By Ryan Leong
It’s hard to think that any player has really stepped up for the Raiders given their 1-3 record.
As a group, the only player who seems to be as consistent as ever is kicker Sebastian Janikowski. Through four games, “Sea Bass” has converted a 51-yard field goal and is 8-for-8 on field goals and 5-for-5 on points after touchdowns.
Other than him, and quarterback Carson Palmer’s overall passing numbers, these stats don’t equate to wins.
Oakland’s offense is ranked 22nd out of 32 teams. Contrast that to a year ago under then-head coach Hue Jackson when the Raiders had the 9th best offense in the league.
Much of the blame goes to offensive coordinator Greg Knapp whose schemes aren’t anything innovative or risk-taking. Much of Oakland’s game plan has been rather conservative, trying to implement a “West Coast Offense” instead of trying for the big vertical pass or run that was a hallmark trait of the team under late owner Al Davis.
Knapp has also been heavily criticized for a zone-blocking scheme that has had difficulty creating holes for running back Darren McFadden. Aside from his one game vs. Pittsburgh where McFadden ran for 113 yards, he hasn’t run for more than 34 yards in any other game.
Defensively, the Raiders aren’t getting the job done there either, ranking 29th.
The Raiders need better production both from McFadden and at wide receiver. They do have receiver Denarius Moore back and he has great potential. He had one great catch against the Broncos that went for a 37-yard gain.
Oakland had to play one game without Darrius Heyward-Bey, who suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter of the win over Pittsburgh. Heyward-Bey remains the only other deep threat. Derek Hagan is the third receiver on a injury-depleted Oakland squad.
What seems to be evident so far is that the Raiders are having problems scoring points. Other than the 34-31 win over the Steelers, the Raiders have scored a total of 33 points in the other three games. Oakland will have to score an average of 27 points or more to have a good shot at winning any game.
Another glaring problem is the third quarter. The Raiders were outscored 21-0 at Denver and overall this season have been outscored 55-7.
Although defensive end Andre Carter was signed to a contract, he was held out from the game at Denver and should be active for the first game at Atlanta after the bye week.
Dennis Allen in his rookie season has coached like a rookie head coach. His team is consistently getting outcoached and outplayed on the field. Allen knows it starts with him to fix the problems.
“We’re all disappointed. Nobody set out this season to be 1-3 at this point. Yeah, there’s disappointment, but our guys, like I said before, we showed that we could battle against Pittsburgh. We’re going to continue to battle here and we’ve got to focus in on getting better and taking it one game at a time. The next team we’re ready for is Atlanta. We’re going to prepare for them, get ready for them and then we’ll see what happens the rest of the year.”
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Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.