Monday, October 19, 2009

The Way of Strategy (#21b): Assessing the Grand Settings and Other Matters

The Raiders understood the compass of their circumstances. Not only were their past performance was flat, the team unity, the leadership and their execution game plan were in disorder. Economically, the Raiders have repeatedly been unable to sell out their seats. A team that does not win, is a failing team that is in chaos. The team is professionally considered to be the laughing stock in the NFL's terrain.

After last week's slaughter against the NY Giants, the Raiders needed to change their grand modus operandi in order to regain their respect and retain fan interests.

The Raiders defense coordinator somehow regained the control of his defense and properly decided on a different approach and set of plays that gave them a competitive advantage. The Eagles were not prepared for this change of scheme.

Conclusively, the Raiders defeated the Eagles.

Given the right situation, the true professionals will adjust their circumstance in order to survive. The classic professional sports adage is proven true again. "Any team can be beaten at any day, at any time. ..."

Whether the Raiders are able to maintain this new Compass view and the momentum is questionable, we will presume the Raiders are playing with the mindset of "... one game at a time".

Say hello to defense

Oakland blitz-fest yields 6 sacks, holds Philly to 3 FGs

David White, Chronicle Staff Writer

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Eagles didn't see it coming, and, frankly, who did outside the Raiders' inner workings?

Philadelphia came into the Coliseum with three wins going on four. The Raiders crawled in with four losses going on their usual 11 or 12.

If the Giants could hang 44 points on Oakland the previous Sunday, imagine the potential numbers with the second-ranked scoring offense coming to bat.
"They saw the Giants did what they did last week, so they're coming in thinking they'd really have a day," Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt said. "That's just human nature." Here's what wasn't natural Sunday: the Raiders' defense blitzing and blitzing more, then playing zone coverage and more zone coverage, not letting up until a 13-9 victory was won Sunday.

The defense kept the Eagles out of the end zone and thoroughly confused, just in time to keep the season from being irretrievably lost. "They were able to come up with a scheme we haven't seen," Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said after a 22-for-46 showing. "They dropped back in more zone than we've seen in the early games. They came up with more of a blitz package." In short, the Raiders threw in their entire kitchen-sink package, and they needed every bit of it.

The no-octane offense scored but 13 points. That was enough to beat the lousy Chiefs in Week 2. It shouldn't have been enough to beat the high-flying Eagles.
But, it did. The Raiders' defense saw to that. "I'm sure they thought we were sorry and didn't want to play," defensive end Trevor Scott said. They would have been wrong, on every count. The Raiders blitzed the linebackers and safeties from the first series to the last. They sacked McNabb six times for 53 yards, then hit him another eight times for good measure.

Defensive end Richard Seymour had two sacks and three hits. Backup defensive end Trevor Scott had two sacks and two hits. Outside linebacker Thomas Howard got his first sack of the season, but it just as easily could have gone to middle linebacker Kirk Morrison on the double blitz. To a man, members of the Eagles' offense said they had no idea the Raiders had this in them. The Raiders' defense got off the field with five three-and-outs. It stopped the Eagles short on 14 of 16 third downs. It allowed but six plays inside the red zone. "If you sit back there and let the quarterback look over the defense for about three to four seconds, he's gonna kill you," defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said. "We knew we had to pressure him."

The Raiders always say that, though. Only now have they gone to drastic measures. Why they haven't tried this blitzing-zone stuff sooner, no one knows, but it worked wonderfully against the Eagles - if only for the element of surprise.

"It was a shock," Eagles right tackle Winston Justice said, "They caught us by surprise." Right guard Max Jean-Gilles said they weren't "prepared." Eagles coach Andy Reid said they were "outcoached." Eagles defensive end Chris Clemons, a former Raider, said nothing at all. He declined comment. "I don't know what to say," Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel said. "They gave it to us." That, they did, and they didn't even need much help from the lowest-scoring teammates in the NFL.

Cardinal Rule: The ultra class professionals are always prepared to have contingencies of what the opposition could do. (One should never underestimate the opposition).

Cardinal Rule: If the opposition's offense is not scoring, the team has a chance to win. Offense thrills. But it is the defense that wins the game.

The offense chipped in one play of note: tight end Zach Miller's 86-yard touchdown catch with two downfield blocks from receiver Louis Murphy. Everything else simply was killing the clock. Quarterback JaMarcus Russell managed the game with 17-for-28 passing for 224 yards. Running back Justin Fargas kept drives alive with 23 carries for 87 yards.

For a day, it was all the defense needed.
"We looked at the film last week and knew that we didn't show up to play," Seymour said. "We got embarrassed. We just said, 'Hey, let's come out this week.' If we all put it together, then we could do something good."

E-mail David White at
This article appeared on page B - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle


Raiders overpower Eagles 13-9
By JOSH DUBOW, AP Sports Writer
Sunday, October 18, 2009
(10-18) 18:23 PDT Oakland, Calif. (AP) --

Louis Murphy sprinted upfield and laid out a defender with a punishing block. Not satisfied, he caught up to the play again and delivered a second block that allowed Zach Miller to cruise into the end zone on an 86-yard catch-and-run.

For an offense criticized for lacking big plays, intensity and leadership, a rookie receiver gave the Oakland Raiders all three in one play that answered the skeptics.
Miller scored the only touchdown of the game, Justin Fargas helped control the clock by rushing for 87 physical yards and Oakland's defense harassed Donovan McNabb all day in a 13-9 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

"We went out and threw a fight on somebody and said, 'Enough. Let's play,'" coach Tom Cable said. "That's all you can say. There's no magic words or anything like that." It was a major turnaround from the last three weeks when the Raiders (2-4) lost by at least 20 points for the first time in franchise history, capped by a 44-7 loss to the Giants last week. After that game, New York linebacker Antonio Pierce said it felt like playing a scrimmage.

Those comments were posted in the Raiders' locker room this week and the team responded to the critics in impressive fashion.
"That gave me extra fuel," Murphy said. "You have to look yourself in the mirror and man up. His comments were true. We played flat. We didn't play with any emotion. This game was totally different. We took those comments to heart."

The key Sunday was the Oakland defense. Coordinator John Marshall mixed in more zone coverages and blitzes than usual to combat a high-powered Philadelphia offense that was averaging the second-most points in the league.
The Eagles abandoned the run early, only had Michael Vick on the field for two plays, allowed six sacks and were the first team in three years to fail to score a touchdown against the Raiders. "They were able to get home and hit our quarterback," coach Andy Reid said. "When we did have opportunities we didn't take advantage of opportunities."

Philadelphia's last chance ended when McNabb underthrew DeSean Jackson on fourth-and-4 from the Oakland 44 with 2:14 remaining. "I'm sure they watched the Giants game and thought we were sorry," Scott said. "But all week coach Cable talked about persevering and forget the past and move forward so we can get to where we want to go."

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