Oakland Raiders Weekly Accountability Tracker: Week-1
John Doublin – Sep 12, 2012
Each week in the NFL there are mistakes made by both players and coaches. The Oakland Raiders are no exception to this universal rule. Every team, regardless if they win or lose, make mistakes on the field, the sideline and in the booth.
A missed tackle here, a dropped pass there, a bad play call or poor clock management. These things happen and sometimes it can make the difference between winning and losing.
However, what's more important is for the offending player or coach to step up and admit his mistake. They can't go back and change it, they can't alter the result of their mistake retro-actively, but they can show leadership and maturity by owning up to their mistakes.
Each week Raider Nation Times will shed light on these mistakes and call out the player or coach responsible for them in the "Weekly Accountability Tracker." This will not be a "name-calling" or "finger-pointing" session. It will be more like an exercise in "We saw what you did—are you going to own it, or try to sweep it under the rug?"
Let's get started, shall we?
Tommy Kelly: There was a lot of stink made about the big contract Kelly signed a few years ago. It was unprecedented money for an undrafted free agent defensive lineman—record-breaking money.
You'd think for that kind of cash, a team could expect that said player would understand the situation, and show some discipline. Jumping offside once on third and less than five can be chalked up to nervous energy or being "geeked up" to make a play, but twice...on one drive? That's bush-league.
Don't misconstrue this. Tommy Kelly has, for the most part, lived up to the money he's making. Over the last three seasons he has finished among the top five players at his position in tackles, sacks and quarterback pressures. He's a good player and an integral part of the Raiders' defense.
That said, what separates the good players from the great players is doing the right things at the right times and never doing anything to hurt your team. Kelly hurt his team twice on the same drive.
It's time for Kelly to step up, and own up!
Rod Streater: What a great story Streater was this training camp. An undrafted free agent from Memphis who caught just 12 passes his senior year, then came to an NFL camp and lit it up. He even wound up starting for one of the most storied franchises in sports history on opening day, under the bright lights of Monday Night Football.
Streater had a real chance to silence the doubters and shut the haters up. What did he do? Cost his team possession of the ball, killed the momentum they had built and later, allowed several critical catches to fall to the dirt at "The O."
Look, there is nothing wrong with trying to make a play; there's nothing wrong with wanting to get extra yards, but you have to be smart about it. Again, understand the situation and do what's best for the team.
The Raiders needed a first down; you got the first down; you were surrounded by no less than four defenders waiting to clobber you and force a fumble...GO DOWN! There were no more yards to be had; nowhere else to go; you achieved the goal of that play; protect the ball, protect yourself and go down.
After his fumble, Streater was given a chance to redeem himself by being targeted by Carson Palmer on four third down plays—he dropped three of those passes. That is not redemption. In fact, it's the beginning of a trend.
And don't think that scoring a touchdown in garbage time gets you off the hook. If you want to be a play-maker in the NFL, then make the plays!
Own up, Rod!
Coaches are not exempt from accountability.
Greg Knapp: Mr. Knapp, please listen carefully. The Raiders' offensive linemen are not suited for your precious zone blocking scheme, nor is your first-string running back. Please run what works; what the team is best suited to do; what has worked over the last two seasons, power football—RAIDER FOOTBALL!
Darren McFadden averaged nearly six yards per carry last season before getting injured. Under your system, he is averaging 1.2 yards per carry. How is this an improvement?
What is your aversion to running what works? What is so wrong with the Power scheme? Is it too "old-school" for you? Is it "passé?" Well, if running the power scheme, (thus far, the only run plays that have worked) is too old or too passé, then Raider Nation would be happy to take it—as long as it means winning.
Enough said on that!
Mr. Knapp...why did the most explosive fullback; the most nightmarish defensive match up in the NFL, Marcel Reece, only touch the ball twice? When you did get him the ball, did you see what he did with it? Yeah...he averaged 10 yards per touch. Basic math and football knowledge state that he is averaging a first down every time he touches the ball. Why is he sitting on the bench more often than not?
It's not clear if you're aware of this, but Oakland has more weapons than just McFadden. The aforementioned Reece is a good player, David Ausberry is difficult for teams to cover and Juron Criner needs a chance to play.
Furthermore, all those guys can run further than 10 yards at a time. Can you please help Raider Nation understand why there were no deep pass plays, (20 yards or more) until the third quarter? How do you expect to control the safeties and keep them away from the line of scrimmage?
No wonder McFadden isn't getting any running lanes.
Did you forget you're coaching for the Raiders? The Al Davis built, "vertical passing game" Raiders?
Lastly, on third down and five, why are there pass routes that are run less than five yards. Sure, the receivers are open...the defenders are going to leave them open, because they know that the route isn't deep enough to get a first down. What's the point? If the point is to move the chains, then call routes that will accomplish that.
Own up, Greg!
Steve Hoffman: Who is Steve Hoffman, you ask? Hoffman is the man responsible for the Raiders' special teams play. Yeah, that guy! Raider Nation has a few questions to ask you.
How do you not have a "Plan-B" in the event that your All-Pro long snapper gets injured? It's understandable that you can't control that fact that Oakland doesn't carry a roster spot for a backup long snapper, no team does, but shouldn't you have known for sure that back up linebacker, Travis Goethel could actually do the job?
If you go into a game without a "Plan-B" for every possible scenario, you're not doing your job as a coach. If Goethel was your back up long snapper, he should have been getting reps with the special teams...not on the sidelines AFTER he'd already skipped one to the punter, but in practice.
Had Goethel been given enough reps, one of two things would have happened: He would have either gotten better at snapping the ball, or you'd know that he couldn't do it. Why is that so hard?
How did you decide on Goethel as your back up snapper anyway?
Hoffman: "Hey Travis...have you ever long snapped before?"
Goethel: "Yeah coach, in high school."
Hoffman: "Okay great. You're the back up to Jon Condo...now go back to the linebackers' drills."
Goethel: "Don't I need to practice long snapping with the special teams?"
Hoffman: "Nah...Condo never gets hurt."
And the worst part? You've got fans blaming Goethel for this! How is your inability to be prepared Goethel's fault? This isn't the UFL...go ask Chuck Bresnahan what happens to coaches that aren't prepared in the NFL.
Finally, the return game is horrible. Not just because Jacoby Ford is hurt, but because there is almost zero blocking for any returner. What are you coaching? "Just pick a guy and hit him."
This is far and away the worst the Raiders' special teams has looked in over a decade.
Own up, Mr. Hoffman!
In Closing: Even when Oakland was mired in the era of "that dude from LSU," the Raiders had two things: Great special teams, and a great running game. Now thanks to Hoffman and Knapp, the Raiders don't appear to have either. It wouldn't be so bad if it were just one game, but it's not. Both the offense and special teams have been deplorable since Week-1 of the preseason.
As for the players on this list, both are good players that can help the Raiders win. However, with the lack of discipline they showed on Monday night, they may not lose games all on their own, but they certainly aren't helping their team win.
Mistakes happen; it's part of the game. The only question is, will the four men on this list step up and admit to their mistakes. More importantly, have they learned from their mistakes? Will they work hard to improve? Or...will they make the same mistakes again?
All questions to be answered next week in Miami.
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