Wednesday, September 10, 2008

To Blitz Is Elementary, Rob

Before anyone gets too close to the edge, take a deep breath. As Nnamdi Asomugha put it "the D laid an egg" against Denver. The defensive unit was flat, passive, and out of position which is unacceptable on all 3 counts.

If you are going to pin this humiliating loss to Denver on any one person, the bulk of it falls on the shoulders of Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan.

Is the defensive ineptitude fixable? Absolutely. Our starting 11 are more than capable of playing MUCH better football IF, and this is a BIG IF, Ryan utilizes his personnel correctly AND puts a MUCH bigger emphasis on QB pressure.

In a typical game, the opponent runs approximately 60 offensive plays. Of those 60 plays, there are about a dozen plays throughout the game where a blitz is an OBVIOUS remedy to create QB pressure.

Without QB pressure, there is ZERO chance for success.

Let's be clear about a blitz. It is simply having 5 pass rushers instead of 4. It is simply using 1 player from the back 7.

Of our back 7, ALL of these players are more than capable of blitzing the QB. All of these players at some time in their career have blitzed the QB. It isn't rocket science. Use Howards speed off the edge. Move FS Huff into coverage responsibilities when sending Hall or Asomugha towards the QB. Have the DTs twist and send Morrison on a delayed blitz up the middle. Stick Wilson in the box and have him fire towards the QB. There are countless variations of different blitz packages that can be set in motion depending on down, distance, and personnel. If Howard is successful getting to the QB, keep doing it until the offense proves it can adjust/stop it.

Mixing and matching the secondary in coverage responsibilities would free up 1 rusher. Huff, Wilson, Asomugha, and Hall can cover AND be used to blitz. The LBs can be used at different junctures in the game to find a path to the QB. The QB needs to be put in a position where he is unsure who is going to blitz, from what angle, or what part of the field. Making the QB second guess his decisions and force him to get rid of the ball quickly are basic defensive tenants.

Keep in mind, the offense typically has 4 available "receivers" (2 WRs, TE, RB). If you blitz one player in the back 7, you still have 6 defenders covering 4 receivers.

How many times did Ryan blitz vs. Denver? Once? It is very discouraging and back breaking when an opponent coverts a high percentage of 3rd and longs (6+ yards or more). Give any capable QB time and he will eat our D for lunch.

The biggest problem I see is that Ryan doesn't bother to utilize his D in an aggressive fashion. As I said last year, Ryan needs to "cut his dogs of war loose". Instead, he totally lets the offense dictate the tempo and terms of the game. It is a Charmin soft D playing not to lose instead of playing to cause havoc and win.

I've heard many fans bellyache about Kiffin not managing the game, doing a poor job of playcalling, having his team ill prepared against Denver. Rubbish. The D's inability to stop Denver throughout the game impacted and changed the whole game plan and flow of the game.

If Kiffin had the authority over the D or Ryan grew a pair of balls, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

The only saving grace I can see from my vantage point is that the Raiders were so humiliated that hopefully a light bulb went off in Ryan's mind: "Yeah, I'm going to be fired at the end of the year if our D keeps stinkin' up the joint. I might as well go down swinging with my D playing a VERY aggressive brand of football."

No blitz packages + soft coverage = recipe for more ugly losses. Hall & Asomugha in press coverage, Wilson in the box, and 1 blitzer in obvious passing downs and we will be dictating the outcome.

This Sunday vs. KC, the defensive game plan should be (1) stop the run at all costs with 8 in the box (2) blitz on obvious passing downs/3rd and longs. Do those 2 things effectively and it allows the offense more possessions, better field position, and a chance to establish the run instead of playing from behind a 2+ score deficit.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I agree we have to bring more pressure and it is obvious our front four can not do it. My question how do you feel about leaving Hall on an island after Monday night---I see a lot of long touchdowns in our opponents future


Florida Raider

7:02 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Hall is a 2x Pro Bowler. Yeah, he got torched vs. Royal. However, the point about aggressively blitzing is that it creates pressure on the QB to make decisions fast and get rid of the ball more quickly. Hall was signed to play on an island. Which would you rather have ... Hall on an island with no QB pressure or Hall on an island with some form of pass rush? Also, keep in mind that Huff can be used to bracket Hall's WR and shade his side of the field.

7:11 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Hall got torched because he refused to line up on the scrimmage and punch the rookie in the chops.

I agree that when the Front 4 lineman are not getting pressure, you have to create pressure from the blitz to keep them honest.
When Burgess is your only threat on the front line, and nobody else on the team is creating pressure; Burgess is going to get double teamed, and chipped from a fullback/running back. That is why his numbers have tanked.

I'd rather get burned creating pressure, than get torched giving the QB all the time in the world.
Now this doesn't mean blitzing on every down, but it does mean using the blitz to keep them off balance, and major blitzes on 3rd and long. Which we have not done since Shell was here.

8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you guys read Ryan's rant

One game in to the season and it is getting real ugly


Florida Raider

5:45 AM  
Anonymous Tooz 72 said...

The immortal words of Rob Ryan:

**It’s been too long. I’ve been here five years, and I’m just going to tell you how the mode of operation works. I’m hired to be the coordinator. That’s what I do. If it goes great, that’s great. If it goes like (bleep), you’ve still got the same damn guy up here. I’ll be the same guy up in front of you next week when we kick ass. But I’ll be the same guy if we stumble again. Hell, I’ve been through some tough times. Look at this (removes hat), I’ve got gray. This is that National (bleeping) Football League.You’re not going to be on point every week. Am I pissed off about Monday night? You’re damned right. It’s on me, and come on, guys, enough’s enough.**

19-62 and counting under Ryan's tutelage. The only continuity -- player, coach or otherwise on this team for five years -- is Rob Ryan and Al Davis. Form your own conclusions.

This year's team stacks up very well on paper. It must move to execution phase now. I'm ready for some KC carnage.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous raider00 said...


aside from the blitz, which i agree we should use much more, i have a question about our d-line.

i have seen on many occations these past 5 yrs our d-line in pass rush situations, will take one step, and then stand up staight and be totally stopped in their tracks.

it is really bizare to watch.

it's like they intend to do a bull rush, but end up lacking the strength to move the blocker even one foot.

have you noticed this also ? it really is a sad sight.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Excluding DBrug, the rest of our DLine are not true pass rushers in terms of technique, aptitude, and instinct. Yes, on ocassion, G.Warren is able to split the gap and penetrate.

The problem is that if the opponent doubles DBurg and the Raiders use a base 4 to rush the passer, we are shit out of luck.

With our current DLine personnel, we desperately need a 5th rusher to change the equation and dynamic of the play.

A blitzer makes the OLine adjust on the fly. When the OLine adjusts, one of our rushers might be able to exploit the adjustment to create QB pressure.

What truly kills me is that T.Howard is an obvious solution to our pass rushing woes. Not sing Howard on the edge, with his blazing speed, strength, and atleticism is negligence on the part of Ryan.

If the OLine had to account for T.Howard blazing off the edge, it would force the QB to make a quick decision and get rid of the ball.

If it was up to me, I would use T.Howard UNTIL the D is able to stop him. Everytime he has blitzed, which is only a handful of times, he has made a positive impact. Ryan is either blind, dumb, or stubborn to not use this valuable tool in his tool set.

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi to all my brothers who like me bleed silver and black, I have been a Raider fan since 1979 , and was always proud of our Defense , our defense was intimidating to say the least, but with this Ryan fellow we are going nowhere, and he has been a looser for 5 years for us, we need to get rid of him now. Always a Raider ...From Costa Rica

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

KEEP KIFFIN FIRE AL Help spread the movement!

9:34 PM  
Blogger x said...

The light bulb must have gone off!

It took five years and an utterly embarrassing home opener, but it happened in KC.

Now, let's hope it continues through the season. With Kiffin still around to enjoy it.

7:42 PM  

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