While I do agree that Darren McFadden's vision behind the line-of-scrimmage is only adequate, it's the only real negative criticism that I can lay on his game. So what, then, does Gregory Olsen, Raiders OC, hope to gain by using Dmac like a crash-dummy early in the game - when the tone is set for the whole contest? By running the ball in conventional style (between the tackles) and misusing his multifaceted (triple threat) Star RB what do the Raiders get in return, besides 3 and outs and a tired defense? Against any halfway-decent team, let alone the Broncos under the guidance of their defensive guru (Head Coach John Fox), at home, it is a recipe for abject failure not to mention mind-numbing boredom. That, my raider friends, is the epitome of busting.
Surely, Olsen must realize that even under the best of circumstances - when you've got the horses up front clicking on all cylinders (in both chemistry and ability) - such a "conventional" plan of this nature is playing right into the enemy's hands, especially on the road. The whole point is to establish an early, positive mind-set, to create chain-moving, momentum-stealing, first-downs, to eat the early clock, to piss-off the other team's home fans, to put up points first (3 or 7), and so on. The Raiders will not win on the road consistently until they can establish themselves early in the game.
But we all know that the Raiders' offensive line wasn't in the "best of circumstances" last Monday evening. Far from it. Yet, when Dmac wasn't crashing into the line for no gain, TP2 was dropping back like Darryl Lamonica. There was no rhyme or reason to the playcalling. I have no problem with throwing early (or often), in fact I favor it, but the idea early in the game is to help one's QB get into a good tempo with his mechanics, with his receivers, with his OL, and you do that by creating high percentage opportunities for him to complete passes, which means (generally speaking) short throws, slants, outs, screens, and doing so under the optimal down-distance circumstances (ideally when the opposing team is expecting the opposite).
The Raiders possess the ideal weapons for this early-game, chain-moving, tempo-enhancing, keep-away strategy; between Dmac, Ford, Moore, Reece, and Streater, Olsen's problems should be of the good variety (too many options). Over time, these players can establish hard-earned chemistry with each other (with TP2 as the focal point), which could make the Raiders a dangerous, multidimensional, tour de force. Imagine if Gannon had the open-field running ability that TP2 possesses? How many Super Bowls would the Raiders have won? There is absolutely no reason to believe that Pryor can't mimic Gannon's success in the short-to-medium passing dept. That's precisely why Olsen should be scanning Marc Trestman's playbook from 2001, and using it not only as a source of new plays, but as a learning tool for Pryor. Gannon is the most ideal player for Pryor to mold his game after. They are two silver n' black peas in a Raiders' pod.
Haters never take the long view. When it comes to Dmac, that is the only view worth taking, because in spite of the offensive line's current travails, their troubles could be short-lived if and when Veldheer and Watson are on the field together this season, if not this season certainly by 2014 when RM goes to work finding the guards of the future. I am assuming that wiz will hold down the fort at center in spite of less-than-stellar play of-late (left guard next to Velds is where he excelled as a rookie), but either way it's not a stretch to believe that the Raiders are very close to having a top five NFL offensive line, if not the best OL period. Now, imagine Dmac behind the league's best OL. Can you say 1500 yards rushing and 750 yards receiving?
***take note that the two big OL studs taken at the top of the draft have been awful, to be kind, the dude in KC might even be on the bench in 2 weeks if his play continues to spiral downward. Meanwhile, Watson, our Watson, will undoubtedly hit the ground running when he returns, because he is, quite simply, a force of nature with the football IQ to match and (like Velds) a likely 10yr+ starter for the Silver and Black***
And when that solidified line has a chance to gel, the Raiders absolutely do not want to be searching for a back who can do half the things Dmac can already do well (and projects to do well for another 4-5 seasons, at a bargain rate, no less), let alone searching for a back capable of being a true triple threat (who can run, catch, and pass).
Regardless of what is being misguidedly touted here, Dmac is one of the most gifted RBs of his generation; it is because of his versatility that he can be lined up anywhere putting instantaneous pressure on a defense; he can run routes and catch like a good wide receiver. Of course, it's all meaningless without a competent, and/or gifted play-caller/play-designer.
If last Monday is the best that Greg Olsen has to offer, the Raiders offense will struggle to build chemistry, they will be sluggish to start games, the defense will continually be put behind the eight-ball, as they were Monday night. Greg Olsen needs to get a clue; who can honestly say that he has been successful in the play design or play calling endeavor thus far, especially when compared to Hue Jackson? It is early days, but I fear the writing is on the wall as it was for The Last Greg. As far as I'm concerned there is no excuse for inept or boring play-design/play-calling . The blueprint is already in existence for the types of play-makers on this roster
Unfortunately, it seems as if too many OCs would rather fail with their own poorly-laid "plans" than follow the proven blueprint of those who came before, and that's a real shame, because the road-map for the Raiders' success already resides in the building - beginning with the Raiders' playbook from 2010-2011 - and lo and behold even an older set of plans, from 2001-2002 is being used in the league right now, being used liberally, today, by a 3-0 team that many are now predicting as a strong Championship Game contender, none other than Trestman's Chicago Bears. Trestman is handling Cutler and the offense masterfully.
For Olsen, the answer to NFL coordinator success is in the building with him, because I don't know anybody who did the job of coordinating more exquisitely than Trestman did for Gannon, for Charlie Garner (Dmac's doppelgänger) and the Raiders offense as a whole in or around 2001, the Super Bowl season. It's the finest play-calling over the course of a season that these eyes have ever seen. Hands down. With all due respect to Bill Walsh (a true paradigm shifter).