Oakland Raiders: 2011 Playoff Run Starts with the Running Attack

Yusuf HassanCorrespondent INovember 8, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Oakland Raiders makes his way to the huddle before a game against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 23, 2011 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Chiefs won 28-0. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

The keys to the Raiders playoff berth have been parked for the past two weeks. Now it's time for Hue Jackson to insert the keys into the running game and cruise into the playoffs.

Despite the last two weeks, the Raiders are well on track for a playoff berth. But the last two weeks have been a lesson in wisdom for rookie head coach Hue Jackson. The Raider Nation has seen the folly of Jackson's wayward ways over the past few weeks.

Jackson has behaved like a horny teenage virgin at a nude beach—overly anxious, uber excited and borderline delirious.

Over the past two weeks the Raider quarterbacks have thrown nine interceptions to three touchdowns. Carson Palmer has a 48.2 percent completion rate.

The Raider offense didn’t do much to help their beleaguered defense by throwing the ball instead of nursing a 10-point lead behind their powerful rushing attack led by Michael Bush, who has averaged over five yards per carry over the past two weeks.

Why does a team that prides itself on being a run-oriented team bail out on their rushing attack when they have a quarterback playing poorly?

The logical answer is that Hue Jackson is trying to prove that Carson Palmer is the savior of the franchise.

But Hue baby, you cost your team a win. When one player takes precedence over the team, in most cases, the team loses.

One stat that must be examined is this: in the first half the Raiders defense gave up seven points to the Tebow-led offense. In the second half, the Broncos scored 31 points.

In the second half the Broncos did the same thing. They ran the same Florida Gator-Tebow option plays.

But the Raiders could not stop them.


My hypothesis:

The Raiders' lack of depth on defense caused the collapse. The Raiders front seven chased Tebow the entire game, but in the second half, the Raiders were too pooped, and Tebow and McGahee popped.

The list of Raiders defensive backs who have been injury prone runs deep: Hiram Eugene, Chris Johnson, Chimdi Chekwa, DeMarcus Van Dyke, Michael Huff.

And the injuries at the linebacker position have hurt as well: Travis Goethel, Ricky Brown, Matt Shaughnessy, Rolando McClain.


Solution to the Raiders woes:

Go back to basics. After a 4-2 start the Oakland Raiders got cocky. Hue Jackson decided to change the Raiders into the high-powered Bengals offense of the mid-00’s, bringing in Carson Palmer and TJ Housh—relegating DHB and Kevin Boss to the sidelines. The new way was Hue’s way, and not the Raider Way. The late Al Davis built the bully with ingenious yet highly questionable personnel decisions. And it’s Hue’s job to manage the bully, not reinvent the bully.

Like the proverbial prodigal son, Hue Jackson has wandered away from the ways of his father and bumped his head. Now Jackson needs to go back to the ways of the father, Al Davis, and play smashmouth, bully-the-opponent football.

It might not look pretty, but that is the style that got the Raiders out of the realm of obscurity. Al Davis brought in Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Kevin Boss for a reason. And it worked until Hue Jackson tampered with it. Hue Jackson has learned from his arrogant and immature decisions—and will right the ship in time to make a playoff run. And I literally mean a playoff RUN!