Two Taiwan Toss Plays
Taiwan Jones had spent the past few games Inactive due to injury. But with a few weeks + the bye week to heal up, Jones was back and ready to contribute to the team. He's an interesting player; not a traditional all-purpose RB, but able to make some outside runs, also can flex out to the slot or wide receiver, and as everyone knows, he's a fantastic gunner.
He's another player that gives the Raiders' some versatility. Reece, Olawale, Jones, and even Rivera are able to line up at multiple positions and execute in different roles.
On Sunday, Jones was worked into the offense in a number of ways; two noteworthy ones were these Crack Toss Plays.
The play is combines the WR Crackback block, pulling offensive linemen (+Tight End), and a Toss to the speedy Taiwan Jones. The WRs block down and seal the edge; this folds the defense in and lets the offensive linemen pull and lead the play. The toss lets Jones get to the outside quicker and beat the chasing defenders to the outside.
The play depends on physical, blocking WRs and athletic, nimble OL, both of which the Raiders have.
If all goes well, there should be a decent alleyway into which Jones can run.
Play 50 : Q3, 3-2-OAK 28 (13:47) T.Jones left end to OAK 31 for 3 yards (M.Ingram).
The WRs (Michael Crabtree and Andre Holmes) are blocking down (crackback blocks or "cracking") to set the edge and allow the entire left side of the OL (+TE Lee Smith) to pull and lead the play.
The run converts the first down so we can call it a successful play, but there's a late minute shift by the Chargers' Defensive front that affected the play; what had the potential for a nice big gain was reduced to a 3-yarder.
The SD front initially sets up with DL #94 Corey Liuget head-up on LG Gabe Jackson (2 technique), but right before the snap, Liuget slides out over the LT Donald Penn's outside shoulder (5-technique) and LB Melvin Ingram steps up to the line of scrimmmage.
The late shift changes the matchups.
Initially WR #18 Andre Holmes is targeting Melvin Ingram for his block
On the shift, suddenly Holmes' assignment changes to Liuget. That matchup favors the Chargers... alot.
Holmes can't make much of a block. Liuget (6'2", 300 lbs) just shoves Holmes (6'4", 210 lbs) to the ground and goes on about his business. He explodes into the backfield, disrupts Gabe's pull, and stacks up both Gabe and Hudson.
Liuget essentially eats up 2 blockers (this is sometimes called "trading 2-for-1").
When Taiwan is getting to the outside, there should be two more blockers leading him and Melvin Ingram should be being blocked down. But with two OL trapped in the backfield and Holmes attempting to block Liuget, Ingram is left totally unblocked and is able to attack upfield and make the tackle, but not until Taiwan is able to pick up the first down.
The play design itself looks good and if the Chargers' don't shift at the last second, this could be a huge play.
Look at this still and imagine Ingram has been blocked by Holmes and Jackson and Hudson are out in front of the play.
Sometimes a fantastic play design and call is not successful because the defense makes an equally excellent play call. This Chess move favored the Chargers.
PS : A minor, but fun, side note. Donald Penn gets out in front and plays "Bowling for Chargers" :
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Play 53 : Q3, 2-4-OAK 37 (12:17) T.Jones right end to SD 44 for 19 yards (R.Mathews).
The play design is basically the same, except running to the other side. 2 WRs (Crabtree+ Holmes) are going to crack down while TE Lee Smith, RT Austin Howard, and C Rodney Hudson are going to pull to lead the play. Carr will toss to Jones and look for a big run.
The first thing to notice is that Michael Crabtree is a blocking monster on this play. He takes on CB #26 Robinson, but incredibly, he also takes on LB #56 Donald Butler at the same time. That's impressive in and of itself, but that's not enough for Crabtree. As the play goes on, Crabtree will take on each player a second time and get another block on them to help give Taiwan extra yards.
This is a high-effort, little-seen, "dirty" job, but it's the type of play that leads to success on the field and in the film room, you can bet Jones will be giving Crabtree a heartfelt "thank you."
SD #94 Corey Liuget again makes a mess of the pulling OL; this time it's on Rodney Hudson. Liuget does exactly what the defense wants : he get his arm inside J'Marcus Webb and hits / grabs Hudson so he can't get out on the play. This play should have had another blocker out in front and that would have made this 19 yard play into possibly an even better one!
Look at this still and imagine having Rodney Hudson out in front of Jones. The play goes for 19 yards as it is. If Hudson had been able to get in front, this has an above average chance of going all the way. Also, check out the double-damage block by Crabtree.
Howard does a nice job of getting out and in front of the play and has #24 Brandon Flowers lined up; it's reminscent of Rodney Hudson during the Amari Cooper 52 yard TD play. Flowers doesn't make the tackle, but Howard doesn't get a nice Blow-Em-Up block like Hudson did. Take a good look and notice the difference in how Taiwan runs behind his blockers and the way Amari set up his block on his TD play :
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Those two plays were definitely fun and it's definitely something to keep in mind going forward; maybe the Offense will be able to break it against one of the future opponents. But it also harkens back to one of the games in which Jones was inactive.
If this play seems familar and conjures up some unsettling memories, you are not alone. This play was a huge play in Week 4 against Chicago and was one of the later turning points.
The play was set up perfectly against the Bears. All day, the Raiders were running inside and off tackle. But in the 4th quarter, when Musgrave felt it was the right time, he called for this play, the Crack-Toss, and it worked like a beauty... except for just one thing :
Alex Gibbs says about the Toss Play "There is an instinct to Toss."
Crabtree again gets a great crackback block, this time on former Raider Lamarr Houston and sets the edge. The blockers ALL get out into space and are lining up their opposite players and there's an alley forming. If the blocking holds up and if Murray holds onto the ball it looks like it's going to get the first down easily and then maybe even much more.
This play showed up TWICE against SD and both times with Taiwan. Combine that with the fact that Latavius Murray has not run the Toss play (in a game) at all this year.
It brings this thought to mind : The Toss Play is Taiwan's play. He's run it in game and has shown he has the "instinct for the Toss"; he's likely primarily running it in practice. Meanwhile, Latavius has more plays, but they are all handoff plays.
Bill Musgrave had the Bears set up for the Crack-Toss play and wanted to use it, but without Taiwan Jones available, he had to resort to using Murray and taking the gamble that Murray could make the play. That gamble failed. If Taiwan was available in Week 4, he would probably have been subbed in to run this play.
The Raiders really DID miss Taiwan Jones more than we (as fans) realized at the time!