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Advanced Preview: Chargers at Raiders

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A review of how the Oakland Raiders have been trending and the players behind that.

Hopefully he cannot even complete the ball.
Hopefully he cannot even complete the ball.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I intermittently try to get a personnel review of the Chargers' opponent.  I did W1 against Arizona and have been absent since. The data I use is DVOA and metrics I derive from Pro Football Focus. But let's see how Oakland has been trending at the team level, in total, offense and defense.



Oakland Team Metrics, Total

So after mediocrity in 2008-09, they actually looked decent in 2010 (8-8, finishing behind 9-7 SD and division winning 10-6 KC). Since then there has been a steady decline with a slight bounce up this year.

Their offense has been bad:


Oakland Team Offense

So this is encouraging, as an opponent. This is probably also a big reason Dennis Allen was sent away. Pretty grim and seemingly getting worse. If you put more faith in DVOA, as I do, this team is awful.

But Oakland, recently, has been known as a putrid offense but at least a tough defense. Let's see how they have been doing on defense.


Oakland Team Defense

So, better but not very good but at least improving this year, driving that blip of improvement in the total team metrics. Since it is their stronger suit, below is a look at the changes from 2013 to 2014 by defensive position group:


2013-14 Oakland Team Positions

So their secondary has gotten a lot better. The data suggests their safety play is good and their CB play is not great but much, much better. The other positions all look like a push, though their have been a lot of personnel changes. This is a lot to absorb, but here are the players in 2013 and 2014 in defense.

OAK Defensive Personnel

OAK Defensive Personnel

Focusing on the secondary, their CB group seemed to get much better with the departure of Tracy Porter, now not doing much for Washington. They have two former Niners playing for them. Brown is playing well, Rodgers is not. But their metrics look decent.

Their safety play has come from a variety of player (Woodson has been steady) but mainly Brandian Ross getting a lot less playing time in favor of other guys playing pretty well.

So now the fun part, the part that leads us to hope for another Jets-like domination by the defense. By position, here are the changes by group from 2013-14.


2013-14 Oakland Team Positions

So last year's QB crew, "led" by Terelle Pryor, was remarkably bad.  Derek Carr has come in this year and, while not good, has improved their metrics strongly.  And their OL has gotten better.  But, offsetting that, is a large drops in all the other positions:  RB, TE and WR, often with the same or similar personnel. As an aside, when I looked up to see who, if anyone, Pryor was playing for (free agent), I started reading his Twitter feed. He seems like a very good guy and hope he turns it around.

The detail:


OAK Offensive Personnel

Aside from the loss of Rashad Jennings to NYG (now injured, but playing well), a lot of personnel is similar but just playing much worse. Perhaps the metrics overstate it or perhaps this is also why Allen was let go.

In summary, if they somehow are able to move the ball against us, this could be a tough game. I expect their defense to play tough and aggressively and will give our OL all that they can handle. I would say there is a 15-20% chance of this. More likely, I expect our defense to make life miserable for their offense and for their defense to get worn out and demoralized kind of like NYJ last week.