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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Raiders beat Chiefs but Raiders coaches at fault for Jamarcus Russell's passing stats

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The Oakland Raiders beat the Kansas City Chiefs 13 to 10 in a game that the Silver and Black made enough big plays to win. The one negative was the 7 completion for 24 attempt passing stat for Jamarcus Russell, the Raiders star quarterback.

Jamarcus Russell

I've already heard a bunch of comments about Russell, all pointing to his need to throw better. On KPIX Channel Five Dennis O'Donnell (who;s a good guy by the way) said that this is Russell's third year in the league, but really his second because of his 2007 holdout.

No one has pointed a finger at Jamarcus Russell's Oakland Raiders coaches; I will.

The Raiders passing offense is designed by two people: Ted Tollner as "Passing Game Coordinator", and Paul Hackett as "Quarterback Coach". Given that Hackett comes from the Bill Walsh tree of coaches, having served as his offensive assistant with the 49ers, the mistakes that are reflected in Russell's actions are correctable, but also questionable. They're not errors a Bill Walsh Offense team makes.

Let's start with the first obvious problem: the deep pass.

If one looks at any video of a Bill Walsh coached offensive team the one habit that's obvious is the use of "landmarks" on the field. In this case the hashmarks. By contrast, the Raiders don't use them.

In today's game in the third quarter, receiver Louis Murphy was open on a post route that Russell overthrew. Wildly. If Walsh were the coach, Murphy would have ran his pattern to the near side hashmark, and Russell would have thrown to that hashmark yards downfield where Murphy was to be.

Look at this video of the throws from Joe Montana to Jerry Rice when both were with the 49ers. I want you to pay attention to where Rice is running with respect to the hasmarks and where Montana throws the ball with respect to the hashmarks. Notice that Rice is always running to the near side hashmarks, and only once crossing them to the far side hashmarks on a post pattern, and that was in Super Bowl 24. This is repeated again and again, but the point is the hashmarks are used as an landmark. 

I want, not hope, but want the Raiders offensive coaches to watch that video over and over again, along with this next one. It features coach Walsh explaining the basic footwork involved in the basic three-step, five-step, and seven step passes. This is footwork and doesn't change with respect to formation. This is how the ball is delivered.

The poor passing stat from the Chiefs game is not Jamarcus Russell's fault. I contend that he's not well-coached in the art of throwing the ball on time, to a point, to achieve a completion. Part of this is footwork, the other part is play design as many of the plays don't allow a quick pass to the running backs.

The Raiders coaches are at fault for creating a passing system that's not kind to its quarterback and not properly teaching Russell how to throw the football.

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