Oakland Raider Defensive Progress Report: It's Better Than You May Think

We all know how GAWD awful our offense has been for 3/4 of the season, and we have beat J-Russ's dead hyde to DEATH, so let's get off the bad stuff and get onto the nitty-gritty defense.

Through the first 4 games the Raiders numbers stack up like this:

 

The passing defense is ranked 11th in total yards allowed, 23rd in passes attempted against (120), 18th in Passing Percentage Against (60.0), 7th in passing TD's allowed (4), 9th in INts (4), 12th in Sacks (9) and 10th in rating against (79.7).

The Rush Defense is ranked 28th in the League in yards allowed (585), 1st in rushing attempts against (147), 22nd in rushing touchdowns allowed (4), 13th in yards per carry allowed (4.0), have only allowed 3 runs over 20 yards and NONE over 40 and have forced two fumbles.

The key stat that quantifies all of these numbers is the time of Possession stat where the team ranks second to last. The Raiders have had the ball for an average of 25:38 minutes a game. They are ahead of ONLY Buffalo who has had the ball for 12 less seconds a game.

Time of possession is nowhere near the "End All Be All" of stats, the Colts are ranked 27th with a TOP of 27:21(Because they are the top offense in the League and score QUICKLY), but, for the raider defense, this has to be weighed in because the offense has been incredibly anemic.   

What these stats tell me is what we already knew. Our defense is coming into it's own. I am especially impressed with the 4.0 yards per carry stat.

Last season the team allowed 4.7 yards a carry and in 2007 that number was a gaudy 4.8. (By the way, Rex Ryan's less fortunate twin brother has the Browns giving up 5.4 yards a carry!)

I believe that we can give our defense a solid B for it's effort, so far in 2009, and here are some of the standouts:

 

1) Michael Huff - Huff is second in the NFL with 3 interceptions, and he has also gotten his hands on plenty more as he, playing a part time role, is tied for the NFL lead in passes defensed. He is definitely the surprise of the 2009 season, for the Raiders, to this point.

2) Greg Ellis - Ellis is 7th in the NFL with 4 sacks, although he was not given credit for a half sack in the first game that was given to Seymour. He has been an outstanding pick-up from Dallas and I am sure that he has something special planned for Thanksgiving Day in the Big D!

3) The Law Offices of Morrison, Howard and BRANCH?- Howard and Morrison are tied for 17th in tackles with 31 and Tyvon is 5th among all safeties with 29 of his own. Morrison and Howard have really stepped up their games and are each tracking 124 tackles while Tyvon is proving to be one heckuva Fourth Rounder and is tracking 116 in his first full season starting in the NFL.

4) Richard Seymour 0 Seymour does have 2 sacks this season, but his leadership has been invaluable in galvanizing the front 4.

5) Nnamdi - The man with ZERO stats. As they once said, a long time ago, if your name is being called a lot and you are on the offensive line or the defensive backfield, it is NOT usually a good thing. So, Nnamdi is doing his Nnamdiest to stay out of the stat column but has made nearly every play that has come his way.

This defense is young and getting better, what do you think Raider Nation?

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