On Sunday, September 29, the Oakland Raiders (1-2) take on the Washington Redskins (0-3) in Oakland at 3:25 pm. With the recent loss of QB Terrelle Pryor due to a concussion, Raiders fans are asking how this will affect their chances of winning.
However, I don’t think it will matter who the quarterback is for Oakland. What will be an issue for the Raiders? The zone scheme Washington coach Mike Shanahan often executes. When asked about the upcoming game against the Redskins, Oakland coach Dennis Allen said, “You look wherever Coach Shanahan has been, his teams have always been able to run the ball with that zone scheme. The thing they try to do is get guys to run sideways and stretch the defense, then hit the cut-back. It will be critical for our guys to attack the line of scrimmage.” Shanahan’s plan of attack is typically the same – a zone scheme with a lot of stretch plays with a nondescript running back.
Which is where running back Alfred Morris comes into play. Morris is Shanahan’s ideal running back – not overly flashy but proficient in zone schemes. Why does this pose an issue for the Raiders? Just in last week’s game against the Denver Broncos, Oakland gave up 164 rushing yards to Denver’s running backs. If they perform the same in the upcoming game against Washington, their hopes up winning are less than ideal.
If they contain Alfred Morris and understand Shanahan’s plans for a zone scheme, do the Raiders stand a chance? Absolutely. The Raiders currently have a better record than Washington, who has fallen behind early in all three games into the season. Despite their missing quarterback, Oakland has other players such as Matt Flynn and Darren McFadden who will hopefully come through for the team, especially considering last year’s rookie sensation Robert Griffin III’s less than satisfactory performance this season.
All in all, the match against the Redskins and the Raiders should be relatively similar in talent and the outcome will be interesting to watch.