Oakland Raiders Week 13 Primer: Chiefs Week

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Nov 29, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Oakland Raiders celebrate their team defeating the Tennessee Titans during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Oakland won 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Victorious In Tennessee

Although the third quarter and a good segment of the fourth quarter were essentially unwatchable and set back offensive football by forty years, the Raiders rallied late to take the lead back from the Titans and shut the door with a late Nate Allen interception. Defensively, this is another in a string of very solid performances and it seems we have a foundation building in Oakland for the scheme moving forward. What was most successful for the Raiders were the two deep safety sets, especially in man defense. We did see several long passing plays come against zone defense off of a play action fake.

The big talking point coming out of this game is David Amerson. He played an exceptional football game, but fans also need to not get carried away with the performance either. With that being said, the Raiders may have found what works best for them at the cornerback position. Amerson and Carrie starting, with DJ Hayden operating out of the slot.

Fans and commentators have spent a lot of time on the future of DJ Hayden. It is quite simple, fully expect him to be the nickel cornerback this weekend. Neiko Thorpe was a disaster in his playing time. A cornerback the Raiders can learn from is Kareem Jackson. He was left for the scrap heap for some time, but after simplifying his job and allowing him to focus on his skill set, he began to flourish in Houston. It took four seasons for that.

I have commented many times that there is no cornerback on the Raider’s roster asked to do more than DJ Hayden. That can be a major reason why he is still struggling. What would be best for him and for this franchise is allow him to focus on one job. He has shown an ability to play in the slot this season although not having any experience there. In this modern NFL a slot cornerback is highly valuable and if he is able to excel in that role it greatly helps this defense. A quick note, it was actually DJ Hayden in man coverage on the final interception to seal the game. Allen was a deep safety.

One of the most pleasant surprises from this game was Taylor Mays as a dime linebacker manning up the tight end on passing downs. Mays was actually quite good in that role and gave the Raiders what they have lacked since Neiron Ball was lost due to injury. This development is important for the Raiders because their defense is a matchup based defense, which means it is built to morph and change in order to take advantage of or limit certain matchups.

Next: Week 13 Primer: Chiefs Preview