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Raiders regular season: Defense ready to make impact

If Raiders are going to be improved in 2023, the defense must step up

Las Vegas Raiders v Los Angeles Rams
Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

With the regular season starting in two days, a huge key for the Las Vegas Raiders, of course, will be the defense.

The Raiders, coming off of a bitterly disappointing 6-11 season, must get improved play from a defense that has long struggled if they are going to be a factor in the AFC playoff picture in 2023.

The Raiders’ coaching staff has been impressed with the way the unit has responded during training camp and in the preseason. Raiders coach Josh McDaniels this week he feels good about the group headed into the season, starting Sunday at the Denver Broncos.

“The entire training camp we’ve had competition at every spot. Feel like we have some depth on defense where we’re going to be able to play multiple people in there,” McDaniels said. “They’ve really acclimated well to one another. Look, defense is all about knowing what to do, being connected with all 11 players, playing physical, running to the football, trying to get the guy on the ground, and take the ball away if you can. So, I think we have a plan that we’re working on that we feel comfortable with. Our guys I know feel good about what we’re going to try to do here, and like I said, there’s probably going to be some adjustments we’re going to need to make.”

McDaniels, of course, was pleased to see the success of the defense in the preseason. But he knows things will be much different scheme wise starting with the Broncos’ game.

“It was fairly simple, like most teams are in the preseason. We just wanted to kind of see our guys out there competing and playing fundamentally,” McDaniel said. “But I thought we made some progress. There are certainly some areas where we made some progress, certainly some areas where we identified that we need to shore up and improve too. So, this will be an exciting opportunity for us to go out there and kind of see where we’re at right now. I mean, it’s week one, it’s not week. 13. So, there’s going to be some things we’re going to learn about our team that we’re going to need to address and improve upon. That happens every year. So, hopefully we’re ready to go on Sunday. That’s the goal and we’ll play hard and play fast and be aggressive. And like I said, if there’s something we need to change, we’ll try to change it.”