Oakland Raiders Weekly Accountability Tracker: Week-4
John Doublin – Oct 1, 2012
There isn't much more to say about the Oakland Raiders embarrassing loss at the hands of the hated Denver Broncos that isn't already being said on social media sites. It was a disgusting display, to say the least.
There was no pass rush at all. Manning was sitting in a rocking chair, knitting a blanket, writing his memoirs and picking the battered Raiders' secondary apart. The defense was on the field so long that several players received their AARP membership cards. The running game was completely ineffective—again!
Carson Palmer was, once again, the lone bright spot. Palmer completed passes and did the best he could with the plays he was ordered to run, but even Ken Stabler can't turn chicken poop into chicken soup.
It would be very easy to lay the blame for this loss on one person, and a lot of fans will do just that. However, it wasn't only one player or coach causing the debacle Raider Nation was forced to witness...it truly was a team effort.
Normally, there would be a review portion to this article in which the players or coaches on last week's list are evaluated for their performance this week, but there is a lot to get to this week, so we'll just skip that.
Rolando McClain: "RoMac" came out strong this season and played very well against the Chargers in Week-1, but it's been a steady decline since then. Week-2 was a step back, Week-3 was weak and Week-4 was just plain bad.
There appears to be zero effort, zero heart and zero desire in his play lately. Upon watching the replay of the game, McClain is found jogging rather than running, giving only half effort to shed blocks, almost no inclination to fill his gaps and a lot of plain, old giving up on a vast majority of plays.
The Raiders have Travis Goethel waiting in the wings and have recently signed Vic So'oto. If McClain is going to continue playing as he did against the Broncos, maybe he should be benched for one of the other guys. Sure, there will be a size and talent drop off from McClain to Goethel or So'oto, but there will be a DRASTIC increase in effort.
A great coach once said, "I'd rather have an average athlete who gives 100% effort, than a superior athlete who plays half-heartedly." ~George Halas.
Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly: What happened to the most productive, most relentless defensive tackle tandem from last season? The Raiders' tackles produced more sacks from the defensive tackle position than any other team in 2011.
This year? Lack-luster at best. The Raiders' defensive line has generated a grand total of three sacks in four games. They put absolutely zero pressure on Peyton Manning Sunday afternoon.
No pressure on Manning=no chance at victory. The secondary could certainly have played better, but with the injuries to starting cornerbacks Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartell, the Raiders needed the front four to step up and help out.
Not only did Seymour and Kelly not step up, they stepped out!
After watching the Texans and Falcons destroy the Broncos' interior line, most would have expected Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour to feast on Manning. That not only failed to happen, but the two vaunted Raiders' defensive tackles looked like they were on roller skates as they were constantly nullified by inferior talent.
Maybe it's time to see what Desmond Bryant and Christo Bilukidi can do—they certainly can't be any less productive than what we saw on Sunday.
Honestly, the Raiders' defensive ends could easily be on this list as well. Matt Shaughnessy and Lamarr Houston were virtually invisible, but the match ups for them against the Broncos' tackles wasn't nearly as advantageous for Oakland as Seymour and Kelly against those sub-par guards and center were.
Jason Tarver: This marks the second time Tarver finds himself on this list. After the debacle in Miami, Tarver was called out for allowing Ryan Tannehill and Brian Hartline look like Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. The cornerbacks were told to play eight yards off the line and the Dolphins exploited it all day long.
It appears the same game plan was employed for the Broncos. Yes, Michael Huff is a safety playing out of position at cornerback, but is it not possible for him to play tight to the line and disrupt the timing of Broncos' offense at least two or three times in the game?
Tarver continually called plays that gave the Denver receivers free releases, allowing them to run their routes uncontested. Combine that with the compulsive desire to blitz Manning on nearly every 3rd down, (despite getting burned every time) and you have a recipe for failure.
If you're not going to pressure the quarterback, you'd better cover the receiver. If you're not going to cover the receivers, you'd better pressure the quarterback.
Tarver did neither!
Greg Knapp: Boy, Knapp must like being on this list. Outside of the win over Pittsburgh, he's been on this list every week.
The running game STILL isn't working; progress is NOT being made, regardless of what the players and coaching staff tell the media. The evidence is on tape. Even if it were performing up to its potential, Knapp only allowed Darren McFadden to touch the ball 14 times. That's right...the best player on the team is getting the ball less than 15 times per game.
The utter failure of the ZBS system is only part of the issue. Knapp's play calling is predictable and flawed at best. One conversion on 12 third down attempts and zero for two inside the Red Zone is completely unacceptable and will NEVER lead to victory.
The fact is, opposing defenses know what the Raiders' offense is going to do before they even line up. There is no creativity or surprise in the offensive play calling. That cannot be laid on the players or head coach Dennis Allen—there is only one person responsible for the offensive play calling. It's the person responsible for the offensive game plan and the man that calls the plays—Greg Knapp.
It's unfathomable to think Knapp can't see the problems. To quote Vizzini from The Princess Bride, "Inconthevable!"
The 9th ranked offense in terms of total yards last year, the 7th ranked rushing offense from a season ago, the 16th ranked scoring offense in 2011 is now one of the most inept in the league. The O-line has replaced Samson Satele with Mike Brisiel and every other player is the same, but now this same group of players is ranked 22nd in yards, (-11) 30th in rushing, (-23) and 29th in scoring, (-13).
The Raiders' have lost the time of possession battle in every game. That disparity was almost 15 minutes against Denver. Now ask yourself, what defense on earth can perform under those conditions?
Defensive players are getting tired and it's not because they aren't in shape, it's because they're being asked to play more than half the game. The Broncos ran 69 offensive plays; the Raiders' offense ran just 50.
That's called: Setting up your defense to fail! What is the cause? An ineffective offense, plain and simple.
What's the difference—the ONLY difference from last year?
A single, more talented player on the offensive line, and Greg Knapp insisting on running his precious zone blocking scheme!
Closing: Look, the defensive players on this list are professionals. They can, and most likely will, bounce back and perform better in the future. The biggest problem is not with any player...but with one, stubborn, hard-headed, arrogant coach that thinks he knows what's best for this team.
This ZBS is not suited for the players the Raiders have. Oakland has big, powerful, mauling offensive linemen and a downhill runner, not the quick, nimble offensive line and patient runner required to run a zone scheme effectively. The entire offensive line and star running back our out of their element.
Welders know nothing about brain surgery; brain surgeons know nothing about welding. Knapp is asking a bunch of welders to perform brain surgery—and the patient, (the offense) is dying!
This has resulted in the demoralization of the entire team. The offense is discouraged in their own performance because they don't believe the plays they're being forced to run aren't going to work. They know they are being asked to do something they aren't suited to do. The defense doesn't trust the offense to possess the ball so they can rest and hydrate.
Where is the incentive for the defense to perform? They know, better than anyone, that the offense is going to stall, go three and out, and they'll be back on the field within three plays. It's disheartening and frustrating.
Yes, they are professionals, this sort of thing isn't supposed to happen, but guess what...they're also human and susceptable to human emotion—including anger and disappointment. Right or wrong, people are people, football players are football players and being set up to fail doesn't sit well with anyone.
Knapp is setting this entire Oakland Raiders team up for failure. The proof is on the game film—if one is willing to look. Head coach, Dennis Allen and general manager, Reggie McKenzie must take a look and decide if letting Knapp continue on this track is worth the fans calling for THEIR jobs for allowing this to continue. The fans are talking about buying a billboard calling for Reggie, Allen and Knapp to be fired.
That isn't going to work, but when you've angered the most loyal and knowledgeable fan base is the world to the point of spending their hard-earned money on a billboard calling for your head, RATHER than on tickets and gear, you've done something seriously wrong. This "situation" must be addressed—STAT!
Hopefully, McKenzie is as angry and fed up as Raider Nation is at seeing one of the most talented offenses in the league continue to look like the Cal Bears' practice squad—if even that good.
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