With the Rams’ game just four days away, the Oakland Raiders need to focus ahead. While the fanbase still bemoaning a traded superstar, Paul Guenther has a task ahead. When the Rams eased their superstar holdout, it ended a period of uncertainty. Now, Guenther must mimic that. In order to halt the high-flying Rams, the Raiders must do the follow on defense.
For years, fans and media alike criticized Oakland for not employing a legitimate three-technique. As a result, opponents could climb the ladder, step, and plant. When a quarter can take all day to throw, the percentages rise exponentially for completed passes. In the offseason, the Raiders drafted PJ Hall and Maurice Hurst to wreak havoc in the middle. Both possess a quick first step. While Hall possesses the sheer strength to move a guard, Hurts uses angles and balance to defeat tackles.
Not only would disruptive tackle play affect Jared Goff, but also Todd Gurley would need to bounce outside. With the new scheme, tackles must destroy the pocket. Granted, Jelly Ellis will not get upfield. Yet, using his mass and power, he will force guards backward. As a result, Gurley will seek the perimeter to gain yardage. If the Raiders can flow to the ball and capitalize on the interior success, Goff will see longer yardage situations.
Control the Enemy
While you may not think of Brandin Cooks as a nemesis, think harder. Over the past two seasons, Cooks torched the Raiders in two separate games. In 2016, he abused Sean Smith. Last year, Obi Melifonwu tasted the vapor trail. With that said, do not think that Paul Guenther will construct a flimsy gameplan. Moreover, Oakland employs better, more disciplined corners. In addition, safety help should not arrive late.
Get Home with Four
Provided Oakland play system sound defense and their secondary covers that should activate the pass rush. With Khalil Mack in Chicago, the onus falls to the Raiders and their pass rushing depth. From Bruce Irvin and Arden Key to Fadol Brown and Shilique Calhoun, the Raiders need penetration. On the edges, especially the right side, the Rams can slip. If the Raiders need to constantly send extra rushers, the game falls quickly into peril. If Oakland brings four with authority, that sets them up for success.
In reality, no one knows what the defense will resemble. Now, the Raiders and their fans are wishing for something positive.