The Oakland Raiders Building on Success: The Next Steps

Big AL FanContributor IOctober 20, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 18:  Donovan McNabb #5 of the Philadelphia Eagles talks with teammate Michael Vick #7 and JaMarcus Russell #2 of the Oakland Raiders at the end of an NFL game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 18, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

First and foremost, we are proud of you!

You played 60 minutes. You played for each other. You played for your fans. You played for your coaches. You prepared an excellent game plan and you executed it beautifully. You stayed with the run and used it to perfection.

My game balls go to the coaching staff and Shane Lechler.

Both the offensive and defensive game plans were brilliant! Both plans put Raider players in position to succeed. You studied the opponent hard, and exploited their weaknesses.

Use this approach to every game, and we will be in every game.

You took a big step forward toward learning the strengths and weakness of your own team which will later allow you to know what personal packages work best in certain situations.

My favorite play of the entire game? You will be very surprised.

A four-yard run on 3rd-and-10.

Our first series, it was 3rd-and-10 on our own 24 yard line. JaMarcus saw the blitz package, and called an audible to the run.

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This was a very smart play and if Bush would have cut outside, it would have been a first down. Most importantly, instead of taking a sack or worse, we were able to punt (57 yards) and live another series.

Now in previous games, Jamarcus may have tried to force a play where bad things would have happened. Today, he learned that this was not necessary. Especially when it is 0-0 in the first quarter.

This told me early on that he was looking to manage the game and control the clock. This was brilliant since the Eagles lose when they do not win the time of possession battle. In an additional effort to control the clock, we threw quick hit high percentage passes.

You used the tight ends exclusively. Again, brilliant! Last year, Whitten, Cooley, and Boss had huge games when their teams beat the Eagles.

When I saw our two tight end sets, I was very excited. How perfect!

When I saw the designed throws to the RB in the flat, I knew we had studied hard. The Redskins used this play often when they beat the Eagles twice last year.

The defensive game plan was equally brilliant. No one in the NFL was ready for what the defense had in store for this game. We used our primary strength (our speed) to execute new look blitz packages while our DBs held receivers in check.

Our defense confused the Eagles. Primarily because they were not prepared for this new look. What is most exciting is now our opponents will not know how to prepare for us. In future games our defense will be dictating terms.

How To Build Upon This Success

Our season greatly depends on how we build on this success. At this point, we can go one of two ways: backward or forward.

Here are some keys to moving forward.

Game Planning Method

Your game plan worked. Whatever method you used to game plan against the Eagles worked perfectly. Re-use this approach to game planning.

We all knew we had talent and a good team and the effort has been there. The difference in why we won was in our preparation. You studied the Eagles' weaknesses and attacked them there. This was the difference.

Based upon my own pre-game analysis the game plan that was put together was the perfect formula to beating the Eagles.

We looked at how other teams beat them, and generated a plan from those games.

Perfect the Plays That Worked

Don’t shy away from re-using any of the new plays that worked well. Instead, work on perfecting those plays, put them in your tool belt and use them when you need them.

It would be a good idea to list those plays and work on them in the very first practice. These will become your "go to" plays, where they can be executed even if defenses prepare for them. Look at Brady to Welker. They run the same plays over and over but most of the time defenses can't stop them.

Don’t Abandon the "Well Called" Plays That Did Not Work

These are the plays that need to be worked on with repetition until they are executed to perfection. One play that comes to mind was the quick hit slant to Darrius Heyward-Bey on second down in the first series. If Heyward-Bey turns in toward the post and catches that ball on the run, it's a TD most every time. The throw would have to be on target on the inside. This same play was made by Jonnie Lee last year.

I'd like to see both Heyward-Bey and Jonnie Lee line up and both slant in. JaMarcus could take his choice as to which player is open. If neither is open, just throw to their feet to live another down. They should be ready to go down for the throw to their feet.

Stay with the Run

No matter the circumstances early in the game, we have to stay with the run.
The O-line has to realize that when we run, we are running for that first down as a minimum goal. Keep running on third down early in the game especially when we are in our own territory. Keep running early in the game even if it is not working. Eventually a break will come.

Field Position Game

We have the best punter in the NFL. When it comes to field position, we must use this strength. If we can get the ball to mid field, Shane can pin them back every time. Getting to mid field should be one of our first objectives on offense.

Onto the Jets

With five INTs from Sanchez last game. We should expect to see a heavy dose of the run with Thomas Jones. Our film study should start with the games where other teams have shut down Thomas Jones and we should focus on how they did it.

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