The more things change, the more they stay the same. There is no other way to describe the disappointing loss the Oakland Raiders suffered at the hands of Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Oakland rolled into Bank of America Stadium looking to make it two wins in a row and trying to keep their winning momentum going. Sadly, they will leave Charlotte with another loss and still more questions than the team, personnel and organization has answers to.
The most glaring question that everyone is wondering is why this Raiders team cannot play a complete game on both offense and defense at the same time.
The offense has been putrid and lacks any sort of consistency. The pass-first philosophy is great for playing Madden on your favorite game console, but in the real world of NFL football, it is no secret that teams run the ball to set up the pass. Obviously, the Raiders never got the memo, because they seem to want to chuck the ball all over the field. The biggest drawback to this practice is that it increases the chances of your quarterback getting injured, and that is exactly what happened to Carson Palmer in the first quarter.
When Palmer went down, the Raiders trailed the Panthers 7-0, and there was no reason to abandon the running game. Running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson immediately became after thoughts and any chance the Raiders had of slugging it out and wearing down the Panthers defense went out the window.
Oakland finished the day with one rushing first down and 47 yards on a meager 22 attempts. This is not how you win games in the NFL, and until offensive coordinator Greg Knapp figures that out, the Raiders will continue to be a running joke. (No pun intended.)
With both Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson back from injury and showing promise after the Raiders defeated the Chiefs in Oakland, there should have been no question as to what the game plan was going to be: Run the ball early, let your backs have as many carries as humanly possible and ride them to an easy victory over a Panther team that at the time was 2-5 at home and ranked 18th in the league against the run.
Everything was there for the Raiders to steal an easy victory, and they failed to beat a team that on paper was not as good as them.
With Matt Leinart behind center and Palmer not coming back in to the game, Greg Knapp could’ve thrown caution to the wind and let the former-Heisman Trophy winner air it out vertically and challenge the Panthers secondary.
Instead, the Raiders chose to settle for short passes and screens that did little to move the ball and were a complete waste of a down. Again, the run would have set up the play-action pass and kept rookie LB Luke Kuechly on his heels and guessing.
The Oakland Raiders have not scored an offensive touchdown in over 115 minutes of play. And until offensive coordinator Greg Knapp is replaced, that streak looks to bleed into next season.
The organization has to look at the product that is being put on the field and collectively admit that their offensive philosophy and game plan is not working. Changes are needed all across the board, and the first one is firing Greg Knapp.
Do you think Mark Davis has Hue Jackson's number on speed dial? Is it really that absurd to think that Jackson could help the offense? No, it is not, and the stats do not lie.