FanPost

Should Aaron Curry and Rolando McClain swap positions?

Last season, the Raiders were one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, giving up 136.1 YPG (ranked 27th). A good amount of blame deserves to go to the scheme and coaching (no, I will not utter his name again), but another sizable factor was the struggles of 2nd year MLB, Rolando McClain. Particularly in his ability to correctly shoot run gaps. After an unexpected trade with Seattle for Aaron Curry, Raider fans were pleasantly surprised with the run stuffing ability of Curry, although not particularly impressed with his pass rushing or coverage ability for a 4-3 OLB. McClain however, continued to show his strengths as a coverage LB and a promising ability to get to the QB when given the chance. Considering the strengths and weaknesses of these 2 players, and the positions in the scheme that they both play, wouldn't it make more sense to have them swap responsibilities?

There have been a lot of rumors about the Raiders switching to, or at least incorporating, a 3-4 defensive scheme. I am of the opinion that we will run a hybrid, but that the 4-3 will remain our base formation. Our primary strength is the pass rushing ability of our DL, we lack any proven NT, and our weakest position on defense is LB. A 3-4 base just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. That being said, the position of MLB in a 4-3 demands a strong run stopping presence (especially with a DL that over-pursues for sacks instead of plugging run lanes), something McClain is not known for. A 4-3 OLB however, is suited for pass rushers and (in this vertical-TE era) strong coverage ability. Something Rolando IS known for, as already mentioned.

Then, there's Aaron Curry. Another LB miscast in the 4-3 (both Curry and McClain were 3-4 ILB's in college), but has the dominant run stuffing instinct a 4-3 MLB needs most. And, as already mentioned, Curry is a pretty brutal pass rusher/coverage LB. These would be new positions for both players, but considering they are already going to be learning a new scheme from a new defensive coordinator and head coach, more change shouldn't be anything too shocking. Curry in the middle with McClain and Wheeler on the outside sounds far more formidable against the run than last season. What's your thoughts, Raider Nation?

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