Raiders Passing Scheme Needs a Re-Boot in 2018

Gruden's new scheme likely will include more play-action, variety and deep routes to give Carr more options and opportunities

Recently, Sam Monson of the analytic website Pro Football Focus spelled out the biggest question facing every NFL team.

For the Raiders, it was this: "Can the Raiders rediscover their 2016 form on offense?"

Something — or many things — went wrong in 2017, as the sixth-ranked Oakland offense the year before tumbled into a tie for 17th. After averaging 373.3 yards and 26 points per game while going 12-4 in 2016, the Raiders offense produced just 324.1 yards and 18.8 points per game in 2017 while going 6-10.

The biggest change was in offensive coordinators, with Bill Musgrave getting pushed out the door in favor of Todd Downing — who has followed him out the same door.

Now new head coach Jon Gruden is putting in a new offense, and Monson suggests one fix might come in the way of play-calling.

"Gruden will install a new offensive approach, and will be hitting the ground running after a decade away (from coaching)," wrote Monson. "One thing that needs to change is that passing scheme. Carr ran play action on just 14.0 percent of passing plays, the third-fewest in the league, and he had the fastest average time to throw. Gruden needs to make that passing attack a little more diverse and deceptive than it was in 2017 and hope to rediscover the talent of some weapons that looked like stars in the making."

The Raiders passing game in 2017 included less play-action and many more short routes, and Carr regressed in a big way.

Levi Damien of SB Nation noted the Raiders were using far fewer play-action calls in 2017, including just 12 over the first six games.

At the time, Downing said game situations — being behind or not running the ball effectively — inhibited the use of play-action.

"We'll certainly incorporate them more," Downing told reporters. But as the season played out, the Oakland offense remained mostly dormant.

Now it'll be up to Gruden to add some wrinkles and fresh approaches to get it launched again.

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