Several teams around the league have responded to subpar play this season by making changes among their assistant coaches. Raiders coach Dennis Allen doesn’t see the need to go that route.
Allen said Monday in his weekly news conference that the evaluation process for everyone is ongoing.
“I’m not going to stand up here and say we’re making wholesale changes,” Allen said. “We’re going to look at every aspect of what we do, offensively, defensively and the kicking game, and if we feel changes need to be made, we’ll make those changes.”
Allen said his team’s defensive play of late, in particular, has been disappointing. They get one issue fixed, then another issue surfaces.
On Sunday, it was the pass defense. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco passed for 341 yards and three touchdowns. A week earlier, the Buccaneers rushed for 278 yards and four touchdowns.
“It wasn’t like (the Ravens) ran the ball down our throats,” defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said. “If a guy is wide open, running down the middle of the field, most times that’s not a physical problem. It just means somebody’s not covering him.”
Several times, Flacco found receivers wide open as a result of blown coverages or players late responding.
Veteran defensive end Andre Carter said it takes time for players to jell in a new scheme. The next step is becoming consistent from play to play, game to game.
“There’s no doubt in our minds that we are a talented team,” Carter said, “but being talented and going out on the field and having a high level of productivity, a high level of execution for 60 minutes, is another thing. That’s the level that we’re trying to be on.”
Allen deemed the performance of his defense against Sunday “unacceptable.” The Raiders defense and special teams allowed 55 points to the Ravens and 97 the past two games.
“I would hope that they would all be on edge because we all should be on edge,” Allen said.
Allen has said that the Raiders are going to have to find a way to win with the players on their 53-man roster. With that said, there is enough talent defensively for the Raiders to succeed. Again, it comes down to consistency.
“We have to play at a high level on every single snap in every single game,” Allen said. “Just like anybody else in the NFL, if you don’t play consistently, you’re going to have the ups and downs like we’ve had. I don’t look at it as a talent issue.”
— The Raiders lost backup linebacker/long-snapper Travis Goethel to a left knee injury, Allen said. Goethel suffered his injury against the Ravens.
Goethel will be placed on season-ending injured-reserve at some point soon. Allen said he intends to take a look at free-agent linebackers in the coming days.
Cornerback Michael Huff (calf), strong safety Tyvon Branch (neck), tight end Brandon Myers (concussion) and free safety Matt Giordano (concussion) also suffered injuries against the Ravens.
Myers and Giordano are undergoing the league-mandated tests for players that suffer a concussion. They can’t return to practice or play in a game until they are cleared by the medical staff.
Allen said he expects Huff to recover from his injury in time to play against the Saints. Branch is undergoing tests to determine the extent of his neck injury.
— Rookie Tony Bergstrom played on offense Sunday for the first time this season. He played a handful of downs on special teams the first eight games.
Bergstrom replaced Willie Smith at right offensive tackle for 17 plays.
“He did OK,” Allen said of Bergstrom, the Raiders highest draft pick this year. “He showed some of his youth, especially playing the tackle position. But there were some things there that I felt like were encouraging about the way that he went out and played.”
Even so, Allen said he “anticipates” veteran Khalif Barnes starting against the Saints on Sunday.
Barnes started the first two games at right offensive tackle before he suffered a groin injury that required surgery. Barnes returned to practice last Wednesday.
— Rookie running back Jeremy Stewart went from the practice squad to the 53-man roster to seeing action in a game in one day after spending the first nine weeks waiting for an opportunity.
He rushed seven times for 22 yards, while second-year back Taiwan Jones carried only two times for 6 yards.
— Linebacker Aaron Curry played 15 snaps in his first game of the season. He missed all of training camp and the first eight regular-season games while recovering from sore knees.
Curry replaced rookie Miles Burris on those 15 plays, as defensive coordinator Jason Tarver sought to give Burris a rest after playing every snap in recent games.
Curry recorded one tackle. He also got nailed twice for personal-foul penalties.
— Carson Palmer tops the AFC with 2,723 yards passing through nine games. He is third overall, trailing the Saints Drew Brees and the Falcons Matt Ryan.
Palmer and Brees square off Sunday. Palmer is on pace for 4,841 yards, which would eclipse Rich Gannon’s franchise record (4,689, 2002).