Oakland Raiders: Keys to Victory Over Tennessee Titans

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Nov 22, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Oakland Raiders tight end Clive Walford (88) carries the ball during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Open Up The Playbook And Take Some Deep Shots

In what was easily one of the most frustrating offensive displays of the season, Bill Musgrave’s game plan against the Lions was lacking anything remotely explosive. There were very few shots downfield and very little attacking of a pass defense that ranks in the middle of the pack of the NFL.

What made it frustrating to watch was that against the New York Jets a few weeks back, Musgrave opened up the playbook and took some deep shots against one of the league’s better pass defenses. Musgrave, through Derek Carr and his array of offensive weapons, directly challenged Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie.

In fact, Musgrave and Carr challenged Revis – and especially Cromartie – again and again. And had tremendous success doing it.

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In taking the Jets’ vaunted cornerback tandem head on, Carr had a field day. He wound up going 23 of 36 for 333 yards and tossed four touchdowns – with zero interceptions. The Raiders routed the Jets and seized control of a wild card spot.

Fast forward to last week against the Lions — whose secondary was in the middle of the pack and led by Darius Slay — and Musgrave ran the most conservative, vanilla, ineffective offense imaginable. While dropped passes certainly didn’t help, Musgrave’s vanilla play calling led to quite a few doomed drives. For the game, the Raiders ran just 47 plays in total and lost the time of possession battle by 13 minutes.

Instead of attacking the edges in the run game and loosening up the defense with some deep shots to Cooper and Crabtree, Musgrave kept everything close to the line and ran an uninspired offensive game.

If the Raiders are going to get back on track and insert themselves back into the playoff race, Musgrave is going to have to open the playbook. He is going to have to trust Carr and his weapons to make plays – and make plays down the field. It’s as simple as that.

Next: Don't Forget the Tight Ends