The Oakland Raiders are running out of time. Training camp is nearing its conclusion leaving Hue Jackson precious few days to get his team prepared for the regular season. While the offense stands to drastically improve its wretched performance in the red zone by the addition of a healthy Darren McFadden, the defense has no help in sight. We’ve seen Oakland’s offense operating without many key contributors this preseason. The same cannot be said for the defense which has pretty much been at full strength.
If there has been one common theme among every edition of the Silver and Black since that Super Bowl team back in ’02 it has been the inability to stop the run.
The coaching staff has been turned over more often than a hamburger patty on a novice’s grill. The personnel have changed more times than Mr. Rodgers’ wardrobe. Still the same problems remain.
Just what is it going to take to get this franchise to commit to stopping the run?
Last Saturday the Raiders were run ragged in The City. Didn’t matter who was toting the rock for the 49ers. Didn’t matter who was lining up for the Raiders on defense.
What is most disturbing of all is that the same mistakes have persisted over the years. Defensive ends blindsided and buried by blockers. Linebackers over pursuing runners. Corners and safeties whiffing on open field tackles. It’s all there and it’s been there for years.
Going forward there is a Tim Tebow’s chance of being a starting QB that the Raiders will find any success without a stout run defense.
On paper it just doesn’t add up. The Raiders boast one of the league’s most athletic and active defensive lines. However behind the front four is where all the question marks are to be found.
Rolando McClain has yet to become the consistent run stuffer Al Davis envisioned. Kamerion Wimbley is a pass rushing specialist. Quinton Groves is…well…Quinton Groves. After the linebackers is the last line of defense. A line that has been run through, around and over.
Michael Huff could be the worst open field tackler in the NFL. Stanford Routt, Chris Johnson and most every other Raider corner is of little to no help in run support. Tyvon Branch is the only member of the secondary you’ll see making plays at the line of scrimmage.
A lot of blame must be assigned to Mr. Davis himself. It is not coincidence that no matter the defensive coordinator the basic scheme remains the same. More of the blame falls on the coaches and their inability to hold players accountable.
Whatever the reason things must change and in a hurry if Coach Jackson is going to get his bully built in the next two weeks. Otherwise we’re back to singing the same song again.