On Sunday, the Raiders beat the 1-4 Jags with a win so ugly the NFL will probably look at making ugly games ties in the next round of CBAs so that the involved players can take salary hits.. It took the "tuck rule" to bail us out along with some other veteran calls by Palmer. This is a team that had the offensive talent to easily beat the Jags and we were down by 11 at the half. Knapp apparently threw a fit. While the second half included many of the mistakes of the first half, it also included more inspired playing from the players. In fact, it was those plays that won the game.
The problem with the offense is unquestionably the line and the play calling. 3 of our first 5 plays were runs with a net of 5 yards. Our 3rd pass was a 59 yard strike to DHB. The run sure as hell didn't set up the pass because we had rushed 3 times for +5 yards and it was 3rd and 6. We'd need at least 4 carries to get 6 yards rushing. The Jags knew that and that's the significance of not having a running game. We don't have a red zone threat now. If you don't believe me, look at the film. We used to look at anything under 5 yards as automatic. But struggled between 5 and 20. Our red zone offense now is to hope we don't have to use our red zone offense. Hope someone breaks a long run or picks up 60 YAC. If they're tackled inside the 20, the defender just cost us 4 points. It's that simple. That's the state of the offense.
If this is supposed to be signs of growing pains during a rebuild, we need more evidence that we're growing or even rebuilding for that matter. Allen suggested on Monday, that the problems with the offensive line were related to getting some of the young guys up to speed. If they've mistaken Carlisle for a 22 year old rookie, we've moved problem solving into the field of optometry. As it is, a couple of the young guys made a name for themselves last year which happened to be the same year DMC was getting a lot more than 6 yards in 4 carries. If the intent of the rebuild was that we field a competitive team during the rebuild, we are failing on offense. The offensive line is locked into a philosophy they cannot embrace with the current personnel. While I'm certain there are many advantages to ZBS, I'm just as certain that one of the advantages is not that it's the only way to get rushing yards or that it makes the yards look better. Yards don't care how you run them. A ZBS rushing TD is not worth more than a PBS TD.
We can't expect to save our face, our butt and our season. We're going to have to concede something. ZBS is not working. We don't have the personnel and we're creating more of a problem as other linemen are forced to compensate for inferior play. And it is certainly insane to give up on DMC unless we see him in PBS a few games. Knapp's ceiling, in play calling here the first time was 16 points a game. That was the most he got calling plays. This was the time between Kiffin being fired and Knapp being demoted. Three different people called plays that year (Kiffin, Knapp and Cable) and only Knapp had 16 as the ceiling. The others were able to get 20 or more out of the same personnel. He was demoted after we had just 77 yards of offense against Atlanta (a team he was OC for 2 years before). There is no indication that this ceiling has changed. All of the points have come from last second heroics from the QB and the first half play calling is as ineffective now as it was in 2007.
So, in order to find out whether Knapp's vision is correct, we are going to have to replace 2-3 linemen, give up on DMC and get another back and then wait a year while the new linemen are acclimated. This apparently must occur before the play calling improves as little as been said of the atrocious play calling. That's a heavy request for any coach to make, especially a rookie coach, without providing evidence that things will improve.