CARSON, Calif. -- Paul Guenther, the Oakland Raiders' first-year defensive coordinator under returning coach Jon Gruden, gave a hint earlier in the week.
Asked if he had enough speed in his secondary, Guenther paused.
"Well, we got what we got, so we have to do the best job with what we got right now," Guenther said matter-of-factly. "If we can just diagnose the play a little bit sooner. I told the guys the margin of error for us is very minimal. All 11 guys have to do their job. It's like when we get out of place a little bit, the ball gets through there and all of a sudden we can't get the guy on the ground. Like I said, the margin of error is razor thin for us."
The Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday exploited that margin against the Raiders, who entered the season with the oldest roster in the NFL, with a 26-10 beatdown in front of a pro-Raiders sellout crowd at the StubHub Center.
The Raiders, who fell to 1-4 and play in London next week against the Seattle Seahawks, entered the game having allowed an NFL-worst 33 "big plays." That is, passes that gain at least 20 yards and runs that gain at least 10 yards, per the team's radio broadcast.
And that trend continued again against the Chargers, who ran 59 plays on offense, with 10 of them going for at least 16 yards. Talk about explosive.
Two points of emphasis for the Raiders this week were field position on offense and limiting big plays on defense. In the first half, the Raiders began their first-half drives at their own 25-, 18-, 11-, 9-, 25- and 25-yard lines and could manage just a field goal.
Before intermission, Oakland's defense gave up a 44-yard catch-and-run TD by Austin Ekeler and a 34-yard catch-and-run by Melvin Gordon that would have been a score had he not tripped over his own blocker's feet.
"They hurt us with screen passes," Gruden said. "They got one to the tight end, they got one to [Gordon] and quick screens to the receivers on the perimeter. They converted some long-yardage situations where we had them way behind, I believe, in the down-and-distance."
The Raiders have allowed 149 points, the third-most through five games in franchise history and most since 1962, when they gave up 163. They allowed 187 points through five games in 1961.
And even when the Raiders seemingly had things going their way on offense, they could not get out of their own way.
In the first half, Oakland had a first-and-goal at the 5-yard line, got pushed back to the 12-yard line and settled for a game-tying field goal.
Late in the third quarter, with the Raiders trailing 20-3, they were on the 1-yard line and it was first-and-goal. But rather than send Marshawn Lynch up the middle or over the pile, the Raiders went play-action with the fake to Lynch and Derek Carr, looking for tight end Derek Carrier, was picked off by defensive end Melvin Ingram.
It was Carr's league-leading seventh interception, his NFL-worst fifth on first down.
Per ESPN Stats & Information tracking, Carr has thrown three interceptions into the end zone this season, tied for most in the league. He had four such picks in his first four seasons combined.
Gruden said Carr is "pressing" to make a play at times.
"You have to tell me to calm down before you have to tell me to get going; that has always been a problem of mine," said Carr, who completed 24 of his 33 attempts for 268 yards and a 1-yard TD pass to Jordy Nelson. Carr was also sacked three times to go with the costly interception.
"It's not a problem, more of a weakness. I just always try doing too much. It's not out of a bad heart, it's just that I want to win so bad."
Then there was this: Since the start of Super Bowl XLIX, teams have now thrown four times at the 1-yard line with Lynch on the field. And with Carr's interceptions, those passes are 0-for-4 with two interceptions.
No wonder Lynch was furious after the play, ripping off his helmet, tossing it in the air to himself while pretending to shoot baskets with it. He eventually put it back on and returned to the sideline.
Per the team's radio broadcast, Lynch was yelling at the offensive staff.
Interestingly enough, Lynch, who rushed for a season-low 31 yards on nine carries, did not return to the game.