Call me demented, call me insane, BUT DO NOT SAY that I am NOT OPTIMISTIC for our defense in 2008.
I look at the age of our starters:
Sapp (Hopefully): 35
I am also excited about John Bowie. Once again, you can call me insane, BUT, he showed me some serious speed and sure tackling ability last season and he is only 23.
Aside from the linebackers, I love the skill sets in the defensive backfield.
Nnamdi blossomed at 25 years old and we now have three DB's that will turn 25 years old this year and two of them have already been playing for three seasons (Routt and Washington).
I am expecting Routt and Washington to battle it OUT for the starting job and the other will be the nickel back.
Huff has been rumored to be moving to the FS position, which should allow him to use his playmaking skills, which have been kept under wraps for two seasons, to make big plays in the defensive backfield.
Okay, here is where you can all call me nuts at once. I don't think that Stuart Schweigert would be a terrible strong safety...He just wouldn't be a great one. As natural as the move from strong to free safety is for Huff, the move from free to strong safety should be for Stu.
I am expecting a true SS to be either drafted or signed so that Stu can join his buddy Brayton elsewhere or just focus on his special teams duty, like Brayton in 2007, before moving on.
Just replacing those two guys with names like Barrett/Silva/Woodyard and Ellis should clue you in on how HYPED I am becoming.
Another thing that gets me excited is that the Raiders pass defense intercepted 18 passes last season, 10th in the League, although they faced the second fewest pass attempts in the League.
Three things will help the Raiders get more turnovers this year.
Number one will be scoring more points. When your offense scores more, the other team has to pass more.
Number two will be stopping the run. They MUST force teams to take chances against their opportunistic defense. More drop backs mean more sacks and more picks.
Number three will be forcing more fumbles. They only recovered 8 last year, tied for 2nd worst
Just think about how good this defense can be for a LONG time. The core can be together for 8 more years!!!