Raiders can improve their offense with this one change
After watching the Oakland Raiders vs. Miami Dolphins game, Austin Gayle of Pro Football Focus Tweeted a stat that blew my mind. The 22 yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch in the third quarter was the first time the Raiders had run a trap play all season long.
For those who are not familiar with the terminology, a trap play is when an offensive lineman pulls from one side of the line and runs to the other side of the line and picks up a defender on that side. If you watch the Lynch touchdown below, you will see Kelechi Osemele pull from the left side of the line and go to block on the right side. On this play, Ndamukong Suh falls and so Osemele has no one to block, but you get the point.
The reason this is notable is because trap plays are a part of a power run blocking scheme as opposed to zone blocking. As many have already noted, the Raiders are running far more zone blocking run plays than they did last season, in particular, inside zone plays. The Raiders ran outside zone a decent bit last season but this year they are running more outside zone and a ton of inside zone. The result? A run game that is even more inconsistent than it was last season, and we all know how up and down the run game was last season.
I understand trying new concepts but at some point, you need to be able to recognize when the concept you are trying isn’t working. The Raiders have an offensive line made up of walking, talking, real life monsters. And those monsters are much better in the power run game than they are as zone blockers.
And now that we are nine games into the season, it’s time to admit that the move to a primarily zone blocking run game isn’t working. If the Raiders want to get their offense back on track, one easy way to do so is by going back to a power run game and leave the failed experiment of zone blocking in the past.