Oakland Raiders need to exploit shorthanded Colts secondary deep
The Raiders will head to Indianapolis for their week 4 matchup against the Colts. With some injuries to the Colts defense, there’s many ways the Raiders can operate offensively.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday, Colts safety Malik Hooker will miss 4-6 weeks as he recovers from a torn meniscus that he suffered against the Atlanta Falcons.
That’s a tremendous blow to the Colts secondary, as Hooker patrols the secondary for Indianapolis. Without him cruising the backend of the defense at Lucas Oil Stadium, you could argue that the Colts will be without their best defensive back on the roster.
With Hooker already rule out for Sunday’s game – this opens up the passing game for Oakland, giving them the opportunity to take advantage of the Colts missing their ball hawk in the secondary.
Last week the Raiders went into Minnesota and played more of a conservative type of offense. Derek Carr and Jon Gruden continued to pepper passes towards Darren Waller who set his own career highs in receptions and receiving yards, but the lack of downfield throws was what stood out.
Looking back at Carr’s best game of 2019 against the Denver Broncos, he played an aggressive style and challenged the defense by stretching the field when throwing the deep ball to Tyrell Williams and letting Waller high point the football on 50/50 balls. Carr thrived week 1 when he went right after opponents and didn’t shy away from the deep ball.
Carr’s arm isn’t weak by any means. He can throw it, but he needs to let it rip from time to time. This Sunday against the Colts sets up as a nice matchup to get back in sync with his core of receivers, linking up on deep connections with a banged up secondary.
This season Carr is averaging 7.1-yards per attempt, which isn’t ideal for a prototypical pocket quarterback. Though, he also equates to being extremely accurate, posting a 73.5 completion percentage that ranks third in the NFL.
In order for the Raiders offense to take huge strides froward, Carr and Gruden must develop that fine mixture of being accurate while taking shots downfield from time-to-time. The Raiders possess some large targets such as Williams (6’4″) and Waller (6’6″) so giving them the opportunity to win the battle is something that will favor the Raiders in many situations.
Indianapolis still provides a quality defense, but they certainly aren’t the same caliber that the Vikings bring to the table. The Raiders offensive game plan must include taking chances with their big body pass catchers when they find favorable matchups.