On to the second half of this week's Ballers & Busters where we recount those who contributed most to the loss the Raiders suffered at the hands of the former 2-win Houston Texans. A team that has no already matched their entire 2013 win total.
To start this article from the beginning -- the good news -- click here.
He is not a middle linebacker. This much has become evident. Nick Roach was out for a second-straight game still recovering from the concussion he suffered in the preseason. While Roach has had his issues getting off blocks, Burris has similar issues, only perhaps to a greater degree. But where Roach excels in aligning the defense, Burris falters considerably.
Let's start with his individual performance. He was blocked on the very first play of the game to give up a 9-yard run. Then after the Texans had driven into Raiders' territory, he was blown up which opened the door for Arian Foster to shoot through the Raiders defense for 40 yards down to the 1-yard line. They would score a touchdown two plays later.
His inexperience at middle linebacker showed up on a play in the second quarter. On third and nine, Burris seemed confused as to what was coming. Khalil Mack was asking him where he wanted him to line up, and veteran defensive linemen were trying to help get everyone on the same page. Ryan Fitzpatrick saw the confusion and quickly got the snap off. The result was a 16-yard run.
There was a series to start the fourth quarter in which Burris was handled on the block on three plays resulting in 21 yards. So, he wasn't making the tackles and wasn't getting the defense positioned to do it either.
Tarell Brown, Chimdi Chekwa
Last week it was Carlos Rogers who was targeted the most. This week it was Brown and Chekwa's turn. Chekwa got it started off when he was called for pass interference on the third play of the game. Then on the same drive, on third and 2, he gave up a 9-yard catch. Tarell Brown took the baton on the second drive, giving up a 7-yard catch on third and 2 and then a 10-yard catch on third and 6.
On the Texans' first drive of the third quarter, up 17-0, Brown was called for defensive holding on third and 8 to set them up at the 14-yard line. Then in third and 8 from the 12, Chekwa gave up the catch to DeAndre Hopkins for the touchdown.
Brown was late to react to a catch at the line by Andre Johnson and he broke off 20 yards to set them up for another field goal and a 27-0 lead. Chekwa missed a tackle at the line to give up a six-yard first down run on the Texans' final scoring drive. The end.
He is a beloved teammate and a leader on the defense. He rallied the Raiders linemen in the pregame huddle as they prepared to face his former team of which he wanted to show they made a mistake in giving up on him. He didn't accomplish that on Sunday. If anything he made them feel pretty validated in their decision. He didn't record a single statistic in this game. No hurries, no tackles, no nothing. What he did do was get manhandled all day. He was blocked out of his position on the first play of the game which was a run of nine yards. The Texans liked it so much, they did it again when they moved him out the way for Arian Foster to break off his 40-yard run to the one-yard-line.
To start the next drive, he missed a tackle on an 8-yard run. Later in that drive he was called for off-sides on their way to a second touchdown scoring drive. We know what happened the rest of the game, right? He didn't record a stat. But the Texans scored 16 more points.
Sio left late in the first half with an ankle injury. But before he did, he was beaten up a lot. The Texans drove to the one-yard line and then brought J.J. Watt in as an eligible receiver. Sio paid no mind to that and instead of covering Watt, he decided it best to join Lamarr Woodley and double team Arian Foster on his route. This left Watt wide open in the endzone for the easy touchdown. That's not supposed to happen. On the following drive, he was in coverage on the tight end, but he didn't turn around and gave up a 26-yard catch. Then to finish it off, he was blocked on the 5-yard touchdown run. He added a tackle for loss on the next drive, to help hold the Texans to a short field goal. So, there's that. But on the next drive he was blocked on a 16-yard run and was called for taunting which offset a holding penalty on the Texans. Taunting. Down 17-0 and taunting. About what exactly? He was injured on the next play and didn't return.
Dennis Allen, Jason Tarver
This is a rudderless ship. The offensive coordinator gets a pass this week due to the primary issues on offense having to do with execution. But the defense? A travesty. Again. The coaches have no answers during the game and they have no answers after. "They blocked us," Dennis Allen said afterward. They blocked the Raiders using the very zone blocking scheme Allen was dead set on running when he took over as head coach three years ago which ran them aground in his maiden voyage at the helm. As a defensive coach, it must be that he was always so astounded by how well the zone blocking scheme worked that caused him to want it for his own.
There is no reason for this team as currently constructed to look worse than last season. Most of these players have executed on defense when they were put in the position to succeed and felt confident in that position. Age isn't enough of an excuse. Charles Woodson was utterly deflated after that game. The 16-year vet is already disillusioned with the direction of this team. Dennis Allen hinted that he may take over some of the defensive playcalling from Tarver. We'll soon see if that helps things at all. It may just be too late to matter.