Raiders take a step back offensively

Published: Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 7C
Last Modified: Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012 - 7:30 am

OAKLAND – Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp is too busy trying to score touchdowns to listen to critics.

"I've been in this business long enough to know if you're not winning, or if you're not moving the ball or scoring points, you're going to get criticized," the former Sacramento State quarterback and assistant coach said. "I was in San Francisco for nine years when they were finishing up the run of five Super Bowls.

"Even then, when they were winning, you couldn't win well enough. There's always going to be criticism. That's part of the job."

By any statistical measure, the Raiders (3-10) have regressed on offense in 2012.

Entering today's game against the Kansas City Chiefs (2-11) at O.co Coliseum, scoring is down to 19.1 points per game after averaging 22.4 in 2011 and 25.6 in 2010 with Hue Jackson running the offense.

After scoring 37 offensive touchdowns in 2010 and 36 in 2011, the Raiders have 25 touchdowns this season. With three rushing touchdowns, the Raiders are ranked last in the NFL. In 2010 and 2011, they had 35 rushing touchdowns in 32 games.

Coach Dennis Allen, who hired Knapp to overhaul the offense from one with a power-based running game with drop-back passing to a West Coast scheme with a moving pocket and zone blocking, said he has no regrets.

"There's been a lot of change, and when there is a lot of change, sometimes you don't get the results you're looking for right away," Allen said. "But when you believe in something and you stick to it and know it's the right plan, it ends up working out."

Allen would get an argument from the fans on social media, with Knapp ranking as public enemy No. 1 on Facebook and Twitter. They feel the Raiders switched from an offensive system that worked reasonably well to one that doesn't necessarily suit the talent on the roster.

"I'm a firm believer in the scheme," Knapp said. "I've been to too many places and had too much experience to (not) know it's a productive scheme. You'd much rather have a coach come in and teach what he knows best than have someone try and teach a system that he doesn't know at all."

Knapp said position changes and injuries have played a role in the offensive difficulties.

Stefen Wisniewski missed much of training camp with a calf injury and moved from left guard to center. Right guard Cooper Carlisle moved to left guard to make way for free agent Mike Briesel, and Khalif Barnes was replaced by Willie Smith for seven games because of a groin injury.

Running back Darren McFadden and backup Mike Goodson each missed four games with high ankle sprains. Returning wide receivers had to learn a new system and were joined by rookies Juron Criner and Rod Streater.

Note – The Chiefs put star wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (ribs) on injured reserve, ending his season and potentially his up-and-down career in Kansas City.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jerry McDonald



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