May 28, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive back Charles Woodson at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Struggles Or Improved Defense?

Apparently on Tuesday the Oakland Raiders Quarterbacks (Matt Flynn, Tyler Wilson, Terrell Pryor, and Matt McGloin) struggled to piece together some consistency as they tried to learn a whole new set of plays and reads.  Factor in trying to become more comfortable with their receivers, tight ends, and running backs, and I guess one could say the offense is struggling.  On the other hand, maybe our defense has improved?

For starters, the addition of Tracy Porter and Michael Jenkins already bolstered the secondary that floundered in 2012.  This gave the defense some added Veteran prowess in two players that have had success throughout their careers.  Furthermore, they both are coverage corners, and both will more than likely have starting positions when the regular season kicks off.

In the draft, Reggie McKenzie surprised the football world by dropping back to pick 12 and grabbing D.J. Hayden.  This was a smart move.  Not only did McKenzie pick up an additional draft pick, but he also grabbed the guy that Mike Mayock heralded as the best cover corner in the draft.  Yes Raider Nation, a cover corner in the draft.  This has been a foreign entity to our team since the likes of Nnamdi Asomugha.  If Hayden can bring the game he brought to the University of Houston, he has the potential to not only be good but great.

Free agency surprised Raider Nation with another gem, Charles Woodson.  That’s right, Woodson is back!  He enters a team in need of a defensive leader.  Woodson is a leader.  He will be roaming the backfield at the free safety position.  Quarterbacks better be careful, because Woodson is a ball hawking specialist.  Factor in the ability Woodson has to mentor younger players, and Mckenzie may have given the secondary the perfect storm.

Let us not forget the additions to the linebacker corps.  Nick Roach represents an under the radar genius pickup that has nothing but upside.  Roach was in position to succeed Brian Urlacher in Chicago before making the switch to Oakland.  In Oakland, Roach is the quarterback of the defense.  He has taken the reigns and shown the coaching staff that he has what it takes to be the play caller.  Roach is fast, strong, smart, and he is fundamentally sound.  Not only can he cover a tight end or slot receiver, but he can stuff running backs in the back field as well.

Nov 13, 2011; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Tony Scheffler (85) scores a touchdown with Chicago Bears outside linebacker Nick Roach (53) defending in the second half at Soldier Field. The Bears defeated the Lions 37-13. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Sio Moore is a player who has a chip on his shoulder from draft day.  He is a player who feels that he has something to prove to the football world.  Combine this with the veteran leadership of Kevin Burnett, the solid play of Miles Burris, and Kaluka Maiava’s potential, and there is optimism in abundance.

Defensive Coordinator Jason Tarver has the pieces he needs to have a more than effective backfield to stop the pass and stuff the run.  The key is how to use those pieces.  Apparently, the defensive backfield has already improved due to the fact that passes are being swatted and intercepted at practice.  At least, that’s just the way I see it.

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Tags: Charles Woodson DJ Hayden Jason Tarver Kaluka Maiava Kevin Burnett Matt Flynn Matt McGloin Michael Jenkins Miles Burris Nick Roach Nnamdi Asomugha Reggie McKenzie Sio Moore Terrell Pryor Tracy Porter Tyler Wilson

  • Chris Schroeder

    Great article, finally someone with some sense. Pretty much echoed the comment I left on Rosenthals article. So tired of the bonehead media bagging on the rookie quarterbacks when there is so much more they’re not considering.

  • Cetswayo Dawson

    Many of the blogs I’ve been reading are filled with people dogging Pryor and jumping on Flynn’s bandwagon. How Flynn garnered so much respect was beyond me. There was nothing that indicated Flynn was doing well. We only had the head coach saying Pryor wasn’t there yet. All those people are for some reason now absent from the blogs

  • joerockt

    FYI, you left this part out:

    From Steve Corkran of the Oakland Tribune: “In 19 years covering the NFL, today’s showing by Matt Flynn, Tyler Wilson, Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin rates as one of the worst in memory.”

    An Associated Press reporter started an article with what he saw out of the Raiders’ passing game: “Batted balls. Wounded ducks. Interceptions. Passes into the turf.”

    From Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle: “It was the opening of duck season, er, the Raiders three-day minicamp, on Tuesday as the team’s top three quarterbacks picked up where they left off in the team’s organized workouts the last month.”

    And …

    “On two straight throws, starter Matt Flynn lobbed two wounded ducks downfield — and they were the plays of the day,” Tafur wrote.

    Enjoy your season.