Trench warfare is critical in the NFL. Jon Gruden knows it. The addition of Mike Trgovac could ensure the Oakland Raiders will win in the trenches.
Trgovac is a key addition and has the resume and the results to make an immediate impact. Just look at his most recent post, when he was running the Green Bay Packers D-line. Placed in command of the unit back in 2009, Trgovac’s group proved both imposing and stout.
“Since Mike Trgovac took over as D-Line coach for the Packers in 2009, their defense ranks 4th in sacks (364.0) and 5th in rushing touchdowns allowed (94),” wrote Evert Geerlings of Raiders media relations.
The respected Trgovac holds over 30 years of experience (beginning in 1984 as a graduate assistant at Michigan) as strictly a defensive line boss in both a three-man (Packers) and four-man fronts. His teachings will pair well — like a fine wine to a great steak — with new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. The DC shows a propensity for relying on natural front-four pressure rather than sending extra rushers on a blitz. That means down linemen winning matchups. Trgovac is adept at getting his group besting the opposition. He emphasizes the use of stunts (a move by a pair of D-lineman to switch roles by twisting).
“GB has ranked inside the top-12 in pressure percentages on stunts for two of the last three years” noted Pro Football Focus analyst Austin Gayle.
Tgrovac must extract the best out of players at his disposal. Plus, the Raiders linemen need to start moving and confusing the opposition resulting in controlled chaos. When offensive lineman stay on their toes, forced to think, it can lead to an overload. And that’s where mistakes are made. The Raiders need to create consistent pressure.
It forces teams to pay keen attention to someone other than centerpiece and premiere pass rusher Khalil Mack.
“Well, it all depends on how many we can get home with four (rushers),” Guenther said. “I think the thing you really have to look at is the amount of pressure you’re getting on a quarterback — if you don’t have to blitz and you can get home with four guys.
“I love blitzing, I got every blitz in the book up on my board here. We got it all — double A’s, overloads — any blitz you can imagine, we have it … really, what I’d like to try to do is get Khalil Mack one-on-one. That’s more of a blitz to me than anything.”
Trgovac and Guenther give Oakland two creative defensive minds. This offseason, it’s up to Gruden and general manager Reggie McKenzie to give them ample ingredients to cook up a much-improved defense.