Raiders must make stopping the run priority number one


raiders-stop-run

If John Marshall is reading this, then he knows all we’re doing here is stating the obvious. When Al Davis handed the new Raider defensive coordinator his dossier upon hire, Marshall must have done a double take.

You have to go all the way back to 2002 to find the last time the Oakland Raiders ranked in the top 10 in run defense. In fact, they have not finished higher than 22nd since that last trip to the Super Bowl, three of those times being ranked either second from bottom or dead last.

The writing is on the wall and the message is written in blood: Stop the run!

To date, nothing has been done – as far as personnel is concerned – to address the defensive woes. John Marshall’s replacement of Rob Ryan has been the lone move made on the defensive side of the ball.

While I don’t mean to insult Marshall, I fail to see how replacing the defensive coordinator alone will alleviate the problems that have persisted for the past six years.

With the draft looming and more roster moves to come, the Raiders are far from finished, but the laundry list grows with each passing day.

Only two new additions have been made to the roster for the defense thus far. Defensive tackle Ryan Boschetti and defensive back Jason Horton are the lone new Raider defensive acquisitions. Perhaps the Raiders are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle again as they did with Chris Johnson last year. Johnson, like Horton and Boschetti, arrived as a journeyman yet played well enough that the organization felt comfortable in releasing free agent bust DeAngelo Hall halfway through the ’08 season (though it should be noted that Eric Allen could have suited up in ’08 and played better than Hall).

It goes without saying that there are needs in all aspects of the defense.

The defensive line is due for a massive upgrade. Many have looked to Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji as the first step in repairing the line. However, despite a recent red flag, Raji still looks to be a possible top 5 pick, perhaps leaving the Raiders Raji-less at number 7.

Gibril Wilson was not a great asset in pass coverage, but he was a sure tackler in the open field. The shock of the off-season, thus far, was Wilson’s abrupt release. Many sight his vocal displeasure with the front office for his exit. However you slice it, his departure has left a void in the defensive backfield.

Perhaps John Marshall saw something on game tape that makes him think all is not lost in Michael Huff. My money says Huff is better served as a nickel corner at best and his safety days are over.

Not all of the blame falls on the Raider defense for the six years of run defense misery. The offense must shoulder some of the blame too.

No matter how stellar a defense is, only so much can be done when the offense is going three-and-out, constantly run-d2putting pressure on weary legs that tire from too much field time.

Tom Cable will need to make sure that his offense is moving the chains and giving the “D” some much needed time to rest and evaluate between possessions. Even the Raider defense of ’06 that ranked in the top 10 in most categories rated a horrific 25th against the run. Look to Tom Walsh’s horrendous play calling and Aaron Brooks’ inability to get the center exchange right as symptoms of what happens when a bad “O” puts too much pressure on a good “D”. 

The draft is just weeks away and the Raiders are not tipping their hand. Many want to see the #7 pick used for a receiver, others seek an offensive tackle. If John Marshall has a voice in the front office, he should be screaming for more help. Marshall might be the man with the master plan, but bringing back the same personnel from the 31st ranked run defense in ’08 is a blueprint for failure.

Next Raiders Game View full schedule »
Thursday, Aug 2828 Aug7:00Seattle SeahawksBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Aaron Brooks Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured B.J. Raji Chris Johnson Deangelo Hall Eric Allen Gibril Wilson Jason Horton John Marshall Michael Huff Rob Ryan Ryan Boschetti Tom Cable Tom Walsh

  • Rick Wascher

    John Marshall may be the new DC but Al still runs the defense. We all know that. Why are we still running a 4-3 when the last SB winners are all running 3-4s. Anyone remember that look of on Brady’s face everytime he saw that 3-4 of the Giants coming at him. The Giants had a very good OL and a great defense. 3 average running backs and a better than average QB.Same goes for the Steelers. We only rush 4 down-linemen.It’s easy to block when you know who is coming. They blitz, we don’t at least not very often. I say trade back in the draft. How many rookie receivers make an impact. Pay them millions of bucks for what 7-8 catches a game? Macklin the WR is a carbon-copy of JLH.Only JLH makes a fraction of what a top 7 pick will.They say he can be a factor in the return game. they said that about McFadden also but did he return anything? Trade back to someone that wants a QB or WR early. Take the picks and get a defense.

  • SR_Raider

    Something in me suspects the Raiders are focusing on the offense this year (LT-WR), and will wait until next year to draft defense. The reality is that they need a whole draft class of defensive players (DT, DE, S, LB) to turn this turd around. I really don’t think they can get it done in just one year.

  • Derek

    Dang Rick, if we can draft a WR who makes 7-8 catches a game, then we’d better grab him. That translates to at least 112 catches for the season and an instant Pro Bowl selection. I say we go OT or DT in the draft. We have to build the lines. Then again, you can’t pass up an instant All Pro receiver. LoL.

  • Chris Shellcroft

    Rick,

    I have to agree with your JLH/Maclin comparison. I said the same thing not too long ago and got a lot of heat for it. To me, I don’t see what the difference is between the two.

  • cj

    DEFENCE DEFENCE DEFENCE….. IF THERE WERE EVER A TIME TO USE A WHOLE DRAFT CLASS ON DEFENCE THIS IS IT!! WE HAVE: YOUNG QB, YOUNG RB’S, YOUNG WR’S,AND A DAMN GOOD BACKUP QB!! NOW YOU ADD BJ RAJI, JARRON GILBERT,WAKE FORREST SAFETY,A NOSE BLEED(JOHN RICHIE TYPE) LINE BACKER,AND TAKE A CHANCE ON RAMSES BARTON OR ANY OF THE WIDEOUT GUYS THIS CLASS IS DEEP. JARRON CAN PLAY TACKLE AND END, SO YOUR ROTATION IN THE 4-3 COME MONDAY NIGHT IS RAJI-KELLY-WARREN-SANDS-GILBERT-JOSEPH-BURGESS-RICHARDSON-SCOTT-GILBERT”AGAIN”HE PLAYS BOTH TACKLE AND END!WITH BACK UPS GUNHIEM-GRAY-BOSCHETTI!!! THIS MEANS FRESHER LEGS WITH CONSTANT INSIDE PRESENCE!!! BESIDES IF WE MAKE THE PLAYOFFS LIKE SOO MANY ARE PREDICTING “WETHER IT BE BY DEFAULT OR NOT” WE NEED TO GRAB EVERYONE NOW WHILE WE HAVE EARLY PICKS.FREE AGENCY ADDED PARTS TO THE O-LINE. THE DRAFT SHOULD BE DEFENCE DEFENCE DEFENCE!

  • Big Raid From B/R

    The 3/4 D is bunk. The only reason it works is because players have gotten away from fundamental football. A strong running attack is always the answer for a 3/4 D – too weak at the point of contact.. Madden up and Prove me wrong!!!
    The Raiders appear to be addressing needs. Maybe it seems so radical because it’s been a while. Altom DaCable are making strong moves this off Season. A Center coming from a ZB System, a capable Vet QB Mr. Walk like a duck talk like a duck as claimed by TO who can show JRuss aspects of being a True NFL QB and a Team leader. They haven’t done anything really stupid like trading Bush, or losing Awesome. They’ve added depth and competition to the Oline.
    There next move will be D as it fits the Raider needs Boschetti and Horton are depth and competition moves makes perfect sense to me. I’m pretty sure Da’Cable is aware of what they have in Higgins, Schilens. They’re getting better looks at their lineup now. My biggest concern is still player development. Had they gotten Henderson, Higgins, Schilens, and Bush going much earlier letting them get their football legs up to speed who knows how much better the 2nd half of the season would have been. Not trying to make Bush a fullback which is not using your players to their ability. I would have never done that to Bush. Backs that don’t play fullback shouldn’t. Easier to make the Transition from FB to RB.Bettis, Means, Akoye, Rathman. “WE” Fullbacks we’re just a different meaner nastier Animal..

  • http://RAIDERNEWS.COM ROADKING

    Defense is right! Stopping the run is right! I thing we need to grab Rey M and have clog the middle with the intensity of Ray Lewis. He will be the next RayL. He will change that soft image of are defense and make runners scared cuz he is trying to take there head off. After Rey M I go after Hood! Well thats just my opinion, Peace out Nation. Just a reminder, The Colts didn’t win a championship till there defense got better and The Giants won it with a great Dline and Baltimore, Pittsburgh all who I believe have better defenses than offenses.

  • JSpicoli

    Raji

  • Pingback: B.J. Raji and Ron Brace: The two that got away | Just Blog Baby | An Oakland Raiders Blog

  • Pingback: Is Terdell Sands not a part of John Marshall’s plan? | Just Blog Baby | An Oakland Raiders Blog