The Oakland Raiders' passing offense did more to hurt their chances of winning Sunday than it did to help. The Raiders dropped their second consecutive game and now stand at 3-6 on the season. The passing offense started to develop early in the season giving a positive outlook on how it could look at this point in the year. However, the opposite has occurred and it is in a serious decline.
The easy target of blame is quarterback Terrelle Pryor. He struggled greatly in the 24-20 loss to the New York Giants finishing 11-26 for 122 yards and two critical fourth quarter turnovers. He deserves an equal part of the responsibility because his play has been inconsistent and shaky of late. However, there are so many components that are making things far more difficult for Pryor than necessary.
The offensive line continues to shuffle pieces due to injury. Center Stefen Wisniewski is the only player on the line the Raiders can count on to produce week in and week out. Starting left tackle Jared Veldheer, who has been out all year because of torn triceps, has seen his value skyrocket while on the shelf. If he is able to come back, which is the plan; it will be a welcome addition. The other members of the line are either inexperienced or flat out unable to perform at the high level required. The last few weeks Pryor and the offensive line have been out of sync. He does not trust them to protect him so he bails on plays early looking to buy time with his legs. That affects the offensive linemen, who are now just running around trying to block anything. It needs to be cleaned up on both sides.
Play calling has been a question mark leading to some trouble in the passing game. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson is in a unique position of trying to find plays that cater to Pryor's skill set. However, it seems he has forgotten the quarterback's best friend is a successful running attack. Even without running back Darren McFadden, the Raiders had success against the Giants with Rashad Jennings. Every time Jennings has had an opportunity this season, he has delivered. He carried 20 times for 88 yards before the Raiders got pass happy. Despite having the lead, then only trailing by one and four points, the Raiders insisted on throwing on the early downs, putting them in a hole. Both fourth quarter possessions started with Raiders pass plays. The first fell incomplete and the second resulted in a sack.
The final piece of the passing game missing is wide receivers making big plays for Pryor. The receiving corps has had their moments this season and there is so much to like about the group, but they need to help Pryor more. Whether it is runs after the catch or flowing back to the ball as he scrambles, the wide receivers need to step up their game. The amount of drops from the group is unacceptable especially with the young quarterback. Rod Streater and Denarius Moore are very solid wideouts, but this situation requires them to go to the next level, while the other receivers find consistency.
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