As the Oakland Raiders kick off the season with a disappointing 1-2 record, their pair of defensive tackles leave much to be desired. In the preseason, this pair was expected to have their breakout seasons, but through three games, Maurice Hurst and PJ Hall have combined for .5 sacks and 10 solo tackles. The pair have also combined for 2 QB hits and 1 pass deflections.
The lack of production from both Hurst and Hall is not the main reason the Raiders have not been successful, but it is certainly not helping.
Last season, Hurst recorded four sacks on ten starts (1 sack per 2.5 games), but with three games now in the books, he still has yet to record his first sack of the 2019 campaign.
While his sack count is disappointing so far, his tackle count also has been far from record-breaking. The only real claim Hurst can make about his tackles is that he has more than his defensive tackle counterpart. In fact, all four of the Raiders’ starting defensive backs have recorded more tackles than Hurst this season.
Perhaps Hurst was an afterthought for opposing offenses last season, and now they are prepared accordingly, leading to a dip in numbers for Hurst. But this is the same player that was regarded as an early- to mid-second round talent, only falling to the fifth round due to a mysterious heart condition.
Maurice Hurst is a talented player and, with a pass defection as his only recorded stat other than tackles. Fans maintain a right to expect more from this second-year player.
Expectations and excitement levels for PJ Hall have been high since he posted an impressive number of quarterback pressures last season.
This season, Hall has recorded a sack; an assisted one, but a sack, nonetheless. He recorded his half-sack in Week 2 and was given the start in Week 3. Hall was unable to record a sack in Week 3. Regardless, he was able to get dangerously close to Kirk Cousins and record a QB hit.
Hall owns impressive speed and quickness at his position. I had predicted his skillset improving in the offseason, turning his pressures into sacks. The sacks have yet to come flying in for Hall.
This is not a shot at the defensive tackles. Yet, this should be taken as inspiration that better things are on the horizon.
In fact, this message is applicable to every member of the Oakland Raiders. This is not a team playing to its full potential. There are wins on the horizon, even with the most difficult schedule and travel plans.