Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tom Cable Many Hats; Fewer Offensive Options

After the debacle that was the Atlanta Falcons game, Al Davis strips Offensive Coordinator Greg Knapp of the play calling duties he inherited with the departure of Lane Kiffin.

Tom Cable has recently had play calling added to the other items on his plate. He will now serve as the Interim Head Coach, de facto Offensive Coordinator and Offensive line coach.

The inoffensive Raiders got defensive against the Panthers passing game, played better against Carolina than they did the previous week, but didn’t do enough to score a touchdown or win the game.

The game was marred by multiple turnovers; several penalties a lot of head-scratching although when look real hard the game provided some small items that went the Raiders way.

Let’s break it down as the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good

Sifting through the debris, there were a few positive morsels to take away from this game, defensively, the Raiders fought hard and held Panther QB Jake Delhomme to a seven completion 72-yard one touchdown and four interception day.

Panther WR Steve Smith, one of the leagues best, was held to one catch for nine yards. The Raiders got to Jake Delhomme twice with DT’s Tommy Kelly and Gerard Warren both recording sacks. The Raiders won the time of possession battle with 37 minutes versus 23 minutes.

Oakland put up 259 total net yards. The team stayed committed to the running game putting up 149 yards on 36 carries with Justin Fargas doing most of the heavy lifting with 22 carries for 89 yards. The talented Michael Bush being used as a dual threat, eight rushes for 30 yards and five receptions for 43 yards. Veteran Kicker Sebastian Janikowski making two of his three field goal attempts breaking a seven quarter scoring drought.

The Bad

Once again; the Raiders, allowed an opposing runner to rush for 100+ yards and a touchdown. Panther RB DeAngelo Williams 69-yard touchdown run broke to game open in the second quarter. Backup QB Andrew Walter had two costly interceptions.

The Raiders had 34 pass attempts and threw for less than 150 yards and on the season rank dead last in passing yards per game.

The Ugly

Johnnie Lee Higgins coughing up the ball, again, and fumbling the Opening kickoff of the game and allowing the Panthers to start the game off on the Raiders 16 yard line.

It has been more than three decades a quarterback has played as badly as Jake Delhomme played and his team still comes out on the winning side. The Raiders found themselves in 17 third and long situations and only converted two of them.

On three consecutive drives in the fourth quarter, the team and fans had to witness third downs result in an interception and two sacks while trailing by eight points at home.

The Raiders amassed 10 penalties for 83 yards.

Not scoring a touchdown in the game.

Javon Walker caught three passes and is now out for the season one in which he amassed 15 receptions for 196 yards and one touchdown.

The play of the offensive tackles, leading the league in false start penalties and providing huge day’s to several Defensive Ends.

The Raiders have had to deal with a murderer’s row of some of the league’s best Defensive Ends and have been abused by edge rushers Terrell Suggs ( five tackles, a sack, a pair of quarterback hits and one tackle for loss) John Abraham (five tackles, three sacks, two tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and a forced fumble).

This week’s recipient, Julius Peppers (seven tackles, three sacks, three tackles for loss, one quarterback hit, one pass defensed and two forced fumbles). Next in line, Dolphins right Outside Linebacker in their 3-4 defense, Joey Porter, who leads the league with 12 sacks.

Joey Porter has destroyed teams that leave him one-on-one with tackles, tight ends and running backs. The Raiders have to have seen this during their film study. This is one of those occasions that I would love to see the Raiders double-team him.

Potential Raiders Options

The following is all speculation due to the fact that I am not employed on the Raiders coaching staff. However, it would be nice to see the team game plan to stop him or limit his impact.

As a suggestion seeing the difficulty the team has had at the tackle position why not use an unbalanced line with a two tight end set.

However, instead of using two tight ends use both Mario Henderson and Kwame Harris on the left side of the offense to negate Joey Porter’s impact. This will force him to deal with not one but two tackles and if he switches sides move the extra tackle to that side.

This will also help the Raiders seal the edge in the running game which has the potential of the Raiders playing to their strengths and running the football more to stay out of third and long situations.

In closing, I pose a question is this the week that Raider fans finally see Darren McFadden running the Wildcat offense?

The team should be able to start using their own version of the "Wildcat" or "Wild Hog" offense now that Darren McFadden has overcome the turf toe injuries that have slowed him earlier this season.

I could be thinking way outside the box here but due to the lack of depth at wide receiver this could provide the team an opportunity to place Darren McFadden, Justin Fargas and Michael Bush on the field at the same time.

The Raiders will definitely have to find a way to stop it this week. I want to believe that Rob Ryan and staff have discussed with Darren McFadden ways to slow down the offense due to the fact that he successfully ran the offense for three years at the University of Arkansas.

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