Super Bowl Sunday is upon us and it's a stark reminder of the distance the Raiders still need to climb to get back to the pinnacle of success in the NFL. The two teams playing today provide the perfect example for how the Raiders should play in 2013.
When looking at the way that this year's Super Bowl teams are built there are clear reasons to get excited about the possibilities in the Raiders future. Of course the Raiders are not Super Bowl bound next year unless some sort of minor miracle were to happen, but the direction that the coaches are preaching is a philosophy that mixes in aspects of both of this year's Super Bowl contestants.
The Raiders have a lot of work that they need to do first before they can be considered on the verge of anything special but they now are getting a more clear idea of how they want to win. They got their work boots on and they are starting to try to grind it out back into relevance in today's NFL.
The similarities in the philosophies of the Ravens and the 49ers is that they both built their team around defense. That is exactly what the Raiders are trying to do right now with their team as well. If they can build off of what they started at the end of last year they could really make a move into respectability again next year.
If Oakland can add a few key components to their defense this off-season and if Jason Tarver can continue to get his defense to play like they were at the end of the year you will see the importance that the Raiders coaching staff puts on their defense become more easily visible. They want to win with defense, just like the Ravens and the 49ers. They now have a better idea on how to make that idea work.
Through most of last year the coaching staff seemed oblivious to what their players were able to do well. That all started to change after Jason Tarver and Dennis Allen were able to get more in touch with the team and started really trying to utilize what they learned bout what their players do well.
It was frustrating to watch the growing pains of the coaches and to see them fail the way they did last year but immediately after their season finished they showed that they were learning from their mistakes.
It is understandable for Jason Tarver to have taken a considerable amount of time to learn what will really works with his Raiders defense because of his science background. This actually makes a lot of sense with the way that Tarver's analytical/scientific mind works.
Why that makes sense is because it was essentially Tarver gathering data on his team to be able to more accurately hypothesize the results of his plan. He was gathering the data on the team, analyzing the variables, and then after he gathered enough data on them to accuarately guess the outcome of his scheme he was able to start having success.
It was a slower process but that was because it was more scientific. Tarver needed more data for his mind to better analyze each player and situation according to the variables that are different for this team than they were for the other teams he was worked with.
Once he had the data that he needed the success started to follow. That was what we saw with the Raiders defense for the last quarter of the season. Now that Tarver has the bulk of the data he needed he will have much less new information that will be coming in for next year and he can more efficiently and accuarately add onto his calculations.
This means that he should be able to take the pieces that the Raiders add this year and add them in far quicker than he was able to do last year. That is just how his mind works, now that he has the initial basis calculated he can add in new variables much easier.
The 49ers and the Ravens have been built on their defense for years now and are often mentioned when talking about the best defenses in the league. They are both disciplined teams and are great examples for the Raiders to emulate. The other part of learning from their success is from adding in explosive plays on offense.
The Ravens are known for their deep ball strikes while the Niners are now known for their home-run rushing plays that come off of their power running based offense. The Raiders are going to be running a type of offense next year where they hope to combine both of those aspects into the one offensive scheme.
They are going to plan on having a running offense that also uses playaction and deep strikes, the very definition of RAIDERS FOOTBALL. For them to be as successful on offense as the 49ers were this past year they will also want to incorporate some plays where Terrelle Pryor is in at QB at times (maybe as starter, although highly unlikely) and provides them the ability to run the currently trending college schemes.
Pryor has the ability to do what Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, and RG3 do with the threat to run or pass. He is not ready to be the starter yet but hopefully the Raiders do add in some of these scripted plays to add another dimension to their offense.
As for the Ravens deep ball passing offense, that is what Carson Palmer does best. Having the running game perform well enough to keep the Safeties up by the line is key but if they can they should have some deep passes again which were sorely missed last year.
With a successful run game, plays with Pryor in the game at quarterback, and Carson Palmer being allowed to throw the ball deep again the Raiders will have the chance to mesh the offenses of the Ravens and the 49ers together effectively.
They will need to add their own print onto it of course but the opportunity to run a successful offense incorporating both team's style of play is there on paper. Now they need to make it a reality. The pieces are here for the Raiders to improve drastically from this past terrible year. The coaching staff is far more experienced now and will have plenty of tape on what not to do.
If Jason Tarver can move forward with his defense successfully and if Greg Olson can creatively piece together a new offensive scheme incorporating the power run and deep ball passing Oakland can be a team that sneaks up on people next year. The Ravens and 49ers have shown that their teams are successful with what they do and incorporating pieces from both squads could be an efficient way for the Raiders to create a succesful team of their own.