The Oakland Raiders defense was been drilled the last few weeks by opposing offenses. It was very apparent last week against the Kansas City Chiefs when the Raiders were torched on three screen plays that went for touchdowns. Opponents know that head coach Dennis Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver like to be aggressive and bring pressure, so they are exploiting it.
“We have a very aggressive scheme and we like to do some different things, and sometimes that does open you up to some vulnerabilities,” Allen said. “We didn’t let the ball get down the field on you, and generally that’s what you worry about a little bit more with the aggressive-type schemes, but we had three different calls on three different screens. One was a vision defense, one was a match defense and one was a man-to-man defense so we have to recognize that those things are coming. We have to understand that, we have to do a great job of tackling in space, that’s an area that we have to work to improve on because we can’t let screens behind the line of scrimmage go for big gains like that. We have to find ways to get those guys down.”
Even since the Philadelphia Eagles game where quarterback Nick Foles threw seven touchdowns against the Raiders, they have not been the same. Prior to that game, the defense had only allowed the Denver Broncos to score more than 24 points. Since that game, only the Tennessee Titans have scored less than 24 points against the defense and they racked up 426 yards of total offense.
The scheme has a significant amount to do with the defense, but the players have to take some accountability as well. The Raiders have been destroyed on third down, allowing teams to continue drives at will. They have been unable to get off the field, so teams have been able to score late in the game to win. Oakland's sack numbers are down since the Philadelphia game. Whether they lost confidence or broke mentally, the Raiders defense has not been near the same since.
“It’s very concerning,” Allen said of the defense down the stretch. “It’s frustrating, because at times we’ve played really good defense this year. We’ve played outstanding defense at times this year. As a matter of fact, last time we played these guys, we played outstanding defense but we haven’t done that as of late, really the last couple of ball games. In the second half of the Dallas game, we didn’t play well on defense. That’s something that we have to get corrected and we’re going to work extremely hard, we’re going to do whatever we have to do to try to get that done, because we need to play better and we have played better.”
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