Oakland Raiders Film Room: DEN at OAK

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Struggles With Stunts

RT Austin Howard has been a consistent problem in the Oakland offense for 4 of the 5 games of the young season. Despite his size, he’s shown major stiffness in his legs and sloppy arm play – both of which tend to kill him against faster, agile edge rushers.

Play recognition has been a problem, too. Picking up blitzes and deciphering tricky line movement continue to be Howard’s achilles heel, and thus a weakness for the whole offense.

The Broncos run a perfectly executed stunt with Von Miller and Malik Jackson against Oaklands Austin Howard and J’Marcus Webb. Miller takes a jab step upfield before diving in directly at Webb, while Jackson jab-steps them circles around Miller to the outside. It’s not a particularly uncommon play, but it is difficult to block for an undisciplined offensive line.

As you can see, once Miller dives inside, Howard engages him. He keeps his head down, leaving him unable to track Jackson running around behind. Some of this falls back onto communication. Webb should be screaming at Howard to let him know that Jackson is looping around the back.

By the time Howard gets his head up, Jackson is completely past him – with a clear shot at Derek Carr. This mistake turned a 3rd & 11 into a 4th & 15. More importantly, this first quarter play was one of many which pushed Carr to being even more unsettled under pressure (and later phantom pressure), leading to disastrous results.

Next: The Flat Out Whiff