Three weeks ago — after the Las Vegas Raiders’ last loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — coach Jon Gruden said the team would make some changes.
After winning three straight games and improving to 6-3 to put them squarely in the AFC playoff chase, the Raiders are finally feeling better about their defense. The unit played well in two of the three wins. With a huge Week 11 home game against the Kansas City Chiefs coming up on Sunday night, Gruden likes what he is seeing.
The Raiders had five turnovers, doubling their season total, in a Week 10 37-12 win over the Denver Broncos. Much of the changes on defense have been scheme wise, doing things such as blitz changes.
“We’re not going to get into the specific tweaks that we’ve made, but we have changed the style in which we play to a degree,” Gruden said. “I think guys are playing with confidence. I think they’re playing with a lot less indecision. They’re playing down-to-down with better communication and I think it’s growing as we speak.”
The Raiders’ defense played well in the second half of a 40-32 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5 and it allowed just eight points in the second half and had its best pass-rush burst of the season. Gruden wants to see the same energy that the Las Vegas defense has been showing lately for the entire 60 minutes against Kansas City.
“I thought we played with great energy and passion,” Gruden said of the effort against Denver. “That was kind of the word we harped on before the game – go out there and cut it loose, play our hearts out and let’s feed off each other’s energy.”