On the site and many ootghers, Jon Gruden endured fair criticism for specific aspect. With money spent on linemen and receivers, and draft capital on skill positions, the Raiders offense looked pedestrian. Granted, the completion numbers for Derek Carr remain high, but the innovation, freedom and boldnbess lacked. Before the Colts game, the Raiders didn’t scare anyone. Now, with eight quarters of solid playcalls, the tide, albeit briefly, turned. Also, Tom Cable endured his share of slings and arrows. With an superlative effort versus the Bears, , perceptions changed. FPC Raiders writers Ray Aspuria and Terrance Biggs break down why.
In the last two weeks you saw more aggressive playcalling from Gruden, what did you like, dislike or indifferent about?
This is what happens when players execute. That 97-yard drive to win the game was a perfect example of scheme perfectly blending with execution. The fake punt was almost disastrous. But after that, the Gruden O was darting its way up field. The play call and execution on 3rd-and-1 that saw rookie tight end Foster Moreau sneak out for a big gain was brilliant. The dime Derek Carr threw to Moreau later to get the Raiders to the 2-yard line was scintillating. Then Josh Jacobs 2-yard dive — following fullback Alec Ingold’s own missile dive — into the end zone for the TD was awesome.
Gruden’s playbook is much more vibrant when his player’s execute — plain and simple.
In all honesty, it feels like comfort. While Antonio Brown did not pan out, Gruden needed to do something, anything. The Raiders need that aggressive playcalling because teams know they want to pound the ball. By nature, teams will roll up into the box. Oakland must make them pay.
Although Tom Cable received criticism in years past, the OL showed improvement. Where do you see the most improvement?
Cohesiveness. The unit, even cobbled together at times, has stayed together and succeeded together. Last year, when one cog fell off (a hobbled Kolton Miller, for example), the trench warriors were scuttled. This season, relatively healthy, the unit has been straight up dominant. As Gruden said in the postgame presser, no one is talking about the Raiders OL. The group is big, surprisingly nimble and is the backbone of Gruden’s smashmouth offense. The ability to deteriorate opposing defense’s will with a brutally barbaric power run helps the passing game immensely.
Veterans. On a line with just one younger player, the Raiders look to rely upon veterans like Trent Brown and Rodney Hudson. Now, we all know that Hudson is the cornerstone of the line. If you add in Brown and a hopefully calmer Incognito, the Raiders have veterans. Meanwhile, when Gabe Jackson returns, the four of them can mentor Kolton Miller.