Monday, August 13, 2007
Last year at almost this time, I called for then-Oakland Raiders Offensive Coordinator Tom Walsh to be fired. The problems with the offense were simple: terrible and outdated blocking schemes, passing plays that contained the 70s style of deep patterns, lack of formation variation, and inflexibility.
Many Raiders fans wanted my head, but I stuck to my point.
The result with new Raiders head coach Lane Kiffin is not just an up-to-date offense, but many of the problems I identified -- ok, all of them -- are gone. What's in place is the kind of offense that I have wanted the Raiders to install for years. It's only the first game of preseason, and yet the Raiders offense is getting rave reviews and deservedly so.
Let's review why.
It's simplictic to write "the blocking is better." What's better is that the linemen aren't being asked to hold blocks for a long time. What's better is that the timing of the pass patterns are matched with the kind of block the linemen are asked to make. And what's better is that the Raiders are using a variety of pass patterns, including one of my favorites where the receiver just turns to the quarterback and waits for the pass, because the cornerback's about 10 yards off of him.
Last year, the Raiders didn't seem to understand that there were a ton of different ways to line up and create mismatches. Not so this year. The Raiders employed about 45 formation for the first game of preseason this year. Many of the sets were simple, and use of the shotgun was intelligent. What I'm getting at is the Silver and Black's going to present more complex approaches as the year goes on.
What's the point of all this? The defense can't zero in and stop the attack based on one concept -- there's too much to deal with for a defensive coordinator.
3) Pass Patterns.
As I stated before, pass patterns are more varied by far. It means more ways to get the receivers and backs opens. It means more ways to move the ball through the air.
In closing, the Raiders offense is not just better, it's much better. This is a credit to Coach Kiffin and Coach Knapp as well as The Raiders organization for making a bold step when it was needed.