Why is the Oakland Raiders Offense the Worst Offense in the NFL?
Elias Trejo – Sep 17, 2012
Perhaps the headline was a little too harsh, because in all reality, the Oakland Raiders offense is only the second worst offense in the NFL, thanks to the Tennessee Titans. However, that doesn't make me or anyone in the Raider Nation feel any better about our offensive performances. As a matter of fact, our offense is offensive to say the least.
Heading into the 2012 season the offense was the least of my worries. The defense, which was one of the worst defenses in the league last year, was my biggest concern.
When you looked at our offense for 2012, we looked to have one of the better offenses in the league. Last year we had a top ten offense with a strong running game. If our defense could improve just a little bit, the Raiders could have had an opportunity to win the AFC West, even with Peyton Manning in Denver.
So what happened?
The offense was overhauled and schemes changed. The term if it's not broke, don't fix it didn't apply. Instead of building on their success they decided to tear it down and rebuild. Unfortunately, the rebuilding process has caused the Raiders offense to regress in such a way that it looks terrible. Palmer is able to pass for plenty of yardage, but there is no imagination on the offensive play calling and the offense stalls far too often.
The offense which scored 22 points per game last year is struggling to get 13 points this season. They are the 2nd worst scoring offense in the league right now ahead of only the Titans.
Not much has changed in the offense as far as starting players go. McFadden, Palmer, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore are still the top four players on the squad. The offensive line only replaced one starter and Brandon Meyers was on the team last year sharing snaps with Kevin Boss at tight end. The continuity is there as far as personnel goes, but it's not there as far as what needs to be executed.
The problem isn't all in the zone blocking scheme or even the play calling, the problem lies with how the team is executing the plays and whether or not the plays they are being asked to execute fits the personnel.
The zone blocking scheme works very well when it's executed properly, but at the moment the zone blocking scheme in Oakland is failing miserably.
McFadden is one of the most explosive players in the league. In 2010 he led all running backs with 14 rushes of 20 yards or more. In 2011 he was 12th as had 8 rushes of 20 yards or more in only six full games played. In the last two years he's averaged 5.3 yards per carry which is the best average of any other back. This year he's averaging 2.1 yards per carry. For those math experts, that is 3.2 yards per carry less than the last two years.
McFadden can easily be the best running back in the league if he is healthy, so right now, while he is healthy, his talent is being wasted. He's had 26 carries for 54 yards and no touchdowns. By this time last year he had 222 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Raiders have the worst yards per rush average in the league as they're only gaining two yards per rush. That is not only an attrocious stat for this team to have, but it's unacceptable when you have a pro bowl quality running back.
When your best weapon on offense is struggling to get anything going you have a major problem. Oakland needs to get the run game going, even if it means changing the zone blocking scheme back to a power blocking scheme. It wouldn't be that much of a change for the players, as they ran that scheme last year. It's never too early to make changes, because it's better to make them before it's too late.
Oakland is 0-2 and history tells us only 12% of teams that start 0-2 make the playoffs. So the odds are against them already.
The most bothersome statistic from the Raiders offense is their second half performances in the first two games. The third quarter sticks out the most. In eight possessions in the third quarter so far this year they've only scored three points and have managed to gain only 123 yards. None of those third quarter drives have had more than seven plays and half of the drives have been 3 and outs.
The fourth quarter doesn't get any better as they've only had four possessions. In those four possessions they've ran 29 plays and gained 145 total yards. They've only been able to score seven points in the fourth quarter this year. Oakland has only scored 10 points in the second half so far this year. Their best player, McFadden, has only had 10 rush attempts in the second half of games this year combined.
These numbers tell me that, not only is the offense failing, but they no longer believe they can run the ball. There is no balance in the offense as they've passed the ball 94 times and only rushed 34 times. Last year they passed 524 times and rushed the ball 466 times. That is close to a 1:1 ratio and this year they are at a 3:1 ratio with passing being the dominant play call.
Oakland is built to be a running team, but if they don't have the ability to run and give up on running during games this will be a long season.
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