Week 2 of the JBB Mailbag, answering questions from Twitter about the loss to the Atlanta Falcons, and also any questions looking ahead to the Week 3 matchup against the Tennessee Titans.
I could almost see every question in my head before they even came rolling in, following our 35-28 loss to the Atlanta Falcons this past Sunday.
There’d be the those about the defense, or lack thereof, Bill Musgrave’s warming seat (some eager to heat up KNJ’s too!), and more questions about the defense.
So in true Raider fashion, I’m going to go an entirely different route to open.
Note: Some of the questions were duplicates or similar to other questions that had already been asked. If you don’t see your question specifically responded to, that is likely the reason why.
Since the conclusion of the game, several media outlets have published the section of the NFL’s rulebook that details “ineligible receivers,” as it pertains to the Amari Cooper touchdown that was called back; many fans have cited the reversal of that play as the main reason we lost the game.
The rulebook (Article 6) essentially states that if a receiver is legally forced out of bounds by a defender, it is, then, illegal for that receiver to be the first to touch (or catch) the ball, once back in bounds. And what this boils down to, ultimately, is what is deemed fair or foul, in terms of a receiver being pushed out of bounds — and how do the officials enforce it?
During his Monday afternoon press conference, Coach Del Rio eluded to the Desmond Trufant push-out being legal, due to the fact that Derek Carr was outside of the pocket when it occurred.
The reality of that matter is, the reversal of that touchdown didn’t cost us the game, as I can think of 396 (passing yards worth of) reasons why we lost that game.
I may actually be one of the few who disagree with the notion that this, sort of, stable approach is disrupting the rhythm of our backfield; although I completely understand why many feel that way. For me, it is because of these three specific backs, in Murray, Washington, and Richard that I, at least for now, don’t mind all three getting snaps. Each one contributes something to the offense.
It is essential that Musgrave and the offensive coaching staff manufacture ways to get DeAndre Washington in space. Refer to his career at Texas Tech to see that’s where Kliff Kingsbury got the most production out of him. The same can be said for Jalen Richard, as he can be electrifyingly shifty. The difference, however, is that if there is no space, Richard will make space, in a manner I have yet to see from Washington.
Yet above all, our bell cow needs to be Latavius Murray. And in that role, I think having two other backs (and Olawale as well) around can serve to be beneficial over the course of a game, as it will allow Murray to stay fresh all season. What may also be beneficial is using that bell cow when we elect to go for it on 4th and 2.
If you can’t tell, I’m definitely stalling before getting to the defense.
First we have to decide what we want to be on offense. What is our identity. We’re averaging 31.5 PPG, after the first two games, but I have yet to see that wow factor.
Featuring two receivers capable of putting up 1,000 yards, a dynamic young quarterback, a stable of electrifying tailbacks, and an offense line I’d put up against any (outside of that one in Dallas), I see no reason — personnel wise — why this cannot be a consistently explosive offensive attack.
JDR really tap-danced around this question during his presser on Monday. I personally believe this defense, in its current state, would benefit from JDR sending in the signals. One constant I have always heard about KNJ, dating back to his days at Southern Cal under Pete Carroll, is that he is a tremendous teacher of the game. And that’s where I feel this defense could benefit most, in game, from: KNJ being more hands-on, teaching, and JDR being the signal caller.
But that adjustment, alone, won’t solve our dirty laundry list of woes.
More than anything, miscues seem to be the vice for the collective defensive unit. Mental slip after mental slip, and a flagrant lack of communication are beating us just as bad as Brandin Cooks and Julio Jones. Until those issues are corrected, through film study and mere attention to detail, the defense may get worse before it gets better.
Per his own words, JDR may have been as surprised as the rest of us that Corey and Karl, both, didn’t see much playing time against the Falcons. Especially Karl. Look for that to change this coming Sunday in Nashville.