Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Oakland Raiders Should Fire Tom Walsh - Offense Is Terrible
When Art Shell was named the Raiders new (returning) Head Coach, there was speculation regarding who he would select as his offensive coordinator. Some journalists pointed to a person "lurking around" Raiders Headquaters named Tom Walsh, and whom has not coached NFL football since 1994.
Shell hired Tom Walsh (pictured), who ran a bed and breakfast and was mayor of the Iowa town it was in.
It's this long time away from the pro game that made Tom Walsh-Not-Bill a big question mark for the Raiders. I immediately wondered if Walsh was brought in because he would faithfully install the old Raiders offense of the 70s and without question -- or the desire to place in new ideas all his own. Only time would tell.
Well, time's talking and what it's saying isn't good at all. It's saying that Tom Walsh's system -- even in its watered down pre-season fashion -- is a failure and the weakest link of the team.
Well, take a look at this video summary of the Oakland Raiders this year, and pay attention to the passing game:
Watch how the Raiders offensive line pass blocks in plays that don't have play action -- where run-like blocking is used. The Raiders linemen retreat, read, then hit. That's not the style that's considered "in vogue" in today's NFL. The league's full of o-line blocking techniques where the line actually fires out as if the play were a run, when it's a five-step or even seven-step pass. Fomer Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons line coach Alex Gibb is best known for this style of blocking. A variation of it was used as far back as with Don Coryell when he coached the San Diego Chargers. And it's a basic part of Bill Walsh's offense.
The point of this style is to create separation between the quarterback and the offensive line and thus keeps the defenders off the QB. The idea is simply that the defenders don't get that running start they're used to.
Well, not so with the 2006 Oakland Raiders.
Watch the video and you will see example after example of Raiders offensive linemen retreating and having defensive line people crash into them -- and collapse the pass pocket, resulting in hurries, sacks, and interceptions. It's the reason why Raiders QB Aaron Brooks completed 2 of 9 passes and Raiders Second QB Andrew Walter was intercepted twice.
Also watch the video and you'll see the Raiders force-feed a steady diet of deep passes to the Vikings, with only the occasional pass to the running back in the flat, and even then after the wide receivers have been scanned by the quaterback. All the Viking have to do is play their zone six-yards deeper than normal -- just as opponents did against the Raiders and the LA Rams in the 70s.
It's these aspects of the Raiders offense that need to change, and before the season starts. I will go a step beyond that and assert that the Raiders need to fire Tom Walsh and hire someone like Hue Jackson, whom I've written about.
My call for Tom Walsh to be fired is not popular with some Raiders fans , (well, not all of them) but as the season wears on, I'll have a lot of voices joining me, including that of Randy Moss, himself. In fact, Adam Schefter of the NFL Network has already commented on what others in the league are saying about Walsh.
Just watch and listen.