Friday, November 09, 2012

A Clown Show Autopsy

I went to Oakland on Sunday, and there I saw the ghost of Stuart Schweigert. 

There, I saw Doug Martin rack up 251 yards, like a glorious baby lamb galloping across green fields of open daylight, not a predator to be found, except for a distant wolf tripping over itself. 

During the game, tapping away on my mobile, I wrote: "Halfway thru the third, it's amateur hour in our secondary."

After the game, I wrote: "What was amazing to me is how uncoordinated our pursuits looked after Martin and their receivers reached the open field. Our secondary once again reminded me of Cirque du Soleil: a bunch of clowns flying around, hitting nothing."

Did I mention that I had just watched a rookie rack up 251 yards on the ground, right before my very eyes?

Later, Gary watched the coaches' film and commented on the biggest runs: "The second one was a whiff by Lee at the LOS... then a complete circus act in the secondary...The third one was a whiff by Burris at the LOS and then more circus act."

Calico Jack chimed in: "Unable to shed blockers, weak arm tackles, poor angles, poor tackling technique, out of position, lack of penetration or disruption in the backfield, lack of awareness, lack of aggression at the point of attack ... everything and anything that had to do with piss poor rush D was on full display."

It's hard to really see fully what's going on while at the game, and to follow the action while at the same time surveying the field. That's what replays are for. But I saw enough to make me want to wash my eyes out with Comet.

On one pursuit, Matt Giordano got so twisted up that he hurt himself and crumpled to the ground as the Buc blew by. It reminded me of the good old days, of Schweigert and crew flying around, missing and bouncing off the other team.

I don't mean to pick on Schweigert. It's nothing personal. But he sort of epitomizes the bad angle bug that seems to bite the Raiders every year.

(Schweigert started 39 games in three years for the Raiders...and did not start in a single NFL game thereafter. He seems like a cool guy. He went on to play in the UFL, runs a charitable foundation serving his hometown of Saginaw, and purchased a stake in an indoor football league team.)

Anyhow, for all of us scratching our heads about what exactly happened, has given us this gift: a visual breakdown of Sunday's defensive clown show.

The writer doesn't have an axe to grind with the Raiders, as far as I can tell. He's just trying to make sense of a historic day of rushing in the NFL. To do so, he performs an autopsy on each of the big plays. It's a fascinating must-read for Raiders fans. A quote: But again, this is a play that should have resulted in a decent game … and nothing more. Even once Martin cleared the line, there are three Raiders defenders that appear to be in position to clamp down on him. Wrong.

So my question to all of you is: How does it happen, these epic lapses resulting in astonishing rushing yards, seemingly year after year? How can the fundamentals remain so poor? What do you think Dennis Allen says when he plays this game back to his team?

We're three DCs removed from Rob Ryan. We're on our third coach in four years, and our new one is a defensive specialist.

So, again: How and why does something like this still happen? Looking forward to your takes.


Blogger nyraider said...

Painful to recount but very well presented. It’s hard to imagine a perfect storm lasted for three long TDs spanning an entire half. More like, it was very bush league of the Raiders to allow that to happen.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Hate to be so simplistic but it boils down to tackling which is the most basic element of defense.

Good tackling isn't an accident.

It is instincts and aggression.

It is the sum parts of reading the play, getting into position to make the play (shedding blocks if nec., correct angle and body position), using proper technique to impede the runner, and ultimately getting the ball carrier aggressively to the ground by any means necessary.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous gary said...

That's a frigging awesome take RT! So what is it? Is it the players, as Jones keeps pounding his fist on the ground about, or the coaches?

If it doesn't get fixed NOW.. like before Ray Rice is licking his chops to get his 250 too, maybe we won't know. Maybe its both?

If it does get fixed its coaching, IMO.

Allen and Tarver has to coach this defense back up again... they have done it before.

Miami torched us like this too... and we stopped Pitts dead in the tracks.

I have money on our coaching staff this weekend.

8:38 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

"If it does get fixed its coaching, IMO."

Not sure I agree with that. It looked like it was "fxed" and then it blew up.

IMO, we saw enough bad angles and miss-tackles last week to think it's more a player issue. Players were in position to make plays and didn't.

This week is a serious gut check.

4:08 AM  
Blogger OakTownBlues said...

Outstanding, take. If things don't change, wit Seymour out, the Ravens will peck, peck, peck...

8:35 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

When our D minimizes the explosive plays, we have an excellent chance to come out on top.

The 4 explosive plays by the Bucs (Martin's 3 TDs and V.Jackson's deep completion) should have been defended better.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

"IMO, we saw enough bad angles and miss-tackles last week to think it's more a player issue. Players were in position to make plays and didn't."....

Hilarious, so the players were in position (coaching)but the players were missing tackles (players) and didn't make the plays (players). But for some reason, the coaches get blamed? You either have no clue what you are writing about or you are just provoking, either way, it's quite comical.


5:42 PM  
Anonymous JONES said...

"Miami torched us like this too... and we stopped Pitts dead in the tracks."......

This one is pretty damn funny too. Stopped Pitt in their tracks? Maybe you might want to watch that game again. 24 1st downs and almost 400 yrds passing. Ben Pukyburger had his best day so far this year.


5:55 PM  
Blogger nyraider said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6:00 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Jones - Do you have a football point to your post?

At the risk of being redundant, I never said the players weren't to blame. Your constantly implying I blame only the coaches is, to use your own word, provoking.

Enjoy the game today!

Go Raiders!!

6:45 AM  
Anonymous JONES said...

Hey NYR, I reread that quote and I misread it, sorry, I had just got back from a small vacation and didn't have much sleep under my belt, so I apologize.


9:43 AM  
Anonymous 5er said...

Hey RT,

I completely agree with your Gannon/Gruden analogy. Young, unproven coach and a veteran QB trying to dig us out of a hole. I really appreciated their passion and style at the time... and you could feel the change occurring, with each passing week. Perhaps the signature win which signified the transition was at Indy early in 2000. Peyton was coming of age and the Colts were supposed to be one of the teams in the AFC. We got down early (21-0) but then regrouped and outscored them 38-10 down the stretch. I remember thinking we hadn't done that on the road against a playoff caliber team in years... boy did it feel good.

I do think they both had a spark that is missing from this current duo (at least on the surface). But, as you pointed out, brash behavior just for the sake of theater can be equally ineffective... just ask Jet fans about their boy Rexie.

That being said I'd like to see more emotional response from Palmer. I agree he appears to be calm and cool no matter the circumstance... but that feels dangerously close to a lack of urgency at times, especially since we play spend the majority of our time playing from behind.

Perhaps the big difference between Palmer and Gannon is that Gannon had a certain chip on his shoulder having finally being given his opportunity to prove himself? His energy and commitment were so contagious... remember the stories about throwing rocks at Gruden's office window at 4am?

Whereas Palmer may feel like his career has been a success already? He has been to 2 pro bowls, won a Heisman and a college national championship. Perhaps not the same recipe for desire this late in a career.

Its hard to be critical given he's essentially been the sole source of optimism on offense... still to your point, i think a more commanding, fiery leadership presence would help move the process along.

For DA, I like a lot of things. Seems like he has wisdom beyond his years. He is sharp and to the point in his communication style and seems to stay the course and remain consistent in his approach. I think we are back on the right the right track overall… just don’t want to have to wait 5 yrs for it to come to fruition.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous 5er said...

Back when we were 1-4, I remember thinking that if we could somehow regroup and get to 5-5 that it would be a new season heading into the home stretch. Den is 1 game better then I thought right now and we are one game worse. Still, I feel like this is within reach.

Anyone out there thinking we have a chance today? Last time we won a road game in the Eastern Time Zone against a tough, playoff caliber team? Thinking Gradkowski over PIT in 09'?? Perhaps we can catch lightning here...

If we are still in the hunt in December it will come down to the tie breaker scenarios. This one will surely work in our favor (as will the win over Pit).

The deck appears to be stacked against us for sure but come on boys find your way out of the darkness for us!

OAK 17-13.

10:18 AM  
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