ALAMEDA -- From the beginning of the Dennis Allen era, the Raiders promised to be multiple on defense. They would mix in zone with man-to-man, and occasionally change between 4-3 and 3-4 and use the blitz.

Offense, and the running game in particular, was a different story. The Raiders were going back to the zone scheme fulltime, a system they ran with Tom Cable from 2007 through 2009.

During the bye week, with a stalled running game and a 1-4 record, Allen and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp came to the same conclusion that Hue Jackson did when he was handed the keys to the offense by Al Davis as offensive coordinator in 2010: The running game would be better suited with more diversity in terms of blocking.

It was one of the first things Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano noticed when comparing the pre-bye and post-bye Raiders on film.

"They added a little bit in the run game, they started running some more gap scheme stuff," Schiano told Bay Area reporters by conference call.

Given that Knapp has a longstanding belief in the zone scheme, chances are the change was made reluctantly, although out of necessity.

Knapp worked with Alex Gibbs, the guru of the zone system, in Atlanta. Purists of the zone blocking system -- and that includes Cable -- don't believe in deviation. Rather than fire off at a specific defender, zone runs call for more lateral movement and the clearing of an area. It takes time to perfect and execute.

Running backs hesitate only long enough to take one cut and head upfield when they find a lane.

During training camp, line coach Frank Pollack, brought in by Knapp to install the scheme said, "If you just dabble in it, you won't be able to take it to the next level without having mass chaos."

Fast-forward to the fourth quarter of the Raiders' 26-16 win over Kansas City. They rushed for 95 yards on 20 carries with a mixture of zone and more straight-ahead gap runs.

"We definitely increased our gap run blocking scheme to get a better balance and keep defenses honest, and we've done it well, so we'll keep that same kind of formula working," Knapp said. "It's a good change-up."

Center Stefen Wisniewski can see where immersing the offense in the zone scheme before blending it with gap blocking was of some benefit.

"It makes a lot of sense. That's where our coaches came from and 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 we can be successful doing both."

Knapp said outside zone plays accounted for much of the fourth-quarter yardage, and his hope against Tampa Bay is to get the steady gains going earlier.

"I would like to have a little more consistency on the three- to six-yard gains throughout the half," Knapp said. "But I was glad the guys stayed patient up front. I kept reminding them, 'Hey, we're going to stay with this. The score says it's OK. We're going to stay patient with our game."

  • No changes as the Raiders finished warm-ups and drills and began team sessions at practice Friday. Shawntae Spencer (foot) and Khalif Barnes (groin) will both be ruled out, and they'll probably be joined by linebacker and special teams player Keenan Clayton (shoulder).

    Linebacker Aaron Curry continues to practice but does not appear to be in the mix in terms of playing time this week. A decision on Curry's status must be made on Wednesday. He must be placed on the 53-man roster, placed on injured reserve (ending his season) or released.