FPC Raiders Forum: The Guenther Effect

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Oakland Raiders DC Paul Guenther

After a rather disappointing Sunday loss, the Oakland Raiders must look at what happened and find the problem. From the outside, Paul Guenther’s scheme and strategy appear to be the major culprit. Granted, the Chiefs do employ a high-powered offense. Yet, every offensive outburst needs a corresponding defensive breakdown. FPC Raiders writers Ray Aspuria and Terrance Biggs discuss how Guenther needs to improve his plan.

 Where is your level of confidence in Paul Guenther and what would you do to change the scheme? 

Aspuria

Eroding as quickly as Jon Gruden’s confidence in Obi Melifonwu. Good coaches elevate player skills and performance regardless of talent level and, while the Kansas City Chiefs are superior to the Raiders in both coaching and talent, you expect more from a defensive coordinator who was handed a player/coach in Vontaze Burfict and a veteran slot man in Lamarcus Joyner. 

The players waxed poetic about how the team is much more sound in Guenther’s scheme and it was miscommunication that costs them dearly against the Chiefs. 

More notably, Joyner said the miscommunication and error-prone play came from zone scheme with the defenders playing much better in the single-high man scheme. 

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First change — listen to the players. Good coaches adjust their schemes to play to the player’s strengths, not ram their ideology down player’s throats. 

Another change that should occur yesterday is in-quarter adjustments. Kansas City defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo adjusted in the second quarter to the Raiders offense with a group just as, if not less, talented than the Raiders defense. So, it can be done. 

Biggs

In all honesty and candor, I have little faith in Paul Guenther to turn the defense around. The best coordinators tailor their scheme to the talent on the roster, not vice versa. Some claim the Raiders are undermanned. Well, they could be. However, Guenther actually has pieces to work with. First, do not lineup Tahir Whitehead on a running back, split wide. That is to say, drop a linebacker and keep a safety in. Travis Kelce gashed the Raiders. As Ray mentioned, enough with zone. at least attempt to run some sort of man. More importantly, if the front four stagnates, dial up a blitz. Any sort of pressure would help the Raiders immensely. Lastly, get creative. Maybe slide Ferrell inside on passing downs, use a NASCAR package to put heat on the passer.

Given these points, the Raiders need Paul Guenther to change some of the plan. With a run heavy Vikings team to play, the time to change is now.

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