Raiders hope week off will remedy their issues

Getty Images File PhotoStalled out: Darren McFaddden

Getty Images File PhotoStalled out: Darren McFaddden

Coming off their bye week, it’s business as usual for the Raiders heading into their matchup this weekend against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons.

Oakland is a team that seems in constant rebuilding mode and is a decade removed from its last winning season and on its third coach, Dennis Allen, in three years.

“Obviously, we didn’t start the season out like we hoped,” said the 39-year-old Allen, the league’s youngest head coach. “We’re not where we want to be right now.”

Especially when it comes to running the football.

Darren McFadden, who was supposed to be the centerpiece of Oakland’s offense, has been held to less than 35 yards in three games and is averaging just 3.5 yards per carry, far below his career average coming into the season. The Raiders are last in the NFL at just 60.8 yards per game, their zone blocking schemes facing heavy criticism from fans and the media.

Allen hopes an off week helped cure some of the problems.

“We spent a lot of time working on ourselves,” the rookie coach said. “It’s a process of getting the guys to understand what we’re trying to do and how we want them to do it.”

The Falcons have been vulnerable against the run, surrendering an average of nearly 143 yards to rank 27th. The defense has been very opportunistic under new coordinator Mike Nolan — coming up with nine interceptions and recovering five fumbles — but knows it must toughen up in the trenches.

“That’s something we have to do. That’s not even an option,” Falcons strong safety William Moore said. “To me, personally, it’s embarrassing to be ranked where we’re ranked. I know the type of guys we’ve got. I definitely know we can turn it around, but it’s got to be now. There are some tough offenses, some tough running backs we’re going to be facing.”

Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer said it’s vital for the Raiders to run the ball as a counter to Atlanta’s quick-strike offense.

“You want to control the clock a little bit and get your defense as much rest as possible,” Palmer said. “Running the ball is what we want to do. Obviously we want to do it better than we have and that’s why we continue to work at it.

But it’s what gets the play-action game going, it’s what gets explosive plays, because Darren can score from anywhere.”

The Falcons have relied less on their running game than in past years. Matt Ryan threw a staggering 52 passes in a comeback victory over Washington and is on a career-high pace for attempts, which really shouldn’t be a surprise given his options. Roddy White and Julio Jones form a dynamic pair of receivers, and tight end Tony Gonzalez just keeps chugging right along at age 36.

Darren McFaddenNFLOaklandOakland Raiders & NFLRaiders

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A construction worker watches a load for a crane operator at the site of the future Chinatown Muni station for the Central Subway on Tuesday, March 3, 2021. (Sebastian Miño-Bucheli / Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Major construction on Central Subway to end by March 31

SFMTA board approves renegotiated contract with new deadline, more contractor payments

Neighbors and environmental advocates have found the Ferris wheel in Golden Gate Park noisy and inappropriate for its natural setting. <ins>(</ins>
Golden Gate Park wheel wins extension, but for how long?

Supervisors move to limit contract under City Charter provision requiring two-thirds approval

San Francisco school teachers and staff will be able to get vaccinations without delay with the recent distribution of priority codes. 
Shutterstock
SF distributes vaccine priority codes to city schools

San Francisco has received its first vaccine priority access codes from the… Continue reading

COVID restrictions have prompted a benefit or two, such as empty streets in The City. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Taking the scenic route through a pandemic

Streets of San Francisco are pleasantly free of traffic

Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina provide the voices of the title characters of “Raya and the Last Dragon.” <ins>(Courtesy Disney)</ins>
‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ boasts full-scale diversity

Though familiar in plot, Disney’s latest is buoyed by beauty, pride and power

Most Read