ACCOUNTABILITY AND DISCIPLINE
This team needs to address their run game, their run defense, and their discipline first and foremost. I may have mentioned this once or thrice throughout the offseason. Well, until it gets better – it’ll keep getting mentioned.
A quick glance at the preseason, particularly game three, will show you the passing offense is on track; the offensive line is pass blocking like gangbusters; and pass defense, while hit here and there, has been solid. Pass rush has been good, and coverage mostly as well with the exception of a couple of busted plays.
It will also show you the running game, particularly Murray, is not doing much (other than a big play or two by Atkinson III and Washington); that the OL is struggling to run block and open holes in the middle; that the run defense is not nearly where it should be, nor is their tackling; and that they’ve taken way too many penalties for a team with aspirations of success.
Preached from day one by both GM Reggie McKenzie and HC Jack Del Rio, the Raiders culture has changed. You can hear it when teams talk about them, when players talk about the team itself. The passion and verve with which Carr and Khalil Mack talk about a return to greatness is contagious. This is a team who finally believes they belong and have the pieces to do something special. They preach accountability and football intelligence. It’s a good mandate to have.
Those are nice, motivational words. The actions in preseason have shown something different.
The Raiders have incurred more than 30 penalties in three games in the preseason, many of them of the pre-snap variety. Carr committed a delay of game. Mack jumped offsides. Many OL have moved pre-snap, many have held.
It’s not one group – it’s not one player. It’s not even one level. It is a fundamental lack of discipline and football intelligence at every level, and that’s concerning. It’s a theme I’ve hammered on for weeks, but until it gets fixed, that will happen. It’s time to re-write the unwritten rule (haha) that says the Raiders have to lead the league in penalties. It needs to be cleaned up. Now.
Next: SEABASS SWAN-SONG?