Every year around this time something happens in the NFL, but not usually in Oakland. Al Davis had a grip on the Raiders for decades so it hadn’t quite taken root until now. The influence of the Head Coach begins to percolate through the team’s play and demeanor. Hue Jackson is making the Raiders an image of himself. Jackson is aggressive and undisciplined on defense and conservative and bland on offense (outside of “trick plays”). Balance is not on his list of personality traits. Hue Jackson’s inconsistent nature only works if he is actively supervised and held in check. Up until October 8th he was.
Coming into the Kansas City game, dating back to 2009, the Raiders had an 8-game wining streak inside the AFC West. Now, regardless of what the records say, the Raiders are playing the worst football in arguably the worst division in football.
It’s still interesting in Oakland, but the attention Oakland is getting is reminiscent of 2002-2009. Darrius Hayward-Bey was in the midst of proving why he was picked so highly in the draft, was demoted for a veteran who hasn’t played in months. Louis Murphy, who led all Raiders wide receivers in catches and yards over the past two years has been minimized to special teams and mop up duty. Even before Palmer arrival, Kevin Boss was not being used in the passing game.
Defense is all about mentality and Jackson’s lack of balance on offense is dictating the Raiders defensive play. The Raiders held Arian Foster, last year’s NFL leading rusher, to 68 yards with 20 coming on one run. For eight weeks the Raiders only let Fred Jackson, who is the midst of a pro-bowl year, put up more than 100 rushing yards on them. Then the Raiders let Willis McGahee, who was let go by Baltimore and was replaced by Ricky Williams, put up 163 yards rushing and Tim Tebow add 118 more. Most of those yards came from the Raiders inability to stop the same play run over and over. The Raiders undisciplined defense made Tebow and the Denver offense instantly respectable. The Raiders ridiculous penalty problems on defense are no secret.
Hue Jackson is a lot things: he’s fiery, passionate, and usually aggressive at the right time and conservative at the right time. He’s just not balanced or disciplined. The more Jackson shapes his Raiders the more they become like him. There are eight games left and the division is up for grabs, all hope for this season is not lost.
Balance is needed to be consistent in the NFL as balance is one of the few ingredients that playoff contenders have. Just Balance, Baby!