It seems like forever ago that the Raiders beat the Chiefs 31-30 behind Derek Carr and Amari Cooper hooking up for big plays in the passing games.
But it was only 12 days ago. Less than two weeks ago the Raiders offense was taking shots down the field. The Raiders were imposing their will on one of the best teams in football.
But it was only 10 days later the Raiders reverted to their losing ways. Reverted to a dink and dunk offense that did nothing to exploit the Bills defense.
“Nobody was saying ‘don’t take a shot’, Jack Del Rio said of the short passes after the game. “I can’t speak to that right now.”
But after he rewatched the the loss to Buffalo, Del Rio could speak to it. And he found someone to blame.
"Derek (Carr) is one of the best in the league in making quick decisions to get the ball out of his hands. Yesterday there were some occasions where we look at the film and he looks at it and says, ‘I had more time. I wasn’t under duress. I had more time to scan the field and take some of the shots that we had designed to take.’ Get the ball down the field the way we can, the way he’s capable of. Those are things that are there. We all have to do better. To me, it starts with me. I say that all the time. I have no problem shouldering. Those are the things that when they start accruing more regularly we will start making more plays and having more fun,” Del Rio said.
He tried to take on the blame, but Del Rio essentially put the lack of deep passes on Derek Carr. And he followed it up later when asked about the Raiders final play of the first half, where Oakland had one shot to get a hail mary into the endzone, but Carr elected to hit his running back on a checkdown.
“That was a called throw into the end zone, so would like to give that more time, let those guys get down there and take a shot at it,” Del Rio said. “That’s the whole idea. That’s what we practice. That’s what we prepared to do in that situation. It’s not a high percentage play, but you get your one in 10. We’ll take it. That was an opportunity there at the end of the half after we had the misfortune with the fumble go back the other way and all that to try and take a shot there, so yes, that was called and needed to be executed much better.”
Derek Carr was looking for his running backs all game. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard had 13 receptions. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree combined for 10.
The running backs should be a vital part of the passing game, but when the Raiders are trailing by two and three scores in the fourth quarter, the duo of Crabtree and Cooper has to be targeted.
"You have to (throw to the checkdowns), or else you’re throwing to double or triple coverage,” Carr said after the loss to Buffalo. “It’s something that each time when you’re down, it’s in that zone of “hey man, we have to score on every drive.” In my mindset, the way I play is that I’m looking vertical. I’m looking for the big one. I’m trying to take it, and if it’s not there I have to get it out quick and let our guys run with it and go get what we can. It’s something that we talked about before the last drive. They’re going to play soft and we’ve got to take what they give us."
That sums up the Raiders problems all season. They are not the aggressor. They are not forcing defenses to react. They are the reactors.
It hasn’t worked. The dink and dunk passing game may be the path of least resistance. But that path has led to a 3-5 record.
General manager Reggie McKenzie gave Derek Carr a $125 million deal this offseason, the second largest in the NFL. The Raiders have the highest paid offensive line in the league.
There is money in the offense. The offense has to be better than taking what the defense gives them. The Raiders need to take what they need.
Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.