In the aftermath of yesterday’s destruction in Denver, Allen has a number of issues to consider as he tries to salvage the season.
The Raiders bye week comes at a good time as he can institute some solid changes in an attempt to improve the team for the remaining 12 games.
The team faces an Atlanta team in week 6 that is currently 4-0 and looks to be one of the best in the league. The likelihood of the Raiders beating the Falcons – in Atlanta no less – seems more and more remote with every crushing loss.
However, after the Atlanta game the Raiders get the equally stumbling Jacksonville at home and then go to Kansas City to play a likewise hapless 1-3 Chiefs.
The next game is another home game, this time versus an underwhelming Tampa Bay.
Those are all winnable games, especially the two home games.
However, the Raiders aren’t going to be winning many games if they continue to play like they did on Sunday which is why Allen needs to make some changes.
First, I’m going to be upfront that I think that firing anyone – even Greg Knapp – is probably counter-productive.
Yes, the team looked better last year on offense. Yes, the team has struggled with the zone blocking scheme that Knapp prefers.
Yes, Knapp’s playcalling leaves something to be desired.
But the team has been working on this scheme and the zone blocking system for months, now, and it isn’t something as simple as flipping a switch to go back to power blocking and Hue Jackson’s offense.
Instead, perhaps Allen can direct Knapp to mix in more power blocking. If that can get the running game on track, it’s worth the effort. It may be worth picking offensive consultant Al Saunders’ brain on what he sees last year versus this year to see if anything else can help the offense.
But the personnel is pretty set on offense. Allen isn’t going to sit Palmer (or, at least, he shouldn’t). He isn’t going to sit Veldheer, Wiz, Brisiel. He can’t sit Willie Smith unless it’s putting rookie Bergstrom in his place. The WR corp is already playing every receiver available. He isn’t going to sit Darren McFadden or Brandon Myers and so on and so forth.
The point is that there are limited things that Allen can do on offense, personnel-wise.
The same is not true of the defense. The defense has looked worse and worse and has given up more than 20 points each game so far (22, 35, 31 and 37 to be exact).
Unlike the offense, in which there is not much personnel shifting that would or should occur, the defense could definitely shift a bit. It may or may not help but with the team hemorrhaging yards on defense it likely can’t hurt to try something different.
To that end, my proposal would be to make two switches – first, Rolando McClain was embarrassing to watch on the field on Sunday. He was directly involved in at least 3 TDs – mostly in which his man in coverage was able to beat him to get into the end zone. McClain can be good in run defense but he’s become such a liability in coverage that he’s not worth having out there.
I’d suggest that the Raiders bench McClain at least initially and see what they have in Travis Goethel. Goethel hasn’t shown a lot thus far but he may be able to provide a bit more of a spark. At the least it’d be hard to imagine that he would be jogging around the field, something that McClain reverted back to on Sunday.
If the Raiders don’t sit McClain yet, I’d also think it’d be worth playing Aaron Curry at MLB when he returns from PUP (assuming he does return). Burris is settling in at WLB and Wheeler is arguably the defenses best player at SLB so Curry could fit in at MLB where he spent some time last year when McClain was injured. In fact, I graded Curry out decently high as MLB – I liked him better there than at WLB.
Another change that could be made is at the DT position. Desmond Bryant appears to be the Raiders best DT as Seymour and Kelly both disappear for long stretches of time.
It may be worth it to put Bryant into the starting rotation and bring Seymour in as the situational DT. This would keep him more fresh and keep Bryant out on the field. It’s much more likely that Bryant will be on the team next year than it is for Seymour, anyway, and the team should probably find out what it has in him.
Allen has a lot of decisions to make in the bye week. The moves (or lack thereof) will define his first season and reverberate through the next 12 games.
For more Raiders news and analysis, follow me on Twitter @AsherMathews
Photo by Levi Damien
Rolando McClain is GARBAGE!!! Simple and plain. I don’t think he wants to play football in Oakland. I’ll put him in the JaMarcus Russell class of Raider first-round draft busts. He couldn’t tackle his own mother in a phone booth with help. He’s not the “run stopper” everyone thought he was coming out of college. (Run stopper? Really?) He lacks that “elite” instinctive football anticipation, constantly tackling the ball carrier five or six yards down the field or taking bad angles on tackles. (If he makes the tackle at all!) He’s semi-decent in pass coverage, but the Raiders didn’t draft him to be “semi-decent” with the eighth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.
He was drafted to be the cornerstone of the Raiders defense for the next 20 years. Here’s guy who was so dominant in his college career at the University of Alabama, and he looked like a true beast at the NFL combines. He was supposed to be Oakland’s version of San Francisco 49er Patrick Willis, ( Now there’s an NFL middle linebacker.) who to me is perhaps the best (currently) at his position in football. He’s not a playmaker. The guy CANNOT play the RUN, or is scared too! He needs to get in that hole and hit those running backs so hard that he’ll force a fumble, (0 forced fumbles to this point in his career) make the tackle or scare them to death. ( In the backfield hopefully.) He’s always over running the plays, unable to get off blocks or arriving to plays late to jump on the pile and act like he did something.
Don’t believe me? Watch him for a full game as I have for two hard to watch seasons. He’s also a distraction to the team with his off-field antics (Last years gun incident that he is scheduled to serve jail time over after the season ends.) He’s not worth the contract his name is on. Trade him now. Maybe we can get a 6th round pick for him. (Ok a 7th rounder!) Just watch him yourself. You be the judge. When is the last time you saw a starting, (First round draft choice mind you) middle linebacker play a whole game ( And I do mean whole game) and get only 1 tackle!!! He’s a prime example of why the Raiders are what everybody around the league thinks they are. SORRY!!! He’s gotta go! NOW!!! Remember defense wins championships. Right now the Raiders defense is something you wanna forget.
I have to agree with you Asher. The Offense clicked against Pitt when the O-line showed up. The Defense looks in a bad way full stop. I'd go a step further and include T Kelly in that as well. Those three have been dominated week in week out so far. There has been no pass rush whatsoever. They have got to get some pressure to help out our weak secondary. Houston has proved a much better run defender than pass rusher so I'd consider moving him inside to partner Bryant. Then go with Carter and Shaughnessy at End. And get Huff out of there, he sucks at CB as well as Safety.
Doing nothing is not an option right now. If DA doesn't instigate one change from what he's seen so far you have to question his competence.
@AsherMathews @TFDS Rolando seems like the kind of person who'll sit on a chair in the shower without even having a physical disability.
@AsherMathews @tfds 100% agree. McClain falling down, getting blocked out of every play, standing around away from the play, makes me sick.
I'm disgusted. We don't look good on either side of the Ball. I think Palmer is doing a good job when he has time to throw. But it is demoralizing that our guys can't get through ANY offensive line to get to the QB. If you can't get sacks and hurries what do you have? And then I look at where our "cut" players go and they are doing great! Like Schillens! Just because they have a name doesn't mean they can play. It seems everyone that moves on from the Raiders has a great career. Maybe except "Awesome". He was brilliant on our team but isn't doing anything now. But we should havea kept Routt. These guys can't outrun anyone. I hate the zone. Everyone said when Al dies, when Al dies the curse will be lifted. Well, this team ain't getting any better. Before the season we had the BEST running back. But if he gets stopped twice they don't run anymore. I watched the dolphin game and noticed that yes, Bush had a good SECOND HALF but was stopped the whole first half. They kept pounding him and finally in the 2nd half he came barreling through all the time. You can't give up.
@AsherMathews @TFDS I completely agree. McClain and seymor have become liabilities. Watching McClain jog to a downfield play makes me SICK!
@AsherMathews @tfds the only thing I disagree with is that the team will have a hard time going back to PBZ same o-line -1 satele
@AsherMathews @TFDS Also should put Huff back to FS and start the next man up at CB. Doesn't matter if that CB isn't good, Huff isn't either
@TFDS Hope they read it and follow your advice, it would be smart moving forward with the YOUNG RMK/DA era!
@trishtlc Agree with a lot of what you're saying. In the offseason i complained on the board about us cutting Michael Bush and some other quality players while we picked up a bunch of cast-offs and losers from other teams. This is what we get when you do that - losses. Why did we cut Schillens and Murphy loose and then waste our first pick (of the few we had) on ANOTHER WR? And if we're in rebuilding mode - why pay $11mil to Seymour when he's not even going to be around when (if) we get to the point where we can compete? Bush's contract with Chicago was $14 mil for 4 years! That $11mil we spent on Seymour could have bought us 3 years of Bush instead - then trade DMC for picks and speed up the rebuild. I'm trying to buy into Allen's vision (although I have no idea what it is) - but it's darn hard when obvious stuff like this stands out in my mind.
So far as Al Davis and his "curse" - I got news for the haters - Al is the ONLY thing that kept us competitive all those years. Fans tend to believe the NFL is a level playing field where every team is equal. It's not. The small market teams are at a serious disadvantage - especially in the era of free agency. Think about it - if you're a top player and your choice is to play for Oakland, a blue collar town with not many options for making money off the field - or NY or Boston or Chicago where there is plenty of extracurricular activities and opportunities for making extra money... where are you more likely to go? We are at a disadvantage. Take a look at Cincinnati, Detroit, Jacksonville... how often do those teams compete? Rarely. The only time they do? When they have someone extra special working for them - someone who knows the game inside out. The advantage we had all these years - the reason why we've been to 5 SBs when Cincinnati has only been to 2 (and lost both) and Detroit and Jacksonville have been to ZERO - is Al Davis. That was our edge. So all the haters who wished Al was gone - you got your wish. But the odds of that turning things around are slim and none. We need another person with those qualities and talents to take his place. I saw people cheering for Reggie and Allen - let me tell you folks - they haven't done jack for anybody yet. Save the cheers for AFTER the first Super Bowl (if we ever get there again).
@HuggyJrme @AsherMathews @TFDS it dont matter huff sux either way and needs to go...said since the draft we need to draft safety
@Indy! Soooooooooooo agree with you. I think Al Davis held us together. And I always felt "it's HIS team". He can do what he wants with it. I am sick of injuries. If they are injured for more than a couple of games! CUT 'EM!! Some will come back better but most WON'T!