window into 2011 for this team, and we are still getting players via random acquisitions. Looking forward to seeing how Giordano fits into this equation.