5 Adjustments Oakland Raiders Must Make in Week 2 Matchup with Baltimore Ravens

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 15, 2015

5 Adjustments Oakland Raiders Must Make in Week 2 Matchup with Baltimore Ravens

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    It’s time for the Oakland Raiders to go back into the lab and begin making adjustments for their Week 2 opponent, the Baltimore Ravens.

    Based on a horrific Week 1 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and potential long-term injuries, the coaching staff needs to make sweeping changes. Improvement requires some personnel shifts on the defensive side of the ball and a change in philosophy on offense.

    That’s not an overreaction.

    Head coach Jack Del Rio called the Raiders performance "embarrassing."

    It’s only one game, but the talent on the field in Week 1 showed a variety of deficiencies. In addition, key players could miss significant time going forward.

    The Ravens travel to Oakland, hoping to avoid an 0-2 start as well. Expect a highly competitive game from both teams. However, it’s imperative for the Raiders to make early adjustments in order to compete with a well-coached Ravens team.

Take Handcuffs Off Quarterbacks

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    No. 4 Derek Carr and No. 14 Matt McGloin
    No. 4 Derek Carr and No. 14 Matt McGloinTony Avelar/Associated Press

    Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave suppressed offenses for well over a decade, dating back to his days as an offensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    Quarterback Byron Leftwich averaged 6.7 yards per pass attempt in two seasons under Musgrave from 2003-04.

    Quarterback Christian Ponder averaged 6.4, 6.1 and 6.9 yards per pass attempt in three seasons under Musgrave from 2011-13.

    The Raiders' offensive coordinator will likely exacerbate Derek Carr’s checkdown issues in the pocket. Musgrave allowed some deep shots in the preseason when the games didn’t count but seemed to tighten up again in Week 1 of the season.

    In limited action, Carr averaged 5.1 yards per pass attempt, and his backup Matt McGloin averaged 4.6 yards per pass attempt. McGloin's uncharacteristic urge to check down became clear and almost predictable, per sfbay.ca writer Jason Leskiw.

    According to Pro Football Focus, the top 20 quarterbacks with at least 300 snaps averaged seven yards or more in yards per pass attempt when Musgrave held his last offensive coordinator job in 2013 with the Minnesota Vikings.

    Musgrave’s quarterbacks have recorded subpar yards-per-pass-attempt averages. His track record illustrates an offensive design that promotes a methodical approach as opposed to a vertical stretch-the-field approach.

Activate Brice Butler

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    No. 12 Brice Butler
    No. 12 Brice ButlerHannah Foslien/Getty Images

    The decision to deactivate wide receiver Brice Butler and opting to play wide receiver Andre Holmes who just recovered from a broken-hand injury registers as a questionable move.

    Raiders quarterbacks didn’t target Holmes in 10 snaps on the field, per PFF. Butler once again draws the short end of the stick right after another impressive preseason.

    In plan terms, the Raiders' coaching staff chose Holmes on the mend over a healthy Butler who might have contributed in light of Seth Roberts' struggles to catch the football. Roberts dropped two passes in Week 1.

    Rod Streater battled an illness throughout the preseason and played 10 snaps, recording one catch for eight yards in the regular-season opener.

    Just when you think Butler gets a fresh start with a new coaching staff, he gets buried yet again.

Move Keith McGill to Safety

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    No. 39 Keith McGill
    No. 39 Keith McGillOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Injuries to safeties Nate Allen and Charles Woodson will sideline both starters for an extended period of time.

    ESPN's Josina Anderson reports Woodson suffered a dislocated shoulder late in the fourth quarter against the Bengals. It's unclear when he'll return to action.

    According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Nate Allen tore his MCL, and he's expected to sit out a significant amount of time.

    Oakland released safeties Jonathan Dowling and Taylor Mays prior to establishing the 53-man roster.

    According to San Jose Mercury News reporter Jimmy Durkin, the team released Brandian Ross after listing him on season-ending injured reserve prior to the start of the season.

    According to CSNBayArea.com reporter Scott Bair, the Raiders plan on re-signing Mays.

    Keith McGill played safety in college at Utah and looked stiff on the outside as a cornerback in the preseason. Norton should experiment with moving him back to the safety position if Allen or Woodson misses significant time due to injury.

    Larry Asante and Keenan Lambert remain as the only two healthy safeties official on the roster. If the Raiders sign Mays, he could see a significant number of snaps against the Ravens.

Use Nickel Packages Against Ravens

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    Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.
    Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.Eric Risberg/Associated Press

    Oakland needs help in coverage, otherwise expect tight ends to run free to the end zone similar to Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert.

    The Ravens starting tight end, Crockett Gillmore, played 55 snaps last week, per PFF. Baltimore also selected Maxx Williams in the second round of this year’s draft out of Minnesota. Williams was considered to be the best tight end in the 2015 draft class.

    Outside linebackers Ray-Ray Armstrong and Malcolm Smith struggled in coverage against the Bengals, giving up a combined 10 catches for 104 yards, per PFF.

    Oakland must utilize nickel packages with an extra defensive back to prevent another breakout performance from either of the Ravens tight ends.

    The trio of T.J. Carrie, Neiko Thorpe and D.J. Hayden would serve as the three primary cornerbacks with McGill moving over to safety.

    McGill didn’t look fluid against quick-twitch receivers, but he’s capable of covering tight ends who typically run passing routes with less change of direction.

Bench Ray-Ray Armstrong

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    No. 57 Ray-Ray Armstrong
    No. 57 Ray-Ray ArmstrongTony Avelar/Associated Press

    Ray-Ray Armstrong continues to falter in coverage similar to his preseason play. He also graded minus-3.1, per PFF, in run support against the Bengals’ rushing attack.

    The void left over from Khalil Mack’s transition to defensive end and Sio Moore’s untimely departure weakens a position once viewed as a strength in the offseason. The Raiders should take a longer look at rookie linebacker Neiron Ball.

    After an impressive showing on the practice field, Armstrong struggles to contain his vigor on the field and contribute to the defense efficiently.

    He racked up three penalties in the preseason, per PFF. Then he played inefficiently in both run and pass coverage against a razor-sharp Bengals offense.

    The coaching staff would like to see Armstrong excel, especially after trading Moore, but the move hurt more so than helped the defense.

    Follow Maurice Moton on Twitter for news, updates and intriguing discussion about the Oakland Raiders.

    All statistics are provided by Pro Football Focus unless otherwise noted.

    Week 1 statistics and play-by-play analysis provided by NFL.com.


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