Another week, another disheartening display of football. It’s getting harder and harder to justify and defend this regime as they continue to show a lack of improvement from week to week. It’s beginning to feel as though this coaching staff simply does not care about winning games and here are a few reasons to support that case.
PERSONNEL GROUPINGS AND INACTIVES :
For the third straight week we have rolled out the same aging vet defensive tackle group of John Jenkins and Bilal Nichols, both of whom are just not creating any disruption or pressure up the middle of our defense. We continue to see these two get thrown out of their lanes in the run game and generating no QB pressures on passing downs. We still have our younger more explosive option Nesta Jade Silvera remain inactive in favor of the same production we’ve seen to this point, which isn’t much. That also goes for our safety position, primarily Trevon Moehrig who has missed multiple assignments to date. His tackling is what he has been praised for since his coverage has been lacking, however the whiffed attempt to tackle Najee Harris on Sunday Night was pitiful. What should have been a tackle at the line of scrimmage turned into a 7-8 yard carry as he lowered his head with lazy execution. Leading to another player that we should activate and see what we have, Chris Smith II. We have to allow these changes for young guys to try and contribute as the vets are just not getting it done. Why are we not seeing this change yet?
UNDESIRABLE QB PLAY :
When we acquired Jimmy G this offseason he was supposed to provide consistent and reliable game management to this offense, however after three games he continues to look lost in many scenarios. It is always a process to learn new teammates, but the playbook and flow of the offense should not look this bad with his previous experience in this system. While it’s not all Jimmy’s fault as some play calling and lack of rushing attack can also be attributed to this result, one thing that is solely on him is his inability to read the field and keep his receivers upright. This is three games consecutively where he leads a receiver into a brutal hit while trying to secure a pass, most recent was the hit Davante received after being crushed over the middle of the field. Although he did manage to hop back to his feet and line up on the ensuing play, showing toughness and dedication to his team. Outside of the bad ball placement resulting in these hits, he’s also thrown some ugly INTs this season. Sunday saw him force one over the middle going to his second read late, then another after he was folded like a lawn chair making him timid in the pocket for the remainder of the game. If things don’t improve soon, chants for AO4 are going to grow louder (if they haven’t already). This change could come as early as this week as it was recently reported that Jimmy is currently in concussion protocol, which may allow us to see what we have in the rookie who went 26/36 for 304 yards and 3 TD’s in pre-season action. If nothing materializes, eyes can be set on next years deep QB class in the draft.
QUESTIONABLE PLAY CALLING AND NON-ADJUSTMENTS :
It appears that our coaching staff has been outclassed again in play calling and making the proper adjustments in game or at the half time break which has been the largest reason for the teams lack of success thus far. Yet again, once our scripted plays have concluded we seem to try and freestyle the rest of the game and hope for a big play which is a recipe for disaster. We got away from the running game early this in this one, splitting Josh Jacobs out wide on multiple plays, leaving an empty backfield. Although Josh had a modest day with 62 yards on 17 carries, we were able to use play action off of those for some easy and chain moving passes. However once the sacks started to pile up we went away from that as well. The worst call of the game came with under 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter when we decided to take a field goal instead of taking a shot for the go ahead score from the 8 yard line in the red zone. Down by a touchdown and 2 point conversion, it was later stated by coach McDaniels that we needed “multiple possessions” to secure victory, which in my opinion shows either a decision to concede or lack of understanding for the situation including game/clock management, either way this message will surely loose players in the locker room. You play to win, not to put up unnecessary statistics that won’t help in doing so.
UNFORTUNATE MISCUES AND MISSED OPPORTUNITIES :
Every game has some plays you’d wish to have back, and the glaring one from this contest was the disappointing dropped INT by Marcus Peters that would have been a walk in pick six. Players of his caliber don’t typically miss these opportunities and that’s one that definitely would have changed the landscape of this game. Offensively we missed on a huge play where Jimmy totally lost Jacoby Meyers wide open in the seam for what would have been a touchdown and could have bridged the gap in our deficit. Other miscues include the terrible missed calls by the officials, most being the blatant holding call on Pittsburgh’s 72 yard TD. This was not a simple “tug” of a jersey, as our guy was grabbed by the horse collar from behind that should have been an obvious call. Then there were the two pass interference penalties that were thrown but later picked up as no calls similar to last weeks game, although one was a clean hit on Davante as earlier mentioned, to be fair. Again we can’t rely on the referees or place blame, but can’t help but notice the disadvantage we get on these calls on game day, adding more emphasis of getting better play calls in for the team to execute without the need of such calls.
PATIENCE WEARING THIN :
Many of us in the fan base have been optimistic and patient with the regime and the process, I myself am finding it difficult to have positives to write about this team outside of Adams and Crosby who give it their all only to see this type or performance. As one of the most loyal fans bases in sports, we all simply deserve better. Although it’s still early in the season, hope for a better tomorrow shrink by the day. It would not be surprising for a QB change to occur soon given the pressure that will be put on the coaching staff to do so and the fact that the rookie most likely can’t be worse in the current situation we find ourselves in offensively. Likewise the defense could use a bit of shuffling and influx of young, yet inexperienced talent that needs to be evaluated and may be the only way for these coaches to salvage any chance of retaining their current status with the organization. One thing for sure is we cannot be middle of the pack giving ourselves average collateral going into next years draft and offseason. We either need to win games and prove these coaches right, or the coaches need to be seriously evaluated and make the determination that this may be a lost season and start from scratch. Another season of the same with no change will surely have Raider Nation calling for the firing of everyone, and possibly the sale of the franchise to a more capable owner.