Raider Nation, we learned a lot from the Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon. They are tough and they can play. The Raiders will contend in the AFC this season. How will they contend? What are the keys to success?
One: Terrelle Pryor needs to learn from his mistakes, and he cannot throw anymore costly interceptions. It’s one thing when he is making a play or attempting to thread the proverbial needle, but he cannot just toss it to the other team. He must learn to go through his progressions and utilize his receivers. He needs to trust Rod Streater, Marcel Reece, Darren McFadden, and Denarius Moore.
Two: Darren McFadden must find a way to break through the first level of defense. The offensive line must get him past the line of scrimmage so he can make a move or two. Once he gets past the first level, he is a viable threat to take the ball down the field. McFadden must find a way to co-exist with the offensive line that he has. Once they become cohesive together and once they understand one another, McFadden will begin to eat up yardage.
Three: Rod Streater must emerge as the go-to receiver for Pryor. How can he do that? If Pryor is running around in the back field and stretching plays out, Streater must find a way to work back to his quarterback and demand the ball, or he must find the open space and call for the ball. A good or great receiver knows when to break off their route in order to help their quarterback out. Streater has to find a way to do this.
Four: Marcel Reece must be used more in the offensive package. Get him out on the flat, throw him the ball, and let him make plays with his feet. Use him as a half back now and then. Design plays around Reece and give him the opportunity to make the play.
Five: It’s time for D.J. Hayden to be the right side defensive back. Tracy Porter is not cutting it, and he is getting eaten up big time. Opposing teams are going to continue attack Porter until that side of the field is shored up. Porter will be a better Nickel corner, and he will work in the Dime package on third downs as a blitzer as well. It’s Hayden’s island now.
For the most part the defense stepped up to the plate and got a couple hits. It faltered a bit in the first quarter and a half of the Indianapolis Colts game, but once the defense found its rhythm, the Colts had a very hard time moving the ball. Keep the pressure on the quarterback and turnovers will begin to happen. The offense made stupid mistakes that cost the game for the Raiders. However, that is not something to dwell on. Pryor indicated that he is moving on from the mistakes and they will not happen again.
In my opinion, these are the keys to success that must be completed in order for the Raiders to enter into the win column, and this is the design to beat teams like the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, etc… Now it’s time to execute this process and win the next game. In the words of the late and great Gene Upshaw, “It’s one game, then one game, then one game…”