The contrast in the fortunes of the organizations over the past several years is matched by their approach to defense.
The Eagles have carried on the Jim Johnson legacy of the zone blitz under new coordinator Sean McDermott. The Raiders have long believe in bringing pressure with four linemen, playing fundamentally sound and going heavy on man-to-man defense.
How stark is the contrast?
According to Stats, LLC, by way of A.P.’s Josh Dubow, the Eagles blitz more than any team in the NFL. On passing plays, the Eagles have brought pressure 28 times in 56 snaps on first down, are 18-for-47 on second down, 23-for-43 on third down and 2-for-4 on fourth down. That’s 71 blitzes in 150 snaps on passing plays, or 47.3 percent.
The Raiders blitz less often than any team in the NFL. They’re 6-for-56 on first down passing plays, 6-for-54 on second down, 8-for-41 on third down and 0-for-2 on fourth down. That’s 20 blitzes in 153 pass plays, or 13.1 percent.
“They’ll have nine people on the line of scrimmage a lot, not just a token amount,and they’re coming, and they’ve got confidence in what they’re doing, and they’ll take some risks, and line up and try to match you, and say, hey, we can get to your quarterback before you can get the ball off,” passing game coordinator Ted Tollner said.
Raiders coach Tom Cable has preached that blitzing leaves open the possibility for big plays, something JaMarcus Russell, sacked six times by the infrequently blitzing New York Giants, is hoping for against the Eagles.
“Now I’m more prepared. I’ve been out there last year a full season, seen a lot of it and now it’s getting to be second nature,” Russell said. “Once you get a chance to watch a lot of film on a guy you get to know some of their habits and you can sometimes see it before it comes.
“Sometimes blitzing like that can really hurt you if an offense picks it up or even breaks one tackle, you have no one back there. Hopefully we can get some big plays like that this week.”
More news, notes and quotes from Thursday:
– Not so fast on having wide receiver Chaz Schilens back in some capacity against Philadelphia. Although Cable said Schilens has been “doing a little bit of everything” in practice, both drills and with the team, Schilens sounded skeptical that he could be active against the Eagles.
“I don’t know. I haven’t been able to do any team stuff so it’s kind of hard to say,” Schilens said. “I know I can do it but I don’t know if they’re going to put me out there when I haven’t done much, so we’ll see.”
Cable said the issue with Schilens foot is “he’s still sore the next day and we want to make sure we get as much out of there as we can.”
– Another indication the Raiders may not be of the mind that Schilens will be on the field, even in a limited role _ Cable said Javon Walker would be active for the first time since Week 2.
Against the Giants, the Raiders had only three wide receivers active _ starters Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey and Todd Watkins.
Cable said the injury to linebacker Ricky Brown leaves open a spot among the 45 players active for the game.
– Cable said Wednesday he was unaware of exactly what Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce said regarding the Raiders game being “like a scrimmage,” but on Thursday copies of the quote were placed both in the locker room and in the hallway next to board which posts stats for special teams.
– Defensive end Greg Ellis has a pretty good idea of the national perception of the Raiders, although he believes it can change.
“The mood we’re going to be in or should be in, right now we’re kind of the laughingstock of the NFL. This isn’t anything new, ” Ellis said.
“Teams have been that way before. New England wasn’t always winning Super Bowls and Dallas wasn’t always the team they are. So, it goes in cycles. When you’re in that down cycle, you got to fight and claw to get back out of it and that’s what we’re doing here right now in Oakland.
“We got the talent to do it and that probably makes it more frustrating, that you look around and you have a talented bunch of guys, you’re just not winning the games. That’s frustrating.”
– Here’s how cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha assesed the fall of the Raiders over the past six years while talking by conference call with the Philadelphia media:
“It’s like the million dollar question. It’s tough to pinpoint. In previous years we’ve brought in the big time free agents and we did all that and we had the high draft picks so you would think there would be a turnaround, and we’d switch coaches and that sort of thing, and there would be no turnaround.
“This year we didn’t do that type of stuff. We kept the coach. We didn’t bring in all the big time free agents so we’re like let’s try something different. And that didn’t work. Its kind of like you screw in one light bulb to fix it and then another light bulb goes out and then you screw that one in to fix it and then another one. There’s always something that’s missing and it hurt us.”
– Left guard Robert Gallery is still not practicing with the team. Cable said he was doubtful, and could have made it “very, very, very doubtful.” An incision to put in a protective plate still has not sufficiently healed.
– Finally, a “source” from the Cable camp? Profootballtalk.com reported Wednesday night charges may not be filed against the Raiders coach at all and that Cable could be considering legal action against Randy Hanson.
The Napa County District attorney urged reporters to check back Monday.