Raiders Punished Chiefs For Scheming Against Their Old Tendencies on Offense

The narrative around Jon Gruden and Derek Carr for the past two years (even longer for Carr) has been a lot about their lack of aggression on offense. You’ve heard the check-down jokes about Carr and teams have very often keyed on the Raiders short throws.

Last year at Arrowhead Stadium, Chiefs safety Juan Thornton jumped a short route by Tyrell Williams and returned it for a touchdown. This year, the Chiefs went with a similar game plan against the Raiders and Henry Ruggs III made them pay.

Looking at the 72-yard touchdown in the first half from Ruggs, the screenshots tell the story.

Here we see the Chiefs in man coverage and prior to the snap the defense is showing a one deep safety look.

Soon after the snap it’s clear that Kansas City has not disguised their safety look and the underneath coverage is man-to-man across the board. We see veteran safety Daniel Sorensen is already moving toward the line of scrimmage and we can’t know for sure, but it sure seems like Carr is looking directly at him.

The next frame shows Sorensen getting sucked in by the underneath routes, but starting to lean back (below). At this point that Sorensen must realize he is in no man’s land.

Sorensen can provide help to only one of the four routes and the offensive line has held up. Despite the Chiefs rushing six, the Raiders offensive line gave Carr time to make Sorensen commit to what his gut was telling him – that the throw was going to be short.

One of the challenges for defensive backs covering Ruggs is that he never seems to be running at full speed. It’s fair to wonder if that won’t contribute to more secondaries underestimating his speed.

The screen shot above shows Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward with a step on Ruggs, but it’s already too late. Ward ran a 4.44 forty in 2018 and two-tenths of a second (Ruggs has low 4.2 speed) is a lifetime in an NFL secondary.

We see Ruggs is even with the Ward (below) and at the mercy of Carr, who is already throwing the football.

By the time the ball gets to Ruggs, Ward isn’t within six yards of the play and Sorensen is barely in the frame… just enough to read his name plate.

Now that the Raiders have speed at wide receiver, defenses won’t be able to key on the underneath routes like they have in past… err last Sunday.

Defenses that don’t respect the Raiders receiver group won’t have the same success against Gruden’s offense in 2020 that they did in 2019.

And once Ruggs III and Nelson Agholor start gaining the attention of more two-deep safety looks, what do you suppose that will mean for Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow, and Josh Jacobs?

twitter: @raidersbeat


4 thoughts on “Raiders Punished Chiefs For Scheming Against Their Old Tendencies on Offense

  1. Obviously, beautiful play and result. However, haven’t heard anyone comment about Jacobs giving up his body on blitz pickup to give Carr just enough time to make the play.

  2. The Chiefs outsmarted themselves in this game to be sure, and yes the Raiders punished them for it. Don’t look for the Buccaneers to make the same mistake next week. They’ll keep a safety over the top. But there are several ways Gruden can take advantage of Rugg’s meecurial talent. Look for him to get more creative with how he uses Ruggs and creates opportunities for his other pass catchers.

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