Oakland Raiders Week 10 Primer: Purple People Eater Beaters

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Nov 1, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. encourages the defense before the start of the game against the New York Jets at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Understand Ken Norton Jr

Raiders fans tend to have over the top expectations when they look at what is or is not a proper defense. The NFL is no longer the league it was thirty years ago, and even very good defenses like the Broncos, pale in comparison to the defenses of old. Yes the Raiders gave up a record number of yards, but yards are irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

Ken Norton Jr has been working under Pete Carroll for the better part of the last decade, and what makes Pete Carroll’s defense a winning defense is not the lack of yards given up but the turnovers forced and the lack of big plays. Seattle will give up short receptions, but they tackle and for the most part the Raider defense has been solid in that regard.

The single biggest difference between the Seahawks and the Raiders is that the Seahawks have two safeties that are both very good and fit their scheme perfectly. When the Raider defense has been best this year, they were playing with two deep safeties, playing man defense across the board, and using a five man front to control the running game. With two healthy safeties playing up top, the Raiders can go into more press coverage to limit short routes even against top quarterback/receiver combinations.

After the Pittsburgh game, the Raiders rank 14th in the NFL in yards per completion giving up 10.8 per. Before that game, the Raiders were 10th giving up 10.4 per completion. The Broncos lead the NFL giving up 8.4 and Saint Louis second giving up 9.1. After that there is a tie for 3rd at 9.8. I mention the gaps between each place to highlight the fact the Raiders in reality do a good job limiting big passing plays.

Considering the fact that the Raiders are passed on more than any team in the NFL, that stat is pretty good. All in All this pass defense is as I continue to say, average. What should not be undersold however, is the fact that the Raiders have played a pretty difficult schedule and will continue to for this season. All things considered, it may not actually be a bad thing to just be an average defense.

The future upgrades for this defense will be in the defensive background, but I doubt it comes at cornerback. If you remember back to the offseason, I made it a point to say Oakland would not look to add a big name free agent and they did not. Reggie did do a very Reggie move, and nabbed a former second-round pick to add to the group and Amerson has been playing fine. Early in the next draft I expect Reggie to add a free safety of the future to this group.

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