The Oakland Raiders have had a resurgence in recent weeks. They have won back to back games for the first time this season and won their first road game as well. Their defense has been playing much better, and their offense is finally starting to show signs of the dynamic offense the Raiders expected to have coming into the season. However, while the improvement on defense can likely be traced back to coaching, the improvement on offense has a distinct link to a lack of coaching and is in actuality, a bad sign for offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.
On defense, the Raiders have been more creative in their blitz calls and have had better play from their starting cast. Overall, it is clear that the defensive coaching staff did a self evaluation and changed the way they have been using players (i.e. not having Rolando McClain on the field for passing downs) as well as changing the way they call plays. Those improvements came as a direct result of the Raiders coaching staff making improvements both in the team, and in their positions as coaches.
However, the improved play on the offensive side of the ball has come as a direct result of less coaching by offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. All one has to do is go back and watch tape of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs games in order to see this is true. Those have been the Raiders' best games this season and in those games, it is abundantly clear that the offense becomes much more productive once Carson Palmer goes into the no huddle offense and calls his own plays.
Not only has Carson Palmer calling plays led to a better passing game, it has also helped Darren McFadden in the run game. Palmer is very disciplined at the line of scrimmageand will not hesitate to change a pass play to a run play if he sees a favorable run defense. In fact, Darren McFadden's 64 yard run against the Steelers was a pass play that Palmer checked to a run play. All of this points to the fact that Knapp is a bad play caller.
While much of the struggles on the offense can be tied to the poor play by the offensive line (something also caused by Knapp who decided to try and fit players to his scheme instead of fitting his scheme to the players he has), the Raiders offense was pathetic early in the season in part because of the play calling. That much has become abundantly clear by the success Palmer has shown in the no huddle. The offense may be improving, but not thanks to Greg Knapp.