NFL Week 15 is in the books and so are the Oakland Raiders’ playoff hopes
At this point, a growing portion of Raider Nation is calling for head coach Jack Del Rio’s head. Unfortunately for them, owner Mark Davis extended coach Del Rio’s contract by four years in February.
Since most coaching contracts are fully guaranteed, it is most likely that the head coach gets at least another year to prove himself. The same cannot be said for the remaining coaches as eating their salaries will not hurt the bank as much.
Let’s take a look at how the team has performed and which coaches might get thrown under the bus this offseason for lack of production.
The Defensive Story
The defense continued to underperform this year under now ex-defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. But since Week 11 when coach John Pagano took over, the defense has significantly improved only giving up 304.8 yards per game. Compare this to the 367 yards per game given up under coach Norton. Coach Pagano was able to successfully put players in positions to succeed and maximize their strength. Look for the Raiders to retain coach Pagano as the defensive coordinator in 2018.
#Raiders ranks on D under Norton vs Pagano:
Passer rating: 113.3, 32nd vs 75.9, 8th
Sacks: 14, T31st vs 14, T4th
yds/att: 8.0, 30th vs 6.8, 14th
INT: 0, 32nd vs 4, T9th
— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) December 19, 2017
The Raiders offense, however, took a big step back this year after being ranked #6 last year. Even after adding tight-end Jared Cook and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in the off-season, the offense currently ranks 19th. With the offensive roster full of talent and improved from last year, the only place you can put the blame is on the coaching staff. And to get the offense back on track, these three coaches must be replaced.
Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing
Numbers tell a story, so let’s take a look at the rankings below and compare the offense under Coach Downing versus former offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.
The Raiders offense looked lost starting Week 3 and many analysts have noted that the offense is too simplistic and predictable. Downing is a first-year coordinator and has shown not to have the expertise to be an effective play caller. Downing’s play-calling does not show that he can study a defense and call plays to take advantage of its weaknesses.
Good Lord, Oakland’s passing offense is a disaster. I’ve seen high school teams with more interesting route concepts.
— Doug Farrar (@BR_DougFarrar) December 18, 2017
In order to get the offense back on track, we should expect coach Downing to get fired after Week 17. It will be interesting to see who becomes the Raiders’ next offensive coordinator if and when a change is made.
Former Broncos offensive coordinator and Chargers head coach Mike McCoy is one name the “Twitter-verse” is talking about. Another name is offensive line coach Mike Tice. Coach Tice was once the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings and has experience. Or maybe another young coach that might not even be on anyone’s radar right now.
QB Coach Jake Peetz
To develop a young franchise signal caller, you need a veteran mind who understands the development process a young quarterback needs to go through. Someone who has a track record of helping a youngster develop into a cerebral assassin. Someone who can teach young Derek how to read the defense, when to audible, and grow into a sound offensive mind.
Current quarterback coach Jake Peetz was given the responsibility to develop Carr while having no experience in the position. And the results can be seen this year as Carr’s play has diminished dramatically. He seems to be rushing throws, not going through progressions and have been inconsistent all season.
Coach Del Rio would be wise to upgrade this position and get Carr back on the road to being a franchise quarterback.
WR Coach Rob Moore
If you had read the quote below when Coach Moore was hired by the Raiders, you probably would have dismissed it as a player making excuses for poor performance. However, after three years and seeing some of the results, you might be wondering if he was right.
“Now, we’re understanding how to run routes off of any press, off any leverage, to where you won’t be covered… We were kind of limited last year with certain things. It was, ‘You can’t do this, You can’t do that… The way (Lal) coaches now is the way that I know. Everybody knows it that way. Everybody’s like, ‘Man, we wish we had this last year.’ Or, ‘Man, we wish we could do that.” -Sammy Watkins on former WR Coaches Rob Moore and Sanjay Lal
Amari Cooper coming out of college was praised by many experts for his route running and athleticism.
He’s “the guy” in my opinion, the silky smooth route-runner who glides through cuts at top speed, dominating defensive backs. The most “pro-ready” wide receiver in this class… Matt Bowen, Bleacher Report
After three years in the NFL, former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon called out Cooper and compared him to the Ravens’ Mike Wallace when criticizing his route running and inability to get off press coverage.
I think at times when you watch Amari, and I’ve said this before, there’s some indecision there as a route runner. Sometimes I think he’s confused by types of coverage – Rich Gannon, former Raiders QB
The Raiders’ wide receivers this year have fumbled six times, most by any team. This year they also rank third in the league with 24 dropped passes, with three players in the Top 12 in drops. Last year, Michael Crabtree led the league with nine drops.
With Coach Del Rio known for pulling the plug on assistant coaches and coordinators, don’t be surprised if more than two position coaches are axed along with Downing. Next year the Raiders have to turn it around or you can see Coach Del Rio’s head on the chopping block and yet another new set of coaches.