We all heard the new coaching staff talk all offseason about how the Raiders offense was going to be built around the power running game. Through two games this season that hasn't been the case.
After the opener, the reasoning given from the coaching staff was that the Raiders must "earn it". In other words, because they fell behind early and were being shut out 33-0 to start the 4th quarter, they had to put the ball in the air to try and bring the team back quickly.
That is true in concept, but didn't quite play out that way in reality as the Raiders were passing the ball more than running it from the first snap of the game. They were even passing in short yardage situations.
In the week leading up to their week two game against the Ravens, Jack Del Rio said he would like to run the ball more. Again, it didn't play out that way.
Against the Ravens, it made more sense to put the ball in the air due to their weak secondary along with a pass rush missing Terrell Suggs. That formula ended up working out in the end, although the defense still gave up 33 points, in large part because they were on the field too long. That's an issue that could have been helped by running the ball a bit more, taking time off the clock, and keeping the defenders on the side to rest.
Even still, going after the Ravens' secondary was a solid game plan.
That is not a great game plan against the Browns.
The Browns have one of the better secondary units in the league. They are fourth best in the league and are one of just four teams to give up less than 200 passing yards per game this season. This is no 2-game fluke either. They finished last season 8th in the league in fewest passing yards given up (224.5).
Leading the way this season are their two cornerbacks, Joe Haden and Tramon Williams. They are also fourth in the league in sacks (7.0) which helps their secondary a great deal as well.
Alternately, the Browns have the worst run defense in the league. After two games, they are dead last in the NFL, giving up 160 yards per game on the ground. That too is not a fluke. They were last in the league last season as well, giving up an average of 141.6 yards per game.
The Raiders paid no mind to the Browns' weak spots last season. They ran it just 21 times despite Darren McFadden averaging 4.9 yards per carry that day. The Raiders went into Cleveland, passed the ball 54 times, Carr was sacked 4 times, he fumbled twice, and the offense put a whopping 13 points on the board in a loss. They cannot make the same mistake again.
Over the first two games, the Raiders drop-back to designed run ratio is 95-33 - nearly a 3-1 ratio. It's not like Latavius Murray isn't having success either. He's averaging 4.2 yards per carry.
What we're left with is every reason to make this the game that the Raiders ride their workhorse/bell cow back in order to give themselves the best chance to come out of Cleveland with a victory.