Though the Raiders didn’t win a preseason game, one thing that could be derived as a positive takeaway is that assistant head coach John Pagano is making his defensive backs accountable this season.
After a laughable effort against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, we saw the Raiders defense slowly but surely improve. Baby steps, guys. One area that did get better was on third-down defense. In the dress rehearsal game against the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland was able to force the high-flying Cowboys offense into four straight punts.
Oakland’s defense will have to be a bend, but don’t break group. This team will give up yards, but hopefully of the empty variety. The Raiders do have guys in the back-end that can make plays on the ball to force turnovers. Just keeping the opposition from extending drives on third-down completion after third-down completion will be most crucial.
The Titans are a run-first football team in a passing-centric league. Tennessee will be able to run the football, but is the Titans’ passing game strong enough to continually have its way with the Raiders’ secondary? Expect the Titans’ passing game to be better, but Oakland to be a more committed defense on third down. It could be on the uptick for the Silver and Black this season.