The former Oakland Raiders now Las Vegas Raiders will travel to Charlotte North Carolina for what I think is its greatest test this 2020 NFL Season: the Las Vegas Raiders Defense facing the brand-new Carolina Panthers Offense ran by Teddy Bridgewater and designed by former LSU Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady.
Raiders Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther has to get his squad ready for an onslaught formed to play fast and use space. Guenther’s game planning from a place of great disadvantage.
The first disadvantage is that there’s no pattern for Guenther and the Raiders analytical brass to reliably employ.
From what training camp videos I have seen, Joe Brady’s Offense is designed to quickly get the ball out of Bridgewater’s hands and into those of Panthers Running Back Christian McCaffrey, or any one of the pass catchers in three or four receivers formations.
And, Brady’s brief offensive coordinator history, with his only meaningful stint the 2019 LSU Tigers Offense with Joe Burrow, shows he will employ a steady diet of Run-Pass-Option (RPO) plays, slot receiver option-route passes, and packages where receivers exchange positions, but run the same basic play.
Combined with a no-huddle attack, the overall result will be painfully effective considering Guenther’s tendency to play loose coverage defense when faced with such an approach. The one time that was not the case was against the Arizona Cardinals, last preseason, with the rookie QB Kyler Murray. The vast difference was that Kliff Kingsbury’s Airraid attack is not based on short, timed passes; Joe Brady’s Offense, not designed using the wild-west passing approach of Mike Leach and Hal Mumme, is.
So, this approach fusing short, timed passes out of spread formations, combined with RPO plays, with multiple sets and constantly going without a huddle, is an attack the Raiders have not faced before. Because of that, it will take the Silver and Black Defense the first half to adjust to what the Panthers will do.
And on top of all of that, the other problem is what new wrinkle the Carolina Panthers Offense will show that’s not on any video? For example, Joe Brady’s LSU Offense was not known for having a large set of gadget plays. But what about the NFL version? The real question is how should Guenther’s game plan look?
If I were Paul Guenther, I’d install inside-out, man-for-man, press coverages. That’s the one best way to cut off the RPO glance plays and slants and in-routes, and blitz the corner linebackers often, with the idea of disrupting the Panthers rhythm passing game.
In other words, pressure.
Absent that, constant defensive pressure, the Las Vegas Raiders will have a long day against the Carolina Panthers Offense.