The Oakland Raiders have failed to score more than 17 points in each of their last four games. While Derek Carr missed a game due to a back injury, the Raiders offensive struggles can solely be pinned on his brief absence.
The Raiders rank 30th in total offense and 24th in rushing through the first six weeks of the season. Marshawn Lynch hasn’t been able to find consistent success. Amari Cooper has struggled to be productive as well.
Nevertheless, offensive coordinator Todd Downing believes the unit is close to finding its footing.
“When you look at the tape, you can see that we’re so close on so many things,” Downing said, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com. “I know that sounds cliché and I know that sounds like someone sitting up here … [with] rose-colored glasses, but it’s the truth. We know that we’re just this close to making a couple more plays each game and being able to come out on top and feeling like we put together a good product.”
Downing is in his first season as offensive coordinator after the Raiders elected to let Bill Musgrave walk after last year. Oakland ranked sixth in total offense last year and seventh in points per game under Musgrave a season ago. That Raiders team averaged 65.5 offensive plays a game. The current iteration has managed just 54.3 plays per game through six weeks this season.
“We’ve unfortunately had a low play count over the last four weeks when we’ve been struggling,” Downing said. “The first couple of weeks we had a higher play count and did well. So, we just need to get back to being able to sustain drives and keep the ball moving.”
Carr is supposedly back to full health after missing his one game due to injury. With a quick turnaround to face a strong Kansas City team Thursday night, the Raiders need to find answers quickly before they slide too far back in the AFC playoff hunt. If they’re really as close as Downing believes, it shouldn’t take much to get back on track.