Last season when Derek Carr was lost to a broken fibula, he was on fire. Just a couple weeks early he was in the MVP conversation, the Raiders were headed to 12-3 with their sights on the two seed in the playoffs. The offense was clicking and it was the saving grace of that team. That has not been the case this season.
Over the past two games it has been the defense that has been the strength of the team, while the offense can’t get out of its own way. Derek Carr’s performance has been just as poor.
Even with Carr’s struggles, the idea that they could pull out of their tailspin seemed a lot more likely with him at the controls. Mainly because he did it all last season, so it seems logical he could do it again.
No, the guy taking the pilot seat now is EJ Manuel. And even if he is able to offer a steady hand at the quarterback spot, there are still a great many other issues to deal with.
“I think obviously a lack of rhythm,” Jack Del Rio said of the team’s offensive struggles. “We’ve got to look at everything. We will. I think for the fan right now, it’s probably more about, ‘Hey, who can I blame right now and get pissed at?’ I get that. That’s not how we’re going to operate. We’re all looking to make it better. It starts with what we call, when we call it, how we execute the call.”
Part of the problem would appear to be the coaching.
On the defense, the addition of John Pagano is beginning to pay dividends. Even with Gareon Conley inactive and David Amerson lost during the game to a concussion, the Raiders secondary held up very well in the second half, giving the Raiders a chance late.
With new Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing in place, opposing defenses have seemed to know just what was coming. While weapons like Jamize Olawale, despite being back the past two weeks, didn’t get the ball until late last week.
Previous number one receiver Amari Cooper can’t hold onto the ball, adding his league leading (with a bullet) seventh drop last week. And with Michael Crabtree missing last week with a chest injury, they need Coop to step up. He didn’t.
After allowing four sacks in Washington, the offensive line seemed to show improvement in pass protection but still allowed the sack that got Carr injured.
The backs have not been able to find room to run and Marshawn Lynch has run for just 30 yards on 15 carries (2.0 yards per carry) the past two weeks, including 1.3 yards per carry in Denver with 12 yards on 9 carries.
Let’s not put this all on Lynch though. No one has been getting room to run lately. As a team the Raiders have run for 56 yards on 28 carries in two games. That’s 2.0 yards per carry as a team, matching Lynch’s numbers. Utterly ridiculous.
“There’s several things,” Del Rio said of the problems in the run game. “Like I said, it’s like a combination. Maybe a missed block here. Maybe the back doesn’t hit the hole. Maybe they beat us on the scheme. Maybe they had a better call against that scheme. All different factors add up. I know we have big, powerful guys up front. We’ve got backs that are all very capable. We have a really good staff. We have to put it together to make it work. That’s the bottom line. For two weeks now, we’ve stubbed our toe. Maybe more than just a toe. We’ve struggled. It’s really obvious to everybody that follows us. It’s obvious to me. We’re working hard to get it right.”
It’s odd that after a season in which the Raiders had the 26 ranked defense and 6th ranked offense, the past couple weeks that has turned on it’s head. Now it’s the offense that can’t get itself together while the defense is keeping them in games.
Is it possible at some point the offense will return and both sides of the ball can actually perform well at the same time? We haven’t seen it much for a
“We’re going to be better,” Del Rio vowed. “We’re a better unit than we’ve shown offensively the last two weeks. No question. It hasn’t been good enough and it’s led directly to losses, two losses.”
“We have a good group of coaches and players and we’re all going to work to get this right. I believe in that. I trust our guys and I believe in who we are. I believe that will show as we go through this year.”