Raiders Passing Game Will Be Key To Success

The Las Vegas Raiders have had a penchant to establish the run game early. This formula will need to be scrapped if the Raiders wish to leave Dallas with a win on Thanksgiving.

The Raiders run game has struggled to find any sustained success this season. They’ve only managed to rush for over 100 yards three times this year. As a team that often relies on the run game to set up the passing game, the inability to find stability is going to cause problems. However, heading into Thursday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, it might be a good idea to throw out this plan altogether.

Dallas is stingy

Struggling might be a kind and mild way of defining the Raiders running game so far this year. Heading into Week 12, the Raiders are the fourth-worst rushing team in the league. They’ve only managed to put up just over 800 yards of rushing so far. Coupled with a measly 3.7 yards per attempt and it becomes glaringly obvious that this is not the strength of this team.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, are ranked as the seventh-best team against the run. They’ve only surrendered a little over 1,000 yards so far. On top of all this, they are only giving up 4.4 yards per attempt. That could mean the Raiders will be in for a long day if they stick with the same old same old.

Pass game has been there

Being a one-dimensional team is often a death knell. It makes not only the defensive coordinator’s jobs easier, but the players on the field have less to worry about. The perfect composition of any offense is one that can beat you in a variety of ways. That is currently not the Raiders’ offense, unfortunately.

While that can seem frustrating, especially when the team boasts the talents of Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake, the Raiders have found success when throwing the ball. As it currently stands, the Raiders are the third-best passing team in the league. They have racked up just over 2,800 yards, and at 7.3 net yards per attempt, they can be one of the most fearsome passing units in the game.

That is how the Raiders will have to attack the Dallas defense. In comparison, the Cowboys are currently the 14th worst team against the air attack. While that does not cause immediate excitement, it does show where they are weaker. Quarterback Derek Carr needs to take the reins and use his powerful right arm to drive this team to a win.

Time to flip the script

Offense in football is often about doing one thing to set up another. Perhaps it’s running a particular play out of a set, then running a completely different play later out of the same set. It could be showing one play, then running it in an opposite direction later. Often though, you’ll see teams try to show that they can run to get the defense to stack the box and open up the field more.

That has been the game plan for the Raiders for the last three years under Jon Gruden. However, Gruden is gone, and perhaps his ideals should be too. Too many times this year have the Raiders played from behind because the opposing offense is pulling away as the Raiders just run into brick wall after brick wall. Perhaps they need to adjust and try going the other way.

Using a potent passing attack to set up the run game isn’t necessarily a new thing. Nor is it that farfetched of an idea. How do you get the box uncluttered if you use the run game to stack the box to free up the field? Provide threats to the rest of the field!

The Raiders have some very talented pass catchers and need to use them accordingly. If the Raiders want to get back on track this week, it’ll have to come primarily from the arm of Carr and the hands of the guys outside.

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*Top Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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