Alright guys we came out of the gate with a thud. It was a sharp pain straight through each and every one of our hearts. Nobody wants to start out the season with a loss, and statistically it is a staggering hit on playoff chances. However not all is lost people!
For a team that only had 3 wide receivers our passing game actually was fairly efficient. I know nobody wants to talk about the positives in the passing game because so much of it was predicated on check downs to McFadden but Carson still threw the ball for nearly 300 yards. He almost got 300 yards with no run game whatsoever and with only 3 wide receivers, one of which a UDFA Rookie and one a guy we just signed days prior to the game. That is actually pretty impressive to me. Not as impressive as scoring touchdowns before garbage time but still there are positives there.
McFadden got shut down in the run game but was huge in the passing game. Too huge obviously because there is no way that any running back should get targeted on 18 passes. Still he caught 13 and showed that he is going to be a consistent weapon in the passing game. That to me is a great sign because we get to get DMC open in space. I know it was frustrating to watch so many checkdowns, but the Chargers consistently left our best player open so Carson kept throwing to him. I like what that means for the future, although hopefully our wide receivers will be utilized down the field in our next game vs the Dolphins and the checkdowns will considerably decline.
THE RUN DEFENSE! Man was it fun to see our run defense use discipline finally and actually use gap control. They did it all preseason and they came out and continued to do so in the regular season. I will take it with a grain of salt since it was a senior citizen in NFL terms with Ronnie Brown and a career back up in Brinkley but none the less the quality of that run D would have made even the best running backs have trouble. I loved seeing that, its been the Achilles Heal of our defense for a decade and we finally saw improvement.
The improvement at the run D seemed to halter the pass D somewhat but I consider the lack of pressure to be an anomaly. I still have plenty of faith that the defensive line will be able to consistently pressure the QB this season, and hopefully we will see some more interesting blitz packages in the games to come. I was disappointed not to see more aggressiveness in the defensive playcalling but at the end of the day we held them to 5 field goals despite constantly being backed into a corner. I expect to see more out of our pass D vs the rookie Ryan Tannehil for the Dolphins. I will admit if we don't send the house a few times at the rookie then I will start to be a little concerned with a lack of pressure.
The special teams. Damn. That is all.
Lets hold off on the sky is falling and making major decisions based on one game. Many fans are already seeing red, but the Raiders front office wont be letting that effect what their plans are. It takes time to implement schemes and I think this game was more about Trial and Error than anything. I wont hold Knapp's first stance with us against him, but if he continues to be so conservative with the playcalling by week 6 I will be calling for Saunders to start calling plays.
The thing about the offense that we all have to remember is that it is not just all on Greg Knapp. Dennis Allen came in and insisted on the ZBS that takes time to get used to, and Dennis Allen came in wanting a west coast offensive scheme. Dennis Allen did not demand us to go for it on 4th downs when our special teams were anything but special. Dennis Allen did not demand any deep passes be attempted. It is all still his team and if he thought we needed those plays he would have informed Greg Knapp of it.
You want to know what else I have to say about Dennis Allen? I still trust him and the direction we are heading. It was a lackluster performance that gave many of us Post Traumatic Stress Disorder fans some nasty flashbacks, but it also had plenty of things to look at and say positive things for. Many of the major problems we have been dealing with had noticeable improvements. Unfortunately some of the major positives from last year had noticeable deficiencies. The odds are now against us but lets see our Raiders come out and prove them wrong. I still trust this team and the direction we are going, I am not going to let one bad loss shake that.