Oakland Raiders Week 7 Primer: Home trip to San Diego

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Oct 11, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (25) scores on a 75-yard interception return in the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reviewing Week 5

The loss to the Broncos was one of the most frustrating losses a team can suffer. When one boils it down, the Raiders lost because of their kicker Sebastian Janikowski. Missing two field goals resulted in the Raiders being behind in the fourth quarter which is when the interception of Derek Carr occurred. Had the Raiders had those six points and been in the lead, they would have not rushed to the line and then make a bad play.

To hold a Peyton Manning led Broncos team regardless of his age and arm issues to zero offensive touchdowns in a game is truly impressive. A big reason for this were the adjustments made by defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. Again, he shifted back to a more consistent use of the five-man front or heavy blitzing when in four-man fronts.

Another big shift was the increase in stunts and twists by the defensive line. All in all, this produced a constant stream of pressure from the Raiders that ultimately created multiple sacks and turnovers forced by the defense.

The most important change in the defensive game planning came right out of my past columns. Almost as if it was on cue, Ken Norton Jr. called upon rookie linebacker Neiron Ball to play man defense against tight end Owen Daniels. Daniels was shut down from the first snap. Occasionally the Raiders did combo coverages and some zone concepts that put Malcolm Smith on Daniels, but the man who changed the perception of the Raider pass defense was Neiron Ball.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this Raiders’ staff has been their constant ability to morph to what they have. This is not to say that it always goes as planned, in fact defensively Ken Norton Jr. has gone back to schemes that do not work after having a breakthrough week, and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave at times will come into games with gameplans that are not as effective.

Offensively, the Raiders were too reliant on the run game to be the centerpiece of the offense. Moreover, they spent too many snaps running out of base personnel and multiple tight end sets under center. This team is simply not built to run the ball in that fashion.

Yes, Jackson and Hudson are quality run blockers, but all three other spots are now filled by players whom are better pass blockers than run blockers. This offense is at its most efficient when they have the passing game clicking and the defense spread out. The question going into each game should be, “how does the passing game get on track versus this particular defense?”

Next: Week 7 Primer: Powering Down the Batteries