It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in their home away from home, but in the end, the only thing Raider Nation got to enjoy was the weather. Fresh off the first victory of the season, in overtime against the Cleveland Browns, the Raiders came out and laid an egg. In a truly uninspired performance we were treated to the same old Raiders who play with a sense of apathy, and send their head coach into depression.
The opinions in this piece are strong factually based and painfully obvious. Any attempts to question the validity of said opinions will be sent to the tape of last week. The look and sound of Jon Gruden’s voice is not one containing the same fire he started with.
You do have a #Beastmode option
When a head coach talks a player out of retirement and elicits a commitment such as “I’m in with all ten toes,” coach is supposed to maximize the player.
Multiple times Jon Gruden has watched Marshawn Lynch carry an entire defense literally on his back 5 yards into the end zone. On 1st and goal from the 1-yard-line, down 17-3 Gruden made a ‘Pete Carroll-onian’ mistake and didn’t hand the ball off to Lynch instead opting for a cute play action pass.
One would have figured by now that the entire world has learned and never forgotten the lesson from the end of Super Bowl 49, when Russell Wilson made Malcolm Butler a hero. However, once again the best short yardage back in the NFL was disrespected on the goal line yet again.
Lynch is currently sitting at the nine spot in terms of rushing leaders in the NFL with 331 yards rushing. Before his 9-carry 31-yard performance this week he was the fourth leading rusher. The running game has been working and maybe just maybe the fact that nearly the entire line was compromised Gruden wasn’t feeling particularly confident in their ability to run block. There have been issues with the starting 5’s ability to block for short yardage anyway, but that’s neither here nor there.
When you have first and goal on the one, run the football. Lynch has pushed the pile. Lynch has jumped over the pile. Lynch has ran around the pile. Lynch is tied for the team lead in touchdowns, is leading the team with 401 yards from scrimmage, and when you need a score, give him the damn ball.
At this point, it is just flat out disrespectful to not give Lynch the ball on the goal line to finish drives and trust that he WILL get it done. That mistake cost the Seahawks back to back championships, and will continue to cost the Raiders football games as long as the quarterback continues to turn the ball over in the red zone.
Are defensive coordinators using Carr’s brain against him?
Derek Carr is leading the league in interceptions with 8. I will say it again, Carr is leading the league in interceptions. He has thrown three interceptions inside the opponent’s endzone, not only that but he has thrown four interceptions on first down alone.
Last year the book on Carr seemingly was published and passed around throughout defensive coordinator’s in the league. As long as you show double coverage on a receiver in pre-snap situations Carr will eliminate that receiver as a pass catching option on his own. He likes to deliver the ball quickly and gets happy feet whenever you make him hold it and will throw you the football the moment he feels pressured.
So what defensive coordinators have done is backed off corners to squat on all his quick hitting timing routes, and rushed him from the edges so that he is forced to feel the pressure and not see it. From there the stopwatch in Carr’s head gets accelerated and he’s actually trying to move faster than the play develops. It can mean the difference between six points and a turnover.
Carr is statistically one of the worst quarterbacks in the league when under pressure per Mike Guerrelli of profootballfocus.com
- Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr completed 6-of-10 passes for 76 yards and one interception when pressured against the Chargers. Through Week 5, Carr has thrown six interceptions and no touchdown passes when pressured, and his 37.3 passer rating under pressure ranks 32nd of 36 qualifying quarterbacks.
A lot of criticism is flowing Carr’s way and rightfully so. Amari Cooper is the team’s best receiver, yet AC/DC has had all the electricity shut off. One week Cooper gets fed and the next week he’s on a milk carton.
Carr has been locking onto and staring down receivers instead of going through all of his progressions. Many were frustrated with the quickness with which he was throwing the ball often delivering the pass in 2.2 seconds or less.
Carr absolutely could have ran for a first down here. I don’t understand why he is so reluctant to pick up yards with his legs. pic.twitter.com/yeJ8QLa7Wh— Evan Groat (@Egroat5) October 8, 2018
Nearly all of Carr’s deep passes are underthrown and float through the air long enough for even badly beaten defensive backs an opportunity to make a play on the ball.
Part of the issue here is he throws too many passes off his back foot. It causes him to rarely throw anything but a rainbow over 25 yards. There was a time when he used to throw 50 yards with zip, but whether it be injury or a lack of confidence in deep accuracy he simply doesn’t make that throw like he used to.
And what in the blue hell happened to all this speed Carr claims he has? He ran a 4.69 second forty yard dash at the combine. In 2016 the entire season was built on this play.
As of now Carr is 36th in the league in quarterback rushing yards with 7 attempts for 5 yards! 5 freaking rushing yards and the craziest thing about it is his longest rush is 6 yards! How is this even possible? If he’s not running with the ball when plays break down we’re looking at incompletions and interceptions. Even a 41 year old Tom Brady, as well as Eli Manning’s non-running behind has more rushing yards than Carr.
This defense ain’t winning championships
Offense fills seats and defense wins championships. Right now this offense is emptying seats and this defense is filling toilet seats. With Khalil Mack gone, the captain of this defense falls to the other veteran pass rusher. The captain of this defense checks out of nearly every play in which someone attempts to block him. The captain of this defense is making boneheaded plays which give the other team end of half scoring opportunities. The captain of this defense is spending more time posturing than making plays. Most importantly the captain of this defense isn’t leading by example like in years past.
Anyone playing this poorly shouldn’t be on the field let alone wearing the “C” across his chest.
Paul Guenther is supposed to be a defensive mastermind with a million and a half exotic blitzes from double A gap pressure looks. Only problem is when he shows blitz he never actually brings it or only overloads the outer edges and never up the middle.
Some free advice: Play Rashaan Melvin and Daryl Worley on the outside corners and move Gareon Conley to the slot. Activate Nick Nelson and run this defensive back corps for the rest of the season and let them take their lumps.
No more Reggie Nelson. A week after securing an overtime forcing interception it was back to punching bag Nelson again. Erik Harris has earned the playing time that Nelson is not producing on the field.
Guenther’s defense is currently sitting at 30th in the NFL in terms of points allowed and yardage, give up a score on roughly 43.3% of all drives, and have been on the field for less plays than all but six teams. Meanwhile they are giving up the second highest yards per play at 6.8 ypp. Raiders have allowed the sixth-least passing attempts and completions (98/160) but the eighth most passing yards (1386) and tied for ninth most passing TD’s (10). While only producing 3 INT’s and 6 Sacks.
The Raiders rushing defense is no better, ranking fifth-worst in the league surrendering (636 yards) and in a three-way tie for second-worst rushing touchdowns defense with (6). It’s a travesty to watch this defense play this badly and know that they are sucking fast. It isn’t taking the other team longer than 10 minutes of offense to gas this defense out and expose them.
What we have been watching from the beloved Silver & Black has been some ugly shit. Judging from his presser at the top of this piece, Gruden has got to be second-guessing himself. This thing is snowballing fast, he looks like he’s losing everyone except his quarterback and Mark Davis.
The Raiders need to play better, flat out, and they need to not be walking to the line of scrimmage like they don’t give a crap and have all the time in the world down 20 in the 4th quarter. The Raiders theoretically have two to three more losses before this season can be officially placed on draft watch and we can play the who-stays-who-goes game.
Follow Phil on twitter @PhilRobinsonNFL