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The 0-3 Raiders offense is situationally bad. How can they fix it?

Coming off a brutal 24-22 loss to the Tennessee Titans, the Vegas Raiders find themselves on the brink of missing the playoffs entirely in a deep AFC. The Raiders went 1-12 on third down and 2-6 in the red zone in their loss to the Titans, and the loss sparked a closed door meeting between head coach Josh McDaniels and owner Mark Davis. Once again, this happened in Week 3!

The Raiders spent a lot of money in the offseason to have the same number of wins as the Houston Texans over 3 weeks. Let’s take a look at what went wrong in Las Vegas.

Offensively, the Raiders are 24th in DVOA and in the dropback passing game their EPA/game is worse than the Seahawks. However, when you see his game against the Titans, there really isn’t much wrong with Las Vegas. There’s a lot of the McDaniels Patriots type of running game with a strong I-formation and runs between the tackles, and in the passing game they seem to know what they’re doing, with a QB who knows what he’s looking at from the bottom down. Base.

The offensive line is an issue, but considering they both knew this would be an issue at the start of the season, and they started with rookie Thayer Munford at RT on Sunday, that’s a broader discussion of how this team was built, what will we have at the end of this

The Raiders’ biggest problem, and one that came up in their loss to the Titans, is their situational play, mostly on third down and in the red zone. Through 3 games, Las Vegas ranks 26th in DVOA on 3rd and 4th downs and according to StatMuse only converts on 35.3% of his 3rd downs.

Against the Titans, they only converted a first and that, and that was early in the game. Looking back in the game, they consistently shot themselves in the foot, getting into pass-only situations with a poor offensive line. For example, on a third-and-four from the Titans 9-yard line, they get a false start penalty. Moving them to a third and nine from the 14-yard line, when Denico Autry does this:

On a third-and-13 later in the game, the Raiders get a late game, putting them further behind the sticks and have to throw a screen pass that goes for a two-yard loss. The Raiders aren’t helping themselves or their offensive line by getting into obvious passing situations behind a patchwork offensive line that played its seventh different OL group this season.

This is on a third and four, and Munford gets crushed on a speed run to the outside by Curtis Weaver. The Raiders have to help their line, either with the help of chips from a back or TE, or by keeping an extra player inside.

What also intrigues me is the use of Davante Adams in these critical situations. According to Sports Info Solutions, Adams has four third-down targets in three games and a rushing yardage count of 2.7 yards. The Titans had a great game plan for Adams, practically having two sets of eyes on Adams at all times. McDaniels tried to open Adams from the slot for most of his third-down routes Sunday, but the Titans locked him in, forcing Carr to go the other way.

In a way, they were just unlucky. Carr targeted TE Darren Waller twice on third down Sunday, but they resulted in an ugly incomplete pass and an INT in the red zone. The incomplete was bad, because the Raiders got the look they wanted, but couldn’t finish. This should be a catch and a big win.

Ultimately, the Raiders face an 0-3 hole in an AFC packed with contenders. Actually, jumping into Las Vegas as an immediate playoff contender might have been a mistake. If you look at his roster, the glaring holes in the offensive line and defense were noticeable in the offseason, and they’ve been his biggest problem in three games.

The revolving door up front hasn’t helped, but his inability to win on third down and constantly back into a corner is in training. Josh McDaniels has to better prepare his team for those situations, and they just can’t turn the ball over in the red zone.

For the first three weeks it looks unlucky, but time will tell if it’s a trend or not.

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