The defensive line was the Oakland Raiders defense’s weakest link in 2012. The Raiders were one of the worst teams in football at getting to the quarterback and it was a huge reason why they failed to stop teams from outscoring them last season.
So when three of Oakland’s projected starting defensive linemen go out with injuries one by one in training camp, you could see why Dennis Allen is starting to get really worried about the health of his front line pass rushers as Week One inches closer and closer.
On Monday in Napa, Vance Walker, Pat Sims and Lamarr Houston were ruled out of practice for another day. A huge setback considering the Raiders are preparing to travel to New Orleans for their Week Two game against the Saints on Friday.
Naturally, Allen wants to get his defensive line back so they can start to gel as a unit, the number one thing that can’t happen with so many key players sitting in the physio room and not on the football field.
“I want to get those guys out there and let them begin to work together,” head coach Dennis Allen said to the media on Sunday, one day before Sims, Walker and Lamarr Houston missed another day of practice. “They definitely need the work. It’s hard to play this game without practicing. It’s not a game where you can just line up on Friday night and think everything’s good to go, and even more true that it’s not a game where you can just line up on Sundays and think that everything is going to be perfect. So, we need to get guys out here, we need to get guys out healthy, and we need to get them working.”
When healthy, Oakland is expected to have a much better defensive line than in 2012. With an improvements at linebacker and in the secondary the Raiders front four is expected to benefit by having extra seconds to get to the quarterback with improved coverage downfield. Walker, Sims, Houston are good defensive line talents and will most likely perform more than capably when they return, but for now a defensive line made out of patch up training camp invitees and whoever isn’t injured is not giving Raider Fans much hope that their front line will be any better than what they saw in 2012.
Dennis Allen will be hoping that all three of his linemen can at least come back for some portion of training camp, with practices already nearing being half over in August, time is running out.