From time to time, the Raiders encounter a defense that plays right into their hands, but will also give them fits. With accuracy, the Packers’ scheme fits this notion without fail. For four quarters, the Raiders can thrive or be absolutely overwhelmed by the Packers defense. In itself, that presents a conundrum. Today, we will focus on the secondary.
If you are looking for a coach that is made for a coordinator spot, but not a head coach, Mike Pettine fits the bill. Armed with a 10-22 coaching record, Pettine’s expertise arrives on the defense. First, he’s inventive and drafts players specifically to fit his scheme. On the other hand, he can make chicken salad out of you-know-what. Now, he has the roster that he prefers. Four times, his defenses ranked in the top ten in points and yards. More importantly, Pettine’s defense finished in the top ten in takeaways, a mind-boggling six times.
From his three previous stops, Pettine established a scheme that generates pressure. As a result, turnovers occur, putting the Packers in prime position. He places the onus on the back four to make plays versus the pass and run.
While the pass rush is the backbone of any defense, Pettine pays special attention to the back four. He splits the corners into different roles. On one side, look for a press man corner that solely uses that technique to stay with the opposing wideout. In this version of the Packers’ defense, Jaire Alexander occupies that role. A slick cover guy, Alexander’s ability to stay hip-to-hip, regardless of route , remains elite. On the other side, Kevin King, due to his length, will incorporate a combination of press man and zone. Standing 6’3”, King brings the ability to muscle wideouts.
In Pettine’s scheme, the Raiders may catch a break. Rookie standout Darnell Savage twisted his ankle versus the Cowboys. Savage should remind Oakland of Karl Joseph. Despite his small stature, Savage will blitz, sit in the box and act as a bandit/robber safety. If Savage cannot go, Will Redmond will occupy that role. Although not as athletic as Savage, Redmond won’t take many chances. Meanwhile on the other side, Adrian Amos will operate as the single high safety. Amos brings the ability to jar receivers and patrol the deep middle.
How to Attack
When the Raiders line up, Derek Carr needs to feed Darren Waller and Foster Moreau. In the Eagles game, Philadelphia targeted tight ends eleven times. Plus, with Tyrell Williams’ status uncertain, the Raiders need the tight ends to target the middle of the field. Also, with a single high safety, the hope remains that Derek Carr can stretch the field, forcing the Packers’ safeties to choose a side. In essence, the Oakland Raiders can thrive versus the Packers secondary. Derek Carr needs to get aggressive.