The Raiders did a much better job in the running game. Both Brandon Bolden and Josh Jacobs averaged over five yards per carry. You can’t ask for much more from your backs. Not their fault the gameplan got away from that.
Pass protection looked better except when it did not. The group gave up a sack and allowed the Titans to apply pressure in some tough spots.
For reasons unknown, John Simpson did not find his way onto the field for the offense in Week 3. Simpson started at left guard the first two games. I was excited to see him build on an improved performance from Week Two.
On defense, Maxx Crosby was again the only player who consistently found his way to disrupt the backfield. Crosby wasn’t perfect, again whiffing on some potential sacks and getting caught up field versus the run. However, he got a sack and made plays in the passing lanes. That’s all you can ask for.
Overall, the group could’ve did more to disrupt Titans QB Ryan Tannehill as he completed over 66 percent of his passes. Some of that is on the secondary though too. They held Derrick Henry to less than 100 yards and only a touchdown. Henry did make some plays but you can’t ask for more than that, even if he averaged over four yards a carry. Adding Denzel Perryman back into the lineup should help the Raiders against the run.
Let’s jump more into the weeds from the All-22.
Interior line improved
Vegas did a better job getting push in the run game and staying on their double-teams. Part of that comes from rolling with Jermaine Eleumunor at guard over Lester Cotton. They also started Alex Bars over John Simpson. Both added some bulk to help contain Jeffrey Simmons.
Dylan Parham also looked better in his second start. His anchor improved and he looked better at the point of attack. However, the group did not do as great of a job getting up to linebacker. They also got caught slipping a few times recognizing stunts in pass pro. All of them need to do better at keeping their heads up and shoulders square to recognize stunts.
Individually, both Eluemunor and Bars both struggled with speed. Eluemunor got caught off balanced and stopping his feet. Bars also got caught leaning and stopping his feet versus strong hands. The inside offensive line is still a mess but it looked better verus the Titans.
Right tackle is still an issue
Rookie Thayer Munford started at right tackle. He didn’t play too bad considering he’s seventh round pick. His feet are good and he has the size and length to play in the league.
Unfortunately, he has not shown the pad level or punch timing necessary versus elite edges. Luckily, the Titans do not feature an elite edge rusher. Munford did get better in this game with more consistent playing time, which is a good sign.
Moving forward, the Raiders still need to figure out a long-term solution at right tackle for this season. Eluemunor looked better at guard because he does not have to worry about speed as much. However, there may be temptation to move him back to right tackle. That’s especially true if center Andre James returns. Then, the Raiders can utilize Parham at guard again, which could push Eluemunor back to tackle. Regardless, Eluemunor and Munford both leave a lot to be desired at the right tackle spot.
The DTs improved
Defensively, the Raiders tackles improved versus the run. Defensive tackles John Hankins and Andrew Billings found ways to push the pocket and eat up double-teams. Hankins got better in the second half when he could key in more on the run. Both could play with a little more leverage and lean to rush the passer. They did find ways to impact the passing lanes too.
Currently, the Raiders find themselves in scenarios where they must prioritize the best pass rushers or run stuffers.
That’s where Bilal Nichols, Malcolm Butler and Bilal Nichols come in. They’re supposed to be the players that provide the balance. None of them have been consistently effective against the run or pass.
Sliding Crosby or Clelin Ferrell inside could help them get more pass rush from the interior, while they rely on the size of Hankins and Billings to stuff the run. However, you can’t always rotate in the perfect package versus every situation. The Raiders still need to find the four player combination that consistently brings pressure and stops the run.
Crosby needs help on the edge
On that note, Maxx Crosby needs help ASAP. Chandler Jones should have dominated this game as the Titans were down their best tackle. Jones dominated Tennessee last season. He had a couple of good reps and still finds himself in the right position.
It could be age or a lingering injury but Jones has not found a way to bring consistent heat off the edge. He is not even seeing the same level of attention in Vegas as he was in Arizona due to Crosby’s play. Jones is getting paid a lot to not get home to the quarterback.
Ferrell looks better getting off the ball and playing with his hands but he still lacks the explosiveness and bend off the edge. He also looks uncomfortable in coverage. Ferrell has not showed much more than Jones when he has had the opportunity to step-in at edge.
Whether it’s Ferrell or Jones, Crosby needs help. Mad Maxx is the Raiders most consistent defensive player but he can’t be the only one if the Raiders are going to dig themselves out of an 0-3 hole.