Oakland Raiders to improve against Baltimore Ravens

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Sep 13, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive end Aldon Smith (99) tries to rush past Cincinnati Bengals tackle Andrew Whitworth (77) in the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Bengals defeated the Raiders 33-13. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Time to Start Aldon Smith

Strong-side outside linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong gave up the edge on a 4th-and-1 that was stuffed in the middle. Later in the same drive, he gave up a touchdown on a 3rd-and-short from close to the goal line that was also stuffed in the middle. He also gave up five catches on five targets to Eifert, the tight end but otherwise, Armstrong had a really good game and is a really good player.

So it’s time for newly signed elite edge rusher Aldon Smith to start after playing 30 snaps on Sunday. Scheme-wise, he should be in the Leo spot while Khalil Mack goes back to strong-side outside backer. Mack likes to rush from the right side anyway so they should blitz him from there and keep him on that side as the nickel rusher.

If Mack were there on that 4th-and-1, the Raiders would have had the ball with a short field instead of eventually giving up the touchdown. It would have been a tackle for a loss with Mack saying “Please, run that play again!” The Raiders strengthened their run defense up in the middle so putting Mack back in the strong side will eliminate a weakness.

Next: Secondary