The Raiders won their first home opener since the 2002 season, handling the Jets 45-20. This was a game the Raiders were expected to win and they certainly didn’t disappoint. While running back Marshawn Lynch getting his first Raiders touchdown, Quarterback Derek Carr’s 82% completion rate, and wide receiver Michael Crabtree’s three touchdowns are getting the headlines, there were three new additions who had great games themselves.
This was the first game action that the Raiders first round pick (24th overall) has seen after sustaining a shin injury in June’s minicamp. Coaches and fans alike have been excited to get an opportunity to see Conley in live action and he certainly did not disappoint as PFF notes.
The NY Jets are certainly not an explosive offense with multiple weapons but they do have NFL players and a very experienced quarterback in former Raider Josh McCown. A rookie in his first start only allowing 1 completion for 8 yards on 2 targets is a eye opening. Conley’s great game was very close to being even better with this highlight from the first quarter.
Conley is in press man coverage, gets his head around, and almost deflects the pass to safety Reggie Nelson. We have all seen the consequences of a cornerback who cannot get their head around and locate the ball. This play has to make the coaching staff feel like Conley is exactly what they thought he would be when the drafted him.
Conley “only” played 46 of the defenses 56 snaps (82%) most likely due to conditioning from such a long lay off. Expect him to be on the field for every play next week. The Raiders rookie corner looks like he will be the best one on the roster with some more game experience.
After only getting 4 snaps (6%) on defense in the Titans game, linebacker Nicholas Morrow saw his snap count jump up to 24 (46%) on Sunday. Morrow came in for fellow linebacker Tyrell Adams and looked like he should be starting in Adams place.
Coverage from the linebacker position has been the Achilles heel of the Raider defense for a while. Having a linebacker to pair with Corey James in coverage will improve the defense. Here is a comparison between Adams and Morrow on similar play concepts.
It is apparent form McCowns eyes that both plays were designed to take advantage of the mismatch between the Jets running backs and the Raiders linebackers. Adams is unable to match the running backs speed and gave up an 8 yard completion while Morrow prevents the pass from even being thrown.
Morrows ability to stick the running back out in the flat will prevent quick passes and increase the pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Morrow is another player I expect will be starting and should see a significant increase in playing time. Morrow had 3 tackles (2 solo), 1 tackle for a loss, and 1 pass deflection, more playing time should add to these numbers.
Raiders wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson saw his snap count jump from 22 (33%) in week one to 27 (44%) in the game against the Jets. Raiders Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing has gotten creative in the ways he has used Patterson. Reminiscent of the way the Seattle Seahawks utilized receiver Percy Harvin, Patterson took many of his snaps from the backfield in this game.
Having to cover a guy with Pattersons explosion is difficult enough, but to give him the types of free releases that coming out of the backfield provides will keep defensive coordinators up at night. Even if Patterson doesn’t catch a single pass, the time the opposing coordinator spends focused on covering Patterson, is less time he can focus on other aspects of the Raiders offense.
This is one of the ways that the bounty of weapons the Raiders offense has increases their effectiveness. The threat a player poses can do more damage to the defense than what their actual production would indicate. Though plays like this prove Patterson is much more than just a gimmick in the Raiders offense.
Patterson takes an inside zone run 43 yards for a touchdown. Utilizing Patterson as a running back out of “10” personnel helped spread the defense and had the offensive line blocking more defensive backs than linebackers. Scouting the Jets issues handling zone runs and using personnel mismatches was a stroke of genius from Downing.
With all the weapons and level of talent on the Raiders offense, guys are going to have to take advantage of every opportunity if they want to continue to get them. Adding 57 yards on 3 carries (19 yards per carry avg) and this touchdown to his single 6 yards reception will ensure Patterson continues to get those opportunities.
There are players who don’t always show up in the stat sheet or get headlines but are an integral part of the teams success. Celebrate with guys like Marshawn Lynch but don’t forget to keep an eye out for the players grinding out good performances that could otherwise go unnoticed.
Which of these three guys are you most excited about and why?
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