Through three preseason games, one of the consistently deficient areas for the Raiders has been the first team passing offense. Much of the blame gets placed upon the shoulders of Matt Schaub. As the starting quarterback, that is to be expected. But Dennis Allen insists that blame can be spread around to just about everyone.
"There are a lot of areas that we've got to improve on in the passing game," said Allen via conference call Saturday. "All positions are a factor of that. It's hard to just isolate it on one particular thing. We've got to make sure we're precise on our routes. We've got to be able to make plays in a contested environment. We've got to be able to do a great job in protection. We've got to be able to make the throws when we have an opportunity to make a throw.
"You can probably put a little bit of the blame in each individual area, and I think that's what we have to do as a coaching staff and I think that's what we have to do as players is we've got to own up to our own responsibilities and be able to handle our area and make sure we make corrections in the areas that we need to."
So, let's take a look at how that Raiders first team passing offense has looked this preseason.
The first game began with two straight three-and-outs. First it was receivers not running the correct routes and dropping passes that was the primary issue. Andre Holmes ran the wrong route twice on the opening series. Mychal Rivera then dropped a pass to kill the next possession. The third series was killed by a holding call on Donald Penn and a pass from Schaub that was behind Rivera. The result was Schaub and the first team offense got just one first down and it was a running play.
The second game against the Lions looked a little better. There were several first downs from the passing game on the first drive. But it ended with an interception on a well-contested pass from Schaub intended for James Jones. The following series was a three and out due to protection issues causing pressure on Schaub. After another three-and-out, the Raiders first team offense finally scored. On their first drive of the second quarter, Schaub drove the team for a touchdown.
On Friday, the first team offense scored quickly, but it was thanks to a nifty run from Maurice Jones-Drew who went 40 yards for the score. After that, it was five-straight three-and-outs. Those five three-and-outs were lowlighted by Menelik Watson giving up pressure while Kevin Boothe gave up the sack, James Jones slipping on his route and the ball nearly intercepted, Donald Penn late picking up the blitz to give up a pressure, Schaub throwing a lackluster pass that was defended, and Schaub throwing wide and incomplete.
The following drive was going well until Green Bay got pressure and Schaub fumbled the ball away. The the last drive had one first down and ended with a drop by Rivera, a holding penalty on Penn, and a failed hail mary attempt.
It wasn't until the third quarter, when many of the Packers first team defenders were out that Schaub and the Raiders offense were able to move the ball down the field. And even then, the drive failed to yield a touchdown despite three good shots at the endzone - a wide open Marcel Reece drop, James Jones drop (though, honestly, that probably should have been a touchdown), and a pass too high for Rod Streater.
Schaub's numbers for this preseason are 24 for 47 (51%) for 218 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, and one fumble and passer ratings of 50.3, 49.2, and 59.2. His receivers had five drops and three other instances of poor route running resulting in an incompletion. The first team offensive line has had four penalties accepted for 30 yards, given up 9 quarterback hurries, and three sacks.
So, it would seem the blame indeed can be spread all around. I'm not sure whether that makes it more or less concerning.