Over the years, the Raiders’ defensive statistics have ranked all across the board as far as yards per game rankings are concerned. Through the last 14 NFL seasons, the Raiders have ranked from 29th in yards per game allowed (YPGA), allowing over 6,000 yards, to third in 2006. Through these 14 years, the Raiders have made the playoffs once, in 2016 when the defense ranked 26th.
Lack of Consistency
For the Raiders, a majority of their overall struggles has been getting the offense and defense on the same page. Take 2006 for example, where the Raiders would end up ranked third defensively, boasting players like Warren Sapp, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Derrick Burgess while attempting to reestablish the “old school” Raiders, while quarterbacks Andrew Walter and Aaron Brooks split games (12, 8 respectively) throughout the season, leading the league’s worst offense to a 2-14 record. To make the 2006 season worse, the Raiders used their 2-14 record to earn the first pick in the NFL Draft, a pick the team would use to draft former LSU elite, Jamarcus Russell.
In 2016, the Raiders made the Wild Card round behind Derek Carr’s first season of 4000+ passing yards and the seventh-highest scoring offense while the 26th ranked defense dragged behind.
In the near future, the Raiders are not poised to make a leap into the top 10 rankings for defense, despite having an offense that finds itself hovering near the single-digit offensive rankings. However, the Raiders defense was trending upwards in 2019 but has fallen back down to earth in 2020.
Working Out Issues
It has not helped that it took Carr a few years to gel with head coach Jon Gruden. Teams that try to build offense and defense at the same time are not typically successful. The team picked a healthy amount of high-ranking or productive defensive players in the last few years (Ferrell, Abram, Mullen, Crosby, Arnette) yet, other than Crosby, most of these picks have not panned out at the level they have been expected to.
Offense Carrying Burden
Perhaps they still need time to develop, and if that is the case, the Raiders’ “sweet spot” of success begins in 2020. Carr is still on the pleasant side of 30, as are a majority of the Raiders offensive skill players and the defense is quite similar in that sense, meaning the team should have minimal player turnover, allowing team veterans to develop and team chemistry to thrive for seasons to come.
Yes, the players need good coaches and communication to develop into their true potential, but with the correct coaches acquired, the Raiders could be on the verge of a decade of success.