Oakland Raiders Win Despite Questionable Coaching
Jimmy Hal – Oct 24, 2012
The Oakland Raiders victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars was indeed a must win. I beleive the term "must win" is over used in the NFL, but for the Raiders it is true. With that victory the Raiders keep pace in the AFC West only one game out of first place behind the San Diego Chargers and the Denver Broncos.
The Raiders did exactly what the needed to do, they won. However it did not look as pretty as expected. After the Raiders went toe to toe with the undeafeated Atlanta Falcons, it was expected that the Raiders would blow out the 1-4 Jags. That was not the case. Instead, the Jaguars gave the Raiders all they could handle.
But why? How did the Jaguars even come close to the Raiders? Ultimately it comes down to questionable coaching decisions.
Before I get into the questionable calls, I have to give credit to where it is due.
A lot was made of the Raiders making bye week adjustments which helped against the Falcons. Well, the Jaguars gave the Raiders a dose of their own medicine. They had a productive bye week, decided to revise some things and played on the road with confidence.
Now, some credit for the Raiders defense. Some, including a few Raider fans, beleive the Raiders only won because starting running back Maurice Jones drew and starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert got injured. We'll never know about MJD as he was injured so early in the game. But some feel the Raider defense made Gabbert look like Tom Brady in the first half.
I strongly disagree.
Gabbert was 8 of 12 for 112 yards and a touchdown, very misleading stats. Gabbert threw the ball past ten yards only twice both to Cecil Shorts for 19 yards and a 42 yard touchdown. Take that away and you will find a bunch of five yard throws with decent yards after the catch. Not exactly a Pro Bowl performance. Gabbert's stats do not show that he was almost intercepted and should have been flagged for intentional grounding.
Ultimately the first half can be described as the Jaguars having confidence and the Raiders not executing. That being said, the Raiders shot themselves in the foot a number of times.
Offensively, the Raiders just don't look sharp. In the first half the play calling on offense was just bad and the lack of execution made it look worse.
I know we all blame Greg Knapp for every offensive flaw but an unblocked defender up the middle or a defensive end dominating a right tackle is not his fault. The #fireknapp hash tag on twitter is probably a trending topic by now, but players are responsible too.
But this is the embarrassing part.
When Carson Palmer took over the play calling in the no huddle, suddenly this offense clicked. How is your quarterback, who has only been in the system for less than a year and arguably doesn't even fit the style of offense, a better play caller than the offensive coordinator? That makes no sense.
When is Knapp going to realize that the plays Palmer calls in the no huddle are likely the same or similar to what he wants to call in the traditional offense. Obviously there are other variables to the no huddle's success, but still, something has got to give.
Another problem was terrible clock management.
When the Raiders used their second time out, it was at the worst time, with the Raiders on defense, with six minutes on the clock, the Jaguars had a 3rd and 6 after an incomplete pass. There is no reason at all to take a time out in that circumstance. When asked about the decision, head coach Dennis Allen explained that the coaches were giving signals, I'm assuming hand signals, that the referees mistook for a time out signal, so the Raiders decided to execute the timeout.
Why not just tell the refs that it was a defensive communication? I have no idea. At least Allen took full responsibility.
Later in the game, with 3:53 on the clock, the Raiders found themselves down a touchdown on 4th and 10 in the red zone on offense. Initially Allen wanted to kick a feild goal and play strong defense. Instead Allen was talked into going for it by Palmer but needed to take a timeout to neglect the delay of game.
First off, how does a feild goal even help you? Either way, you would need a touchdown to win the game.
This is what every defensive head coach not named Bill Bellichick does. They choose to play conservative and play strong defense when a risk needs to be taken. Add that to Allen's inexperience as a head coach and this is the decision you get.
I can't really say I was mad at Allen for that decision because in a way it makes sense. If you take the feild goal and go for the touchdown on the next possession, then at least the touchdown will give you the lead rather than a tie. The issue is, the Raiders had too much momentum for settling for a feild goal to even be an option.
I understand the Raiders defense was dominating the second half, but who is to say the Jags special teams don't get lucky and pin the Raiders in bad feild position.
This is when inexperience as a head coach sometimes hurts a team.
All in all I can't say the coaching in this game was terrible but it was indeed questionable, and needs to be polished up against the Kansas City Cheifs. The Raiders have a legitimate chance to go on a three game winning streak and a true playoff run. In order to do that, the coaching decisions need to improve.
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