The 2009 NFL Season Reviews roll on with a look at the Oakland Raiders. In the first game of the 2009 season, the Raiders hung tough against a heavily favored Chargers team. When they followed that up with a win over Kansas City, it looked like this might be the year that they turned the corner. Sadly, for Raider fans, it was not to be, as Oakland won only 5 games. The team may have been distracted by Head Coach Tom Cable’s off the field issues, but for whatever reason, they failed to improve on last season’s win total. However, there were some reasons for hope, which we’ll get into with this piece.
Before you read further, you might want to take a look at the Season Reviews Informational Post, which describes the methodology and data presented in the following tables.
First, Table 1 gives a general overview of the Raiders’ season as a whole.
|Team Offense||Value||Rank||Team Defense||Value||Rank|
|Pass Yards||2557||29||Pass Yards||3303||7|
|Pass TD||10||32||Pass TD||16||6|
|Pass INTs||18||20||Pass INTs||8||31|
|Rush Yards||1701||21||Rush Yards||2488||29|
|Rush TD||7||27||Rush TD||24||31|
As we can see, Oakland’s one bright spot was in pass defense. In fact, it was pretty darn good, finishing 7th in passing yards allowed, 6th in passing TDs allowed, and 11th in sacks. Surprisingly, with such good pass defense, they were next to last in interceptions. On offense, there were really no bright spots. The rushing game was better, and it averaged a very respectable 4.1 YPC, the passing game effectively minimized that strength. Let’s see if Table 2 shows the same results.
|Oak Pts||Opp D||Opp Pts||Opp O|
|Opp||Score||Avg Pt||Diff1||Score||Avg Pt||Diff2|
|San Diego Chargers||20||20||0||24||28.38||-4.38|
|Kansas City Chiefs||13||26.5||-13.5||10||18.38||-8.38|
|New York Giants||7||26.69||-19.69||44||25.13||18.88|
|New York Jets||0||14.75||-14.75||38||21.75||16.25|
|San Diego Chargers||16||20||-4||24||28.38||-4.38|
|Kansas City Chiefs||10||26.5||-16.5||16||18.38||-2.38|
Although the defense as a whole was not highly ranked, this data shows that the offense was clearly more of a liability for Oakland. The points differential for the offense was more than 5 times that of the defense. For the entire season, the defense only allowed a cumulative 25 points above the opponents’ averages while the defense scored 134 points below. Table 3, below, shows the same story.
|Oak Yds||Opp D||Opp Yds||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Yd||Diff1||Gained||Avg Yd||Diff2|
|San Diego Chargers||366||326.88||39.13||317||360.06||-43.06|
|Kansas City Chiefs||166||388.19||-222.19||409||303.19||105.81|
|New York Giants||124||324.88||-200.88||483||366||117|
|New York Jets||263||252.31||10.69||447||321||126|
|San Diego Chargers||180||326.88||-146.88||346||360.06||-14.06|
|Kansas City Chiefs||272||388.19||-116.19||318||303.19||14.81|
Although the difference is not as pronounced as in Table 2, here we see again that the offense is much more of a weakness than the defense. The next two tables will help to show which aspects of offense and defense were more to blame.
|Oak P-Yd||Opp D||Opp P-Yd||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Pa||Diff1||Gained||Avg Pa||Diff2|
|San Diego Chargers||218||209.25||8.75||240||271.13||-31.13|
|Kansas City Chiefs||99||231.69||-132.69||236||182.63||53.38|
|New York Giants||64||214.06||-150.06||263||251.19||11.81|
|New York Jets||144||153.69||-9.69||131||148.75||-17.75|
|San Diego Chargers||81||209.25||-128.25||246||271.13||-25.13|
|Kansas City Chiefs||90||231.69||-141.69||206||182.63||23.38|
|Oak R-Yd||Opp D||Opp R-Yd||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Ru||Diff1||Gained||Avg Ru||Diff2|
|San Diego Chargers||148||117.63||30.38||77||88.94||-11.94|
|Kansas City Chiefs||67||156.5||-89.5||173||120.56||52.44|
|New York Giants||60||110.81||-50.81||220||114.81||105.19|
|New York Jets||119||98.63||20.38||316||172.25||143.75|
|San Diego Chargers||99||117.63||-18.63||100||88.94||11.06|
|Kansas City Chiefs||182||156.5||25.5||112||120.56||-8.56|
Passing offense is clearly the biggest weakness on this team. Rushing defense isn’t spectacular either, but the strength of the passing defense helps to mitigate the damage there somewhat. On offense, the running game is a relative strength compared to the passing game. To be fair, there was some improvement as the season progressed. In the first nine games, the offense passed for more than 120 yards below the opponents’ average 5 times (more than 140 yards below the average 3 of those 5). In those nine games, they exceeded the opponent’s average only once. In the final seven games, Oakland passed for worse than 50 yards below the opponent’s average only once, and they exceeded the average three times. Looking at the rushing defense, I don’t see the same level of improvement.
So, going into this season’s draft, what is their biggest need? Looking at this data, it would seem that the passing game improved, so maybe JaMarcus Russell in making strides. But, looking at the box scores of some of those late games, he split time in just about all of them. Perhaps you give him another year and hope that his two rookie receivers grow into next season. If that’s the case, the Raiders may look to the best player that could solidify their run defense. It will be interesting to see which direction they choose.
Tags: Oakland Raiders