With Paul Guenther at the helm on defense, the Raiders should see immediate improvement across the board. Granted, under Ken Norton, the defense could not stop a sneeze. However, with every new season, hope exists. For Oakland, the defense needs to improve versus the run and pass. With that said, nothing will endear Guenther to the Nation quicker than a big play defense. The Raiders must erase these 2017 trends.
In a pass happy league, that number may not appear alarming. Yet, if you look at the Raiders 2018 schedule, worry could set in. Facing Antonio Brown, Keenan Allen, and Josh Gordon among others raises red flags. However, this year’s starting corners seem a bit more agile and less stiff in coverage. In other words, Amerson and Smith lacked the quick and foot speed to stay with elite wideouts. While Melvin and Conley own that quickness, the key remains effective play. Meaning, staying on the receiver’s hip, and turning toward the ball actually needs to happen. The faith remains that Conley and Melvin can shadow and contain star wideouts. In addition, the pass rush will get home quicker than last year. The Raiders spent draft picks on a slew of rookies that all look to get home. As a result, less coverage time for the corners will drop this number.
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In 2017, the Raiders forced a turnover on only 7.2 percent of all opponents’ drive. That number ranked dead last. If any wonder why the defense needed complete reconstruction that number screams for it. This year, the Raiders will use Bruce Irvin at end. Under that circumstance, Irvin’s knack for dislodging the ball immediately comes in handy. In addition, the addition of Derrick Johnson, a coverage linebacker with solid hands will help as well. As mentioned, the corner spot received an upgrade. Moreover, the entire secondary added depth.
In reality, the Raiders defense by not having any Del Rio influence already improves. Yet, fault could not fall solely on the coaches. Now, under Guenther, a lackluster defense should immediately shows signs of life.