Even players such as guard Mike Brisiel can't watch the product the Raiders have on the field. Since they nearly made the playoffs last season, the offense has regressed and the defense – already one of the NFL's bottom feeders – is even worse. Marcio Jose Sanchez Associated Press

No excuses for bad offense, putrid defense

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 4C

ALAMEDA – When the new regime took over the Raiders last January, they inherited an 8-8 team that fell one game shy of the playoffs, featuring a prolific but inconsistent offense and a historically bad defense.

Ten games into the first season under general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen, the offense has taken a big step backward, the defense somehow has regressed, and the Raiders (3-7) are nowhere near the playoff hunt.

Despite the presence of capable quarterback Carson Palmer and big-play running back Darren McFadden, McKenzie and Allen entered a bad situation.

Owner Al Davis' team had fallen into disarray before his death in October 2011, missing the playoffs for nine consecutive seasons.

"I know that we didn't have the talent, at the beginning of the year, to be a Super Bowl team," said Mark Davis, now in charge after his father's death. "I thought that we had definitely potential to get maybe in the playoffs and beat our division. Obviously, that hasn't happened."

Three successive losses, capped by last Sunday's 38-17 home defeat to New Orleans, left the younger Davis so frustrated that he made a rare appearance in the postgame locker room to express his frustration.

McKenzie came in with a long view for building the Raiders under a similar model to the one he worked with during his years in the Green Bay Packers' front office.

With no draft picks until No. 95 overall because of prior trades, Mc-Kenzie couldn't make many additions. The roster's lack of depth is evident. But Allen said he firmly believes his team has talent.

"When you look at it the other way, that's an excuse, that's a crutch to say you can't get it done," Allen said. "I don't believe in that. I believe that we have professional football players, and I believe we can win games."

While lack of depth is a legitimate excuse, some of the Raiders' problems are self-inflicted.

Former coach Hue Jackson developed the Raiders into one of the NFL's better offenses in two seasons. They ranked 10th in the league in scoring and first in rushing over that span.

But the Raiders switched to a zone blocking system and West Coast offense that were not ideal fits for Palmer or McFadden. The Raiders are 22nd in the league in scoring and second-to-last in rushing with a drop of more than 62 yards per game.

Defensive changes were necessary after the Raiders produced franchise worsts last season in touchdown passes allowed (31), yards per carry (5.1), passing yards (4,262) and total yards (6,201), while giving up the third-most points (433) in team history. Allen and coordinator Jason Tarver implemented a defense that players immediately embraced.

But somehow the defense is even worse, allowing five more points per game and recording less than half as many sacks. During the three-game skid, opponents have scored 135 points, the most against the franchise since 1961.

"It definitely hurts," defensive back Michael Huff said. "We'll play in spurts, and we'll be great here and there. But when we're bad, we're real bad. We're horrible."

Curry cut – The Raiders waived linebacker Aaron Curry two weeks after activating him from the physically unable to perform list. He committed two personal fouls in his first game and played only three defensive snaps against New Orleans.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Josh Dubow



Sacramento Bee Job listing powered by Careerbuilder.com
Quick Job Search
Sacramento Bee Jobs »
Buy
Used Cars
Dealer and private-party ads
Make:

Model:

Price Range:
to
Search within:
miles of ZIP

Advanced Search | 1982 & Older

TODAY'S CIRCULARS