RB Josh Jacobs Looks To Carry the Load for Raiders Against Chiefs
Things have changed for the Raiders’ offense since they last played Kansas City in Week 2. Right guard Gabe Jackson is healthy and will be playing instead of Denzelle Goode, who struggled to slow down defensive tackle Chris Jones. Starting slot receiver Hunter Renfrow is out with a broken rib and punctured lung. His loss will really be felt on third down where his crafty route running gives quarterback Derek Carr a reliable chain-moving target. Right tackle Trent Brown (knee) and center Rodney Hudson (ankle) are dealing with lower body injuries that could limit their effectiveness against the Chiefs.
After a rough showing against the Jets last week, head coach Jon Gruden hopes to get his team back on track by establishing the running game early. He leans on superstar rookie running back Josh Jacobs to carry the load in their zone-based run scheme. Jacobs blend of vision, speed and power along with his ability to keep his feet moving through contact make him difficult for defenses to contain.
With Renfrow out, receiver Tyrell Williams and tight en d Darren Waller will be asked to carry the load in the passing game. Williams is a burner that makes most of his plays deep down the field, but he will also catch slants and screens. Waller does most of his damage down the seams and on deep over routes and corner routes. Gruden likes to start Carr off with some quick passes for easy completions to get him in a rhythm to start a game.
Stopping The Offense
The Chiefs have a few options to disrupt the Raiders offense. Hudson at center can be driven back while either run or pass blocking. Defense end Frank Clark should won an advantage against left tackle Kolton Miller with his speed and power rush moves. Delayed blitzes through the A-gap get pressure in Carr’s face, while using a defensive end to force the right tackle wide opens up the B-gap for a blitzer. Twists are also effective against the interior offensive line and left tackle. The pass rushers can also fairly easily drive through the inside shoulder of any tight end that stays in to block.
Defensively the Chiefs have a few areas on which to focus this week, starting with tackling. Jacobs excels at yards after contact, so defenders must wrap him up and stay with the tackle until he is brought down. The defensive ends also need to work on pursuing zone runs away from them, trying to catch Jacobs when he wants to cut up the field early. They can drive through the inside shoulder of the tight end for quick penetration into the backfield when the zone run is away from them.
The alignment of the running back will sometimes give away whether the play is a run or pass. If the running back lines up directly behind the tackle, or even a little wider than that, expect him to run a route out of the backfield. The defensive line will need to work on retracing their steps when given an easy path through the offensive line, keeping their head on a swivel looking for a screen.
In coverage, the Chiefs must keep an eye on the tight ends, as they will occasionally block for a second before getting a late release. The big key for the Chiefs’ defense is to keep Williams from beating them deep. If the Raiders hope to keep up with the Chiefs’ weapons, they will have to hit a few big plays, and Williams is their best shot at that.