Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Gaining Traction

Raiders 26 - Chiefs 16
Over the past 3 weeks, the Raiders have made steady, incremental progress towards gaining traction with the new systems installed by the new coaching staff.  Although there has been inconsistency shown throughout this period of time, the defensive unit has made the most noticeable positive strides.  Run D, QB pressure, and pass coverage have made tangible improvements. 
Starting with the Atlanta game (20-23) where LB McClain was substituted on passing downs and CB Huff became more comfortable playing CB, the Raiders D has given up only a small handful of explosive plays to the opponent.  The lack of mental errors, blown assignments, and better overall execution is a sign that the techniques, instructions, and coaching during the week leading up to game day is starting to take shape and most importantly sink in. 
The 2 defenders who have really excelled are first year free agent LB Wheeler and rookie LB Burris.  Both men have been flying to the ball.  Other notable defenders who seem to be improving from week to week are CB Lee and CB Hanson.  It is interesting, to me at least, that some of these low cost additions to the roster are beginning to pay off.  I give GM McKenzie credit for identifying players that can contribute on a shoe string budget in 2012. 
After playing solid football yet losing to the Falcons on the road at the last tick of the clock, the Raiders came home and took care of business vs. a struggling JAX Jaguars team.  Getting off to a slow start vs. JAX in the 1st half demonstrated the "work-in-progress" mode the Raiders are in.  What impressed me the most about this victory were the adjustments and execution in the 2nd half. Down 17-6 at half, the Raiders outscored JAX 20-6.  The Raiders defensive unit gave up a mere 2 1st downs the entire 2nd half. 
In the contest this past Sunday vs. the Chiefs, the Raiders had difficulties in the red zone but dominated the game from start to finish.  Both the OLine and Dline won the battles in the trenches.  The OLine kept CP3 clean all day and were able to wear down the Chiefs by pounding the ball with McFadden who racked up 114 yards rushing.  The offense had a nice rhythm and was balanced.   Winning 2 games in a row after arguably the best overall performance of the season (ATL),  gives the Raiders an opportunity to build confidence in the players, systems, and coaches going forward.   Although we are only 7 games into the new era and there is a long ways to go, I like the course that DA and McKenzie are paving for long term success. 
 
 

14 Comments:

Anonymous Tooz 72 said...

Bro, it has been awhile since the Tooz has checked in. A lot going on this last year or so. Just as well from a football standpoint. 'Cuz there ain't no football in Oakland again this year. Only this time is worse. This season is over, let's see what, if anything, they do in the off season.

Until this game, the franchise has only 3 winning seasons in their 17+ seasons since the return to Oakland, and a 41℅ winning percentage to go with that. Now it is fractionally worse.

Will you join me in agreeing that it is time to remove the franchise from Davis family control? In my dreams, there would be a new, professional ownership group and either 1) Chuckie as GM and HC, or, more realistically, 2) some other GM and coach. But in any case, a full clean slate from today and the past Davis ties.

4:55 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Tooz,

I believe Dennis Allen and Reggie McKenzie deserve at least 2 more years to build this team.

This year was a difficult transition with getting the cap in compliance and next to no draft picks.

McKenzie was highly recommended by Ron Wolfe and John Madden. He is very experienced in personnel.

If Allen doesn't cut it after given a 3 year window, it will be McKenzie's duty to find the best available replacement.

In spite of a down year in performance, the organization itself is functioning properly.

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to pour salt on the wounds and I am sure you will not appreciate my criticism but I came to your site today to see if oyu posted a new entry and when I read your guys comment I could not hold my tongue.

Tooz what in the world does this have to do with Al Davis? Give me a break. Though you are on the right track that the GM and coach are awful, I agree get rid of them

CJ as usual you jump to defend anyone not named Al Davis but the fact of the matter is that McKenzie and Allen both suck and have made obvious mistakes.

How about some fair and balanced criticism of what is obviously a piss poor job by these two. Your blogs are generally great but being an apologist for them and giving us this salary crap bs strains your credibility. What are you Reggie's agent?

The Raiders were one or two plays from making the playoffs, now they are perhaps the worst team in the league and the talent has really not changed that much. Is that Al's fault? lol

Here are some facts:

Reggie he cleaned house for the sake of cleaning house and then went into the season without a speed rusher and counting on two cbs who are injury prone and did not play all last season. At the same time he did not bring in a veteran wr, and his big signing was Briesel a walking penalty who gives up at least a sack a game. Sounds like a real experienced personnel man.

Dennis Allen is way out of his league. The guy is supposed to be a defensive specialist guess what the defense is worse than last year, how do you explain that? He brought in Knapp who is a loser and has made McFadden look average. They come into games and fall behind by double digits in the first quarter and ahve been outscored in the 3rd qrtr by a wide margin sorry but that one is on the coaches.

Hue was a goof but he was a ten times better coach than Allen he inspired the players and had the offense ranked top ten two years in a row with essentially the same players. He made DHB look competent that alone is a miracle.

Gaining traction my ass. The Raiders suck and so do their coaches

Florida Raider

4:42 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

FL Raider,

Always enjoy a good debate but you are way off the mark on a number of your central points.

Where to begin ... there are so many misguided statements on your part.

The GM came highly recommened by the sure-fire brain trust of Ron Wolfe (who hired and groomed Reggie), John Madden, and other respected football men (names escape me). If you are questioning his credentials and qualifications for this role you sadly wrong.

The newly hired GM hand selected Dennis Allen. I've got no problem with giving a rising coaching star a chance to prove himself and certainly Reggie beleived in him.

Both the GM and Head Coach deserve at least 2 more years to build the team in their vision with THEIR football players via the draft and free agency.

Can't stress this enough ... when Reggie and DA came on board, our payroll was an absolute mess. Reggie had to cut many players to get into cap compliance. In addition, we had next to ZERO draft picks available.

FACT: Reggie and DA didn't create this personnel mess. It was their job to clean it up and make do with no cap room, no picks, and hunt the waiver wire for cheap replacements.

To suggest that this doesn't impact the talent and depth of a team is pretty childish.

The reality is that the transition into the new era was going to be difficult. New owner, new GM, new coaching staff, new systems, new personnel (50% or 27 players who were bargain basement replacements).

On the defensive side of the ball (we've been blown out the past 4 games to the tune of 40+ pts. scored on us per game), we have very little talent or depth.

No, Reggie didn't 'clean house' for the sake of cleanng house. That is one of the most ignorant statements that I've heard. He was forced to cut MANY players and not sign players he wanted because wait for it ... we HAD to get into cap compliance. Our payroll was a disaster of funny money on guys like Routt (out of the league) and Wimbley.

Yes, DA is a defensive specialist but not a miracle worker. Have you seen our LB corps and secondary?

On the offensive side of the ball we've got a 3rd string converted FB as the starting RB and next to zero proven skilled players. The WR group is rookies, undrafted rookies, 2nd year players, etc. The right side of the OLine has been a mess.

How did you expect the Raiders to compete week in week out with this group?

As far as 'gaining traction', when I wrote this post, we had come off our best performance (ATL) and 2 wins. This was before the wheels fell off with injuries and a porous D.

The quick, knee jerk reaction is 'get rid of the GM and coach' 'the Raiders suck' BLAH, BLAH.

The way that I'm looking at it which is far more grounded, reasonable, and realistic, is to give McKenzie and DA the reasonable opportunity to draft and sign players that fit their vision.

In the meantime, it is going to be a tough 2012 of evaluating the players that deserve to come back in 2013. For all practical purposes, we are building from scratch minus a few key players.

When the Raiders struggled the previous 9 years with 2 to 8 wins, patience was preached by some Raider fans. Now that we have a new mgmt. group and are 11 games into the 1st season, suddenly patience isn't preached.

I expect improvement and progress in years 2013 and 2014. If by the end of 2014, I don't see tangible progress, than I think it is fair to look to new leaders.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CJ

You conveniently ignore the facts and what you do state buttresses my point. You say the team is made up of bargain basement crap well who put together the roster? Madden and Wolf highly recommended Reggie--so what.

The Raiders for the past ten years have always been in cap compliance in fact there never has been a team in the nfl that is not in cap compliance so lets leave this cap stuff out of it. Its an excuse used by losers like McKenzie who would prefer to blame the previous administration than take responsibility

I will counter your post with one simple point and please address it directly. Hue had the offense as top ten two years in a row with more or less the exact same players that are there now.

So who is the bad coach and the good coach? Perhaps the talent is not as bad as you and other Allen/McKenzie apologists would have us believe and if it is bad well more credit to Hue and more blame to Allen.

Just name one impressive thing McKenzie and or Allen and his staff have done. I don't see one single thing, Biesel, ZBS, new defensive schemes not a frigging thing has improved the team. Oh yeah they got into cap compliance---lol.

I would love to see a post from you that has some truthful constructive criticism of the current staff now that would be refreshing. Apparently though from your point of view Allen is the second coming of Vince Lombardi and Reggie is some sort of proven mastermind.

Regards
Florida Raider




5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FLR -

Another fan had a point of view which I found to be on point and reasonable;

"I would like to give Reggie a couple of drafts, where he actually has some draft picks, to see what he can do.

I also would like to see DA coach the new players Reggie brings in.

I am all in for 2 more years. By the 2014/15 season, I expect the Raiders to field a contender."

To suggest that the 2012 off season was business as usual is absurd.

The Raiders were the most over the cap of all 32 teams.

The Raiders had the fewest draft picks of all 32 teams.

The Raiders had the most significant changes of all 32 teams.

The argument that the personnel of 2012 is virtually the same as 2011 is complete nonsense and you know it.

Transitions take time.

CJ

BTW, enough of the blog suggestions ... start you own blog.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey CJ if you are going to put stuff out in the blog sphere expect comments and criticism. If you are going to be so sensitive and can't take legitimate criticism don't write a blog. When you write blogs titled turning the corner and gaining traction which were obviously way off the mark you have to expect some friendly abuse.

Though you generally write well and seem to be very knowledgeable the content tends to be rah rah cheerleader type stuff, without any real analysis of which I am sure someone of your intelligence is very capable of providing.

I have found that historically you have hard time dealing with viewpoints different from your own.

To that end just as I anticipated you refused to answer my question about the offense, with the exception of your weak comment that personnel is different.

On that you are completely incorrect there are only two starters different on offense from 2011 neither of which are major impact positions. Those are Briesel versus Satele and Myers versus Boss.

So try again and answer my question---why was the offense so good the past few years and sucks this year, I say its coaching. Are you willing to take off your rose colored glasses and admit that.

Perhaps Reggie should be a CFO as it seems financial management is about the only thing you have pointed out he does well. Actually scratch the CFO idea as I doubt the big dummy could tell the difference between a balance sheet and an income statement. Sorry man for me its about wins not managing the cap, they have bean counters to do that.


All the best
Florida Raider

2:43 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

FLR -

So you now are my counselor and advisor on how I should write my blog ... too hilarious.

My blog is merely a friendly hobby -- nothing more, nothing less.

If you want serious analysis from a professional, I suggest that you find it elsewhere. I don't have the time or inclination to do serious research and analysis but merely share my opinions.

What bothers me about some of your recent opinions is that you paint in broad brush strokes without context, facts, or pespective to back it up.

As far as the offense goes, as always there should be relevant context.

For starters, our offense is in the top half for total offense (#15 out of 32) - not an above average offense but certaintly doesn't suck.

The team has been able to move the ball fairly well between the 20's but has done poorly in the red zone.

It has also in a number of games fallen down by 2 scores early which has made it fairly 1 dimensional and plays into the opponent teeing off on a porous line.

Football is the ultimate team sport. Our D has made it a tough hill to climb for the O.

Departed players such as Michael Bush, Kevin Boss, Carlisle, and injuries to Wiz, Jacoby Ford, Denarious Moore, DHB, DMac, Goodson have had a negative effect on a roster with very little proven players and depth. Case in point is our WR Corps which at times has had to rely heavily on an undrafted rookie (Streeter) and late round rookie (Criner).

BTW, Palmer is the #8 ranked QB in the league for passing yards.

BTW2, the Raiders offense was better last year but not the past few seasons. Look it up.

You continue to throw Reggie under the bus without a clue about what he inherited as if that shouldn't matter or have an impact on W's and L's.

He inherited a payroll that was the most over the cap # in the entire league. Think Reggie would have liked to have signed Michael Bush? Of course but the bottom line is that he couldn't afford Bush. He didn't have that luxury.

He inherited a team that had very few drafts picks. The 1st pick was at the end of the 3rd round. Were you expecting him to draft players in the late rounds that could make an instant impact and provide depth and competition?

Reggie made the tough decisions now with an eye towards rebuilding the team in the next few drafts and free agency periods.

To evaluate him now is asinine.

Since you are so big on posing questions, what specific things did you want him to do differently understanding he had a shoe string budget and no early round picks.

Lastly, if it is truly all about the W's (which I agree on), what was your stance on the previous 9 seasons -- 9 consecutive seasons without a winning record or playoff berth?

The context of the 2012 season is truly unique in so many ways. New owner, new GM, new coaching staff, new systems, limited dollars to spend on free agents, limited picks.

I expect to see an improved product and performance year over year as the Raiders rebuild from the ground up. I expect there to be plenty of more heartache in the next few season but need to see tangible improvements.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Also, Einstein, 'Turning the Corner' and 'Gaining Traction' were honest takes at the given time. When I wrote 'Turning the Corner', the Raiders played their best, most complete game of football to date (vs. Atlanta). 'Gaining Traction' was written with 3 consecutive games (Atlanta + 2 wins). Yes, the wheels fell off after the KC win but don't get things twisted. Capiche'?

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Insults always the last resort of a defeated mind. You probably should not insult one of the only two people who read your blog---lol
have a good one
Florida

4:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FLR,

You come on to my site, start telling me how to write my blog, hurl insults that I respond to in kind, and than claim that I'm the sensitive one?! Too funny.

Happy HOlidays!

CJ



7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



Hey CJ, I am remiss. Actually I said your were intelligent and wrote well, but if things got out of hand and it strayed into insult territory on either of our parts that is unfortunate


I guess the loosing brings out the worst in all of us. Maybe when they start winning again we can all agree on things and conversely get along better. Hopefully that is not another ten years--lol

If its cool I would like to continue reading and commenting, I will try and temper my passion as long as you are still up for a good debate now and then. Hey I live in Fl who else besides my brother also a Raider fan do have to banter with

happy holidays to you as well. I wish you the best my fellow Raider fan

Regards
Florida Raider

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Tooz 72 said...

Fla,

Al outlived his usefulness decades before his passing. It it no way lessens his greatness, but it also is fact. And his son is a tool, also an indisputable fact. That's the Davis I meant. Still, I admire CJ's optimism as always.

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Tooz 72 said...

Fla,

Plenty of room to agree and disagree here. Unlike you to fly off the handle. My son is at the game tonight -- hall of fame night with Madden, wives of greats, still living greats. This team once was the undisputed best. We all want it back. In my opinion, we are at least 5 years away. CJ thinks it's closer. Let's just get there.

7:50 PM  

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