The playcalling. But mind you, we have all questioned moves by the staff since last year, and time and time again we are proven wrong in our second guessing. We may, and probably are, still growing and developing our offensive scheme of things. We have been pretty one dimensional to this point, thus the number one running team (still?). We opened up the passing game a little yesterday, whether out of the sheer necessity of need due to running game not there, or by design? Bowe and Cassel and the other unknown receiver? Moeaki has been great, but we need a WR to step up. Said it once, will say it again after yesterday. Can you say Verran Tucker. But remember, Dexter is also developing and will be back. More after the jump.
Special teams. We are missing a playmaker. We are missing someone that goes down and lays some wood. And yesterday, our blocking reverted to what I have seen a lot of this year, people giving up on their blocks. We are just space blocking and then thinking our job is done. We are not driving thru people. Crennel needs to take a week with the special teams and treat them like a defensive unit and show them how you do things. You block through your man and it will open holes. You put your body in as just a shield and good players will find away around your block and plug the hole, if nothing else. That is why Arenas is not getting downfield any more. As well as the fact that he is working some overtime on defense. Missing Lewis!!! Missing McCluster!!!
Defense. There have been moments that the secondary has gotten burned. Everyone is jumping Berry. Well, he does have fault. But just remember, until you step into his cleats, you have no idea how hard it is to step in as a starting safety while still learning. It is a very hard position. He is showing his skills on the runs. McGraw showed why he has stuck around...he is a smart player. IF he had a little more speed, etc. he would be a good safety. Another remember tag here...we are young, very young secondary. They will not reach their potential really until next year, but by the end of the year we will see them gel. There is too much leadership, talent and team players in that group for it not to happen.
Defensive Pass Rush. Can you say someone write the officials about defenders on Hali. Seriously he was getting held by the head and neck all day long!! It really is getting sad. Yes, holds happen every play and yes they do not get called every play. But let's get real. Something is weird about how bad the holds are on Hali. But beyond what we can not control, we are always one step off from getting to the QB on those deep or intermediate passes that burn us on third down. Crennel has done wonders, but hope he is going to spend a week to focus on that aspect. Or perhaps, despite how good Hali is doing, he needs to work on his technique. We all know his engine runs,but maybe he needs to study a little Lawrence Taylor, Neil Smith, Derrick Thomas, etc on how to work off blocks. Perhaps a little windmill action of the arm might throw off those high blocks around the neck and head.
Third down offensive conversion. That has been our biggest downfall. Despite all the negative of yesterday, I could actually see our offensive scheme seeming to specifically work on that issue. We saw play calling aimed at getting us to second and short. The play calling was not about getting down field, but getting us to second and short. That is one way to cure the third down conversion problem. Do not get into the situation to begin with. The playaction on 3rd and short (that many were bemoaning, while also bemoaning our conservative play calling??) was a great call I thought. No, you do not do it everytime. But taking those shots down the field open things up. I think if we step back away from the anger and hurt of the loss and wipe the black hole darkness from our eyes, we can actually see growth during the game. We WERE working on some things offensively. We were doing some things differently. We saw a fullback go for the third down conversion rather then leaping Jones, Charles. It did not work then, but we are working on that aspect. We saw us put in Verran Tucker with success. We even tinkered with how we used Moeaki and a short pass and run after the catch (and I think we saw that he can do it, but he is better to catch on the run, he does not accelerate well...laugh). On that last note, I think part of the reason we did not run well, it looked like the players were in slow motion. Was the muck sticky? Did the Raiders do something to the field to make the mud sticky..sure looked like we were running thru deep mud the way our footwork was.
Have to briefly state it, and do not run with hate on this guys. RECEIVER ROUTE RUNNING. I think the argument between Cassel and Haley was not an argument. Lip reading I saw the word he and him. I think Cassel is getting angry at miscues on routes. The one pass into the endzone that hit the corner pylon was a spot throw and no one was home. I think someone ran the wrong route on the interception. I think Bowe has some issues there. Enough said. Not going to harp on him, although I really could see McCluster in the possession slot more so and another receiver taking the reigns as what Bowe was supposed to be. I think Moeaki, despite his great rookie start, is also still learning and may have ran wrongly on the interception play. UNKNOWN RECEIVER..really a continuation of above statement, but who is going to step up. That is still developing. Even when McCluster returns, not sure that fixes things. He is not a down field receiver.
Not going to look at what we can fix later through draft, etc. We are talking about things that the team is working on THIS year. We can fix the issues we have in house with current personnel. And they will. CHIEFS STILL WILL.
Just ask Shaun Smith. And I thought that out of all the players, he made that tweet. It says a lot about our team that someone who we questioned if would be a hard worker, who likes to crack nuts, etc was the stand up guy to the fans and made that statement. Staff is creating a good TEAM. Players who take pride in their work!!
Yesterday was a good, typical game with the Raiders of old. And even though I was hurt by the loss and yes, we sunk to their level. It's kind of refreshing to see that we are in a position to bring back that old rivalry in its good old form of ugly, nasty, slug it out Raiders week. WE WILL continue to get better and the last game of the season WE WILL show the Raiders and the NFL that we are for REAL and that we are in the playoffs.