Oakland Raiders Weekly Accountability Tracker: Week-2
John Doublin – Sep 16, 2012
Normally, this article is intended to point out the mistakes of two players and two coaches in an attempt to call them out for mistakes on the field and the sideline. However, this week it will focus solely on the coaching staff—two coaches in particular.
First however, let's review last week's article to see if those called out last week stepped up and learned from their mistakes.
Rod Streater: Although he wasn't given much of a chance to perform, Streater played fairly well. He had no drops and made some tough catches. This suggests to most that Streater has taken responsibility for his mistakes of last week and is working hard to improve.
Good job, Rod!
Tommy Kelly: Traveling across country on a short week to play in the heat and humidity of south beach is hard enough, but when you're 6'6" and 300+ pounds, it's even tougher. When you combine that with an offense that was stagnent and predictable, you have a recipe for failure.
Kelly didn't have any penalties, which is what got him on this list last week, so he's clearly realized his mistakes and improved.
Nice work, Tommy!
Steve Hoffman: Well, there were no fumbled long snaps and no missed blocking assignments on punts, (it's nice to have Jon Condo back). The coverage was decent, but the return team showed little discipline on two big returns called back by penalty. However, there was another big return that set the Raiders up in good field position.
The special teams still aren't where they need to be, but it's clear that Hoffman made some adjustments and improved the special teams play.
Keep it up, Steve!
Greg Knapp: Oh boy! Let's just save that until later, shall we?
Now...down to business!
Jason Tarver: The Raiders' defense came out soft and unprepared on the Dolphins' opening drive. They allowed Miami to march right down the field and score a touchdown. However, after that, the defense stiffened and got the job done until the second half, (more on the reasons for that in a minute).
With that said, early on, Brian Hartline and rookie quarterback, Ryan Tannehill were torching the Raiders' secondary. To resolve this problem, Tarver pulled cornerback Pat Lee and replaced him with recently acquired Joselio Hanson—who also got abused by Hartline.
There was virtually no underneath coverage on Hartline all day long, and he was continually open on the out route. It didn't seem to matter if it was Lee or Hanson covering him.
This would suggest the players in coverage weren't the problem...the scheme was.
Tarver never adjusted to that. Commentator, Solomon Wilcotts of CBS even pointed out that Hartline isn't going to beat you deep, so why cover him so soft?
The gashing runs late in the game were not so much a product of poor play calling by Tarver, but rather poor fundamental tackling by the Raiders defense...but that's Tarver's job too. Late in the game, the Raiders defense was worn out and tired from being on the field for almost 35 minutes...almost 10 minutes longer than the offense.
There's no blaming Tarver for the defense being worn out because the offense couldn't stay on the field, but we can hold him responsible for not covering Hartline, for not coaching better fundametals like tackling and pursuit angles and for never adjusting when it was clearly a scheme issue, not a personnel issue that allowed Hartline to look like Jerry Rice.
Own up, Jason!
Greg Knapp: For the second week in a row, Knapp finds himself the ire of Raider Nation. Social media was alive with calls for Knapp to be fired...and worse.
The running game looked even worse this week than it did last week. Most thought this was impossible because it was so bad against the Chargers, but Knapp managed to outdo himself this week.
Darren McFadden looks tentative and hesitant. Is that because he's not a confident player? Is that because he doesn't play hard? Not hardly. It's because, just like the last time Knapp was the offensive coordinator in Oakland, (2007 and 2008) McFadden is not comfortable in the dreaded "Zone Blocking Scheme," (ZBS).
It's time for Knapp to realize, just because something works with Arian Foster and the Texans' offensive line, doesn't make it a good system...it just means that it suited the Texans' much better. The Raiders are a power running team; that's what they're suited for; that's what they do best; that's what they should run.
The previous two seasons, Oakland ranked in the top ten in rushing yards. This year? 68 yards on 50 carries. That's an average of just 1.36 yards per carry, which is horrible, but when you compare it to the 4.5 yards per attempt of last year, and the 4.9 of 2010, it's down right pathetic.
The offensive line is better and more talented now than it was then. So, what's the difference? 2010 and 2011 ran a power scheme, 2012 runs a ZBS...that's it!
Tell Raider Nation, Mr. Knapp...why do you insist on "Fixing what isn't broken?" Is this what Raider Nation was promised with the "new era?" If so, give us back the "old era!"
Knapp's failures go far beyond expecting power-type players to run a "finesse-type" scheme. The inability of the offense to move the ball resulted in the Dolphins winning the time of possession battle 34:41 to 25:19. This tired out the defense, much like fans witnessed during Knapp's first years as coordinator in Oakland.
The predicability of Knapp's play calling put the defense and special teams in bad positions all day long. If a former high school coach, (this writer) can sit on his couch and call out the play before the snap, there's a serious problem...and it's not with the players.
This lack of implementing a scheme that utilizes the strengths of the players also put Carson Palmer in a bad positions.
It was clear, on every, single down, what the Raiders were going to do. The fans knew it, the crowd knew it and the Dolphins' coaching staff knew it. The Dolphins read Knapp's play calls like a children's book...quick and easy!
This allowed the Dolphins to key on pressuring Palmer, who is lucky to still be walking at this point. Miami didn't respect the run and therefore played coverage behind pass rush bltizes that had Palmer under seige the entire second half.
Palmer is taking heat for his poor statistics, but under the circumstances, he did pretty well with what he was given.
There are times to be conservative and times to be "flashy." When you have Darren McFadden, Marcel Reece, Owen Schmitt and good blocking tight ends like Brandon Myers and Richard Gordon, the time for "flashy" is NOT on first and goal inside the 10.
POUND THE ROCK!
Why on earth Knapp felt it necessary to call three straight passing plays inside the Dolphins' 10 is beyond rational thinking. Sure, McFadden should have caught the one he dropped, and sure Palmer should have delivered the ball sooner, but with the powerful backs and tight ends the Raiders have, why not call at least ONE power, man-on-man blocked running play?
Oh...that's right. Raider Nation forgot...you know what's best, don't you Knapp? Your system is perfect and can work for any team if they just exectute it the way you tell them to, right?
Give us a break!
Knapp's pathological, sociopathic and illogical infatuation with the ZBS, being conservative at the wrong times, being "flashy" at the wrong times and being unwilling to adjust to defenses is costing the Raiders wins.
The defense kept you in the game last week, and you failed to capitalize. The defense kept you in the game this week, (until your inept play calling kept causing three-and-outs and the defense wore out) and you failed again. How many games must the Raiders lose for you to swallow your pride, put your downright arrogance in check and call plays that suit the talent of the team?
Raider Nation is watching, so it's time to own up or move out, Knapp!
To Close: Tarver called a great game last week against San Diego, and outside the opening drive today, called a decent game in Miami. However, the coverage on Hartline was never changed when it should have been. The poor pursuit angles and tackling fundamentals need to be cleaned up as well.
However, Tarver has made drastic improvements to the Raiders' defense so far this season, and Raider Nation can count on him fixing the issues laid out in this article too.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results. This is exactly what Knapp is doing. He's calling plays, watching them fail, then calling them again. It happened in 2007 and 2008 and it's happening again.
Back then, Al Davis was aware enough to force a change by giving the play-calling duties to then head coach Tom Cable and the Raiders rallied to finish 8-8. The question now becomes, will Reggie McKenzie force a change like Davis did? If so, will he do it soon enough? How many games will lack-luster play-calling cost the Raiders before a change is made?
Raider Nation is ready for Knapp to be fired today. It's not likely that will happen, but you can bank on McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen having Knapp on an extremely short leash from this point on.
Which of these coaches will step up, admit their mistakes, take responsibility for them and fix them? Smart money is on Tarver to improve, and if history is any indication, Knapp will continue his ineffective ways.
Only time will tell.
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