Oakland Raiders Are Dropping The Ball
By Jordan Trask
Sep 14, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore (17) is unable to make a catch after Houston Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye (34) was called for pass interference in the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Texans defeated the Raiders 30-14. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Now that the season is underway, the run game is nonexistent while Derek Carr can’t find an open receiver. So where do we place the blame? After 3 years of gathering other team’s scraps, should Reggie McKenzie be the easy scapegoat? Since coaches inevitably hold all responsibility pertaining to on-field production, they should take the blame right? Another coaching carousel is the best solution for Oakland right?
Wrong. Listen, this year’s Raiders team doesn’t have a play-making pass-catcher. If you play fantasy football, how many teams in your league start a Raiders wider receiver? How many teams in your league even have a Raiders receiver on the bench?
Now, I’m not avoiding the coaching aspect at all, but the game is won with the right players. I’m tired of talking about coaching as it’s time for the players to show worth. Oakland could have drafted a receiver in May, but I’d rather have the current selections on the roster for foundational purposes. Even then, there aren’t any Julio Jones-type rookies making grown men look silly this year. There wasn’t a big wide receiver market during the off-season, and Oakland wasn’t able to pry Andre Johnson away from Houston. This is another Raider handicap as Oakland has struggled to persuade any stars to the bay area without overpaying them. But that’s an off-seasonal issue, the Raiders need help in the passing game, and they need help now.
The teams that show the ability to have success with an inferior group of receivers typically have an All-Pro quarterback behind center. As I said before this year’s draft, I think Derek Carr will be special, but it’s still too early to anticipate him doing anything spectacular.
A successful NFL receiver doesn’t necessarily have to be the most gifted athlete on the field. Calvin Johnson is an exception, but even he possesses the ability to get in and out of breaks. Too often, I am watching Denarius Moore and Rod Streater mis-judge the 1st down marker. They also seem to run directly to a specific spot on the field instead of finding the hole in the defense. I am yet to see an ankle-breaking release by a Raiders receiver and defensive backs aren’t even allowed to touch them! This is creating risky passing as well as too many incompletions.
I have read comments relaying the need of Greg Olson to open the playbook. I don’t believe this needs to be done. It all comes down to players making plays. I know our defense needs to play with more intensity, but our receivers need to do the same.
The Raiders receivers are all big and it seems like they’re getting pushed around while their routes are being dictated. Good defensive teams have crowded the box and disallowed running lanes because of this. Opponents are going to be able to play cover 1 against the Raiders until their passing game provides efficiency. If you can’t complete a pass for more than 7 yards then it’s hard to blame anyone else. If the Raiders can’t find a receiver that separates himself then it could be a long season. If the Raiders wide receivers are everything the media predicted, then it’s going to be a long and annoying football season.
It’s time for these Raiders receivers to step up to the plate and fight for something bigger than player development. The Only Nation needs for Carr to be confident in his passes so the vertical game opens up followed by running lanes. Until the Raiders are able to figure this out, we’ll continue to watch a stagnant offense that forces their defense to play a majority of the game. And we can all admit, as bad as our 3rd down defense is, we can’t continue to watch that.
The Young and once-promising defense will be up for discussion next. Follow me on Twitter and be courteous in the comment section. -Jt