Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Offense Needs A Transplant

The Raiders offense is quite frankly, offensive. Both the offensive coaching staff and offensive players need to get their act together. There will be no easy, quick fix solutions although I have one idea that might be able to staunch the bleeding. (more on that later)

It will take a concentrated effort, plan, and vision for the staff to coach and sell to the players how the offense should be run. The players need to be willing to learn and buy what the coaches are selling through dedication and commitment.

One of the more glaring shortcomings of the Raiders offense has been the play calling of Offensive Coordinator Tom Walsh. He just doesn't seem to have a real grasp of the basic elements of good play calling. I could give countless examples from each game where his play calling caused me to either (a) scratch my head in disbelief (b) predict the play before it happened (c) scream at my television set in total disgust.

What offensive coordinator calls 15 consecutive 1st down running plays and still has a job in the NFL? Who calls for an off-tackle run play on 4th down and inches? What OC calls 7 step drop passing plays when your QBs are getting continuously mauled? Name an OC who called ZERO pass plays to his running backs in 2 consecutive games? Who calls sweep running plays against an opponent with the fastest set of linebackers in the league? Walsh's play calling shows a lack of imagination and common sense. Now, what is my idea for a remedy?

Cut Walsh loose or demote him ASAP. We know that Art Shell selected Walsh to be his OC. Shell is too loyal and stubborn to pink slip his friend. Al Davis needs to handle this in the most dignified manner as possible. Keep Walsh as a paid offensive consultant if necessary but he shouldn't be kept on board as an offensive coordinator.

I think Tight Ends Coach John Shoop (see bio) should be promoted as an "interim" Offensive Coordinator. He is a young, bright, energetic guy who was the OC for the Bears for 3 years prior to joining the Raiders staff. He was a QB for a small college, has been a QB coach, offensive quality control coach, an OC, and a Tight Ends coach. As interim OC, if Shoops gets the offense on track by the end of the season, than you take away the interim tag. If he doesn't turn things around, the Raiders actively look for another OC out on the open market.

Promoting Shoop in-season would be the most practical solution. It allows the Raiders to make a change and have a relatively smooth transition.

I'm 100% behind Art Shell to remain Head Coach. Give him the time to develop the players, install the offense, weed out the dead wood plus acquire the players needed in next year's draft and free agency. This season is going to be very rough sailing. I am totally confident that Shell will get the ship off the rocks and back out to sea.

If you are squeamish, don't look below. These stats are U-G-L-Y.

Offensive Category

Oak (Rank)NFL Leader
Scoring10.0 / (32)30.2 / San Diego
Yards per Game229.0 / (32)402.3 / Philadelphia
Rushing yards per game111.8 / (12)232.0 / Atlanta
Passing yards per game117.2 / (32)290.8 / Philadelphia
Turnovers Allowed15 / (32)2 / San Diego
Sacks Allowed24 / (32)5 / San Diego
Time of Possession26:18 / (32)35:33 / San Diego
Penalties-Yards Lost37-276 yds / (20)15-131 / Pittsburgh
3rd Down Conversion

25.9% (32)

58.5% / Indianapolis

Another key element to improving the offensive unit's problems is by making the proper half-time adjustments. During the half-time intermission, the offensive coaching staff needs to discuss and evaluate what changes should be made in the play calling, schemes, and personnel groupings. What was working well in the 1st half? What is the strategy for the 2nd half? What plays run in the 1st half can set up plays for the 2nd half? What are some key points and insight that the coaching staff gained from the 1st half that needs to be shared with QB Walter? The stat summary below does not paint a very pretty picture in terms of half time adjustments. In the 5 games played so far, the Raiders have scored a GRAND total of 13 points. 13 points! When your team is averaging a pedestrian 2.6 points per 2nd half, the coaches are not coaching and the players are not executing.

Opponent

1st HalfFinal Score / 2nd Half Pts.
vs. San DiegoDown 13-027-0 / 0 points
at BaltimoreDown 16-328-6 / 3 points
vs. ClevelandUp 21-321-24 / 0 points
at San FranciscoUp 13-720-34 / 7 points
at Denver

Down 13-0

13-3 / 3 points

"Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better." - King Whitney Jr.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your idea for the OC. I think it would be too disruptive to bring in someone completely new to the situation. However, I must say that the recently fired OC in Arizona might be a good place to start looking. As for next year's draft, what do you think of getting Adrian Peterson and more OL help?

12:59 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Great analysis! I didn't consider myself squeamish...until I got a look at that breakdown. Yikes!

The Ravens, as well as the Cardinals, axed their OC on Monday. It may indeed be time to follow suit in Oakland.

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CJ,

One question after three full games of Walter and parts of two others are you convinced he is the quarterback fo the future for the Raiders?

My take so far:

Good: strong arm, nice touch and not a wimp

Bad: Zero mobility, not finding the open man etc.


Bottom line: Bledsoe II best case scenario

Regards

Florida Raider

8:37 AM  
Blogger Stick'em said...

CJ: Seems like I remember John Shoop saying he had been interviewed during the head coaching search. Mike Martz claimed to have been as well...

I think both were interviewed specifically for the OC position and were never candidates for HC, despite rumors to the contrary (wherever they may have come from). For whatever reasons, Shoop and Jerry Porter's favorite coach, Martz, didn't get the nod.

Maybe Al knows something we don't? It certainly seems doubtful Walsh knows much more than we do collectively about offense...

I think Walsh was hired instead to watch Art's back, since last go round it got stabbed by Mike White. But who's watching Art's front while it fumbles games away every week?

While Walsh isn't intentionally sabotaging Art's career, his incompetence as a playcaller remains self-evident, as you pointed out.

There is no debating the Raider offense is head and shoulders below every other team in the NFL this year. Pick a stat, any stat. The Raiders will be at or near the bottom in it.

Norv Turner was supposed to reinstall the Sid Gillman offense three seasons ago... so how much time are we realistically supposed to give 'em before they do something better than worst?

They aren't exactly running anything new (except the O-line)... so what's the PLAYERS excuse for the fact they still don't get it?

BTW, I would love to see a young, smart OC brought on board for next season like Ken Zampese. Walsh's days playing 'my bodyguard' will be over soon enough, methinks.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Stick'em said...

Oops... I forgot to mention that "Jim Fassel" may be the next name you hear, not "Shoop"...

Just a guess.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous RAIDER GREG said...

Calico Jack has hit the bullseye on this one for sure. BUT please do not give John Shoop the offense. I have more than one reason but one good one is the Bears fans made a website called "Just fire John Shoop.com" In the site are "hundreds" of comments just like the ones you used to describe Tom "Scare crow" Walsh. I am sure that they have seen enough of him. Three years of John Shoop was enough to get him "fired" from Da Bears. He has already been demoted with the Raiders for his foolish ways......As much as I hate the Mayor of Brokeback I-DA-HO, we need to let him burn this season and find a good OC next season. If this idiot Shoop has "any" sucsess we will be stuck with him for another losing season.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Raider Greg:

You might be right about John Shoop. What I'm suggesting is giving Shoop the opportunity to be a transitional/interim OC. Here are some points about Shoop to consider:

Shoop - was promoted from QB Coach to OC for the 2001 season. (He must have been doing something right to be promoted within the ranks)

Da Bears during Shoops (2001-2003)tenure had horrible, and I mean horrible QBs (Jim Miller and Kordell Stewart) and very marginal offensive talent.

In Shoops 1st year, Da Bears went 13-3 and won the division with Jim Miller at QB. Let me repeat that. Da Bears went 13-3 with Jim Miller at QB. (Don't tell me it was just the D. Da Bears were 11th in the league in scoring; 338)

Rookie A.Thomas was ROY in 2001, had 278 rushes for 1183 yards; 4.3 avg. (Shoop must have had a good grasp of the running attack for a rookie to rush the ball so effectively)

WR Marty Booker had 100 catches for 1071 yards in 2001 and 97 receptions for 1183 yards. Booker was a Pro Bowl selection in 2002.(What has Booker done since?)

Yeah, I know, Da Bears record wasn't so great during Shoops tenure (24-26) and the offense wasn't exactly prolific in 2 of his 3 years. However, after digging through the rosters and stats, I think Shoop did much better than you might think.

In the final analysis, I am certain that Shoop's play calling and use of the Raiders talent would be 10X better than Brokeback.

I also think it is vital to have an OC who can work closely with the QB. What kind of a relationship do you think Walter has with Brokeback? Do they even talk? I get the feeling that Shoop who was a QB in college and a successful QB Coach in the NFL would be a major upgrade in terms of developing Walter. Just a thought.

Personally I think canning Walsh and promoting Shoop to interim OC would be a breath of fresh air. It would be a way of signalling to the players and fans alike that the organization has a sense of urgency about fixing a rock bottom offensive unit.

Frankly, I don't see any downside to this move. The only thing I'm dreading is that the longer Walsh is the OC, the longer the players will go without tasting success.

6:51 PM  
Anonymous RAIDER GREG said...

You have a very valid point....I wonder why they just demoted him....Perhaps he knows he could out coach the Mayor of Brokeback and is feeling the frustration of the Raiders losing record....Shell might be protecting his buddy the Man without a brain. Seeing your research has changed my view on the OC change. If we get punked by the "Red Birds" this Sunday, I hope big AL makes a move with Shoop. Thanks CJ for the work....and bringing it to a Victory starved Nation.

10:23 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Florida Raider -

As far as Walter, I think it is way too early to determine whether or not he is the franchise QB of the future. We should have a good sense of his value to the franchise by the end of the season. Overall I think Walter is progressing very nicely.

I'm not worried about Walter's lack of mobility. Manning, Marino, and Plunkett were not moblile QBs but all of them had very good pocket awareness and the innate sense to slide a step to their left, right or up to avoid pressure. Walter has good pocket awareness. I also like his toughness, touch, and composure. He seems to be a "stand-up" guy that the rest of the players can easily follow. Walter needs to work on his reads and accuracy. When he tries to do too much or force the ball to Moss is when he gets in trouble.

Stick'em: I would love to see Zampese (or any other young, bright offensive minded coach for that matter!) join the Raiders.

Raider Greg: Your Raider Nation Podcast show rocks! I raise a pint in honor of your continued success, my Raider brother.

7:07 AM  
Anonymous raider00 said...

Calico,

I like your idea of giving John Shoop a chance.

Anything is better then staying the course.

I blogged on Raider Take, the idea of perhaps bringing in Steve Mariuchi, as OC next season.

This would be a step back/ahead in the direction of the Gruden days,
AKA, winning days.

I get the sinking feeling that even if the Shell regime doesn't work out, we'll see the Fassel regime, or some other mush, and more losing.

Hope I'm wrong. Mariuchi would light a fire in some people.
Suddenly Moss is happy, Porter is happy. Things begin to move in the right direction.

Shoop, Mariuchi, anything is better then the plan that's not working now.

10:19 PM  

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