As the rain fell on Sunday night in Miami, the Raiders faced off against the Dolphins in one of the more interesting games of the weekend. On a night where both teams played sloppy, the Raiders offense showed flashes. On the other side of the ball, the defense made Jay Cutler and Miami’s tandem of running backs look like stars, with missed tackles and a bevy of penalties. As a result, continually bailing out and keeping Miami in the game well into the 4th quarter. Needless to say, the defense is one of; if not the main problems the Raiders will have to work on in their bye week.
While Derek Carr looked sharp throughout the night, and Marshawn Lynch finally looked like the Beast-Mode of old, it’s becoming blatantly obvious that Todd Downing and the offense isn’t the problem. The Raiders have an NFL best, twelve offensive touchdowns of 20+ yards, which is very surprising as it seemed as though a few weeks ago the offense was getting questioned as to why the passing wasn’t opening up. Well, that is no longer a question, and it looks like Todd Downing is learning quickly on the job. One negative for the offense on Sunday, was again, the drops. It seems as though the receivers haven’t shook their past demons when it comes to that particular aspect, which needs to be addressed and made a focal point going forward.
Another focus for the defense needs to produce takeaways. The Raiders are the only team that doesn’t have a take-away heading into week 10. Week 10! The secondary is one of the weakest points of the defense, though that’s unlikely to change until after the season. I suspect that part of the team will have the most turnover and will look completely different heading into the 2018 season.
One of the biggest problems that need to be addressed is the lack of help for Khalil Mack as well. Opposing teams double-team him and render him in-effective while the opposite side and the defensive tackles rarely get any push or pressure on the quarterback. The Raiders defensive scheme leaves much to be desired and allow even mediocre quarterbacks career nights. (See Jay Cutler). The bye week shouldn’t just be a week to evaluate on-the-field talent but Reggie McKenzie and Jack Del Rio should evaluate their assistants and see if they are doing their job. The bye week gives a little extra time for self-reflection for the Raiders, as the latter half of the season is even more of a gauntlet than the former, starting with the Patriots next Sunday in Mexico City.