Raiders’ offense being slowed by own defense

Updated November 22, 2017 - 9:45 pm

ALAMEDA, Calif. — There is an irony to it all.

Much of this offseason was devoted toward the Raiders sharpening what already had been a productive offense. In the spring, the front office invested in veteran additions across every position, be it running back Marshawn Lynch, tight end Jared Cook, tackle Marshall Newhouse, wide receiver-returner Cordarralle Patterson or reserve quarterback EJ Manuel. Quarterback Derek Carr and guard Gabe Jackson also were signed to summer extensions.

The Raiders worked to build an offense that opposing defenses would have difficulty containing.

Indeed, their own defense has.

The team’s offensive numbers are down in many respects. Scoring is down. Yardage is down. Individual marks, all and all, are down. This downturn, however, largely is a product of the defense’s faltering, offering some perspective to the Tuesday dismissal of defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.

This isn’t to say Norton deserves all the blame; there is plenty to be shared.

But any fair discussion of how the Raiders’ offense has fared statistically this season requires attention toward the defensive struggles. The two are intertwined.

“We’re not getting enough opportunities offensively due to ineffectiveness defensively,” coach Jack Del Rio said Wednesday, part of an opening statement to a news conference in which he discussed Norton’s firing. “We’ve got to get the ball back for the offense. We’ve got to force turnovers, get off the field on third down. That’s what it is.”

Mainstream numbers are easy to cite.

The Raiders average 326.5 yards per game, ranked 21st in the NFL. They averaged 373.3 last year, good for sixth. The team averages 20.4 points, tied for 20th. That is down from seventh-best 26 points in 2016. Therefore, last year’s offense is significantly better than this year’s.

But those figures tell a fraction of the story.

Through the first 10 games, the Raiders have had 107 offensive drives, fourth-fewest in the NFL. At this same time last year, they had 121, tied for fourth-most.

The Raiders have run 591 offensive plays, second-fewest in the NFL. They finished 2016 with 1048 plays, which was 11th-most. This team is on pace for 946, more than 100 fewer.

It would be one thing if Oakland’s offense was failing to sustain drives or score points in the red zone.

The group, though, boasts a 40.8 third-down conversion rate, which is ninth-best in the NFL — and sufficiently better than last year’s 21st-best mark of 37.7 percent. The Raiders also have scored a touchdown on 61.9 percent of red-zone trips under offensive coordinator Todd Downing. That is tied for fourth-best in the NFL. Last year’s mark of 57.1 percent was 14th-best.

Then, there’s the defense.

It cannot get off the field.

The Raiders have allowed 46 percent of third-down conversion attempts, worst in the NFL. They’ve forced a three-and-out on 17.6 percent of drives, second-worst in the NFL. They’ve allowed nine touchdown drives that spanned at least 10 plays, tied for second-most in the NFL. They are the only defense in league history not to record an interception through the first 10 games of a season. Previously, the longest such streak was six games.

Del Rio offered another stat Wednesday to depict why the Raiders find themselves at 4-6.

“I think when you look at the biggest indicator, to me, it’s the turnover ratio,” Del Rio said. “Last year, we were plus-10 at this point. Right now, we’re minus-nine. Nineteen turnover differential. That is probably the biggest indicator about winning and losing in the National Football League.”

The Raiders have forced an NFL-low six takeaways in 2017. Their 30 takeaways in 2016 were second-most.

Quarterback Derek Carr is focused on what the offense can control.

“We need to hold up our end of it as an offense. That’s what I’m concerned about,” Carr said. “When we get a chance to score, we have to go do it. Just talking to our guys on the other side, they tell us, ‘Man, we got your back.’ Just like we tell them we got their back. It’s just one of those things that it works together. Like I️ said (to reporters last week), stats sometimes are misleading because of a lot of different things.”

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Raiders Videos
Vegas Nation: Nelson, Bryant injured in loss to Chargers
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken examines the injuries to wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant.
Vegas Nation: Chargers Overpower Raiders 20-6
Ed Graney and Michael Gehlken discuss The Raiders loss to the Chargers following the California wildfires and mass shooting
Vegas Nation Mailbag: November 7, 2018
Elaine Emerson and Gilbert Manzano answer questions from fans on the Raiders before they take on the Los Angeles Chargers.
Vegas Nation: Gruden downplays sideline encounter with Guenther
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports from Alameda as Jon Gruden addresses the media for the first time a day after their Thursday Night Football loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Dismantled by 49ers 34-3
The Raiders fall to the 49ers following Nick Mullens' impressive debut for San Francisco.
Vegas Nation: Raiders defense looks to improve against 49ers
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken discusses the Raiders defensive woes thus far prior to their Battle of the Bay game against the 49ers.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: Oct. 30, 2018
Elaine Emerson and Gilbert Manzano answer questions from Raider Nation regarding Derek Carr's performance and Jon Gruden.
Vegas Nation: Raiders seek consistent defensive rotation
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken points out a change in the team's defensive rotation from previous games.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Give up 21 Unanswered Points in Loss to Colts
The Oakland Raiders lose to the Colts after being outscored 21-0 in the fourth quarter. Michael Gehlken and Ed Graney report from Oakland.
Vegas Nation: Osemele returns to practice ahead of Colts matchup
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken anticipates that All Pro guard Kelechi Osemele may return against the Indinapolis Colts on Sunday.
Vegas Nation: Doug Martin prepares for heavier workload vs. Colts
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken discusses Doug Martin's increased role as a featured back, as well as what the offensive line's health could potentially mean for Martin's performance.
Vegas Nation: Gruden, Smith come to Carr's defense
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports from Alameda, Calif. as members of the team deny reports of a fractured locker room.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: Raiders' Bye Week
Elaine Wilson and Gilbert Manzano go over comments from Raider Nation.
Vegas Nation: Draft Picks to Rebuild
Ed Graney discusses the Amari Cooper trade to the Dallas Cowboys and the future first round picks the Raiders will have.
Las Vegas Stadium Livecam
Vegas Nation Mailbag 10-16-2018
Elaine Wilson and Gilbert Manzano discuss The Raiders 27-3 loss to the Seahawks in London as The Raiders enter their bye week.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Fall To Seahawks; Cooper Out With Concussion
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken, Sports Columnist Ed Graney and sports writer Gilbert Manzano go over the Raiders loss to the Seattle Seahawks in London.
Derek Carr says the team will focus on improving – Heidi Fang
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr says the team will do what's necessary to improve following its 27-3 loss in London to the Seattle Seahawks.
Gruden on the Raiders loss to the Seahawks, Cooper's injury – Heidi Fang
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden talks to media following the team's 27-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in London, England.
A look at NFL sports betting in London
With the NFL introducing England to different teams each year since 2007, Review-Journal columnist Ed Graney asked fans in London ahead of the Oakland Raiders vs. Seattle Seahawks how often they flock to them to place wagers on American football.
Would the NFL be accepted abroad?
Review-Journal columnist Ed Graney takes to the streets of London, England, ahead of the Oakland Raiders facing the Seattle Seahawks to find out if the NFL is accepted, if the game is understood and what its fan base is like outside of the United States.
Vegas Nation: Gruden Recaps Loss to LA Chargers
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports from Alameda, Calif. as the team looks ahead to London following a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Fall To 1-4 This Season
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken goes over the Raiders loss to the Chargers.
Raiders Adopt Student Resource Room At Robert Taylor Elementary School In Henderson
Former Raiders player Leo Gray and Robert Taylor Elementary School principal Kim Basham talk about the new resource room at the school on Sept. 25, 2018 in Henderson, Nevada. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
More information on design of Raiders' practice facility in Henderson
Officials plan to finish the Raiders' Henderson headquarters by spring 2020. The planned facility would be home to offices, training facilities and 4 1/2 football fields.
Vegas Nation: Raiders fall short in Week 1 to the Rams
Bryan Salmond and Gilbert Manzano are in studio recapping the first game of 2018 for the Oakland Raiders. Michael Gehlken and Ed Graney report from Oakland.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like