As we look to the Raiders’ next game, they will face off against the Denver Broncos. One of the areas where this team absolutely needs to improve is with their second half adjustments. The Raiders fell flat in the second half. They did not have any answers for the Rams’ adjustments. The failure to adjust falls on the coaching staff. Gruden needs to prove that he still has it. As we move into Sunday, here are the keys to a Raiders’ win.

Toughness in the Trenches

Looking in the trenches, the Raiders interior offensive line held their own against Donald and Suh. That ranks as the toughest challenge they will face all season. Donald Penn struggled, and this will continue to be expected. Kolton Miller, on the other enjoyed a mostly quiet debut. If the Raiders win Sunday,  Miller and Penn need to give Carr more than the two seconds. Carr did not trust his tackles to keep him clean and it showed.As a result, he rushed throws and failed to extend plays. The Raiders tackles will face the formidable tasks in Bradley Chubb and Von Miller.

Will Oakland be able to generate a pass rush?

The Raiders’ lack of a pass rush emerged early. Jared Goff looked cool and collected as he picked them apart. Arden Key flashed early, his speed around the edge looked special. However, Key is still learning how to apply pressure consistently. Also, becoming a stout run defender. Bruce Irvin provided some pressure, but the Raiders’ defense missed Mack throughout the contest.

Ultimately, the Raiders failed to pressure Goff consistently. As we look forward to next week’s matchup against the Denver Broncos, Oakland’s best option will be to aim to shut down Denver’s run game. Denver will heavily depend on its backs to win games. Look for defensive coordinator Paul Guenther to stack the box and dare Keenum to beat them. Denver’s runners looked solid against a Seattle defense. With Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman each tallying fifteen carries, Denver committed to the run. Nevertheless, the Raiders defense contained Gurley early on, before faltering down the stretch.

Can the Raiders Secondary Thrive?

As the saying goes a :good pass rush will mask a bad secondary.” Oakland has serious questions in both areas. First round pick Gareon Conley impressed, and Gilchrist made some solidplays form the nickel, but the rest of the secondary struggled. Melvin and Cromartie were both burned deep by Cooks. Each committed up pass interference penalties to avoid giving up long touchdowns. Reggie Nelson remains a liability. Look for Karl Joseph to take the field as the Raiders try to avoid getting beat deep. Denver may not employ a franchise quarterback, but they have a solid trio of receivers in Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and rookie Courtland Sutton.

Raiders’ Offense Leads the Way

One of the things that immediately caught my attention in watching the debut of Jon Gruden’s Raiders was the physicality they brought to the table.  Gruden meant it, when he talked about taking the Raiders team back. Gruden wants his team to play with attitude and use Marshawn Lynch to batter defense.

Speaking of Marshawn Lynch, he opened the game with a powerful touchdown run, and he looks to have returned to form after an underwhelming return to Oakland. As the Rams got started on offense, Melvin absolutely mugged Cooks forcing an incompletion, and the Raiders were able to force the explosive Rams offense to punt. While the wide receivers had a quiet night, Cook had a career night. If the Raiders want to come out of Denver with a win, the receivers will have to be more involved going forward.

Perhaps Gruden felt that the Raiders needed that third option, after all. Yesterday, Oakland announced that they re-signed Martavis Bryant. Rumored suspension aside, Bryant could provide a boost. Seth Roberts, while he has his moments, is not a reliable third option for this offense. Bryant is a , deep threat that Gruden can use to take shots down the field. This Sunday, Carr must be willing to take shots. In that case, expect Gruden to work to help restore Carr’s confidence.

Looking at the way these teams match up, Denver is built to win with physicality. The Raiders need to set the tone early on and then jump to a lead. In return, they can force Keenum to beat them vertically. Last season, corner Aqib Talib figured in as a key factor in Denver shutting down Oakland’s aerial attack. Without him, expect Cooper to see multiple targets, early and often. The Oakland receivers should give the defense fits,after a quiet debut. The Broncos’ secondary lost too much talent. If the game turns into a shootout, it works to the Raiders’ benefit. As a result, Carr and the Raiders should be able to win this game.

 

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