Time For Oakland Raiders To Establish an Identity.
Terrell White – Oct 27, 2012
Holla At Me Raider Nation!
Despite the fact that the Raiders won their game last week there is still a feeling of trepidation in the air tonight; Borrowing a line from the legend - Phil Collins. Perhaps this has something to do with how the Raiders looked in that victory last week. Then again, perhaps it has something to do with how the team has looked all season - thus far.
The Raiders quite frankly remind me of Robert Louis Stevenson's: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. Now at this moment I want to make sure that we're all on the same page: Under "normal" circumstances the "good" personality would be the Dr. Jekyll and the "bad" personality would be Mr. Hyde.
However, this is the Raiders we're talking about. When it comes to the Oakland Raiders the "bad" side is the "good" side! Therefore, when Oakland is playing Raider Football - the Mr. Hyde personality is dominate, and when they're not - we look like Dr. Jekyll.
To put it in modern terms: think of Bruce Banner / The Hulk. When Oakland is playing Raider Football we're the Hulk, and when we're not - we're Bruce Banner (puny human).
Now that we've got that cleared up - back to business.
Dr. Jekyll Offense.
As I was saying, the Raiders quite frankly remind me of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. There are times when offensively the team, for lack of a better word looks inept. We seem to be unable to get a score when we need one. Furthermore, and I don't know if this is worse but when we do score it's not the score we need (i.e. - the team needs a touchdown, but has to settle for the field goal).
Moreover, there are times (too many times) when you're not even thinking about points; You're just praying that the team can find a way to get a first down (and they can't even get that done right).
Dr. Jekyll Defense.
Defensively things aren't any prettier. Players at times appear to be lost. We've seen this team, defensively give up big play, after big play, after big play. We've seen this defense appear to be incapable of stopping the run; Of of getting off the field, after a key third down stoppage.
Then there's that group of Raiders that is their antithesis.
Mr. Hyde Offense.
There are times when the Raiders: just - look - dazzling!! Offensively speaking the Raiders are a defensive coordinating nightmare; With players the likes of Denarius Moore, Darius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford, Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece (just to name a few).
All in possession of that un-coachable deadly combination of speed and athleticism. Along with having a quarterback possessing the intelligence, experience, guts and arm strength of a CArson Palmer. The Raiders offensively are more then just formidable; They can be overwhelming.
The Raiders are designed to be explosive. This offense, like all predatory animals is naturally dangerous.
Mr. Hyde Defense.
Speaking of predatory animals, that's exactly what this defense resembles when hunting its favorite prey; Anything with a different color jersey on, carrying a football (or not). Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Lamarr Houston, Michael Huff, (just to name a few) all are men that you want watching your back; All are men that you don't want to go up against, alone in a dark alley.
Why Oakland Has Multiple Personalities.
The question is: Which one of these contrasting personalities is going to be dominate? The cause of this divergence in personality is a much simpler question to answer.
The Raiders new management of Reggie McKenzie, Dennis Allen, and company have come into Oakland (with the best of intentions) and have removed a number of player, freed up some capital, and unfortunately changed many (perhaps too many) of the schemes and designs that the team ran last season.
The problem (as I see it) lies within these changes made to the schemes and style that Oakland utilized last season.
McKenzie, Allen, and company (I believe) have failed to take into account that Raider veterans like Richard Seymour, Carson Palmer, Darren McFadden, and others thrived in and enjoyed playing the style the Raiders were using last season.
Moreover, with the team so very close to obtaining a Division Championship, as well as a playoff appearance; While they've (the players) said all the right things since McKenzie & company have taken over; You know that deep inside they were hoping, and anticipating on building upon what they accomplished last season.
Furthermore, McKenzie, Allen, and company have failed to realize that although they may be new to their jobs, and to the organization, and they may want to take time, and show patience BUT the veteran players as well as (the one and only nation) Raider Nation are ready for this team to WIN NOW!!
That's the main reason why you have a veteran quarterback like Carson Palmer ignoring his ill-qualified offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. Along with his inexperienced head coach Dennis Allen, and calling his own plays (real talk).
Something has go to give; Which brings us now to this Sunday's game against Kansas City.
Raiders vs. Chiefs.
This week in Kansas City the Raiders will not be able to win in the ugly fashion that they used against Jacksonville. The Chiefs are a familiar opponent, playing at home, coming off of a bye week to prepare. Moreover, they'd love nothing more than to drown the Raiders in the murky depths of the AFC West along with them!
While Oakland has managed to win their last five appearances in Arrowhead, every game has bee a close battle; The last time the two met the Raider were able to escape with an over time win by three. If the Raiders wish to continue their winning streak in Kansas City they're going to need to call upon their predatory nature.
Raiders On Offense.
The first thing that I believe Oakland should do is take advantage of the fact that Stanford Routt plays in the Kansas City secondary. Carson Palmer should be looking to throw the ball deep early and often.
Moreover, we're still waiting for Darren McFadden to have a break out game; This week, on the road in Kansas City (a place where he's had success in the past) would be a good time for him to have a 100 yard rushing game.
Raiders On Defense.
I don't believe that we're really going to worry about the arm, or the play making ability of Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel. The Chiefs most prolific weapon happens to be running back Jamal Charles. Therefore, this weeks game plan is very similar to the one we had last week; Shut down the running game, make the opponent one dimensional, then destroy them.
In watching the Chiefs play this season one can't help but to notice that they have a tendency to fall behind in games early and often. Therefore, the best plan of attack is for the Raiders to do just that - attack!Both offensively and defensively.
The Raiders are going to have to decide which team their going to be. Are they going to be Dr. Jekyll? Or are they going to be Mr. Hyde?
I know for a fact that the Raider veterans, and Raider Nation will be looking for this team to make a run at winning as many games as possible this season; They're not going to be looking to waste another year of their career on rebuilding (un-necessarily)!
The question is can Reggie McKenzie, Dennis Allen and company cope with the fact that the team they manage and coach is more prepared for victory then they are?
There is an internal struggle for identity taking place in Oakland and it's going to be very interesting to see which one of these personalities comes out on top.
Tampa Bay, the Raiders next home opponent made a statement with their win in Minnesota against the Vikings; A statement that they're going to look to punctuate with another road victory against our beloved Raiders in Oakland.
Kansas City, the Raiders current opponent will be looking to make a statement about their position within the AFC West; They play us this week at Arrowhead, and will play San Diego on Thursday Night Football.
Over the next few weeks we're going to find out exactly who these Raiders are, and who they're not.
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