After yet another stagnant offensive display in the second half, the Raiders head home. In Oakland, they will face a much-improved Browns defense. Granted, the Browns may not appear like a juggernaut. Yet, their defense kept them in games. Now, they possess the pieces to start scaring opposing offenses.
Provided that Gregg Williams keeps financial motivation out of the gameplan, he remains a sound defensive tactician With this current roster, Williams can use a press-man scheme with his corners. In return, expect to see aggressive blitzing from the safeties and linebackers. Derek Carr will need to quickly identify where the blitz flows. For his benefit, look for something quicker that will start to tire out the defense.
When the Browns drafted Myles Garrett in 2017, they envisioned him as the cornerstone of the defense. As a result of rapid improvement, Garrett did not let them down. On the edge, Garrett’s blend of speed, power, and agility frustrate tackles and make dropbacks rough on passes. In three games, Garrett tallied four sacks. As weird as the sentence sounds, Kolton Miller could fare well. With Donald Penn nursing a probable concussion, if Miller draws Garrett on the left, he can success. On the other hand, if Garrett slides over to left end, the Raiders will need to embrace max protect. TJ Clemmings and the cast of depth cannot deal with Garrett singled up.
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On the inside, Larry Ogunjobi’s play continues to evolve. Ogunjobi, the second-year tackle benefits from a leaner physique and the newly found aggressive scheme. While the Raiders employ a highly paid interior, at times, tackles gave them problems. Although not a household name, Ogunjobi racks up sacks and tackles with three and eighteen, respectively.
For the third game in four, the Raiders face a hungry, ballhawking secondary, unafraid of gambling. As mentioned, they will bring a press-man look to the feel. Keep an eye on Denzel Ward. Ward, the sticky-fingered rookie will cover Amari Cooper for a fair amount of snaps. Like Gareon Conley, Ward’s long frame and acceleration to blanket wideouts. Unlike Conley, Ward actually collects interceptions. In fact, the Browns’ secondary boasts four picks in three games.
In essence, the Browns do not resemble the pitiful, perennial losers no longer. Now, their defense should strike fear into many. If the first three games are any indication, Derek Carr will feel a rush, but will need to gamble less. These corners will win 50/50 balls. As shown, if the Raiders can wisely move the ball downfield, the offense can succeed. The key remains sound playcalling and execution.