Oakland Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Keys to the Game

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Jun 9, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio (left) and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave at minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

3. Keep it Simple on Offense/Keep it Complicated on Defense

The Raiders offensive coordinator, Bill Musgrave, is a noted play designer who likes to find unique ways to run the ball, to use the screen pass, and to get the ball into the hands of his most talented athletes. This is his strength, but it is unfortunately also his greatest weakness. Musgrave sometimes tries too hard to do new and innovative things, at the detriment of his offense. This will not work this week.

The Chiefs defense is a talented, intelligent and well-coached unit that tackles well and has been playing lights-out for the past five games. Bill Musgrave will want to find ways to attack and beat this unit, but trying to get to exotic could result in disaster for the Raiders offense. Musgrave should focus on preparing the unit to execute a number of quick-developing, high-percentage plays at a high level, and then simply leave it up to his superior athletes and his brilliant quarterback to execute.

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The hiring of Bill Musgrave as a "special assistant" continues odd hiring trend
The hiring of Bill Musgrave as a "special assistant" continues odd hiring trend /

Factory of Sadness

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  • The Raiders defense, meanwhile, would be better served by throwing some complexity at Andy Reid’s offensive unit this week. Reid, a legitimate offensive guru, will have his unit well prepared to face the Raiders, who have made massive strides in getting a pass rush from the front four in recent weeks. If Ken Norton brings a milquetoast defensive game plan to bear on the Chiefs, he will be punished for it.

    The Raiders have had success using stunts and blitzes to get pressure and to confuse opposing quarterbacks. This should be a fundamental part of the defensive approach this week, so that Alex Smith can’t establish a rhythm in the passing game. With the Raiders secondary looking better over the past couple weeks, and with Smith simply not the kind of quarterback who can punish you by going deep, it’s time for the defense to get creative and take some risks.