Nothing too exotic so far, especially by way of personnel packaging and formations. Mostly our typical 21 with the first team, while we did see some three wideout sets later on as the game progressed. Hit the jump, and we'll resume the game from my last post, which culminated with our defense forcing the punt. Updated 10:30pm, to conclude AZ's first team series, versus our second team defense.
We left off with our first team defense stopping the Cards, and will resume with our first team offense for the brief time they were on field. After forcing the punt, we took the field with the following guys in typical 21 personnel: Offensive line: Jared Veldheer, Daniel Loper, Samson Satele, Cooper Carlisle, and Khalif Barnes with Big Boss man at TE. Michael Bush and Marcel Reece lined up in the I behind Jason Campbell, with Darrius Heyward-Bey and Chaz Schilens at wideout.
AZ lines up in 43, and by the matchup we get in the play, it appears at least their secondary was in man to man with us, as their safety Johnson moves out to pick up Reece in motion.
Marcel motions right with our Chaz Schilens in the slot, so Reece is right flanker, one-on-one with safety Rashad Johnson. Plunk notes the matchup nightmare that Reece presents, a wide receiver in school, while Papa says, "that's the matchup they wanted." Reece goes fifty yards down the sideline and makes a brilliant one hand catch out of bounds with Johnson molesting him, drawing the clear PI call. And Hue says this is vanilla for him. It will be exciting to watch. It's probably notable in this play that Campbell makes a lousy deep throw. He doesn't set up the pass well either, by selling the handoff fake, or even a pump, and he seems to wish the long balls, the same way a certain horrible qb did with all his balls. At least Jason is adept at other passes. Let's hope he learns to do this throwing the deep pass. more to come....
1st and 10, AZ's 30 yard line. We line up, single back deep, 12 personnel, Kevin Boss on strong side, Brandon Myers a yard deep on the weakside, Michael Bush the RB. AZ looks lined up in a Dime package, with the add'l safety up on the line on the strong side outside of Boss, two backers, DHB switched to the TE side with Schilens on the side with add'l TE Myers wide. Corner on DHB lined up tight, and the corner on Chaz, giving cushion for the deep play. DHB is slant and go deep, and Chaz just goes nine route straight up, a fly deep. It works, and Kevin Boss uses his big body turning to shield from defenders, finding space under the backers with a quick slant and in, in the dirt infield in Oakland. Looks like he can catch fine from where I'm looking, for a catch for a 6yd. gain.
2nd and 4 on the 24 yd. line. AZ's new DC, Ray Horton, from Pittsburgh dialing up what looks like a five man front, but similar to last down, a 4-3 hybrid probably in a 3-2-6 look, indicating 3 lineman, 2 linebackers, and 6 defensive backs, normally an add'l nickel cb, and one add'l cover safety. (Could also be 4-2-5: nickel) This time, it appears it could be Clark Haggans, #53, one of their OLBs, lined up straight rush mode. He's not even looking at #87 Kevin Boss on this play. Kevin gives him a quick pop, and the give from Jason Campbell is to Michael Bush, and the defense is pretty much prepared for either a short run or pass, and holds Mike Bush to two yards.
3and 2 on the 22 yd. line. Same defensive formation for AZ, this time with Haggans starting lined up with def. backs, then approaching the 9 technique rush position from the strong side. This time, we're 12 personnel, big Mike in the backfield, Boss strong TE, Myers weakside, three wideouts, from Myer's left to right: Chaz Schilens, Nick Miller right side slot, and "-" lined up right. Typically, coaches refer to receivers as X, Y, and Z when there are three, from left to right, with X referring to the flanker left of the TE and off the line, Y the slot, and Z, the far right side, to cut out all the words I used to explain it before. When you hear it in play calls, it typically notates what said player needs to do, and the route he'll run. Sometimes, it requires the receiver to make a decision based on the defensive look. We'll get more into that as the season moves on. In this case, it should have just been a handoff to Bush, because the quick hitch and go pass Campbell attempted to Nick Miller on the quick slant out gets tipped at the line by Darnell Dockett (Jason couldn't see this passing lane not open? shake the rust off, already, Soupie). Jano comes out and nails the 39 yarder, his first from the dirt.
Kickoff. Cardinal's 2nd possession after our coverage unit smothers theirs on the 10 yard line, and Stephens-Howling of the Cardinals is taken down by our very own amazing gunner, Hiram Eugene (you are in our prayers, Hiram; get well, soon, bro).
AZ comes out in 21 personnel, Larry Fitz. wideout left, one on one with DVD, and most of Raider's second unit already in place. Quentin Groves remains at Will(weakside linebacker), Lamarr Houston and Matt Shaugnessy at strong and weakside end, respectively, the lone exceptions. Travis Goethel has replaced starter Rolando McClain, and Darryl Blackstock at Kamerion Wimbley's SLB spot. Walter McFadden fills the other cb spot, with Stevie Brown at safety, and Hiram Eugene in the single high man free spot. (Did I mention we will miss this kid? Al knew what he was doing signing him; hope Giordano can fill his shoes). Their FB motions to the weakside TE spot, in what looks like a protection audible, and Kevin Kolb fakes the handoff to the back and bootlegs left, to find an open Todd Heap for an almost 9 yard gain, close to a first down.
2nd and 2. AZ comes out in 20 personnel, this time in a pro-form, with both backs lined up on opposite sides deep behind Kolb, taking a shotgun snap, Larry Fitz left with DVD again, our Walter McFadden lined up opposite Larry (can't tell), and a third slot receiver covered by who I think is Zach Etheridge as our nickel backer. DVD stays on Fitz well, and almost gets a tip on the pass, but Larry makes an amazing grab that he often does and makes look easy against pretty solid coverage by DVD. This kid will only get better, and I'm not at all mad at him at this juncture. Tackled by Hiram Eugene on the 35 yard line: a 41 yard gain.
1st and 10. AZ in 21 personnel, with one back motioning into the slot for a three receiver set,,but picking up the blitz for the block. Kolb, this time, under center taking the snap. The throw to Fitz again, appearing to be picking on DVD, falls incomplete. Good coverage by DeMarcus, and solid pressure to collapse the pocket.
2nd and 10 on 35. Empty backfield this time for AZ, with a bunch TE/WR set on the right, in what looks like a Max protection scheme. Raiders in a 4-2-5 nickel formation. False start, Early Doucet.
2nd and 15, 40 yard line. Empty backfield, three wide receiver set. This time, Fitz is on the right against lil Walter. Pay no attention elsewhere, because Larry runs a dynamite comeback to get the first down, and Kolb locked right onto him. Nothing anyone else could've done here, save for a lineman getting in an almost impossible passing lane and disrupting it with an unlikely tip.
1st and 10, just inside the 25 yard line. AZ handoff left to Beanie Wells for a fifteen yard gain. No chance to get formations here (think a single back, multiple TE, 12 personnel) , but looks like we got caught looking pass, and DVD is stiff armed to the ground in attempt to tackle Wells, and Groves saves the sure TD. Next play, please. This is the problem with the old school D, especially in situations like these. Man can work in short yardage, but not with two small corners and your linebackers narrow, and one of them off the field for a safety who's looking to cover a decoy...
1st and goal. 10 yard line. Again, looks like 12 personnel, two wideouts, handoff up the middle to Wells down to the three yard line. Seymour and Kelly would've made this one a loss, but that's another matter. Greg Papa notes this is still AZ first team offense.
2nd and goal, three yard line. All second teamers here for us, except Groves (I know, it hurts to say he's the starter), and Shaughnessy. Wells gets close, but stopped short. Henderson probably the factor here.
3rd and goal. Lamarr Houston in on this one, and the Raiders second team dominates the line of scrimmage against AZ's first team.
4th and goal. AZ is going for it; Kolb lined up Shotgun, they come out 20 personnel, two wide left, two wide right, no TEs. Another handoff to Wells to the right interior is stopped short at the 1 yard line. This was a great moment in the game, and significant of a defense that is stout against the run, even with backups. Nice play. You should never pull your TEs against us in the goal line; rather, you should have as many as possible.
We shall resume this in another post, as our attention deficit disorder calls for it. Next stop, Raiders' second team offense versus AZ's second team defense. Some good line work in the next phase, and breakdown on guys we'll absolutely need to step up and be winners. Joe Barksdale: We're looking at you, kid!