Two “ill-advised” interceptions slowed down the Derek Carr hype train, didn’t it? A week after surgically neutering the potent Denver Broncos defense, the Carr and the Raiders offense ran into (a surprising) buzzsaw known as the Steve Spagnuolo defense. The oft-ridiculed defensive coordinator captained an inspired defensive effort, one that Raiders D-boss Paul Guenther couldn’t match.
(Full disclosure: Never thought I’d ever write Spags getting the best of Paulie G, but, here we are).
While there was plenty of awful in the Raiders’ loss to the Chiefs, there’s stuff Oakland will want to maintain as the team embarks on a brutal road stretch (the team won’t be at back at the Coliseum until Nov. 3 against the Detroit Lions).
1. Assertive Carr. Derek Carr changed the play at the line of scrimmage in back-to-back weeks with the intent to get the ball to Tyrell Williams, but there was no joy against Kansas City as the endzone fade he audibled to resulted in his first pick of the day. The Raiders need their quarterback to remain steadfast and bold because we’ve seen a jittery and happy-feet indecisive Carr and it’s not pretty. Besides, all all-out Carr will help detractors get more fuel to the “he’s not the guy” fire.
2. Giving Josh Jacobs the ball. The rookie tailback showed the requisite speed, power and toughness to merit workhorse status and it was clear that Gruden would’ve handed him the rock if not for cramps. It’s up to Jacobs and the training staff to ensure he’s both properly stretched and hydrated. The Raiders can ill afford to have their thoroughbred couped up in the stable.
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3. Giving Benson Moyawa snaps. The veteran defensive end played a mere 18 snaps in the loss, however, he leads the team through two games with 3.5 sacks. Gruden notes Mayowa makes the most of both snaps and practice reps and the Raiders would be wise to keep him in the rotation, limited snaps or not.
1. Miscommunication. Whether on defense or offense, the Raiders need to all be on the same page. Miscues on both sides of the ball (Williams missing Carr’s signal on the audible from run to pass) to getting shred when in zone defense (because of the lack of talking) the Raiders aren’t good enough to overcome one mishap. Said mistake snowball into an avalanche known as ineptitude.
2. Lack of in-quarter adjustments. I’m coming back to Spags on this one. The beleagured defensive boss saw his unit flat-footed as the Raiders took a 10-0 lead and dialed up his crew to shut out Carr and Co. the rest of the way. Guenther did the same, after KC plowed Oakland missionary style to the tune of 28 unanswered points. Paulie G needs in-quarter adjustments rather than halftime ones. Because by that point, it’s too little, too late.
3. Not targeting Darren Waller early. The Raiders dynamic tight end is a matchup nightmare. He didn’t receive targets until the game was in hand for KC. The targets should come early and often for No. 83 as defensive backs have issues keeping up with him.