Oakland Raiders vs Kansas City Chiefs: Offensive Keys for the Raiders
John Doublin – Oct 21, 2011Everyone knows that Carson Palmer is now with the Oakland Raiders, but how does that effect the game plan for this Sunday's tilt against the Kansas City Chiefs at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California?
Ultimately, it doesn't.
The Raiders will need to do what they do bestâ€”run the ball and move the chains with the passing game only when needed. Whether or not Palmer starts for Oakland does not change what the Raiders' offense is aboutâ€”power football.
Establishing the run: The Chiefs are the 25th ranked run defense in the league based on average yards per carry. This bodes extremely well for Oakland. Getting Darren McFadden and Michael Bush going will be the lynch-pin for the Raiders.
On left side of their 3-4 scheme, (offensive right side) the Chiefs will line up Tyson Jackson at end with Justin Houston behind him at linebacker. Neither of these players are known as overly physical. Oakland should look to have right tackle Khalif Barnes "maul" Jackson and pull left guard, Stefen Wisniewski to get on Houston. This will allow right guard Cooper Carlisle to either help Samson Satele with nose tackle Kelly Gregg, or get to the second level and attack left-inside linebacker Jovan Belcher.
This power strategy should work to both sides because the Raiders are very athletic on the offensive line. As long as Jared Veldheer can hold up to the power of defensive end Glen Dorsey, the Raiders should be able to dominate the interior of the line of scrimmage and eat up a ton of yards between the tackles.
Running sweeps and toss plays to both sides should be done sporadically to keep the inside linebackers of Belcher and Derrick Johnson honestâ€”especially Johnson. Forcing the Chiefs' linebackers to read before they attack will slow their pursuit, and help the Raiders gain solid yards on the ground.
It will be critical for Oakland to be successful running the ball on first down. Having second-and-five or third-and-three leaves the entire playbook open. Being forced into passing situations cuts the playbook in half and limits what the Raiders can do.
The passing attack: It doesn't matter who is under center for Oakland this Sunday; the passing attack will remain the sameâ€”play action in obvious run situations, and deep balls occasionally to back the secondary up.
As long as Oakland is successful at establishing the run, the play action passing game should break wide open. Darrius Heyward-Bey has been showing the ability to run the intermediate out-routed and curls. Getting him the ball after a play fake could yield results like the 35 yard touchdown he scored in Houston. If the fake run is good enough, it should force Brandon Flowers into one-on-one coverage with Heyward-Bey. Judging by the whipping Jacoby Ford put on Flowers last year, one-on-one coverage is a win for Oakland.
Obviously, every pass play can't be a play action pass. There has to be straight three, five and seven step drops. The intermediate routes can be successful early and set up the deep ball with a play fake and a double move. Hitting Heyward-Bey, Chaz Schilens and Louis Murphy on quick routes early and often, will allow for Ford and rookie sensation Denarius Moore to get deep. Play action or pump faking the intermediate routes can hold fool the cornerbacks and force the Chiefs into man coverage with the safeties.
Again, assuming the short and intermediate routes are successful and the run game is hitting on all cylinders, the deep, double-moves and deep play-action could result in huge plays for Oaklandâ€”but only if pass rushing specialist Tamba Hali is blocked. If it means keeping Kevin Boss in to block, then it must be done. The Raiders can't afford to have the Chiefs linebacker harassing the quarterbackâ€”whomever it is.
In closing: As stated above, establishing the run will be the key for Oaklandâ€”as it always is. Pounding and "mauling" the Chiefs inside with occasional sweeps to keep them honest will make for another big day for McFadden and Bush.
Using play action and intermediate routes to start with could open up big opportunities for Ford and Moore in the deep passing game. Double moves on play action may very well find an Oakland receiver all alone on a safety.
Whether Palmer starts or Kyle Boller is calling signals, it won't matter; Oakland has the opportunity to do what they did the last game of last season and embarrass the Chiefs. In that game, Bush ran for 137 yards and honestly, the Chiefs haven't done much to improve their front seven. With the loss of rookie stud Eric Berry at safety, it doesn't appear the Chiefs have the wherewithal to stop the vastly improved passing game either.
Prediction: Raiders-30 Chiefs-13
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