Offseason Playbook: Raiders

A look at Oakland's philosophy, team needs and a key free-agent move

Originally Published: March 11, 2013
By Gary Horton and Field Yates | ESPN Insider
Carson PalmerCary Edmondson/USA TODAY SportsWill Carson Palmer be the Oakland Raiders' starting quarterback in 2013?

In a new offseason series, Insider takes an in-depth look at NFL teams before free agency begins March 12. What is each team's philosophy on offense and defense, biggest needs and one player who could make for an ideal signing in free agency?

Team philosophies

Offense -- Greg Olson is the new coordinator and he will make some changes in this offense, especially in the running game. They have gone back and forth with zone and man-blocking schemes by the offensive line, but Olson will go with a physical man-blocking look that the coaches think fits the running style of their backs. This power gap style of blocking also seems to fit the guys up front. Their quarterbacks, Carson Palmer and Terrelle Pryor, have very different skill sets so the coaches will be challenged to design an offense that maximizes those talents. Palmer is a pocket quarterback who will use play-action a lot if the running game is going well, and although he throws an excellent deep ball, this is more of a West Coast, short-to-intermediate passing game with precise routes. Even though this is a group of receivers with deep speed, we will see only occasional deep shots. For Pryor we will see some read-option plays with bootlegs and rollouts to get him outside the pocket and take advantage of his mobility. There is a lot of work to be done here.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.
Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.