My friends there are some dark times ahead of us, The Oakland Raiders defense is on pace to surrender 504 points this season, and get molly-whopped all season long. Help is not on the way, and the division leaders are drawing closure to the ravaged Raiders.
Statistically this defense is horrific. It shouldn’t be allowed to represent anything containing the letter “d.” The Raiders traded away Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears a week before the season and from that point on the ship has taken on water.
Having surrendered 252 points in eight games, the Raiders are ranked 31st in points allowed. Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have surrendered more points (275). Their 6 takeaways also rank then 31st in the league. The only booty the Raiders have been robbing is the quarter jewelry machine at grocery store. The 6.8 yards gained per play is the highest yielded in the league.
The most mind boggling statistic is that teams are scoring at a 50% rate. Raiders have played the third-least defensive snaps in the league (482) meanwhile, allowing 252 points. Topped only by the fact the Raiders have been outscored in the 4th quarter 88-34.
Maurice Hurst and Gareon Conley have provided the most solid play on the defense but have also been key reasons for explosive plays. Perfect players they are not, but they have shown the most amount of promise on an otherwise pitiful defense.
Hurst must learn to maintain knowledge and control of his run lanes and assignments and he will be a force. Much has been made about the dexterity of Conley and his lack of run support.
#Raiders interior defender Maurice Hurst makes the PFF Midseason All-Rookie Team #RaiderNation— PFF OAK Raiders (@PFF_Raiders) November 6, 2018
Big nasty pass rushers they don’t grow on trees
Dis you see their game against the Colts a few weeks ago? Did you see Andrew Luck sit in the pocket, on third and a mile, and be able to throw a 15-20-yard in route with a clean pocket?
The Raiders have a combined 7.0 sacks in 2018. That’s as many as the 49ers had against them last week alone.
Literally 10 individual players have as many or more sacks than the Raiders do as a team. Danielle Hunter (11.5), Aaron Donald (10), J.J. Watt, Von Miller, Myles Garrett (9.0), Jason Pierre-Paul, Dee Ford, and Bradley Chubb (8.0) all have more sacks by themselves than the Raiders team.
Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin provided the only real pass rush the Raiders had the past couple seasons. Without Mack, Irvin had one foot out the door and a travel guide. Now both are gone.
Rookie Arden Key was supposed to have time to learn under the tutelage of Mack and Irvin, while having a season to get seasoned. Key has some glaring deficiencies in edge setting, as well as getting so far up-field he takes himself out of run plays. As a pass rusher Key is nearly getting home. He will be the beneficiary of an offseason workout program and some more time to hone his craft.
Johnathan Hankins has made plays for this defense and has been a force at times, but nothing extraordinary. At 26 years old and having a solid season he should be one of the few roster targets to be re-signed.
PJ Hall has been hit or miss. He was missed while out with injury and when he came back he was blowing up double teams and causing havoc.
Frostee Rucker is what he is at this stage in his career, hardly the dominant force he once was, Rucker is hopefully now the mentor the previous captains were supposed to be.
Recently the Raiders added edge players Kony Ealy and Jacquies Smith, both signed off the street. Depth moves from a team activating nearly it’s entire practice squad.
As the #Raiders prepare for Nick Mullens and the #49ers, I give you one of my hidden gems:— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) November 1, 2018
OAK LBs have allowed a 154.0 passer rating when targeted through Week 8, the highest passer rating allowed by a linebacking corps... in the PFF era (2006-Present).
Tahir Whitehead, Gruden may have your back and for a time that may be all you need. But let’s call a spade a spade. In pass coverage he’s positively dreadful. Nearly as effective as a poop shoot housed in your elbow. Against the run much he’s better and his 57 tackles leads the team.
Marquel Lee should have been the starter coming out of the preseason. He outplayed Derrick Johnson all August and into September until he finally took over. Second on the team with 38 tackles, Lee brings the thump but is also a liability in pass coverage.
The Raiders coaching staff seems to be at odds with each other over who plays. The players have been/possibly still are at odds with the coaches about how they’re being used.
Rashaan Melvin had an interesting twitter outburst about how he was feeling in this system. So much so it elicited an ice cold comeback from Gruden referring to his journeyman status.
Nick Nelson has been injured but is probably one of the more intriguing players on the roster moving forward for the next eight weeks.
In my humblest opinion Daryl Worley and Conley are perfect style complements and should Nick Nelson pan out, be it as an outside corner or a nickel slot type, with a pass rush the Raiders could have something. Conley is the only Raider defender to return a turnover for a score this season.
The last line of disgrace
Reggie Nelson, Reggie Nelson, Reggie Nelson, Reggie Nelson. Say his name one more time and a wide receiver is running by him on a skinny post for a 50-yard+ bomb for six points. Nelson is Raider Nation’s version of Papa Shango or the Bogeyman. Usually whenever they see the number 27, outside the box it’s not good. Nelson either knows this defense or has the blackmail photos locked in a safe-deposit box in the Caymans.
Karl Joseph has been unjustly called a bust and been shopped for the majority of this year. He has been put in position to fail and then ostracized for doing exactly what he was put in position to do. Joseph was a free range deep safety at West Virginia, and a good one. Leading the nation in interceptions before tearing up his knee. I don’t know whose idea it was to make him the primary defender for a modern NFL tight end, but it was stupid, and may have ultimately cost him a career in the NFL.
He routinely takes bad angles to the ball carrier, and gets treated like an annoying little brother in pass coverage. If used properly as a blitzer and a deep 1⁄3 to single-high safety, maybe he can have a career resurgence.
Erik Harris comes in and the deep throws go away. The linebackers get eaten alive, but that’s not his fault. Harris was one of the players really hyped up by Gruden and a player many would like to see finally get his opportunity to do what he loves.
May the football gods help us all!