“Talk Is Cheap”
You don’t have to know the intricate nuances of football to understand the plight the Oakland Raiders are in when it comes to Amari Cooper. Just open your eyes and see exactly how much the wide receiver was basically ignored this past Sunday.
“I saw five wide open (plays), shook his guy, was open in space, and would have loved to have seen the ball get delivered to him there,” said head coach Jack Del Rio. “Not every play is designed to go to him. You can’t see everybody at one time . . . he was doing his part to create space and opportunity for the quarterback and we just missed him a couple of times.”
Talk is cheap. Cooper sports an embarrassing 13-catch, 118-yard, one-touchdown stat line. Unacceptable.
I get the game plan was probably simplified for backup quarterback EJ Manuel. But at certain points, you knew Manuel was going to throw only to the first read. And it happened 80 percent of the time.
But if Manuel was given the greenlight to survey the field, scan the horizon, he would have seen 89 galloping up field open. Sure, throwing it is one thing and Cooper catching it is another.
But to not see and fire, that’s incredulous.
Derek Carr’s awaited return under center may open things up for AC/DC. Stress may.
Actually, make that zero picks. Oakland is one of three teams without an interception through five weeks of the regular season (Miami and Chicago are the other two).
It’s not like the Raiders haven’t had opportunities. In fact, there have been a number of golden chances to finally intercept a pass — David Amerson’s chief among them. Remember that one? Against Washington, where Josh Doctson posterized the Raiders’ cornerback for the 52-yard score? I don’t blame you for trying to forget.
“It’s just a matter of making your plays,” Del Rio said. “You get these opportunities. Would’ve, could’ve should’ve doesn’t get it done. You get these opportunities, you have to take advantage of the opportunities and make the plays that you have that are there to be made”
The only thing getting picked on is the Raiders secondary. That needed to change in Week 3 and is downright mortifying heading into Week 6.
When all three aspects of a football team (offense, defense, and special teams) each make a resounding impact, said squad usually comes out victorious. Those that cannot generate excitement from the trio get the L dropped on them.
But we’ll focus on Special Teams here, more specifically, the return teams.
The years 2008 and 2011. Those are the last times the Raiders have housed a punt or a kickoff return, respectively. That long-ass drought needs to end this season.
Oakland is armed with dynamic kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson and rocket dynamo Jalen Richard on punt returns. Patterson has five kickoff returns for touchdowns while Richard has come close, but hasn’t quite gotten to the end zone.
“At the end of the day, it’s special teams, offense, defense, do enough as a football team to win games. Each phase helps the other phase. I believe as we create more turnovers, get off the field more on third down and continue working and developing special teams-wise, then we, as a football team, will have shared success.” – Jack Del Rio