Sunday, December 06, 2015

Guest Take & Gameday Thread

Here's a rousing Guest Take from The 5er, consider this the gameday thread as we compare what we read here with what happens on the field today:

A DEFINING MOMENT

Greetings NATION...

I know most everyone is reasonably pleased with the progress we've made this season. With a seemingly strong and steady figure as a coach, 5 wins under our belt, and some very good young talent on the field, there is plenty of reason for optimism about the future trajectory for this group. Obviously the QB position being most critical, I think we all see the potential for finally having a franchise guy that lead us to be competitive for years to come.

However, this week is about NOW. It would be hard to overstate the magnitude of this game. For all intents and purposes this is our playoff game. The last time we had anything resembling this magnitude of a game was the final, painful loss to the chargers in 11’ that triggered the implosion of the franchise and the 4 year rebuild process that brings us back to today.

“… and when a defining moment comes along… either you define the moment, or the moment defines you”   Roy Mcavoy – Tin Cup

Our defining moment is upon us. The implications are numerous, but more importantly it's about finding out who this team REALLY is at this moment in time. Legitimate playoff contender? Or mediocre bottom feeder that's only capable of picking up wins against the handful of teams who are in even more disarray? Well we're about to find out.

THE GOOD

If you're looking for half full, we have seen plenty of reason for optimism in victories over SD, NYJ, and even BAL at the time. We opened up the playbook and put some pretty good defenses on their heels. At times it seemed like we could do whatever we wanted... However we wanted to do it. We haven't looked that explosive since games where Hue was calling plays.

THE BAD

Conversely, if it's half empty, we have had an equal number of flops... Starting with the dud against CIN (which is more forgivable after watching how consistently explosive they've been all year). Then aside from the PIT game, we have looked mediocre, or worse, against the majority of the middle to above average teams on our schedule. Furthermore, at the end of the day our 5 wins are against teams with a combined record of 17-38.

KEYS TO VICTORY

1. MUSGRAVE’S GAMEPLAN
Open the frickin playbook back up. For 3 consecutive weeks we put defenses on their heels with an attacking style of offense we haven't seen in recent years. We were creative and up tempo and completely dictating the action. A balance of steadily moving the chains and also hitting big plays.  It looked like we were finally comfortable pulling the training wheels off and letting our young thoroughbreds run at full speed. Coincidentally, we compiled well over 400 yds/gm and scored in the mid 30's each time. And keep in mind NYJ and PIT own 2 of the better defenses in the AFC.

Then somewhat mysteriously, over the last 3 weeks it looks like we have regressed considerably. Conservative, predictable situational play calling, lots of under center/base formations, and listless tempo have made it exceedingly difficult to find the end zone... Averaging only 17 pts/gm over that span.

Carr is CLEARLY more comfortable in the gun, with a fast tempo, spread the field out type of game plan. Put him in a position to maximize his talents. When we've done this, we've looked unstoppable...

2. PASS TO SET UP THE RUN
We've been overly stubborn and predictable in the running game during this offensive drought. This is a passing league and we finally have a guy who can do it with a high level of consistency. When we were throwing it well and dictating the tempo, the running game was carving up 6-8 yard chunks almost routinely. I'm sure the loss of Hudson is a big factor here, but I still think we've tried to be a run first team of late... And the results have been disastrous.

3. DON’T TRY AND BEAT THEM AT THEIR GAME
In the image of Andy Reid, The Chiefs are built to win close, physical, grind you down type games. They bring a very balanced offense with a game manager in Smith. They stay on the field and control the clock with a run for 150, pass for 200 type game plan, minimizing mistakes. Their attacking defense has been the key, forcing 14 turnovers in their 5 game winning streak.

To get hung up in a conservative, keep it close, 20-17 type game plays right into their hand and is a big mistake.

Come out high tempo and attack that defense. Pass to set up the run. Reintroduce some creative screen plays to neutralize Hali and co coming hard off the edges. Take a couple big shots to stretch the field. Let them know you will can and will score from anywhere. Try to post a number in the 30's and put your defense in position to play with a lead. Making Smith a little more one-dimensional gets him out of his comfort zone.

4. BELIEVE
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, it's time to BELIEVE. In every great journey or resurgence, there is a defining moment where you have to step up and say we CAN do it, even though history dictates otherwise. THIS is that moment for this team. The Nation will be out in full force to defend you. The atmosphere will be electric. It's time to embrace the magnitude of the moment and change the trajectory of the franchise.

Coincidentally, the last time this happened was also against the Chiefs. Remember back in 99' when a resurgent Gannon led team rolled into Arrowhead on the final week of the year and bounced the Chiefs from the playoffs in OT.  That game was a DEFINING moment. It changed the trajectory of the franchise for the next several years. A win today can do the same. You have the necessary physical tools... This is more about who you are on the inside and what you believe you're capable of doing.

Impose your will on this team. Play with an attitude. Be physical.  I want to see stains on Smiths white jersey and sod in his facemask. On offense, play with high tempo and dictate the action. Spread it out and put them on their heels. I want to hear Papa's voice thundering down from the press box all day... "Touchdown RAIIIIDEERS"

The time is NOW. DEFINE THE MOMENT.

17 Comments:

Blogger nyraider said...

Nicely done, the5er. I agree across the board. This is a defining moment. IMO, the Raiders season rides on this game. Are they going to step up and prove they are ready to make the leap, or are they going to fall back on continuing a process of slow and incremental change that led them to where they are now.

Pass first and stop being so predictable is so true.

Games like this are often dictated by who wants it more. The Chiefs are on a roll. There's no better time for the Raiders to prove they deserve to be listed among the better teams in the AFC.

A win today keeps our slim playoff hopes alive another week.

GO RAIDERS!!

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

the5er!
I'm ready to go out and play now! That has me fired up! Totally agree that this is a defining moment. I think the rest of our schedule is that way. I said it going in to the Pittsburgh game, that the rest of our schedule will define this team. Today, the Raiders and Chiefs are fighting for a potential playoff spot. Raiders, quite frankly, need to win out to do so. I want to see our team play to it's strengths on both sides of the ball. Dominate the game, take what you want, and be a RAIDER!

With that said, no matter what happens today, I do see the progress Reggie and Del Rio has brought to this team. We also see the glaring weaknesses that Reggie has yet to fill (CB, LB, and RB) that will hopefully be addressed soon. Week in and week out, whether they lose or win, the Raiders are playing competitive ball. Exception of Week 1, the Raiders have had every opportunity to win. I believe this is what makes Del Rio and his coaching staff good coaches; they get the most out of the players on the roster. JUST WIN, BABY!

11:46 AM  
Blogger Josh Whellams said...

I like it boys. Just pulled into the coliseum parking lot. The smoke is billowing and the atmosphere is electric!! So good to see. Thanks for your feedback!!

The5er

12:11 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Old Raiders: Chiefs tight end turns upfield instead of advancing easily out of bounds because he knows he can mash and possibly escape wussy tackling.

New Raiders: Chiefs tight end finds out that it's not the old Raiders when he gets locked up and stripped, and then Derek Carr fires a rocket TD to capitalize.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous anthony said...

We are so throwing this game away it's driving me effing crazy. AAARRRGGGHHHH

3:40 PM  
Anonymous anthony said...

I repeat AAAARRRRGGGGGG!

3:48 PM  
Anonymous anthony said...

We were driving to take a 2 score lead and have since decided to find new ways to screw up. Musgrave has not distinguished himself in the 4th quarter to say the least.

4:08 PM  
Blogger Movie_Dave said...

Looks like the same Raiders to me: can't tackle, can't catch, can't finish with the season on the line. I don't care how much "better" we are if the results are the same.

And what, did we think that that playing not to lose was working so well for us in the second half of the last several games that we should make that the gameplan for the whole game? Squandering dominating field position in the first half is inexcusable. One yard passes needing two touchdowns with 3 minutes left is moronic, gutless and pathetic.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carr sucks!!!

6:28 PM  
Blogger Raider fan down under said...

I don't want to read anymore explanations.... Carr is our franchise QB, I believe this - however: he just displayed some 'sorry tendencies' over throwing a wide open Crabtree, muffing the ball under pressure and throwing 'Kapernick like' uncatchable lazer passes. If he can't control these tendencies going forward, we as a team will not be able to move forward from our 50/50 or less seasons for a few more years at best.

Raider fan 'down under'

11:43 PM  
Anonymous anthony said...

Carr got a bit excited I can live with that . Want annoys me is when the chiefs realised all they had to do was blitz 6 or 7 and we were swamped. Where we're the draws or screens or anything to give Carr a chance to make the play he was so desperately trying to conjure up.

1:14 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Very disappointing. Really bad game for Carr, who lost this one all on his own. He got away with a shovel pass while under pressure. That should have been lessoned learned, but a couple plays later he tried again to make something from nothing and threw a costly INT.

His short slant passes seem too hot, and may be what's been causing a rash of drops all year.

The defense played well enough to win. QB pressure, and Woodson.

Raiders new challenge is to avoid another losing season.

4:37 AM  
Anonymous Raider Nate 75 said...

Defining game was eye-opening it what needs to be defined.
#1. A running game. Raiders need a consistent running game to help take the pressure off Derek, making him feel like he has to do this on his own. Young QBs try to make plays when the play is shot. He has to learn to throw it away or take the sack. A solid running game would take away the blitz and relieve this pressure. What's the best way to attack a blitz? Run the ball where the blitz is coming from.
I like Murray, but he is not a starter, but there's a problem when your FBs are more effective running the ball than your RB. I hear Lynch is unhappy in Seattle....

#2. Linebackers. Malcolm Smith, Neiron Ball, and Ben Heeney have been the bright spots, but not enough. Malcolm has issues holding, but he is still better than Curtis Lofton. Raiders need a solid MLB, and they haven't had one since Biekert/Romanowski.

#3. Cornerback. David Amerson is a beast! He plays solid football, bump/jam, and is exciting to watch. TJ Carrie and Hayden are hurting us. TJ started out nice, but he has issues with PI, playing soft (like Hayden). Marcus Peters showed why you play soft yesterday, and that is to get a jump on the pass and pick it. TJ and Hayden do not have the jump on the ball to play soft like they do. They're too worried about being beat deep.

Bergstrom has stepped up nicely as backup Center, but the O-Line needs Hudson back. They looked lost with the blitz coverage yesterday, and that is something that Hudson brings is recognition to change coverage. He's the clear captain of the O-Line, and he's missed. Sure, Bergstrom is getting the job done, but he is not Hudson. Carr fumbled a couple snaps, I wonder if it is from his thumb injury earlier in the season?

The Raiders defined yesterday how close they really are to being dominating. Missing a few key pieces that will be addressed this offseason (hopefully). No matter how they end this season, the one thing for sure is that the dark days of the last decade are beginning to break, and dawn is breaking. JUST WIN, BABY!

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Raider00 said...


This...........is...............the...............slowest...........rebuild.................of.............a............sports......team...............in..........the..........history.........of...............the.............world.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Hah, Raider 00, hard to argue.

The Raiders were 4-12 in Reggie's first year.

Four years into it now, we'll be lucky to finish with seven wins.

At this pace, we might have to wait until 2017, six years in, to finally notch a winning record.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

Postgame take is up.

1:59 PM  
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6:04 AM  

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