For four quarters of the 13-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins, the Las Vegas Raiders hung tough. Unfortunately for them, the offense was ineffective and improperly deployed. Now, the Kansas City Chiefs are next up on the team’s schedule; how does Antonio Pierce and the Raiders get back on track after a 13-20 loss to the Dolphins?
Antonio Pierce and the Las Vegas Raiders: First things first
Defensively, this might be the most oppressive unit we’ve seen the Silver and Black field in a long time. Surrendering only two touchdowns to the number one offense in the league is no small feat. But, compiling three turnovers, a turnover on downs and a missed field goal on the road in the eastern time zone is incredible.
Initially it looked as though the clock struck midnight on Bo Hardegree and he turned back into a pumpkin. Once more, the stars of the team were heavily featured, but with two weeks of tape to study, Miami’s defense was prepared. There were a litany of horrific offensive coaching decisions and management which led to the Raiders’ downfall at Hard Rock Stadium.
- End of the first half two-minute drill was the worst situational sequence of play calling, ever
- Being aggressive at the wrong times
- Not being aggressive at the right times
- Screen passes to everyone but the running backs
- Does anyone in the Raiders coaching staff know when to kick a field goal? Asking for a friend
- Fourth and 3 deep bomb towards Jalen Ramsey with an undersized rookie, instead of moving the chains
- Josh Jacobs: 14 carries, 39 yards, 0 touchdowns
- Michael Mayer: 4/5 Targets; Hunter Renfrow: 5/5; Jakobi Meyers: 4/5; Tre Tucker: 2/7; Davante Adams: 7/13 (Mayer barely touched the ball in the second half; Meyers didn’t touch the ball until the final minutes)
How to use the elite players
Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs are elite players – there isn’t any debate about that. Fans know it, the coaches know it, and more importantly, opposing defenses know it. Currently, the way these two are deployed isn’t creative enough to get them opportunities in space.
Jacobs likes certain runs and shares that with the media. Opposing defensive coaches only have to pull up the film and note which runs the Raiders’ running back has had his best success with. Then, they simply coach against that. Adams wants the ball; they double him with high-low inside-out brackets. The offense stalls and everyone gets frustrated. The challenge is how to not allow defenses to key in on the stars and bring their production to a halt.
The solution is simple: Feed other players the ball.
Jacobs should be the closer; especially if other teams want to make a commitment to stopping him early. Where you want Jacobs to really start touching the ball is in the second half. Establishing the run is key, but where he has been most effective in every game outside of Week 9’s bout against the Giants is in the second half.
In the passing game, the approach has been backwards.
Adams has done things his whole career a certain way and it has worked out tremendously for him. Out wide, he has been the best receiver in the league for years. But he’s getting older. Getting open against double and triple teams isn’t quite as easy as it used to be, and the drops are quietly starting to mount up for the Raiders’ wideout.
There is an easier way to create opportunities for him if he chooses to humble himself and allow the flow of the offense to come to him. Changing formational alignments and moving to the slot would allow him favorable coverage matchups. Allowing the team to spread the ball around early and force defenses not to key on him, making more one-on-one opportunities forthcoming and revealing the defenses plan to the quarterback.
Meyers should be the X receiver. Tucker, the speedster, should be the Z receiver to take the top off the defense and punish teams for not rolling a safety to his side. In the slot you can motion Adams everywhere, making defenses shift and creating pre-snap openings that weren’t previously there. Renfrow can thrive in this alignment as well. Being in the slot will allow both star receivers to be maneuvered in ways where they create maximum stress for defenses.
These are things Antonio Pierce and Bo Hardegree must figure out.
The Raiders’ outlook vs Chiefs
Nobody should fear the Chiefs. Let me say it again – nobody should fear the Chiefs in Raider Nation.
Travis Kelce is having a down year and father time is beginning to creep up on a 34-year-old tight end who has the head Swiftie around this piece. Patrick Mahomes is as dangerous as ever, but the receiving corps of the Chiefs may legitimately be one of the worst in the league.
The running game is nowhere near as explosive as the ones the Raiders have played in the last two weeks. Isiah Pacheco isn’t on the level of Breece Hall, Raheem Mostert or Devon Achane, nor does he have the size of D’Onta Foreman. Beyond that, Kansas City’s offensive line has been the worst it’s been in years.
The defense inversely has been the best Chiefs defense we have seen. It will be imperative that the Raiders offensive line comes to play. Pass protection for Aidan O’Connell, the newest Las Vegas Monument on the strip, will be essential to success. The Chiefs are extremely beatable, and will be coming off a short week having played the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. Execution and diversifying the offensive plan of attack, and for Antonio Pierce to learn from his mistakes will be how the Raiders get it done.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images