Raiders implementing power schemes with ZBS

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Raiders implementing power schemes with ZBS

ALAMEDA -- Perhaps you've noticed that the Raiders have incorporated some power-blocking plays on offense of late, to accompany the zone-blocking scheme that was brought in by first-year coach Dennis Allen and returning offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.Then is there a coincidence that the Raiders have been able to run the ball with more success, or is it all relative?The way center Stefen Wisniewski sees it, it's all good, thank you very much."It is nice," Wisniewski said at his locker Thursday. "You know, (the power-gap), that's more of the stuff we ran last year, so most of us have a lot of experience in that, where we're still learning the zone scheme so it helps us because we're familiar with it and also it's a nice change-up. Teams aren't sure what's coming at them and it makes us more likely to be successful."Knapp said the Raiders used a "good balance of zone-blocking and the gap scheme" in the fourth quarter of their 26-16 win at Kansas City on Sunday, when Oakland rushed for 95 yards on 20 carries to salt away the win."So it paid off pretty good," Knapp said. "We definitely increased our gap run-blocking scheme to get a better balance and to keep defenses honest and we've done it well. So, we'll keep that same kind of formula working, where it's a good change-up for us to have some kind of gap-scheme along with that outside zone."But the big runs came on that outside zone for us."From the get-go, there were questions about the Raiders returning to the ZBS, after running back Darren McFadden's success in a power scheme the past two years. And fears seem realized with his early-season struggles running the ball and relative lack of success."That's where our coaches came from so that's their mindset," Wisniewski said. "Coming in was 'zone, zone, zone, zone.' But I think they're starting to get to know us better and we're getting to know them and so they're seeing that we can be successful doing both."Said Knapp: "We had to make an adjustment, and that was a good adjustment for us," Knapp said. "It really has paid off."At least, for one quarter of one game in Kansas City.Wisniewski has made the transition from left guard as a rookie to center this season after missing all of offseason activities recovering from shoulder surgery and most of the preseason games dealing with a calf issue. He appreciates the Raiders staff being flexible enough to switch things up."Yeah, it's a good sign," he said. "We're all excited about it. It shows us as players that our coaches are willing to learn from us and work with us and that's really comforting as players, to know that your coaches are willing to adapt and work with you."Perhaps more power schemes would help get the running game in the red zone going?"Yeah, whether red zone or upfield I think it's good to do a little bit of both," Wisniewski said. "But certainly you get some crazier looks in the red zone, you get more guys in the box and sometimes there's not a hole but if you're coming downhill and getting push in a power scheme you're going to get an ugly three, four yards and sometimes that's the best way to do it."

Relocation approval 'offers more clarity' when Raiders recruit future free agents

Relocation approval 'offers more clarity' when Raiders recruit future free agents

PHOENIX -- The Raiders are entering a limbo period, with just a few seasons in Oakland before relocating to Las Vegas. NFL owners formally approved a move on Monday, though the Raiders don’t want to leave the East Bay until a new stadium is ready in 2020.

While there are contingencies to leave the market early based upon how fans react to the Raiders remaining in Oakland after committing to Las Vegas, that isn’t what the Raiders want. After years of stadium uncertainty, they leave the NFL owners meetings with clarity regarding their long-term future.

General manager Reggie McKenzie believes that should help free agents considering silver and black. The uncertainty prompted questions in recent years that McKenzie can answer when recruiting veteran talent now that relocation has been approved.

“By Mark saying that the plan is for us to be in Oakland for two more years (at least), but we will be in Vegas, I think it offers more clarity,” McKenzie said. “It lets the players know. It’s better than two months ago, when everyone had questions. When you were talking to a free agent, they know we want to move but weren’t sure if it was going to pass. They didn’t know. Now they know a decision has been made by the league to let us move.”

That will help McKenzie more in the future than present. Roster turnover is high these days, meaning most currently employed by the Raiders won’t play for the home team in Las Vegas. Only David Amerson, Kelechi Osemele and Marquette King are would be under contract when the team wants to move.

The Raiders are working on extensions for Derek Carr, Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack, with others possibly locked up down the line.

In addition to playing with Carr and Mack and for head coach Jack Del Rio, there’s another attraction to signing with the Raiders. There’s no state income tax in Nevada, meaning a contract there is worth more than the same deal in California. The Golden State generally takes 13.3 percent of significant income earned there.

There will be other issues about playing in Las Vegas, where gambling is legal, a drink can be had 24 hours per day and vices abound in a place called Sin City.

The Raiders will construct a support system to keep players focused, and are ready to handle any questions players and their families may have about an upcoming move.

“Now there are questions from the drafted guys about when they become free agents, because they might be in Vegas. That’s going to be different. There are questions that way, but it’s not going to alter the way we go after players. Some of the guys, parents and agents may have questions, but I don’t think it’s anything out of whack.”

 

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

PHOENIX – Fans won’t see special teams players leaping over the long snapper in an attempt to block a field goal or extra point. Seattle’s Kam Chancellor made some big plays with that technique, but won’t have the chance anymore.

The NFL outlawed that option on Tuesday as one several rule changes enacted at the league meetings.

“There are some safety concerns,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “that are legitimate.”

The NFL also centralized replay reviews, taking that power away from officials on the field. NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino and associates at the NFL’s command center will handle reviews in an effort to add consistency to important calls.

Del Rio hoped replay challenges would be expanded further, but a proposal by Seattle and Buffalo allowing coaches to challenge any play save scoring plays and turnovers, which are automatically reviewed, did not pass.

“I think there are a number of coaches who feel like, if there’s an obvious error, we should have a mechanism to correct it,” Del Rio said. “We catch most of them, so you’re talking about a small percentage. It’s hard to move the needle for such a small percentage. That’s the problem. The fact is, if it’s important enough that we’re willing to use that challenge, we’d like that right and ability. Things happen, and you don’t want to lose a big game, a game that decides whether you advance in the playoffs or make the playoffs and it’s something you could overturn, that you could challenge or change. Why not?”

Here's a list of new rules and bylaws adopted by the league on Tuesday.