The Raiders are tied for first place in the AFC West after five weeks and the scary part is that they still have a lot of room for improvement. The defense needs to play better if this team wants a realistic shot at the playoffs.
They gave up another thirty points, as Phillip Rivers torched the secondary for four touchdown passes. I’m not one for conspiracy theories and I don’t believe that the NFL has it out for the Raiders because of Al Davis, but last weeks game against the Chargers was one of the most poorly officiated games I’ve seen in a while. There was hold after hold that was uncalled. These were blatant WWE-type holds that went uncalled throughout the course of the game.
The NFL rulebook defines “holding” as “… [an] Illegal Block by Offensive Player. It is a foul if an offensive blocker: (c) Uses his hands or arms to materially restrict an opponent or alter the defender’s path or angle of pursuit.”
Think about this as we go through these clips. I only selected examples that I thought were blatant.
This play came on a long touchdown pass. The guard pulls around to block Khalil Mack and immediately he gets his on the outside of Macks framework and clearly pulls Mack inwards. Mack is even turned around on the play, yet there was no call.
Rookie Shaquille Calhoun lines up at end against tackle, Chris Hairston. Hairston actually gets his arm around Calhoun’s neck in what resembles a chokehold more than a block. Calhoun had no chance to win the edge on the play and it resulted in a 54 yard pass play.
Darius Latham is lined up across from DJ Fluker. Latham beats Fluker inside with a spin move and has the running back in his sights, but Fluker hugs him around the hips and slows him down enough for the running back to burst through the hole for a nine yard gain.
Here, Mack lines up on the edge against left tackle, King Dunlap. Mack’s best move is called the straight arm in which he extends his inside arm into the inside chest plate of the offensive lineman. This technique is called the “long arm” technique. The theory behind the technique is to throw off the offensive lineman’s inside base and knock him back. It has been extremely effective for Mack, but it seems that tackles are discretely holding his arm inside. This is hard for refs to see. Dunlap clearly is pulling Mack by the shoulder here. It is hard to see, but still cheating regardless.
This is a different type of hold, “defensive holding” to be exact, but still illegal. Michael Crabtree is suppose to run an in breaking route but cannot get inside because one of the defensive backs his hands around his waist and is impeding his progress.
Coach Jack Del Rio touched on this issue against the Ravens, but this week the problem seemed to have gotten worst. As long as the referees miss these calls, it will keep being a problem for the Raiders.
There is no doubt the players are responsible for the Raiders lack of defense, but it doesn’t help when opponents are able to get away with blatant holds. Del Rio also said that he sends in tapes to league every Monday. One could only hope for the purity of the game that these calls get cleaned up.