The Raiders’ defense hasn’t recorded an interception through 10 games, an NFL record. With John Pagano taking over the defensive play calling duties, hopefully we will see improvement.
Earlier in the week, head coach Jack Del Rio finally decided to cut ties with former defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. This a move that should have occurred 10 months ago, not in Week 12 of the regular season. Regardless, Norton had to be let go. This defense is easily one of the worst in the entire league. It has yet to record an interception through 10 games, which is an NFL record.
Assistant coach John Pagano will take over as the defensive coordinator. Pagano had been the defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers the last five years. He brings experience to the tables as a former defensive coordinator. Oakland was Norton’s first stab at being an NFL defensive coordinator. So will this experience of Pagano’s be enough to improve the defense?
Well, it certainly can’t get any worse from what we have seen out of Norton the past three seasons. Pagano has led some solid defenses back when he was with the Chargers. While I do expect some improvement, in reality it’ll be minimal.
Changing coordinators mid-season won’t help solve the mediocre talent in the Oakland secondary. It won’t stop offenses from going deep to exploit the poor play of aging safety Reggie Nelson.
We likely won’t even be able to tell the difference this Sunday when the Raiders play host to the Denver Broncos. It’s not like Pagano is going to rework the entire defense. The improvements that we should see are that players are in better positions to make a stop, possibly an interception. Other than poor play out of the secondary, the way it has been positioned is another reason that the defense does not have an interception yet.
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Too many times we have seen the corners playing more than 10 yards off and negligent of the first down marker. Whether that was something Norton wanted his players to do or if he left it up to them, that still falls back on him.
Pagano should be able to set them up to his preference. Then maybe, just maybe, we will see a reduction in the amount of deep passes completed by the opposition.
Pagano now has more control of the defense, but even as the defensive coordinator he still won’t have full control. Del Rio will still have a hand in the defense, which is why his firing of Ken Norton Jr. appeared to be a scapegoat move more than anything.
Hopefully with Pagano calling the defense, he can overcome having his hands tied. One hand being held by the lack of talent, the other by Del Rio. If he can free up one of them, we will see improvement. At least to the point where the defense stops making every quarterback look like a hall of famer.
Even with a change at defensive coordinator, it still won’t fix anything on the offensive side of the ball. This has been the real problem for this team. Now that Del Rio has let go another coordinator, how long does it take until offensive coordinator Todd Downing gets fired? Given Del Rio’s history, it’ll likely be sooner than we all think.