Raiders vs Buccaneers Offensive Analysis: Give the Game Ball to Coach Musgraves

Raider offensive coordinator, Bill Musgrave, takes a lot of criticism, but it’s hard to deny that the Raider offense has been pretty good this season. This week his offense put up over 600 yards and a lot of it has to do with clever play designs. There were several times when he designed and dialed up perfect plays that just didn’t get executed correctly as well. He knew exactly what the Buccaneers defense wanted to do and he put together a game plan that was his best as the Raiders OC to date.

Down by ten points, the Raiders offense needed a spark and Musgrave dialed up a play to fullback, Olawale for a 68 yard gain. Olawale was wide open because of great play design. The Buccaneers play a very similar coverage as the Jaguars do. They mainly play a variation of cover-3 called Rip/ Liz. Their flat defenders have to run with #2 if they run a vertical route. Musgrave knew that and designed several plays to take advantage of this coverage.

On this play, Walford is the #2 receiver and releases up the field vertically. The flat defender has to respect his release and jam him. He is so concerned with jamming Walford that he doesn’t see Olawale releasing out of the backfield on a wheel route. Roberts clears the corner with a skinny post and Olawale has the entire sideline to himself and isn’t even touched until he gets to the Raider five yard line. However, the Raiders committed a couple of penalties in the red zone and had to settle for a field goal.

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Wide receiver, Michael Crabtree, lines up in the backfield and forces the Tampa Bay defense to get into a man to man coverage to avoid having to match-up a linebacker on Crabtree. Crabtree then motions over to the left and corner, Vernon Hargreaves, who the Raiders picked on all day, follows him out. Since Crabtree is in the slot, Hargreaves lines up square on him to respect Crabtree’s ability to break outside and inside. The Raiders catches the Bucs in a blitz and Hargreaves has no help inside. Crabtree drops the ball, but if he catches the ball, he has plenty to space to run. This is a good example of how Musgrave is beginning to play with formations and motions to create favorable match-ups.

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This is a roll out screen that could have been a huge play if it was executed a little bit better. Carr rolls to the right while Olawale pretends to pass block for a couple of seconds before turning around for the screen. Penn is the only lineman that releases and if he was able to block the linebacker there would have been nobody near Olawale. This play is a very well designed play that probably was thought up after watching film of how the Buccaneers react to roll out passes.

The Raiders are in an empty formation with running back, Jalen Richard, lined out wide to the right and Amari Cooper in the slot on the same side. The cornerback to that side is lined up over Richard indicating that the Buccaneers are in a two-high zone coverage, meaning Cooper could be matched up with the free safety. Sure enough the corner sits with Richard, meaning safety Chris Conte would have to play Cooper without much help. Cooper has torched defense with inside dig routes all season and even caught a deep dig earlier in the game. Cooper throws a quick move like he’s going to run a dig and froze Conte enough to fly by him. It’s incredible how is able to make these moves and get to full speed right away. Conte has a fifteen yard cushion and Cooper is still able to beat him.

Both Crabtree and Cooper start in the backfield. Crabtree motions out into the slot to the left and linebacker, Kwon Alexander, motions out with him indicating that the Buccaneers are in a zone coverage. This formation and motion seems to have caused confusion because no one covers the flat area of the field where Cooper runs a swing route. Cooper catches the ball in space and gets a thirteen yard gain. It’s a pretty creative way to get Cooper into space where he could make a play.

In overtime, the Raiders ran the exact same play that Cooper scored a touchdown on. But this time instead of looking to Cooper, Carr liked his match up with nickel corner, Jude Adjei-Barimah on Seth Roberts. The defense is playing man to man and for some reason Barimah is playing outside shade of Roberts, meaning that Roberts will have free access to the inside. Carr sees this and looks Roberts way right away and makes a perfect throw. Roberts is able to shake off a poor tackle attempt by the safety and ends the ball game in dramatic fashion.

As great as Carr was, Coach Musgrave made his job much easier with his game plan. Hopefully, this is was just a preview for a masterful plan for next week, as the Raiders are going to face off against the Denver Broncos and their suffocating defense for first place in the AFC West.

Ted Nguyen is a football coach, offensive coordinator, QB coach, teacher and blogger. He graduated from UC Davis with his degree in English-Critical Analysis. He enjoys long walks on the beach and researching and writing about the latest developments and trends in football strategy.

5 comments on “Raiders vs Buccaneers Offensive Analysis: Give the Game Ball to Coach Musgraves

  1. Thanks for doing articles like these every week.

  2. MOFG.
    Musgrave is going to DESTROY these bronks.
    And we are going to be LOVING every minute of it.

  3. Reblogged this on Pride & Poise: The Legendary Oakland Raiders and commented:
    Coach Musgrave is a Machine.

  4. Great analysis as always. Musgrave had a great game plan this week. I’ve noticed over the last couple of weeks he’s mixed in some misdirection screen to the RB’s that would’ve been huge gains if executed properly. It will be interesting to see what the game plan is this week.

  5. Thanks for the great film breakdown.

    Also glad to hear some POSITIVE, objective perspective on Musgrave. Fans tend to blame the OC or QB when things are not going well, but things are usually more nuanced than that.

    What do you think about Murray getting more passing plays the past 2 weeks? One thing I did fault Musgrave for previously was making it too obvious when we were going to run based on the personnel package. E.g. when Murrays in, he’s either running or pass protecting. I personally don’t view Murray as much of a receiving back – he’s too slow accelerating after the making the catch and doesn’t break many tackles in those situations. But at least by throwing his way it’s giving a defense more to think about.

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