We already knew what we were losing when Michael Bush took his talents to Chicago. What we hoped was that the front office and the coaching staff were going to find some way to replace all the roles Bush played. Two preseason games in and we’re still waiting for someone to emerge as Oakland’s red zone and short yardage specialist.
Darren McFadden is a weapon unlike any other in the game. In his brief preseason showings we’ve seen a man poised to breakout as an MVP candidate if all goes according to plan. However part of that plan involves McFadden moving the chains on short yardage situations. Last night in Arizona McFadden failed twice to do just that and his replacement Mike Goodson didn’t fare any better.
Goodson’s fumble troubles are also alarming but for now we’re just going to concentrate on who should be getting the rock when the team needs tough yards.
There have been some rumblings amongst Raider Nation regarding Greg Knapp’s continued reliance on the zone blocking scheme in short yardage situations. Knapp isn’t going to change his approach so the offensive line and whoever is carrying the rock will just have to improve.
Another area where much more improvement must occur is red zone execution.
Carson Palmer and the Oakland offense haven’t put enough 6s on the board when they get to within the opponents’ 20 yard line. Part of the problem is that the Raiders don’t have an established tight end. That’s one position which is always a quarterback’s best friend in the red zone.
Another part of the problem is Palmer’s decision making combined with the Raiders’ inability to move the rock in tight quarters.
Nobody expected the Raider to be any better without Bush. But is it asking too much for them to find some formula to replace many of the roles he played for the team? Dennis Allen is going to have to find a way to get more out of his talent in crucial situations. Bringing in more discipline is one thing but poor results on critical downs are just as bad as penalties as they too equate to the Raiders being their own worst enemy.