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Raiders’ Week 10 Focus: Executing at home

Las Vegas offense needs consistency from all 11 on the field against Gus Bradley’s Indianapolis Colts defense, says Mick Lombardi

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) and the other 10 players on offense need to be in sync and consistent for every single offensive play, says offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi.
Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

The last two weeks of football for the Las Vegas Raiders were a grueling road trip. That travel hardship was only matched by the debilitating defeats the Silver & Black suffered at the hands of the New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars in Weeks 8 and 9.

But alas, Week 10 is a whole new week and the Raiders will meet the Indianapolis Colts at home within the confines of Allegiant Stadium. The incoming horsemen are as disjointed as the Silver & Black — but they’ve got one more win and a tie at 3-5-1 — and if there were ever a game that tilted heavily towards the Raiders favor, this is it. But anyone who has followed the Raiders long enough knows, no game is a gimmie.

Perhaps practicing in familiar facilities and the home cooking provides the antidote to the Raiders’ ails. Yet, according to offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi, if Las Vegas can’t capture the ever-elusive consistency, the Raiders will continue to be in for a world of hurt.

“I think every series you go out there and you try to have a series of plays and you just try to execute the job to the best of your ability,” Lombardi said during his mid-week media session. “So, whether it’s scheme or whether it’s execution, I think everything could have been a little bit better on Sunday in terms of the second half and just stringing positive plays together.”

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars
Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams, right, hauls in a first-quarter 25-yard touchdown pass in front of Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Tyson Campbell last Sunday.
Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

The positive plays came in bunches in the first half against the Jaguars for the Raiders offense. That’s progress considering the face plant Las Vegas’ offense had the week prior against the Saints. But in the second half in Jacksonville, positivity evaporated and Las Vegas was shutout after scoring 20 first-half points. The two halves were polar opposites of one another leaving only bitter disappointment for both Raiders and their fans, alike.

Queried about exactly that, Lombardi went to the E word: Execution.

“As an offense, it takes 11 guys to do their job and do their job well,” he began, “So, I think just from a consistency standpoint, each guy doing their job well consistently is what we’re going to try and do. I can’t really pinpoint any specific example, but we just got to do a better job of stringing positive plays together consistently.”

Capturing consistency and execution is the Raiders’ focus — again — and is a must-do against a Colts defense orchestrated by a familiar face: Gus Bradley. He captained the Raiders defense last season for the previous regime and will be on the opposing sideline trying to stymie Josh McDaniels’ and Lombardi’s offense. What Lombardi said about the Raiders needing all 11 to do their jobs is something he admires about Bradley and his Colts defense.

“They don’t do a lot of things, but they are all connected. They all play 11 connected because they play fast, and they get to the football,” Lombardi said. I think you guys saw that on Sunday in their performance against New England.”

While the Colts lost that Week 9 matchup 26-3 to the Patriots, Lombardi’s point on Indianapolis’ defense still holds true. Despite the record, Bradley is equipped with quality players in the trenches, at linebacker and in the secondary. It’s enough to ruin the Raiders day if Las Vegas isn’t on point.

And regardless of the defense they’ll matchup with, Las Vegas’ offense needs to execute, even if “rhythm” isn’t there. Why put that word in quotes? Let’s allow Lombardi to explain:

“People talk about rhythm, I think as an offense, it’s our job to go out there and score points every time we get the ball,” Lombardi said. “So, regardless of when we have it, how long we have it, we got to go out there and string positive plays together and score points. We should do better. We got to do a better job of that in the second half to continue to score points and to take a lead and expand a lead because we just can’t expect to go out there and play 30 minutes of football. We got to play 60 minutes of football.

“So, if we had the ball nine times, 10 times in the game; whenever those times come, we got to score and we’re going to try and score on all nine or 10, and that’s the goal for us as an offense.”

Making the most of opportunities — whether if they are in abundance or limited — isn’t something Las Vegas does very well in 2022. Hence the 2-6 record.

While many will point to coaching or scheme, player execution remains one of the glaring omissions to Raiders football. Yes, play calling and in-game adjustments need to improve, too, however, watching the tape and you’ll see several areas of opportunity in all three phases (offense, defense, and special teams) of the Raiders that can get better. Veteran safety Duron Harmon isn’t one to speak on coaching or scheme. To him, it’s all about the players doing their job this Sunday: