Monday, September 28, 2009

Raiders Offense - The Sad Clown

Denver 23 - Oakland 3

Futile, lifeless, inefficient, impotent, inept, rudderless ... these are the words to describe the current Raiders offense. 3-out/Punt, 2-Int, 3-Int, 12-56/FG, End Half, 8-20/Punt, 2-10/Fumble, 5-16/Punt, 3-0/Punt, 5-20/Downs.

1 stinkin' drive in an entire game where we moved the ball. Total net yards from scrimmage = 137. Total net yards passing = 42. The lack of execution and rhythm was atrocious

The players who are being counted on to provide dynamic offensive proficiency are failing miserably. 3 high draft choices in the past 3 years (#1 Russell, #4 McFadden, #7 DHB) who are struggling beyond belief.

Russell: 31-75, 378 yards, 41.3%, 1 TD, 4 Ints
McFadden: 41-148, 3.6 yards per carry, 2 lost fumbles
DHB: 1 reception; countless drops

Where to begin with cleaning up this mess on aisle 3? It starts with Cable and Russell. Both of these guys need to dig deep to come up with solutions. It might be stating the obvious but leadership and performance from Cable and Russell respectively is what really matters.

Cable, Tollner, and Hackett urgently need to burn the midnight oil to devise a customized game plan for your franchise QB who is performing so poorly. Cable needs to find the right motivational buttons to push Russell towards a sharper focus on the task at hand. It very well might mean sitting Russell down if he is unable to get on track vs. Houston in order to recalibrate the young QB's focus.

Bush needs to become the workhorse back over McFadden. Where is the commitment to the running attack? McFadden & Bush combined for 18 carries. DHB shouldn't see the field unless it is a 3 WR set. Perhaps the return of WR Shilens will provide a jump start to the passing attack. It was clear in training camp and exhibition season that the Russell/Shilens combination was pivotal for Russell's confidence and moving the chains.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your perspective) the core group of offensive skill players are guys in their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd year of development. Russell, McFadden, Bush, Shilens, Murphy, DHB, Miller need to be relied upon to be the engine of this offensive unit. What does this mean? It means more growing pains, heartache, and hopefully much needed progress in the near future. However, let's not kid ourselves. Until Russell gets his act together, this team is staring down another double digit loss season.


Blogger raiderpirate said...

im with u 100 percent.The Raider faithful including myself are growing impatient.Jr is heading down the path of no return.Cable and his coaching staff heading down the same so frustrated its starting to really get 2 me.Been a loyal fan over 40 years and will be another 40...But damn can a team with so many high draft picks really play this bad?Somethings gotta give,Run the ROCK!!!!at least keep the d off the field a little londer.GO RAIDERS!!!!!!

9:59 PM  
Blogger Danna said...

No, Raiderpirate, a team with that many high draft picks SHOULDN'T be this bad. I can only look to the coaching staff and owner for answers. How many former Raider players have found great success in other schemes..Randy Moss anyone? You can say he never really tried in Oakland, but he went to the Pats and blew that field're right, something has to give, and it's going to have to be Roger Goodell removing Al Davis for the sake of the oganization..I can only dream...Go Raiders!

12:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Russell is a bust, the fact he is not in shape is indicative of his commitment. I just hope to God that when Schilens is healthy they do not sit down Murphy and keep Bey in the starting lineup, that would send a terrible signal to the team. Bring back Gruden

4:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see you have changed your tune on Russell.

The problem goes smuch deeper than the fact he is fat, and does not have the grey matter to absorb the play book---Cable said that he is one of the 10% not getting the plays down.

All he has is a big time arm, no accuracy, no touch, no ability to read defenses and limited mobility. At best Russell can be a slightly above average qb in the NFL but that will only happen if he put in a ton of work. There is substantial proof he has not been willing to put int he work so I say screw him.

Did you see what happened after he threw that second pick the d just packed it in at that point. Russell is bringing down the entire team. He needs to be benched and learn some humility. No wonder Garcia asked for his release he could not stand playing behind a guy who took the NFL for granted---shame on you Jafatus you do not deserve to wear the silver and black.

As I guy who loves the Raiders to see someone have such disregard for the team is terrible and insulting. I guess thats the feeling of entitlement someone gets when you give them 30 mill guaranteed. Commitment to dougnuts

Florida Raider

3:11 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Raider Pirate -

I agree 100% about needing to commit to the run.

Danna -

Keep dreaming about the removal of Davis. Pigs will fly before that happens.

Anon 4:21 -

I agree about putting the best WRs on the field. When Shilens returns, Muphy needs to stay on the field.

FL Raider -

I haven't "changed my tune about Russell" 1 bit. Do you hear me making excuses for his spotty play? No. He is responsible for his performance and it is up to him to pull himself out of this hole.

I still believe he is capable of becoming an elite QB in spite of his recent struggles. Unlike yourself, I haven't thrown in the towell. No way to sugar coat it ... He is without question letting down his teammates and loyal fans with his subpar performance.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone catch Russell comments after the game talk about lack of leadership blaming his picks on no pass interference calls. He is a child who will not stand up and be accountable for his play. In other words not only is he terrible but he is also not a leader, very depressing. Philip

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The only reason I have thrown in the towel on Russell along with most other Raider fans is his attitude coupled with his performance. I think many Raider fans are so pissed off with Russell because of his imaturity. If he was just doing poorly performance wise we could default to as you term it "he still has the ability to be an elite quarterback."

However his lack of desire (fat) to apply himself physically and mentaly (not knowing the play book) is what pisses people off so much and in my opinion makes his career doomed. Even incredibly talented players such as Brady and Manning work their ass off to get better. They study, they train they ae commited.

Worst of all Russell does not seem to care, seems not upset about what is happening and refuses to take any blame for his shortcomings.

Lack of work/desire and bad attitude is a recipe for disaster for an NFL quarterback.

If all it took was talent Jeff George would be a hall of famer. Russell has no ones respect and its not just because he is completing 40% of his passes its because of who he is as a proffesional or lack thereof

Florida Raider

4:24 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

FL Raider - From Jerry McDonald's blog today:

Russell said Thursday to assume he doesn’t care because of the way he looks would be a mistake.

“If you look at it all the time, even though we score a touchdown or two, I clap, go give the guys praise, but you never see me (getting too excited),” Russell said. “My coach in high school always told me to stay on an even keel, that way, nobody will ever read you, they will never know what you’re thinking about, how high you are, how low you are. I think that’s their opinion about how things go on but they really don’t know what’s going on in my mind.”

Russell insists he hasn’t lost confidence.

“Not at all. When things don’t go the way you want them to go, you dig down and go to the fundamentals,” Russell said. “From that (point), you pick yourself up because that’s mostly all it is when things happen like that, you kind of get out of whack and forget your fundamentals.”

Russell said playing fundamental football will bring the offense back on track and eliminate the “pressing” that coach Tom Cable talked about Wednesday.

He appreciates Cable’s public stance that he hasn’t considered changing quarterbacks, but feels he’s earned it.

“I worked to be that guy. If you look at it closely on film, things aren’t as bad as people make ’em out to be. The Denver Broncos are an NFL team. They have some defense to cover some things up, and that’s when you come up with throw away balls . . . I practiced to be that guy, from beginning to end.”

When the Raiders faced Houston last season in Week 16, they came in having lost three straight games and were playing out the string with a 3-11 record.

Seemingly out of nowhere, put together one of their best efforts of the season and beat the Texans 27-16.

The Raiders drove 64 yards in eight plays the first time they had the ball, with Russell hitting Chaz Schilens for a 20-yard touchdown. He was 3-for-3 for 41 yards on the drive. It was the first time in 55 games, dating back to 2005 when Kerry Collins was quarterback, that the Raiders had scored a touchdown on their first possession.

Oakland immediately did one of its patented give-backs, with the Texans marching 71 yards to tie the score, but the first touchdown established a level of confidence that carried throughout the game. By game’s end, Russell was 18 of 25 for 236 yards and two touchdowns and Justin Fargas had 93 yards on 22 carries on a rainy day.

“When you look at it on film, it’s like, everybody’s out there, joyful, going out, there, moving around, flying around to the ball, making things happen,” Russell said.

7:49 PM  
Blogger x said...

Interesting that you included some Russell quotes. Most of his quotes bother me because he just doesn't seem like a very sharp guy, big ole country boy or not. Sorry, but that's the way I see it. I almost cringe when reading some of them. Fundamentals (which should be pretty solid as a #1 overall pick anyway) and intelligence are pretty important for a QB, I think.

And he said he thinks things aren't as bad as people make them out to be? WHAT?!? That was a lifeless performance. He threw for 60 yards last week (almost all dump offs). He's being compared to Ryan Leaf. The offense he leads is last in the NFL. They probably should be 0-3.

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Raider X your point is dead on you look at Russell's quotes and you can tell he is not that bothered about what is going that is if you can decipher what language he is speaking. Case in point "Things are not as bad as people make them out to be." That's great Russell long as you are cool with passing for 1 yard in the second half
Florida Raider

4:55 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

I think what most people are not realizing with Russell too, are the young receivers. We have DHB and Murphy as our #1 and 2 WRs. They are both ROOKIES!
I think if we mix in Javon Walker at the #1, and rotate Murphy and DHB, they would learn better about route running, and how to separate themselves from the DBs.
If you look at the 15 yard "overthrow" INT that JR threw last week, you will see that DHB broke his route. JR threw the ball where he was expecting DHB to go. A similar play was MNF Carolina-Dallas game, where Delhomme threw to where Smith was supposed to be, and Smith admitted after the game that he broke his route.
So I think some (not all) of those things lie on the WR. But here's the thing, Russell is being the leader and shouldering the responsibility of the mistakes being made by him and the WRs. Because he already knows that he can't throw young WRs under the bus without damaging what they're learning; and without damaging the chemistry.
Peyton Manning has the same attitude with his WRs, and so does Eli. Neither one of those guys show a lot of "emotion". They do however, speak and communicate better with the media. But even those 2 QBs have recently spoken about going back to fundamentals to build on.
The situation with Eli is similar to Russell, in that he doesn't have a true #1, but he is also not working with 2 rookies as his go to targets. In fact, there is no other QB in the league working with rookies as their #1 and 2 WRs. That includes the Tennessee Titans! Take the teams with Rookie QBs, or QBs starting in their 2nd year:
Matt Ryan (Falcons)-Roddy White (5 years experience), and Michael Jenkins (6 years); with Marty Booker on the bench.
Matt Stafford (Lions)-Bryant Johnson (7 years) and Calvin Johnson (3 years)
Ryan Flacco (Ravens)-Mark Clayton (5 years) and Derrick Mason (13 years).
Mark Sanchez (Jets)-Jerricho Cotchery (7 years) and Chansi Stuckly (3 years)
JaMarcus Russell (Raiders)-Chaz Shilens (2 years-OUT with Injury), Louis Murphy (rookie), Darius Heyward-Bey (rookie), Johnnie Lee Higgins (3 years), Nick Miller (rookie), Todd Watkins (2 years), and Javon Walker (8 years, and not even on the Depth Chart).

I truly think that Russell's lack of success is 50/50, on him and his young WRs. I truly think if you put Javon Walker in that mix, our younger WRs progress quicker. That is why I was hoping to get a #1 WR in free agency, and we didn't. Now we are paying for it.

The other factor is Cable. He even admitted that he is using the pass to set up the run. He needs to use the run to set up the pass; and if he did that, he would need to pound the ball which means more carries for Bush, less for McFadden. But I say we can still run off tackle more to establish the run, and then pass. Pass coverage on defense is like the running game for offense, it's easy! The running game leaves the defense gasping for air because it is physical in nature; and then you hurt them with the passing game. Cable has it backwards.

6:34 AM  
Blogger x said...

RaiderNate - I agree that some of Russell's difficulties lie in the rookie wideouts. And I read a very good statistical comparison between Eli Manning's first few years and Russell's. I truly hope it's just a bump in the road for him, but I have my doubts.

One reason is he just doesn't seem dedicated enough. The proof is in his body. Another is that his basic fundamentals (see Rich Gannon's comments and also remember this was a number 1 OVERALL pick) are so poor. For a guy with a rocket arm, he sure does throw some ducks. Hurray for last week where he actually was able to complete some screens and dump offs, but he usually has difficulty with even those. Sure, there are some instances where the young WR might have cut off a route, but what about missing a wide open Miller or Murphy on a simple in route? Or throwing a fly route way out of bounds or over a WRs head?

Little details emerging about his bling-bling lifestyle and the dudes he hangs with (see story on his Rolls leaving the parking lot after the embarrassing loss last week) are really bothersome as well.

I know he's billed as "cool" and a laid back country boy, but I'd like to see some fire in him sometimes or a light in his eye that he's getting it. Favre's a country boy too.

I'd also feel much better about his development if I heard good things coming from his teammates. With the exception of a mild endorsement from Miller, the silence is deafening. I think the reason is that he doesn't look much better in practice sessions.

I hope he proves me totally wrong this weekend, but I'm not optimistic.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Russell is a joke fat peice of garbage who cares more about walking around in fur coats like some sort of pimp than in learning the playbook and getting in shape. I wonder what the greatest Raider of all Jim Otto thinks he must vomit sseing Russell after giving his legs for the team. I have lived in Freemont and followed the Raiders since the AFL days this is easily the lowest they have ever been. Jose

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For sure some sour grapes in here but probably a good deal of truth as well. CJ, as you have blogged about often a lack of leadership all the way around including Russell. As I wrote earlier I am more worried about Russell;s head and hear than his arm. As they once said about Jeff George million dollar arm two cent heart

Regards and have a good weekend
Florida Raider

6:16 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

There are plenty of things that can be done by teammates, the coaching staff, and playcalling to aid Russell in pulling out of his slump.

A strong committment by Cable to the run is an excellent starting point. The rushing attack was suppose to be our #1 strength. Running persistenly and effectively helps set up play action pass. Getting Bush more carries. Running Bush inside and using McFadden as a complement outside instead of vice a versa.
Getting Watkins, Walker, Higgins more time on the field and DHB less time. Using more 2 TE sets. Using Bush and McFadden in the backfield together more. The run/pass ratio should be about 60%/40% especially when you factor in 2 starting rookie WRs.

There are plenty of things that Russell, and only Russell, can do to get himself back on track. First and foremost, he needs to demonstrate the competency of the basic fundamentals on a consistent basis. Footwork, reads, and accuracy are ALL on him. "When things don’t go the way you want them to go, you dig down and go to the fundamentals,” Russell said.

We shall see if Russell has the character and drive to dig himself out of a major hole or not.

8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BOOMER ESIASON: I don’t want to beat a dead horse here, but it’s come to my attention that he has been fined heavily already for being overweight and for being late to meetings. And, he’s already missed one meeting. I’m telling you right now, the other 52 guys on that roster are looking at Tom Cable. They’re looking at Al Davis, and they’re saying we deserve better than this. That’s why every time he goes on the field, what’s the quarterback’s job – to be the leader of the other men on the field with them; to inspire them to greater heights.

4:41 PM  

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