Deandre Washington got his shot with the starters and he looked pretty good. I don’t think he’s taking Latavius Murray’s job any time soon but he can start eating away at his snaps if last week’s game is any indication of what he brings to the table.
Washington made an instant impact on the Raiders first drive of the game by catching a touchdown in the red zone on a well designed play.
The play is designed with Michael Crabtree running a drag route as Carr’s first progression. The defense is in a cover 0 robber, which means they are playing man to man coverage with a “robber” to each side of the field. The robber’s job is to help on any in breaking routes. The Raiders offense put him in conflict by sending two inside breaking routes right at him- Crabtree’s drag and Washington’s angle route. Carr sees that the robber helps on Crabtree and hits Washington for the touchdown. Washington runs a great route by using a subtle head fake and breaking inside without losing any speed. Carr throws a laser to Washington and he easily brings it in for the touchdown.
The Raiders did not run many true outside zone plays last year, but the one they ran against the Titans was beautifully executed. Osemele has such great feet and body control for a man of his size. The defensive lineman inside of him tries to shoot the outside gap and Osemele adjusts and washes him out. Hudson and Jackson do a great job of sealing the backside and Washington runs through a huge hole for a nice gain. What I like most was how Washington finished the run by pumping his legs and falling forward for an extra five yards.
Empty + Short Motion
The Raiders took a page out of the Patriots playbook by lining up an empty formation with a running back split out wide and putting him in short motion to check the coverage.
On this play, Washington is split out wide to the offensive left. Linebacker Sean Spence goes out to cover him indicating that the Titians are playing man to man coverage. The short motion confirms the coverage, as Spence follows Washington. The Raiders have been answering man to man coverage with fade routes throughout the pre season and they did just that on this play. Carr looks off the free safety and throws a perfectly placed ball to Crabtree for a nice gain.
Offensive coordinator, Bill Musgrave, dialed up the same concept for Cooper’s touchdown. This time Jalen Richard is the back lined out wide. Carr’s gun slinger mentality shows itself on this play. Brian Orakpo is listed as an outside linebacker but he is more like a defensive end. Orakpo lines up wide to cover Richard indicating that the Titans are once again playing man to man coverage, but this time instead of bump and run, they are playing off coverage. The corner that is covering Cooper is giving him a seven yard cushion. The wise decision on this play would be to get the ball to Richard and let him run away from a much slower defender, but Carr elects to throw the ball deep and is rewarded by a spectacular catch by Cooper in the back of the end zone. While I won’t complain with the end result, I hope that Carr could read the situation and make the safe play at times when the games do matter.
Carr looked unstoppable during the two minute drill until the offense got into the red zone and stalled. One of the reasons they stalled was because of a rookie mistake. As well as Washington has played in the game, he is still raw and has much to learn.
The Raiders are again in an empty formation with Washington split out wide, but this time it is quite obvious that the Titans are in zone because a cornerback is lined up across from Washington instead of a linebacker. This is confirmed when Washington short motions and no one follows him. Washington runs a drag but instead of stopping in the hole in the zone, he runs right into coverage. Carr wants to throw it to him but Washington doesn’t stop until it’s too late and Carr has to throw the ball away. I was at the game and clearly saw Carr talking to Washington afterwards and showing him what he wanted Washington to do.
In the last two preseason games, the Raiders didn’t show much of their playbook and were working out some kinks. They made some massive improvements against the Titans and looked unstoppable at times, but they are still a young team with some details that they have to iron out in order to be elite. The dress rehearsal is over and the starters will play one drive next week if they play at all, so they are going to have keep working in practice to get things right in anticipation for week one against the New Orlean Saints.