It has not been a good start to the preseason for the Oakland Raiders' defense. In both games, they have allowed the opponent's first team offense to go down and score touchdowns. One of the biggest problems has been the inability of the secondary to shut down the opposing passing game. That has safety Charles Woodson a bit concerned, but also confident it will happen by the start of the regular season.
“You have to read into it a little bit just because we started those games slow and allowed teams to go down the field and put up points,” Woodson said. “So as a defense, there is something to read into as far as that’s concerned because when we come out in games, we have to come out and be ready to play and not allow big plays or allow a team march down the field, but we feel confident about who we are as a team and what we’re going to be going into the season. So, we’re not circling the wagons or anything like that. We’re going to be alright.”
Pass defense has been a reoccurring problem for Oakland the past few seasons. They have yet to have consistency at the cornerback position, trading out the starting pair each of the last three seasons. This year the Raiders brought in Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers. Rogers played better in the second preseason game, but Brown has struggled. He bit on a double move against the Detroit Lions which allowed receiver Golden Tate to run free on a 28 yard touchdown. Against the Vikings, he had a hard time staying Cordarrelle Patterson.
Oakland has been dealing with some injuries at cornerback which is not helping the situation. DJ Hayden has been out with a stress fracture in his foot and Chimdi Chewka missed the Lions game. Rookie fourth-round pick Keith McGill played against the Lions, but missed time during training camp.
Oakland will have a huge test in the third preseason game against the Green Bay Packers to see whether this secondary can improve enough in time for the regular season opener. The third preseason game is the dress rehearsal for the real season with the starters playing more time. Oakland will be going against one of the premier quarterbacks in the league in Aaron Rodgers and a terrific pass offense. That challenge will be a good gage of what they need to work on.
“It’s the ultimate test. ‘A-Rod’ is the best quarterback in the league, in my eyes,” Woodson said. “Their offense has been explosive. I’ve seen it first hand for many years. It’ll be as tough as it gets, so it will be a great test for us going in there.”
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