A new era begins today with Oakland as Tom Cable assumes coaching duties for the Raiders. It remains to be seen if we will see any actual improvements with the team, but at least there’s new anticipation in the air.
On to the keys of the game…
#1 – Ball control offense. The most effective way to beat the Saints is to keep their offense off the field. As an offensive line guru, Coach Cable’s scheme should be heavily designed around the running game. If the running game can simply average 4 yards per carry, the offense can chew up massive portions of the clock, leaving Drew Brees and company as sideline onlookers. With the three-headed monster (Bush, Fargas, and McFadden) back in action, this running mindset should be achievable.
#2 – No mistakes on special teams. If you watched the Minnesota/New Orleans Monday night game, you know Reggie Bush can single handedly change momentum in an instant. The Saints don’t send Bush to receive every kick, rather he’s used in situations when the Saints’ momentum is low. Special teams coverage is imperative regardless of who is returning kicks, but the Raiders simply cannot kick to Bush when he is returning.
#3 – Aggressive defense. Drew Brees is currently the most accurate quarterback in the NFL. Playing zone coverage defense will just delay the inevitable; you’re just giving him more time to pick you apart. Playing a blitzing man-to-man coverage doesn’t guarantee success, but it creates the possibility of getting both Brees and his receivers out of rhythm.