Monday, September 24, 2012

Victory Six Pack

Pittsburgh 31- Oakland 34

A six pack of Guinness Beer -- observations for a stout, full-bodied Win.

1. Total Team Effort
A much needed and well deserved team victory was achieved with an efficient offense, opportunistic D, and solid execution by the special teams unit.

2. Carson Palmer - Field General
CP3 did a nice job using the no-huddle offense and audibles at the line especially in the 2nd half. His efficiency and command of the offense resulted in 34 points against one of the better defensive units in the NFL. CP3 Stats: 24/34 (70%) for 209 yards, 3 TD passes, 1 INT.
3. Opportunistic D
During critical junctures of the game, when it could stretch to a 3 score deficit, the Raiders defenders kept the game close or within striking range. Raider defenders Wheeler, P. Lee, and Bryant accounted for 4 stripped fumbles with the Raiders recovering 2. On the Steelers last 2 possession of the 4rh quarter, the D raised their game to cause a fumble and punt.

4. Run DMc and Raiders Offense Back On Track
Going into Sunday's contest, many Raider fans were rightfully concerned about the newly installed west coast offense and zone blocking scheme. OC Knapp has been getting hammered by many fans as a guy who is a poor playcaller and how his scheme doesn't fit the personnel. The biggest change to the Raiders productive offense on Sunday was a balanced, diversified, less predictable offense. 9 different players had at least 1 reception (3 TEs, 4 WRs, 2 RBs). Part of this change was #20 finally getting into open space on both runs and passes. The other significant change seems to be Palmer having more latitude to change the play and utilize the no huddle offense more to change the tempo.

5. Scoring More With Less
The Raiders only had 4 possessions in the entire 2nd half. The Steelers had a nearly 2:1 ratio of time of possession. In spite of few possession and a paper thin margin for error, the Raiders scored on all 4 2nd half possession (TD, TD, FG, FG). The key to the offensive efficiency in the 2nd half was committing only 1 penalty, ball security (0 turnovers), pass protection (0 sacks allowed) and converting crucial 3rd downs.

6. Wild, Wild West
It is difficult to get a handle on the Raiders this year let alone the ups and downs of the NFL as a whole. One week folks are crowning the Donkeys the King of the NFL (after beating Pittsburgh in week 1) and the next week writing off the Raiders as done (after a listless beat down by the Fins in week 2). The AFC West was completely re-calibrated after week 3 as 2 win less teams (Raiders & Chiefs) had stirring comeback victories while the "favorites" (Chargers, Donkeys) came back to earth.
Chargers 2-1
Raiders 1-2
Chiefs 1-2
Donkeys 1-2

Up Next: Raiders go to Mile High vs. the Donkeys. Let's see if the Raiders can establish a consistent level of effort and execution from 1 week to the next.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone miss Hue?
Florida Raider

6:05 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

I don't miss Hue in spite of his knack for playcalling. He made the grave mistake of throwing the team under the bus, burning bridges and relationships, and falling short in the 2nd half of the season.

The new era needed a clean slate and that included the new GM picking his own head coach who shares his vision for rebuilding the team for long term, sustainable success.

Unfortunately this 1st year in transition will be particularly tough due to the limited draft picks and salary cap hell inherited.

McKenzie won't be able to build in earnest until next off season with our salary cap having much more flexibility and being able to build through the draft.

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The offense did not change personnel and it is terrible. How do you explain that? I say it was Hue yes he was a jerk but.....

I don't buy this transition crap they could have been competitive this year and the salary cap is malleable and just pr a tool on Reggie's behalf

The reason they are terrible is because there is a lot of inexperience on the Raiders both in terms of coaching and GM, Knapp just sucks. I am not saying it wont work out in the long run there seems to be a plan

The D needed to be retooled but for this year Reggie brought in crap or nothing to replace quality players like Wimbley and Routt.

On offense Allen should have had the judgement to say lets have a scheme that fits the players which in this case is deep passing and power running. The ZBS is not ideal for the majority of players on O.

The offense was exciting and was one part of the team that could have kept the Raiders competitive or watchable. But Big Reg and DA's over zealous need to wipe away the old regime has ruined that too


6:35 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Going into the 2012 offseason, the Raiders needed to do more trimming to the payroll than any other team in the entire NFL to get into cap compliance.

To get into cap compliance, some players were cut, some we were unable to re-sign, and quite a few current players had to restructured.

You can talk all you want about the cap being malleable but the cap tricks, backloaded contracts, and poor contract decisions in the 1st place does in fact catch up with an organization.

For perspective, Routt and Wimbley alone would have been close to 20% of the total cap dollars alone for a 53 man roster.

These 2 guys were good players who were overvalued at a combined $21M. You simply can't give big contracts out like lollipops to a CB and situational pass rusher who were good (not elite) players.

Going into the 2012 offseason, the Raiders had the fewest draft picks of any NFL team.

McKenzie didn't create the cap mess or the shortage of high value draft picks. He inherited the mess and had to make many difficult decisions.

Do you attempt to put a band aid on the problem to try to reach for mediocrity? Is 8-8 the holy grail? Or do you do major surgery to try to build sustainable, long term success.

To suggest that (a) the personnel didn't change (b) the players like Wimbley and Routt could/should be retained (c) that McKenzie's hands weren't tied in terms of personnel decisions simply isn't dealing with reality.

BTW, I would gladly take Phillip Wheeler over Wembley any day of the week. Wembly was signed to a reasonable contract and far more versatile than Wimbley.

As far as retaining Baby Huey - that ship has sailed. If Huey didn't burn so many bridges, if Huey got the Raiders to win 1 more game instead of losing 4 of the last 5, perhaps he would have been retained. Didn't happen and he simply wasn't McKenzie's guy.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never said to keep Wimbley or Routt. Though I don't see any GM in the league take a mediocre linebacker/Wheeler over a guy who produces double digit sacks adn ranks high in qb pressures. Sackign the QB its kind of important no?

Back to my point I blame Reggie for replacing those two with garbage. Also I did say the D needed to be retooled. So lets move on from that part of the disaster that is the Raiders season. Before we wait is Allen not a D specialist?

How do you reconcile the debacle on O? I noticed in your response you did not mention anything. Blame must be laid at Allen's door on that one for switching systems without the requisite personnel that is arrogant and stupid. Look what Fox did last year with Tebow I guess DA did not learn

Finally it may seem this whole thing with Allen sharing a laugh with Fox post game handshake/ Perhaps trivial in light of the larger picture but still very un-cool nothing Bellichek, Gruden or Cowher, etc would ever do

DA stands for dumb ass

Why give these guys a pass they have never done anything and the mistakes are glaring

8:09 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Based on Wheeler's productivity through 4 weeks, versatility, every down status, and low cost salary, Wheeler over Wimbley is a proverbial "no brainer".

Saying that Wheeler is "mediocre" is far from the truth. Ask any Raider coach about how good Wheeler has been since day 1. He has been the best and most consistent performer of the entire Raider D bar none.

Tell me who you think has been the top Raider defender if you disagree.

I would much rather be paying Wheeler $700k for 1 year than $11.8M for Wimbley.

This is the type of sensible choice that McKenzie made that I fully endorse.

The reality is that even if I loved Wimbley and thought his contract was reasonable, we couldn't afford to keep him due to the cap mess that needed to be cleaned up.

ROI -- is Wimbley worth 16x Wheeler? Is each sack worth a $1M?

That is the difference. Can't keep pretending that we didn't need to get our house in order cap wise.

As far as paying a premium for CBs, I don't think it is wise. You've got $120M to spend for a 53 man roster. How you spend your allocated cap dollars and build your roster shapes your team. You can spend smaller dollar amounts on 2nd tier free agents and draft picks on CBs who are proficient in zone and M2M.

Don't you think Philly is regretting the huge contract dollars doled out to Nnamdi?

Furthermore, you are missing my central point which is that Reggie's hands were clearly tied due to the cap mess and next to zeor draft picks.

How are you suggesting that he bolstered the talent and depth? Quite frankly, I think he did a remarkable job patching together a few 2nd tier FAs, and waiver wire pickups. Who knew that Spencer and Bartell would get hurt? Michael Bush signed a $14M contract with the Bears ... we couldn't afford him. Kevin Boss was going to make $4.5M in 2012 ... there is no way his productivity justified keeping him.

No doubt the offense has struggled in parts of games and some of the games played so far. Does ringing up 34 points against the steelers count for anything. Don't roll that under the carpet like it didn't happen.

Sure the new system is worth debating. However, keep in mind, when you install a new system, to expect immediate results is not realistic.

A couple points of context:

Many skilled players have been hurt to include all of our top 3 WRs. Do you honestly think it is fair to judge an offense running out an undrafted FA, and late round pick, and dinged up players?

In all 4 games the Raiders have played from behind. This has directly affected the run game.

Currently the Raiders have the fewest rushing attempts in the league. (playing from 2 scores down impacts a balanced offense)

Palmer has passed for 270 ypg and completed 61% of his passes. The Raiders passing attack is ranked #14 in the league.

Whether the ZBS can be successful this year or next year is the great unknown. Clearly the growing pains will continue and the rebuilding the roster won't happen this year.

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great points CJ

I guess its hard to for me to be patient and as forward looking as you are, especially when they were one game from the playoffs last year. Now they have taken a giant step backwards lets see if it leads to the long term good.

From a ROI standpoint you are correct. Its hard not to overpay for great players and it is also the reality of the market. Speed rushers and top tier cb are expensive and that won't change

But I still take issue with two major points: One changing the offense was nonsensical, and stubborn. Two, to go into the season with no speed rusher is hurting the team bad.

Thanks for the blogs and enjoying your weekend. Hey at least the raiders wont loose this week

5:09 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Agree about speed rushers being a premium/impact position. Unfortunately, we didn't have the luxury (cap space) to retain Wimbley.

As far as top tier CBs, I personally don't think it is worth it to pay for elite CBs. As I alluded to earlier, you've got a budget and you have choices on how you spend your cap dollars. I would prefer to have "good" low cost CBs and put the $/savings into other areas of the team.

We shall see if Andre Carter helps with the pass rush. The pass rush has also been hit hard by the banged up secondary. The coverage and pass rush go hand in hand. Good coverage helps the pass rush by forcing the QB to hold the ball a little longer while a good pass rush aids the secondary by putting the QB under duress.

I suspect that the coaching staff is blitzing less and trying to help the secondary instead of putting them on an island, isolated, and prone to big plays.

Ultimately, the D needs to take more chances or it will be like a slow water torture.

I'm interested to see what adjustmens in scheme and players are made with the extra bye week. Tough task going to ATL.

6:43 PM  

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