Boy, Cordell Patterson’s game-icing touchdown against the Jets in week 2 seems like ages ago. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the silver-and-black. In week 6, the Chargers come to town and Carr may be back under center, but lets look at how the Raiders can change there fortunes vs SD/LA on Sunday.
Defense - So, the Chargers are a pretty wide-open offensive led by Phillip Rivers. As good as Rivers is, he will throw you 2 to 3 interceptions per game; linebackers and secondary need to take advantage of that. No matter what the Chargers do with formations, never have Sean Smith in one-on-one coverage. Tell Reggie Nelson to keep his dread locks out of the box. Play conservative defense — with the exception of third-downs — and stop giving up plays over 20 yards. Gordon is gonna be a problem; Melvin Gordon has found his niche after a slow start to his career. He might be tough to deal with as a receiver out of the back field than a rusher.
Raiders might need to have a corner or safety cover him — the Chargers really move him around.
Khalil Mack needs some acting lessons — when he is held, he needs to make sure the officials see it. If it means he has to do some acting in the process, so be it. It’s one thing to double-team a defensive end and another to tear off his jersey. The only way Khalil will fix this is to act more animated when it happens. You get the TV Cameras on it and they will show a bunch of replays. The Raiders have to be on Tight End alert with Hunter Henry and the future hall-of-fame player Antonio Gates.
Offense - Since I can’t fire Todd Downing and bring back Bill Musgrave, let’s work with what we got.
Coach Downing really needs someone on the Raiders to self-scout his tendencies. I mean when watching the game and seeing the formation, I can put on my Tony Romo hat and predict his play calling. Again, I have said this before: I understand the purpose of running the football.
It keeps the defense honest, it protects the QB, and the Offensive line gets to drive forward instead of backing-up in pass protection; the running game will be very important to protect Derek Carr from a impressive Chargers pass-rush. But that doesn’t mean the Raiders should throw nothing but short passes and never throw on first down. When Downing has his opening play sheet, the Raiders need to get 89 going.
It’s getting embarrassing for the organization, the coaching staff, and the player that he can’t get touches. The rules are setup for the wide-outs to flourish — so get him the damn ball! I don’t want to hear about coverage rolling over to him, or watch every excuse you want to come up with. Over the last two seasons, Doug Baldwin of the Seahawks had 21 touchdowns and had 94 receptions last year.
So if a team like Seattle (with a weak offensive line) can do that with Baldwin, why can’t the Raiders find a way to get Cooper the football. The answer might be coaching incompetence; God knows the league is filled with that.
Coaching - I really thought Jack Del Rio had evolved as a head coach.
Here was a guy who’s coaching his favorite childhood team. Like many coaches who get a second chance, they do a better job in their following stint in the league. Remember when a daring Jack Del Rio went for the two point conversion vs.Drew Bress and the Saints? Now he is the guy who punts two scores down at home just to not get the ball back. Maybe it was the pressure of the job; maybe the conservative demons that haunt him have come back in 2017. The Raiders could have — and maybe should have — had him coach out his current deal. Oakland has given him an extension a little too early; Mark Davis has never told Del Rio ‘no’ to anything he has asked for as coach, and his four year extension has made it unlikely he would ever tell him “no, you can’t coach.”