The Biggest Early Season Storylines for the Oakland Raiders in Week 3

Ray GarciaContributor IIISeptember 19, 2012

The Biggest Early Season Storylines for the Oakland Raiders in Week 3

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    Going into Week 3 of the NFL and it is already panic time for the Oakland Raiders and Raider Nation.

    The rushing offense is, frankly, offensive. The defense has yet to show it can even slow down the run.

    After two weeks of questions and heartaches, let’s take a look at some of the early Oakland Raider story lines of the 2012 season.

Offensive Results with Zone Blocking Run Game

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    The Raiders are a team that was building a lot of excitement this off-season for their transition to the zone-blocking scheme of a west-coast offense.

    But two weeks into the season and the Oakland Raiders are last in the NFL in rushing at 34 yards per game. (45 yards against the San Diego Chargers and 23 yards against the Miami Dolphins).

    Is the zone blocking scheme at fault or is it running back Darren McFadden?

    While some may blame McFadden for being unable to thrive under this new scheme, in a recent story in the Sacramento Bee, Raiders center Stefen Wisniewski was quoted as saying "It's definitely going to get better. "It's not DMac's fault. It's on the O-line and the running game goes as far as we go."

Where Are the Run Stoppers?

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    The Oakland Raiders defense started the season teasing us by shutting down a Ryan Mathews-less San Diego Chargers. All those good feelings went away after the Miami Dolphins shredded Oakland for 263 total rushing yards (65 yards for Lamar Miller and an amazing 172 yards for Reggie Bush).

    After two weeks, the Raiders now rank 29th out of 32 teams against the rush with an average of 147.5 rushing yards per game

    Stats to worry about are the fact that LB Philip Wheeler and SS Tyvon Branch lead the team in total tackles with 14 and 12 respectively.  Let’s compare that to the team across the bay with the kick-ass defense.

    San Francisco 49ers linebackers Navorro Bowman and Patrick Willis lead the team with 19 and 15 total tackles respectively.  In fact, Aldon Smith rounds out the top 5 leading tacklers on the team. That’s three linebackers in the top five.

    Where is Oakland’s "stud" linebacker Rolando McClain? He's currently seventh on the team with seven total tackles.

    No bueno.

The Silver and Bleak

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    After two weeks, the team is now found near or in the cellar in many "expert" power rankings:

    Add to that a scathing article from the Sacramento Bee on “how the Raiders so thoroughly embarrassed themselves Sunday that the team photo should be 45 clown suits, all of them empty”.

    What lies for the Oakland Raiders in Week 3 and beyond? Can coach Dennis Allen make quick fixes to turn around an early 2012 season Black Hole nosedive?

    Unfortunately, we are left with more questions than answers.