“None, Nada, Zilch”
What’s been deemed by many a football scholar as impossible, the Oakland Raiders have accomplished.
Let that marinate. In seven games, the Oakland Raiders (3-4 overall) have yet to pick off a pass. How wild is that? Wait, let me rephrase: how embarrassing is that? It’s very difficult to go seven games without an interception hitting you in the face.
The Raiders have not been without chances to get what has suddenly become the seldom interception. Reserve safety Keith McGill was the latest to get an opportune moment to get a pick. Instead, pickles. Sour, sour, rancid pickles. The ball careened off his hands and into the eager hands of a sprinting Kansas City wide receiver.
It’s gotten to the point where it’s comical how wayward the interception scenarios have played out. While McGill’s mishap stings, the best example of a comedic flap remains David Amerson getting posterized in Washington by erratic wide receiver Josh Doctson.
Welp, at least the Raiders haven’t been bullied out of an interception like Atlanta’s Julio Jones did to New England corner Malcolm Butler this past Sunday night. That was the ultimate man vs. child scenario. Seriously. Butler looked like a child trying to cover an unfairly, much-larger Jones.
Matched up against a mediocre Buffalo Bills receiving corp this coming Sunday, one has to believe Oakland gets its first interception of the year. Then again, we’ve been clamoring for a pick for the last seven weeks. Why alter the consistency?
“Fly The Coop”
I could care less if desperation was the catalyst. What I’m interested in is the continued use of wide receiver Amari Cooper in a variety of spots in the various formations. Used almost exclusively as an outside wide receiver, Coop was in a rut. Then came Thursday night’s must-win and you saw No. 89 in the slot as well as outside. Bravo.
Cooper is hard enough to guard on the outside, but in the slot, he is downright lethal. So, now comes the “Captain Obvious” question: Is offensive coordinator Todd Downing going to continue this or will the Raiders revert back to the conservative dink & dunk offense?
Many football pundits called out Downing for the lack of creativity, which rendered Oakland’s offense both mundane and predictable. Oh, and analysts have also said the Raiders offense is predicated on quarterback Derek Carr throwing one up in hopes receivers make the plays.
Check and emphatic check, Thursday night.
I call Downing, show me what you got.
“Missing In Action”
Play. Action. Forgive me if I get excited hearing those two words together in the same breath as Oakland Raiders. The play was back in the playbook and it paid dividends.
Downing has been given an unbelievable stable of offensive firepower and instead of unleashing his horses, he kept them in the stable. It’s a tough lesson, but the neophyte offensive coordinator should have known: If you have a thoroughbred, you don’t keep it locked in the stable.
Downing has a quarterback with more-than-adequate wheels, an imposing offensive line that can run block as well as pass block, a crew of receivers who can run the route tree blindfolded and an athletic tight end at his disposal. Dialing up a bootleg for Carr should be a staple of the offense as linebackers and safeties alike have trouble keeping up with Jared Cook.
- David Amerson should lose his starting gig like deposed starter Sean Smith. Sure, the Raiders won’t face a speedster the caliber of Tyreek Hill until the Chiefs and Raiders renew acquaintances later this year, but coming off the bench may help Amerson. Dexter McDonald is worth a long look. Interesting facts: If McDonald starts, it would make two 7th-round starting corners, T.J. Carrie as the other. Both are a similar build too, with McDonald at 6-foot-1, 200 and Carrie at 6-0, 205.
- Does Carr’s first career rushing touchdown come before the Raiders first interception of the season?
- How about the Raiders give McGill’s snaps to late-round rookie Shalom Luani? You’d be hard-pressed to say Luani would do worse than the veteran reserve safety.
- Solid question here: How did it take this long for the Raiders to realize giving a tight end a free release was not in its best interest?
- Kudos to the coaching staff for having not-so-effective pass rusher Bruce Irvin play the disruptor role against Kansas City’s Travis Kelce. That too should become a staple.