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Is the Oakland Raiders Defense Really Too Simple?

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I have no idea how many times I've complained over the years, and seen others complain, about the Oakland Raiders defense being too simple. The topic came up recently after Stanford Routt told Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan, "..we ran a little bit of zone that game, but predominantly, it's what we do. If we play 60 snaps on defense, at least 56 of those are going to be man coverage. Everyone in the league knows what our game plan is."

If you missed it read more on Routt interview here.

Conveniently Mike Tanier of Football Outsiders and NBC Sports took a look at the complexity of defenses in 2010 and then rated them. Jump over to so how he devised is how he devised his ratings, and where the Raiders figure into his rankings....

Standard deviation measures how "spread out" a set of numbers is. The Lions’ pass rush percentages are all spread out, going from 1 percent (for three-man rushes) to 76 percent (for four-man rushes). The Jets’ percentages are more closely bunched. The lower the standard deviation, the more regularly the defense does different things, making that defense more complex. Standard deviation isn’t meant to be used like this, but it gets the job done for a quick-and-dirty study.

His scale does not take into account the switch from man to zone coverage in the secondary. It focuses more and how many and who teams send after the QBs.

He then rated the five least and most complicated defenses in the league. The Raiders weren't in either group. I am shocked to be honest with you. While the Raiders increased their safety blitzes last year, they still seldom ever blitzed a linebacker, and I can't remember one single zone blitz.

As I mentioned this doesn't reflect a switch form man to zone in coverage, and I think we can all agree the Raiders seldom switch that up. And I also think that is where most of us would like to see them get a little more complex.