SANTA CLARA – Here is how you throw a quarterback under the bus:
Last Sunday, the Raiders had an 18-point lead over the Steelers at halftime. In the second half, Raiders' head coach Dennis Allen went ultra-conservative, letting his quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, pass the ball just six times. As you might expect, the Raiders scored zero points in the second half and almost lost – they ended up winning by only three.
Allen shut down his own offense. He is a former defensive coordinator and when he gets a lead, he really believes his team can win by playing good defense and making the clock run fast enough to expire. That's a bad strategy, Dennis. Put more points on the board.
Allen should have blamed himself for the Raiders' brutal offense in the second half, but he blamed his quarterback: "I didn't want to do anything that was going to give (the Steelers) an opportunity to get back in the game," Allen said, inching the bus' front-right tire across Pryor's chest. "We wanted to be able to run the ball. We wanted to be able to get some quick, short passes out .<th>.<th>. We didn't complete the ball when we had opportunities to complete the ball .<th>.<th>. It's not complicated: Block 'em. Catch it. Throw it. Pretty easy."
Wrong answer, Dennis. You just said your young quarterback can't throw it. Pryor needs confidence and you may have just killed it. If you did kill his confidence, you also killed your team's playoff chances this season and your future as a head coach. Congratulations.
It's not complicated, Dennis. You don't throw your quarterback under the bus. Pretty easy.
You'd think all head coaches understood this but they don't, especially head coaches with a background in defense.
Take former 49ers defensive coordinator and current UCLA head coach, Jim Mora. Jr. Last Saturday, his team was tied at 14 against Oregon at halftime, and then Oregon outscored UCLA 28 to zip in the second half.
The problem was Mora Jr.'s offensive game plan. He didn't use his best weapon – the read-option – nearly enough. UCLA called plays that looked like the read-option, but the coaches didn't seem to trust his quarterback, Brett Hundley, to read anything or make a decision – most of the time he simply had to hand it off.
Too many times, an unblocked defensive end crashed down the line of scrimmage and Hundley gave the ball to a running back who was immediately squashed like a bug. If Mora had let Hundley read the play, Hundley would have kept the ball and run around the end for big yards.
When a coach calls the zone-read play with a pre-determined read, he is flipping coins.
Did Mora Jr. take responsibility for his coin-flip game plan at his postgame press conference? Of course he didn't. Instead, he demonstrated how you throw a quarterback under the bus and then drive the bus back and forth over his body:
"(Hundley) needs to shine in these types of games before everyone starts talking about the Heisman," Mora Jr. said, and then he blurted out, "I mean, let's freaking do something around here first." And then he got himself together, "I'm not talking about Brett. I'm talking about us."