Oakland Raiders: Don't Panic, Raiders Headed in Right Direction.
Jimmy Hal – Sep 13, 2012
If you're a Raider fan who only pays attention to national media, then tuesday morning wasn't to great for you. The Oakland Raiders had a tough go of it in monday night, and the national media made bad, look like worse and the good look like nothing special at all.
The Raiders still have a ways to go before being a legitimate Super Bowl contender, we knew this was going to be a process with this new regime. At the end of the day, the Raiders fell on bad luck and responded in panic mode.
But do not be misled, the Raiders are on the right track.
If there is one thing I can say was a positive for the Raiders, was that head coach Dennis Allen has definitley put his stamp on this team. The Raiders committed six penalties for 35 yards. For a team over the past few years averaging ten penalties for over 100 yards that is quite the accomplishment.
The penalties the Raiders did commit however were costly, Tommy Kelly's two offsides penalties in particular.
This is something Kelly is known for, and needs to be corrected in this new era or Kelly could see his days numbered as a Raider. Both of those penalties were on third and short, and effectively kept the San Diego Chargers drive alive for their only touchdown of the game. If you take away Kelly's mistakes, the Raiders would have only committed four penalties for 25 yards and the Chargers would not have been in the end zone, with a halftime score likely to be 6-6.
Another positive was Darren McFadden's durability and versatility. I know it's only one game, but to say McFadden was used like how the Avengers used Iron Man in the Avengers movie, is an understatement, and unlike Iron Man, McFadden came out scratch free. I must admit, that makes me feel optimistic.
We knew McFadden was a receiving threat but that was a part of his skill set that was not on display in 2011 and could indeed help McFadden stay healthy, as he will be less exposed to between the tackle punishment. The only problem I had with his performance, was that he was the only one perfoming, but that is for another article.
Now, I know offensive coordinator Greg Knapp is on the hot seat amonst fans, and rightfully so. His first impression was not a good one in his second stint as offensive coordinator, but I did see positives on monday night. Knapp's play calling wasn't by any means stellar, especially in the third quarter when his play calling was outright bad, but compared to 2007 and 2008 it was vastly improved.
You could tell Knapp has at least learned a thing or two from Gary Kubiak, who I think is one of the better offensive play callers in the league.
Still, Knapp fell into what we all expected, a zone blocking purist who will ride McFadden the way Nick Fury rode Tony Stark. In the third quarter like I mentioned before, the Raiders did panic and it showed in Knapp's play calling.
For those who hate the zone blocking scheme, ( I am not a huge fan myself) let's not blame the offensive melt down on the scheme itself. The scheme does have it's place as we see the Houston Texans run it to perfection. It is going to take time before the offensive line to fully understand and execute it, but when they do, the Raiders should be fine.
Another positive was overall defensive pride. That is the only way I can describe it. To say the defense was always lining up in their own territory, they came out with a victory holding the Chargers high powered offense to only feild goals. After Phillip Rivers big pass to Robert Meachum in the first quarter, the Raiders were stopping the fire power.
If Jason Tarver was our defensive coordinator in 2011, who knows where we would have ended up. I know that is a lot to say of a first year coordinator, but you can see the improvement already.
Yes, I know it was hard to watch, but the Raiders are headed in the right direction. You can see what the Raiders are striving for and despite national media's perception, they are a lot closer than it looked on monday night. Now is not the time to panic, now is not the time to jump off the bandwagon. It is time to jump on board. Go Raiders!
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