My Off-Season Checklist and Areas of Improvement for the Oakland Raiders

[X] Hire a good coach with leadership, discipline, and teaching

[X] Hire a good offensive coordinator who can maximize our offenses potential

[  ] Hire a good defensive coordinator who can maximize the defenses potential

[  ] Sign an elite caliber defensive lineman – DT or DE, preferably DT

[  ] Sign another good tier defensive player – either at CB or MLB

[  ] Sign a good tier offensive player – at any position, preferably RB or OL

[  ] Draft a first round DE

Theses are the specific things I want this off-season without being too picky or too vague. I would be disappointed if less than half of this list gets done. I would be very excited if all of these things happen.

I think our clear weaknesses last year and from previous years are:

-Lack of fundmantals – poor tackling, poor angles, poor block shedding, poor routes, etc; These are things you absolutely need, this is something you consistently see that separates the good teams from the bad. JDR addressed this in his presser that this is where things start.

-Lack of talent at the defensive line. I don’t remember our last good RDE. Its always a liability and we suffer with a poor pass rush and poor run stopping. Not only for this reason but to free up Khalil Mack more so he can make big time plays. I think thats part of the reason he didn’t have too many flashy plays. The best linebackers in the league are guys who play behind some of the best defensive lines in the league. Keuchly won DPOY behind a complete beast of a D-line last year. Bowman, Willis, and Aldon are always making huge plays behind Justin Smith who is the real MVP of that defense. We all saw Dallas vs the Lions, the best O-line in the league got absolutely trashed by the best Dline in the league. If the Lions didn’t completely fuck it up they probably would’ve won the game, mostly on the shoulders of the D-line.

-Poor offensive playcalling. It really doesn’t take an expert to know that the best playcalling is the most balanced playcalling. The best way to help Carr is not with receivers but with a good running game. The common theme in the games we won was that our running game was working. We went .500 in games where Murray was our feature back….THAT was our expectation at the beginning of the season. I know JDR knows so I know he’ll work with the new OC to make this happen. Not just in terms of run/pass ratio but the actual play selection was poor. I understand keeping the playbook small for a new set of players and rookie QB but we were so goddamn predictable. The games in which we looked good as an offense were games where Murray or Carr made big plays happen on their own.

-Poor defensive adjustments as well as playcalling. If you want some statistics. We gave up the most 1st quarter points of any team this year and the 2nd most 1st half points of any team, then the 3rd most 3rd quarter points of any team this year, and the most points per game. Then teams would turn it down a notch in the last quarter while we score garbage time points. It was an ugly season, guys. We were the worst defense in the NFL. The finals scores are a bit deceiving in terms of how competitive we actually were. We got a long way to go and it starts at the top with the HC. Thats in place, next step is coordinators and teachers. We had a poor gameplan going into games and we made even worse adjustments in games. It was pathetic. We cannot cover a screen to save our life.

-Lack of championship attitude. I think this is the number 1 thing that needs to be fixed and fixing this can have the biggest impact on our results. I’ve said this alot before too. The championship attitude is not, “We’re gonna give it our best for the fans these are the best fans in the world, we’re gonna keep working hard.” That is so weak and lacking passion. We need to be fucking pissed every time we give up an inch, let alone lose a game. We gotta approach game, practice, training camp, film room session, off-season work out like its the superbowl like its an obsession. I keep thinking about this interview, this is what our attitude has to be like. I dunno about you guys but I feel like our guys are too comfortable all the time. You gotta be uncomfortable and on the edge to achieve big things and break out to the next level. You have to push your mind and body beyond its limits and thats how it gets stronger. These are fundamental things that work for anything in life. Have you guys seen highlights of the seahawks’ mini camps, they look more intense than some of our games. We need more aggression. Guys like Sherman who get in fights at training camp or guys like Steve Smith who will literally kick your ass if you’re not playing your absolute hardest. We were hoping Tuck, Woodley, and Smith were like that. Woodley was a joke. Smith is a comedian, Tuck is mature and I felt like for a while in the beginning he felt like an outsider. But I think he fit this role nicely towards the end. Like when he was fucking pissed about Mack and Moore celebrating the 3rd down play. We need that. Or later on when he was pissed about a bad call, made a scene and drew a flag. I like that at this point in time because we need that passion. I mean later on if we’re actually competing for a playoff spot, then we need better discipline.

-In terms of specific positions we need improved: We need a MLB desperately. I think Roach is average and I want better than average. I like Antonio Smith but I don’t think we should bring him back, I just didn’t think he fit our system. He is truly a 3-4 DE. I think we should’ve had Sims/Ellis starting at DT and Smith starting at DE in our base formation, instead of Mayowa. Mayowa is not a great pass rusher anyways. We would’ve had a solid run stopping and decent pass rushing D-line. Again this goes back to lack of adjustments. I think we need a CB….I like Carrie and Hayden but I don’t think either is ready to really take on the duties of a true #1 CB. I also didn’t like Brown at ALL. We need a fix here, even if its temporary. But both are really hard workers so who knows maybe they’ll get there next season. Also I didn’t think Ellis and Sims were terrible, but I think an upgrade at the RDT spot would help tremendously. I don’t know what to say about our O-line. I’ll call a lifeline, if someone wants to give an assessment of Barnes/Watson/Howard. I hear mixed views from different people. Personally I think its hard to judge because our running game was so ineffective and Carr was so effective at getting rid of the ball. In terms of our RBs, I love Murray but he is injury prone. I’m completely down with paying a big name RB like Murray, Lynch, or my preferred option, Peterson. I mean not big time dollars but enough to bring em in. In terms of receivers, I’ve been saying this for years, I think WR help is icing on the cake but not part of the basic ingredients. I don’t want to pay big money for an elite WR and I also don’t want to spend a 1st rounder on WR. A DE will impact half the plays in every game, a WR will impact a fourth of the plays, MAX. And again this comes back to fundamentals, if our guys simply ran good routes with steady hands, we wouldn’t be talking so much about needing a WR. I think Jones and Streater both have the ability to be good receivers, but coaching will make that happen.