Charging the Chargers: Raiders Preview

Harry

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It’s hard to draw many conclusions from just one game but here are my impressions. The Chargers double-teamed Adams continuously. The Raiders were smart enough to use a quick out route at the goal line, making it almost impossible to double-team him. Result: Adams beat the coverage for a TD. The Cards historically hate to double-team. If they don’t, Adams will beat them all by himself. They also can’t play zone against him. The Cards zone is too porous to beat even ordinary receivers.

Adams isn’t the only receiver of concern. Waller, the TE, moves fast enough to be a challenge unless Simmons plays a better game. The Raiders appear to like to use play action to momentarily freeze the LBs and let Waller get open behind them. Cards can’t get greedy and bite on the fake.

Carr didn’t impress me. He threw into tight coverage too often. To his credit he did move well in the pocket to create throwing lanes and avoid the rush. He can run, but prefers not to do so. Murray would do well to watch his pocket moves. Warner, of course, was one of the best at moving without abandoning the pocket.

Additionally I wasn’t impressed with the Raiders running game. The Cards looked decent against the Chiefs’ running game. Of course the Cards did make passing look very attractive. The Raiders’ line seldom opened gaping holes. They also didn’t make second level blocks. It’s true Jacobs piled up some yards, but it looked mostly like the Raiders focused on limiting the passing game.

On the surface the Raiders appeared vulnerable to the pass. However, Herbert had lots of time to throw and used his progressions. Herbert employed planned rollouts frequently. He also stepped up in the pocket if the Raiders left the middle open. I don’t expect Murray to have tons of time to throw. The line isn’t that good. On the other hand the Cards could exploit an apparent weakness in the center of the Raiders’ defense. Play action, delayed handoffs, shovel passes and perhaps even the forgotten middle screen could be effective as an offensive strategy.

One quick special teams’ note. The Raiders’ punter creates unreal hang time. Returns are almost impossible. I’d tell the returner to fair catch everything or let it bounce. I’d send everyone else to attempt to block the punt. They might not get there, but maybe they’d throw him off his game.

Finally, even though they scored, I thought the Raiders looked tired in the fourth quarter. Conditioning appeared to be an issue in several games.

I still believe the best strategy, especially early in the game, is to throw short often. Later on if they pull the safeties up close to the box, let Brown & Dortch go deep, maybe even Isabella.
 
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