The Oakland Raiders, losers of nine straight games dating back to last season following their 19-14 loss at the New York Jets on Sunday, host the Houston Texans in Week 2. The following are some areas in which they must improve after Sunday’s loss.
Run game: This is supposed to be the strength of the team. It wasn’t Sunday. The Raiders had just 25 rushing yards. New starting tailback Maurice Jones-Drew had 11 yards on nine carries. The Raiders will make rookie quarterback Derek Carr’s life miserable if they can’t establish a running game. A 25-yard ground game will simply not work with a young quarterback.
Pass coverage: It seemed every time Geno Smith completed a pass, the Raiders were nowhere in sight to make a play. Secondary play has been an issue in Oakland in recent years, and it wasn’t very good Sunday. The Raiders didn’t have much of a pass rush, either, which is also a problem. But Houston’s receivers can’t be given big cushions.
Deep passing game: The Raiders were conservative with Carr as they had him throw several short passes. The approach was understandable. But if the Raiders are going to keep the Texans — and superstar defensive end J.J. Watt — honest in Week 2, they are going to have to establish a deep threat or the Texans will tee off.
Here are some areas of promise the Raiders would like to add to:
Sio Moore: In his last game on Aug. 22, the second-year linebacker was taken off the field on a stretcher at Green Bay with a neck strain. Sunday, Moore was all over the field. He had a game-high 13 tackles and a sack. Moore has a chance to be one of Oakland’s better defensive players, and he can be a catalyst.
Clean game: The Raiders were much cleaner than the Jets. While the Jets were sloppy, committing 11 penalties for 105 yards, the Raiders were flagged just four times for 20 yards. If Oakland continues to win the penalty battle, good things will eventually happen.