I've held my tongue, and reserved judgement for weeks now. As my momma said if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. That said, I can not hold back any longer.
As I stated when I heard the news of Knapp returning to Oakland: he was fired for a reason. Lack of creativity, inability to make half time adjustments, and the refusal to adjust the offense to take advantage of your players strengths has hog tied this offense before. Thats why he was stripped of his play calling responsibilities under Tom Cable, and eventually replaced by Hue Jackson.
The coaching retread philosophy did not work with Art Shell, Tom Walsh, nor Chuck Breshnehan, and yet the Raiders still believe they can make the same mistakes, and yield different results. You cannot blame Oakland's woes on Knapp's ultra conservative play calling alone though, there is plenty of blame to go around.
Oakland is getting little to no production from the players who hog up the lion's share of the salary cap. Richard Seymour ($15mil), has done very little to justify his salary. After taking most the preseason off, age appears to have caught up with the highest paid Raider on the roster.
Oakland has invested heavily in a defensive front that is not performing up to par. Near as I can tell Matt Shaughnessey seems to be the only player interested in playing the game at a high level. Tommy Kelly is a consistent underachiever whose mistakes and flags repeatedly hurt this defense, and played a huge role in the wheels coming off in the home opener. Although he had plenty of help from one of the highest paid special teams units in the NFL.
Lets not stop with the defensive line, though. The line play on both sides of the ball has been lacking. The offensive line has failed to function in both pass protection and run blocking. When Darren McFadden averages 2.1 yards per carry and Carson Palmer is consistently having to rush throws and throw off his back foot with defenders all over him, you have failed as a unit.
The inability to control the clock when you have a weapon like McFadden in the backfield puts Oakland in a position of being a one-dimensional offense. Which leaves Palmer under fire and forcing balls down field, trying to win games-- a position I think we all can agree Oakland does not want to be in.
Don't think I'm letting Palmer off the hook though. Despite what appears to be a much improved receiving corps this year, Palmer's lack of accuracy continues to hinder the Raiders. In this new offense accuracy is a must. And though you can blame lack of protection for a lot of Oakland's offensive woes, Palmer has been consistently off the mark and late on his throws. He cost Oakland a score late in the 1st half, on Miami's goal line, when even the television commentators were joining Raider Nation in screaming for Palmer to throw the ball to a wide open McFadden. Palmer held the ball as if to give the Miami defense a chance to react and then promptly bounced the ball off McFadden's shoulder pad. $13mil dollars and two first round draft picks well spent.
While the play from the linebacking corps seems to have improved, the run defense has not-- yielding nearly 300 yards to a mediocre Dolphins running attack. Going into this season I think we all knew this team was painfully thin in the secondary. And with the injury to Ron Bartell, Oakland's worst nightmares have come true. For 2 years the Raiders have entered the season without addressing the needs of the secondary, and for 2 years have paid a hefty price.
Oakland's highest paid players are not justifying their salaries.
Seymour- $15mil- yet consistantly fails to pressure the QB ,
Palmer- $13mil- but has failed to improve his accuracy enough to run this offense,
Dmac though we love him to death- nearly $9mil- and averaging 2 yards a carry against a mediocre Miami defense.
Heyward -Bey though showing improvement is not even close to justifying a $7.5 million salary.
Even the $7 mil SS Tyvon Branch, a bright spot on the Raiders defense a year ago, in his fourth year still finds himself out of position, and today failed to take away the outside run lane forcing Bush back inside, leading to a back breaking score by bush against what was supposed to be a much improved run defense under Coach Allen.
I'm not trying to be doom and gloom, and have tried my best to stay consistently upbeat while I watch the Raider front office repeat past mistakes, but after 2 years of an outright refusal to address the offensive line, the desperate need for functioning corner backs, and the fact that their highest paid players and units consistently underachieve while the checks keep rolling in, leaving Oakland cap strapped and unable to get the free agents they need to right the ship, is more than I can stomach.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, but at least the old boss would be shaking the trees for any available free agent that may help return the franchise to the promised land.
Sorry ,but if this is rebuilding instead of reloading, you dump your high priced players who arent getting the job done, pick up the extra draft picks you need to maneuver for the players you need, and get that cap credit to go shopping for the final pieces when your done.