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Raiders Served 'Vanilla' This Preseason

Remember the dumb brother from the movie "Corky Romano"? Trying to order rum raisin nut, rocky road, then pistachio. The guy keeps telling him we only have the three flavors on the sign; Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry. That's what Hue Jackson has served us this pre-season, a big cup of vanilla-flavored offense. Which is perfectly fine, he gets to see what the players can execute and at the same time doesn't expose too much to other teams.

Insert one Chuck Bresnahan. The old/new defensive coordinator re-hired by Al Davis in the off-season. When he was initially brought in his role on the staff was not given, was he the linebackers coach? This leads one to believe Al had someone else in mind that he wasn't able to land for the position of defensive coordinator. So after a week or so the Raiders quietly named Chuck the coordinator and everyone said "oh....".

Bresnahan went into this preseason with a defense who just lost its biggest name, Nnamdi Asomugha. His goal, to develop the already in place young talent the Raiders had collected in the previous years. And to do it with a familiar style, one he was a part of for 5 years under the Gruden era. How's that vanilla ice cream tasting? The Raiders wrapped up the pre-season 32nd in total defense. 30th against the pass, 28th against the run. Maybe most disturbing is that they finished 28th in sacks with 5. Yep, 5 sacks in  four games.

This from a defensive pass rush that was supposed to be the strength of the defense. After watching the games a few times I don't think I have ever witnessed worse line stunts. It's almost as if Bresnahan designed the stunts to go through the same gaps. Now, this might be player execution, but let me remind you this is the same defensive line that finished last pre-season 3rd overall with 13 sacks. They also were 8th in total yards.

Bresnahan also hasn't seemed to solve the Raiders problem of giving up the back-breaking 3rd and long conversion. Look at this sequence to open the Seahawks game: 1st play they line up in the base press man, Huff continues to show his more physical aggressive play and blows up the run off right. 2nd play its the same formation and Huff and Shaughnessy blow up the run off left. Everything's looking good right? Finally, the Raiders D is starting to look normal. Then, Bresnahan blitzes Kamerion Wimbley, Rolando McClain and Stevie Brown. Wait, what? Stevie Brown? Result is a screen pass converts the 3rd and 15 for Seattle.

I watched that play at least 10 times, McClain was slow in shooting his gap, and Stevie Brown didn't seem to notice how Leon Washington let him run by him. Stevie Brown made a name for himself last pre-season by having a 'nose' for the ball and being a playmaker in the defensive backfield. He hasn't shown anything that warrants him being sent on a blitz. Not after Michael Huff had just blown up the first 2 plays.

Last year the Bresnahan lead defense of the Florida Tuskers lead the UFL in sacks. Impressive? Maybe, only problem is that league has rules against more than 6 guys rushing the passer and has to have 4 down lineman on all plays. Now it is just pre-season and Chuck might not be wanting to show anything to the league, but the lack of timely blitzing that has seemed to work for every other team so far is unsettling. More vanilla anyone?


  1. I am very dissapointed in the hiring of chuck b. If the defense fails, with as many returning starters as there are, the weight of the failure should fall on his shoulders.

  2. It doesn't matter who we hire..AL has total controll of what players are here n what D we play..AL hates zone,so we will give up huge 3rd downs and runs til he is gone.. Its all on Chuck B..???? AL is the one to blame, and has been for years,28 to b exact!!! R coaches are puppets.. We will fix it..we will get it done..hahaha alll BS,they just take ALs money do what he shes and get fired... wake up raider fans

  3. It's all true what you say Colorado! Just waiting for the day Al drops dead. Til then just more of the same ol' sh.t!

  4. I agree. Although it is up to the players, any failure will land on Chuck. Fair or not.

  5. That's a little bit overstated and oversimplified, but I understand why people think this and Al does dictate some of the defensive scheme, but he is no dummy.

  6. I'm so tired of frustrated Raider fans blaming Mr. Davis for all of the Raiders' troubles. None of his critics are fit to clean his shoes. The team struggles and suddenly people forget what Mr. Davis has done and is still capable of doing. Coach of the year. Revolutionized the passing game. AFL commissioner. 3 time Super Bowl Champion. Afraid of no one (would you have the balls required to take on the NFL?). Colorado does make a good point, Mr. Davis does have a problem in that he trusts too much and lately he has not been rewarded for his generosity. Too many players and coaches take the money and run. Last year it seemed that this mentality was changing. I sure do hope it wasn't an illusion.

  7. Al Davis, should of not made the change d/cord. Just like firing Tom Cable. What a dumb move. This team will not win any more than 6 or 7 games tops !

  8. When you have just won 8 games, something you haven't done in years. And fire the coach that has started turning things around. Al, fired him only because he coached the way that he thought was right, not the way that Al, wanted !!! Now he have another yes man. And we will also have another losing season !


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