How Tony Sparano Can Coach Oakland Raiders Beyond 2014

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September 14, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) during the fourth quarter against the Houston Texans at Coliseum. The Texans defeated the Raiders 30-14. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Defense

A big thing for the defense is that they will feed off of the physicality the Raiders show on offense and be well rested under Sparano. As far as design goes, the Raiders need to stay in the 3-4 as defensive coordinator Jason Tarver is a 3-4 coordinator. It’s also what works best for Khalil Mack and Sio Moore should be on the other side of Mack as he looks explosive off the edge.

At this point, Woodley looks more like he should rush the passer on those obvious passing situations as he hasn’t been too effective. But the most important thing here is Chimdi Chekwa shaking off the knee problems he’s had and D.J. Hayden finally getting back. If the Raiders can stay in bump-and-run coverage more, the front-7 that also includes Justin Tuck and Antonio Smith will get more sacks.

Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver just needs to design more bump-and-run coverage behind the blitzes he likes to run. The off man coverage is a guaranteed quick completion and opposing quarterbacks pick the zone apart every time out. Sparano may need to micromanage the coverages a little but other than that, Tarver is the kind of coordinator Mack could flourish under.

The run defense also needs help, especially with Nick Roach now out for the season and linebacker Jamar Chaney, who was just pick up, is intriguing. The 4-year vet has been impressive in spots in his career and I’m thinking at the very least he can be an upgrade over Miles Burris, who’s clearly out of position. Chaney has experience at middle, inside and outside linebacker so he wouldn’t have the adjustment period Burris is now going through.