New offensive coordinator who is this? That’s right; the Oakland Raiders will field a rookie offensive coordinator while many other successful offensive units will benefit from the experience and continuity of keeping the same offensive coordinator. The Titans will hope that offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie can build in his second season as offensive coordinator. What should the Raiders defense expect from the Titans offense and their OC?
Robiskie brings 35 years of coaching experience to the Titans. He helped develop Pro Bowl receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White as the receivers coach from 2008-15. He also held coaching stints with the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins. Robiskie is cut from the Silver and Black tree. From 1982-93, Robiskie held various assistant jobs with the Raiders. He was their offensive coordinator from 1989-93. Oakland drafted him as a player in 1977. Robiskie played two years before finishing his career with the Dolphins.
Last season, Robiskie helped re surge the Titans offense in his first season as coordinator. Tennessee improved to 11th in total offense, third in rushing offense, first in red zone offense, third in third-down offense and seventh in sacks allowed.
Head coach Mike Mularkey called his offensive scheme exotic smashmouth as it combines run-heavy offenses with spread concepts from the modern NFL. Some of that credit should extent to Robiskie as he is bringing some of the concepts the style of football that isn’t too far removed from his Raiders roots. Tennessee wants to run the ball to control the clock and the physicality of the defense before taking big shots down the field via the tight end or outside receiver. Sound familiar?
The Titans have two explosive running backs in Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray. They combined for 159 rushing yards versus the Raiders last season. QB Marcus Mariota added another 22 rushing yards. Tennessee has a strong offensive line behind tackles Jack Conklin and Taylor Lewan, who both graded in PFF’s top ten. Expect both of those players to be leaned on against a Raiders pass rush that is only strong from the outside via Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. A strong zone running game with the Titans three backfield threats could easily neutralize the Raiders rush too.
Oakland is also bad at covering the tight end. That probably won’t improve since the Raiders still have issues at linebacker and safety Obi Melifonwu is already hurt. Tennessee exploits defenses with Delanie Walker, who did not play in last season’s matchup versus the Raiders. Still, last year’s backup Jace Amaro registered 59 receiving yards versus Oakland. Added, the Titans will even use two or three tight ends to create more mismatches via their exotic offense. Expect Tennessee to utilize their athletic tight ends to take advantage of the Raiders defense in this matchup.
The Titans weakest link on offense last season was the receiver position. It seems to have improved through the additions of rookies Corey Davis and Taylor Taywan but it remains to be seen if the rookies can be relied on versus a playoff team like the Raiders. Veterans Eric Decker and Eric Weems should also factor in to the passing game.
Either way, expect to see the Titans take some shots on Sunday. It is only week one and they will look to get their new receivers in rhythm versus the Raiders. The Raiders struggle to create pressure from the middle of the pocket which means the Titans should have time to find receivers deep or move Mariota out of the pocket. Oakland also has some weaknesses in the back end, so expect this Titans offense to try and exploit a Raiders defense that can make mistakes and get beat deep or for penalties. Mariota did throw two picks versus the Raiders last season, but a great outing here could give him a ton of confidence moving forward.
Ultimately, do not expect the Titans to do too many crazy things. Offensively, their best bet is to lean on their bread and butter. Mularkey and Robiskie better lean on their run game to keep the Raiders offense off the field. Their tight ends should see a big workload too. The Titans better find ways to execute on the Raiders defensive mistakes too. Don’t be surprised if you see Robiskie leaning on his roots by taking a few deep offensive shots to the outside. These teams are too evenly matched so it may only take one big offensive play to turn the game. Tennessee will look to find that play via their athletic tight ends and receivers. Can the Raiders stop the Titans strong game plan? We will find out.