When Rod Marinelli was named interim defensive coordinator on a short week, it was clear there would not be much he could do to implement his gameplans. However, helming the Raiders on defense, prompted him to scheme to stop the run.
It became immediately clear that Marinelli heard head coach Jon Gruden chewing out Paul Guenther. The reason? For allowing just about anyone to average five yards per carry on this defense. Also, decided to take control of one aspect of the game which, to be fair, went quite well. Los Angeles’ three leading rushers, Austin Ekeler, Justin Herbert, and Kalen Ballage, combined for 85 total rush yards. This settles in as a vast improvement from the last few weeks.
But, selling out to stop the run showed fans a far more dangerous truth: the Las Vegas Raiders defense is in need of more than just some smoothing out. They stopped the run on rushing downs, but the defensive backs could not shut down anyone. At least in Gregg Williams’ defense a zero blitz brought pressure to the quarterback, something the Raiders struggled to do in the first half.
The simple, yet frustrating, fact of the matter is that the Raiders defense is the reason for not only this 7-7 record but the squashed playoff hopes and nationally televised embarrassments as well. Las Vegas should not have to score 30 points a game just to keep up with opposing teams, but that is where we are
Mike Mayock drafted proven, talented players in his two drafts so far. Sadly, a noticeable disconnect exists between the players’ college and NFL careers so far. Clelin Ferrell and Henry Ruggs. Both players shined in college, but by not falling right back to form, it becomes clear that there are some mismatched wires of communication between the draft room and the playing field.
Las Vegas struggled to find a landing spot for Ferrell, position-wise, shifting him between defensive end and tackle. Some argued that drafting Ferrell with the fourth pick in the draft looks like a reach.In all honestly, teams should never make a pick that high learn a new position in his rookie season.
Ruggs, on the other hand, has blinding speed and incredible talent. Yet, he tends to appear deep in the rotation of Carr’s target share. Meanwhile, other rookies like Justin Jefferson being instantly making noise in Minnesota. Hopefully, things click after Gruden and Mayock’s third draft together, or we could be in for a much more unfortunate discussion.