Raiders Stats and Storylines: Week 5 Edition

The most prominent Week 5 storyline will likely be the same storyline that defines the season: Jon Gruden’s emails.

The emails were offensive, Gruden was right to resign and General Manager Mike Mayock represented the organization well when he pointed to the Raiders history of standing for diversity.

That’s where the storyline currently stands.

Where it goes will be captivating. It certainly feels like we’re closer to the beginning than the end. What of the 600,000+ other emails? But — most relevant to this franchise — when will Mark Davis speak? And what will he say?

It’s hard to imagine Davis’ father delegating the Raiders’ response to a possibly lame-duck GM or an interim coach. Yet that’s where we’re at.

How the team responds on the field and how Davis ultimately responds off it are storylines that start in Week 5, but will ultimately play out for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, the most immediate question is one that’ll be answered in Week 6: Will interim head coach Rich Bisaccia be able to rally his troops?

1. Rich Bisaccia Faces a Difficult Road

Interim coach Rich Bisaccia faces an uphill battle on two fronts, past results and future projections:

  1. Interim-Coach Track Record
    • From 1960-2018, only 16 of 87 interim head coaches had a winning record in their interim stint.
    • No interim head coach has ever made the playoffs.
  2. Rest-of-Season Projections
    • PFF projects the Raiders to have the 11th-hardest remaining strength of schedule and a 48% chance to make the playoffs.
    • Football Outsiders projects the Raiders to have the 6th-hardest remaining strength of schedule and a 33.8% chance to make the playoffs

On the bright side, Bisaccia inherits a more talented roster than most interim coaches. Therefore, if he can fix a few deficiencies, he could very well make history as the first interim coach to make the NFL post-season.

Fittingly, one of these fixable deficiencies is our second storyline.

2. Raiders on 4th Down: A Sergio Leone Joint

In the first five games, the Raiders 4th-down results invoke Sergio Leone’s 1966 masterpiece:

  • The Good: The Raiders are top ten in “Attempt Rate Over Expected.” In other words, when faced with 4th-down decisions, the team has made the aggressive — and analytically sound — choice to go for it.
  • The Bad: The Raiders have typically paired the aggressive decision with a conservative playcall. Worse, these playcalls rely on the team’s greatest weakness: possibly the worst run-blocking unit of the last decade.
  • The Ugly: This graphic via Ayush Batra:
The only team worse than the Raiders on 4th Down: The Lions

A reasonable 4th-down goal: Be less like the Lions and more like the Chargers.

3. The Raiders Leader in Missed-Tackles Forced is… Who?

Can you guess which Raider forced the most missed tackles against the Bears? I’ll give you a hint: It wasn’t Kenyan Drake, who had none. Nor was it Josh Jacobs, who had one.

Instead, it was Hunter Renfrow, who’s five missed-tackles forced led all WRs in Week 5, thanks to moves like these:

Hunter Renfrow making defenders miss

Renfrow has forced nine missed tackles this season, which ranks second in the NFL among WRs. Perhaps most impressively, it ranks first among all Raiders. Second is Peyton Barber with eight.

4. Raiders Last — By a Mile — in Play-Action Passing

Yes, the Raiders are bad at running the football. No, that doesn’t affect the play-action passing game. Despite this counterintuitive reality, the Raiders are league-worst in play-action passing usage:

  • The Raiders “early-down play action rate is about half that of the next worst team in the NFL” per PFF’s Eric Eager.
  • Among quarterbacks with 125+ dropbacks, Derek Carr has the fewest dropbacks, attempts and completions in the NFL on play-action passes.

Meanwhile, Carr’s Big-Time-Throw percentage on play-action passes is 13.0%, which ranks 4th in the NFL, so the lack of play-action game is puzzling.

5. Screen Game Even More Neglected

Bad run offenses — which the Raiders are — often turn to the short-passing game, in general, and screen passes, specifically. It’s a low-risk way to quickly get the ball to playmakers in space and, therefore, can serve a similar purpose to the run game.

Not the Raiders though:

CategoryDerek CarrNFL Rank*
Screen-Pass Dropbacks1227 out of 30
Screen-Pass Percentage5.3%28 out of 30

*Rank among quarterbacks with 125+ dropbacks

One would hope that new playcaller Greg Olson would increase the use of both play-action passes and screens. Both could give needed help to the offensive line and would mix up the Raiders passing attack.

6. What is Working in the Passing Game: The Vertical Game

We were going to stretch the field vertically. When we came out of the huddle, we weren’t looking for first downs, we didn’t want to move the chains, we wanted touchdowns. We wanted the big play, the quick strike. – Al Davis.

Al would be proud of the current Raiders vertical game:

CategoryDerek CarrNFL Rank
Average Depth of Target9.67th
20+ Yard Pass Attempts351st
Big Time Throws191st

Carr’s commitment — and success — to the deep ball has been impressive.

7. Alex Leatherwood: New Position, Similar Result

Week 5 was Alex Leatherwood’s first NFL start at guard, but his stat-line was nothing new: 1 sack allowed, 2 penalties and 3 pressures allowed.

Perhaps worse: On two of the game’s most pivotal plays, Leatherwood was beat soundly and was a major reason the Raiders turned the ball over:

Alex Leatherwood allows penetration on 4th down and pressure on an INT

We shouldn’t judge a career after five games nor should we judge a position after one game. That said, while Leatherwood may one day develop into an asset for this team, he’s currently a major liability.

8. Brandon Parker: Not the Answer at RT

Even more predictable than Leatherwood’s performance at a new position was Parker’s at one he’s failed at previously.

Brandon Parker’s Week-5 Performance

CategoryBrandon ParkerNFL Rank*
PFF Overall Grade36.0Worst
PFF Run-Blocking Grade40.4Second Worst
PFF Pass-Blocking Grade38.0Fifth Worst

*Rank among tackles with at least 25 snaps in Week 5

Parker has never finished a season with a PFF grade above 48.9, so his performance against the Bears was neither surprising nor an aberration.

9. Time for Option C at Right Tackle

The Raiders have tried Option A (Alex Leatherwood) and Option B (Brandon Parker) at Right Tackle.

Both have failed.

Therefore, it’s time for Mike Mayock to exercise his newfound 51% power and sign Option C. I’m guessing he didn’t need the below chart from last week’s column to know there are some decent ones available:

Available Free Agents at Right Tackle

Sacks Allowed321
Overall PFF Grade73.074.777.0
PFF Ranking*35th30th25th

*Ranking is among Offensive Tackles with at least 100 snaps.

If the Jon Gruden fiasco doesn’t torpedo the season, there’s a good chance the right tackle situation will… unless Mayock makes a move.

10. Kenyan Drake: Disappearing Man

Kenyan Drake always felt like an unnecessary — and expensive — toy that Jon Gruden had to have. Now Gruden’s gone. What will happen to Drake?

Per Kev Mahserejian, Drake’s playing time was steadily decreasing with Gruden at the helm.

NFL WeekSnap Percentage

When Drake has seen the field, he’s mostly been ineffective, ranking last in yards per carry and PFF grade among Raider halfbacks.

Perhaps Olson can incorporate Drake into a revitalized short-passing game.

Regardless, Drake’s signing looked suspect at the time and looks worse as the season progresses.

Twitter: @TravisGilkeson


7 thoughts on “Raiders Stats and Storylines: Week 5 Edition

  1. Se necesita salvsr la temporada con rl equipo que se tiene y so se pieden agrehar las piezas wue faltan hay que traerlss y no perder tiempo ya rs hora de que los Raiders vuelen como lo haciam con Ken Stabler Jim Plunkrtt hay el petsonal y se puedr hacrr si Al David estiviers vivo se rnfermaroa de coraje se no ver un equipo ganador ya es mucho tiempo de estar en la orilla Animo Rich Derek Waller y la defensiva con Gus Bfadley

  2. This article underscores what I have been saying about Raiders management for years. I have been a Raiders fan since 1968 and obviously have a strong allegiance to the team. However, I have a lot of disdain for quite a few of the managerial decisions that have been made by the team. Just because I criticize managerial decisions doesn’t mean that I don’t love the team. I simply want them to get it right. Anyone, Raiders fan or not, who has witnessed “some” of the decisions made by Raiders management, has seen the dysfunction by management play out over quite a few years. I won’t even try to list the numerous bad decisions but suffice it to say, this started with Al Davis’ health decline and continues with his son at the helm. Now, in my opinion, the latter gets a pass only because he acknowledged, from the start that; “The only thing that I know about football is what I don’t know about football.” Those who “got in his ear” and admonished him to hire Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden obviously don’t know that much about football either. The Raiders however are not alone when it comes to making bad decisions from management to players. “Some teams” seem to suffer from terminal lethargy. 199 draft picks went before Tom Brady. How many teams passed on Aaron Rodgers? It took Kansas City 50 years before they won their second championship and so on and so on and scoobie doobie doobie. As for my team, the Raiders, I’m prompted to ask a question that was first posed by that great philosopher Richard Pryor; How long? How long will this bullshit go on? How long?

  3. I agree with William above fully.I too have been a loyal Raider fan since the 60’s and Season Ticket Holder. It always comes back to management as they are the final decision makers. My biggest problem in recent years truly has been Derek Carr. While his stats are off the chart this year, he still lacks many things. He’s never been any kind of a scrambler, his past injuries aren’t going to help that. He lack the ability to complete his short passes unless the receiver is way behind scrimmage which sets the receiver up to get hammered. I could go on but I won’t. I believe the Raiders need a more exciting quarterback with a bigger bag of tricks. Guess what, they have one and his name is : MARCUS MARIOTA ! Play him , he’s amazing. Lastly, I just went to Las Vegas and toured the new Allegiant Stadium. I highly recommend the tour, It is clear what 2 Billion Dollars gets you ! *** Go Raiders ***

    1. Edward,
      Obviously, we are on the same page and that includes, in my opinion, your assessment of Derek Carr’s “abilities.” There was an article, this summer, where Kurt Warner gave his breakdown on Derek Carr. Below, is the Youtube video of Kurt Warner doing so.

      I too would like to see Marcus Mariota get some playing time. In the old days, spirited competition made players up their game and more appreciative of their opportunity to get on the field. In my opinion, if Derek Carr is ever going to get better, he needs to be “pushed” by this type of competition. I know that I am showing my age here but Fran Tarkenton had statistics, Jim Kelly had statistics, Philliph Rivers and Dan Fouts along with Dan Marino had statistics. However, statistics alone does not win Super Bowls and if that is the objective…..

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