Oakland Raiders on the rise, but defense needs change

4 of 7

Sep 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Baltimore Ravens receiver Steve Smith (89) is defended by Oakland Raiders linebackers Khalil Mack (52) and Malcolm Smith (53) in the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Ravens 37-33. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Change at the Mike

In today’s passing league, the Raiders need a MLB that can do it all on the football field. He should able to go sideline to sideline to sideline, tackle in space, cover backs and cover tight ends. The Mike linebacker usually has the radio in his helmet so he should be able to stay on the field to set whatever defense you’re in.

But Raiders MLB Curtis Lofton doesn’t cover well, go sideline to sideline or tackle well in space. But Malcolm Smith, who runs a 4.4 40, can cover and go sideline to sideline and tackle in space. In the 4-3 under the Raiders run these days, the MLB and WLB line up inside like 3-4 inside linebackers.

And of the two, MLB is usually the playmaker while the WLB is the thumper that usually goes out on passing downs. Smith knows the scheme from his days with the Seattle Seahawks so there would be no loss there. If Lofton were the “God-send” Norton said he was, he would be able to do all the things Smith can do. He is showing that he is struggling in pass coverage, and the Raiders can’t afford that liability week in and week out if it continues.

Next: Encouraged by the Corners