FanPost

Can the Raiders run a 4-3 with Quinten Groves?

I'm sure I don't need to remind you that as long as Groves is on the field as a WLB, we are going to have issues.  Groves cannot blitz a QB, stuff the run, or play man coverage against any 2nd string TE in the league.  The obvious solution is to simply cut Groves, but considering that there is an even bigger drop off in doing so, it seems we have to bite the bullet until Al brings somebody in (hello, Mr.Briggs).  In the very likely event that QG will be starting at WLB for not only week 1, but for most of the season, the Raiders may need to adjust their defensive scheme to account for the massive liability known as Quinten Groves.  Take the jump for further evaluation of what I'm suggesting.

The 4-3 has been the Raiders' scheme since they first donned the Silver and Black, typically relying on man coverage from the LB's in addition to the D-backs.  As I explained pre-jump, Groves is just not skilled enough to play man, and really shouldn't be on the field at any given time.  In a 4-3, QG is on the field as a unfortunate necessity, but should the Raiders convert (or merely add to their playbook) a 5-2 formation, this is no longer the case.  It's not a necessarily common formation, but hear me out.  

 

Rolando McClain and Kameroin Wimbley are both solid LB's, though their skill sets are different, and are the only LB's on our roster that I would ever want on the field.  In a 4-3, they are still essentially the only 2 LB's on the field who can make plays, but they will never have their sides of the field targeted as long as there is a gaping hole every single time on the weak side.  The only reason I could ever stand QG on the field is if he was playing zone, as even he should be able to cover a zone, but that still doesn't answer the run game that will continue to be focused on the weak side.  In fact, it makes QG even worse in that regard.  But the 5-2 takes him out of the opposing OC's game plan, and believe me, every coach in the league knows how to take advantage of bad players.

As if taking QG off the field wasn't enough, the 5-2 also works well with our tremendous D-line depth.  I believe we have the deepest defensive line in the league, as players like Trevor Scott, Big John Henderson, and Jarvis Moss play a reserve roll out of luxury.  The only reason to run a 5-2 is if you have a strong front 5, relying on their pass rushing and overall dominance at the line of scrimmage to account for the lack of an OLB.  I can't even think of a offensive line that would be able to handle Seymour, Kelly, and Big John coming up the middle while Houston and Shaughnessy dominate the edges.  Or the tremendous pass rush we would create should we stack either (or both) of the edges with Scott/Houston and/or Shaughnessy/Moss. The possibilities are so tantalizing!  This increased pass rush is essential to our bump and run man coverage, and would be a great compensation for our shallow secondary.  Yes, our defensive line has looked uninspired throughout the preseason, but I don't expect that to continue with Big Sey on the field come week 1.  

Anyway, just a thought to help alleviate the pain that I'm sure you all share with me in watching QG stumble around, though he does it with such speed!  I would rather rely on any of our DE's contain the outside than rely on Groves, both in coverage and stopping the run.  We all saw the athleticism of Shaughnessy when he dropped back into a zone for a pick, and I think it's fair to assume that Moss, Scott, and maybe even Houston would be decent dropping back into coverage.  I know that a lot of us on S&BP have even gone to the extent of suggesting Scott/Moss be converted to OLB to replace QG, the 5-2 just takes it a step further.  Thoughts, Nation?

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