3 things the Oakland Raiders defense must do to improve in 2019
Stop the run
In order for the Raiders to become a fierce defensive unit like they used to produce many years ago, they need to get generate a massive push from the defensive line. The push generated by the defensive line will serve multiple purposes, such as sacking the quarterback, and stopping the run.
Last season the Raiders couldn’t stop the run whatsoever. It didn’t matter whether the run was up the middle or outside the tackles, they drastically scuffled in tackling the running back. The Raiders gave up more yards on the ground per game than any other team in the league, besides the Miami Dolphins, and Arizona Cardinals. They gave up an average of 4.7-yards per attempt, and 140.6 rushing yards per game.
However, this season it appears the Raiders are destined to be much improved in stopping the run. Last season they missed Justin Ellis at defensive tackle, who is one of their better run stuffers on the defensive line, and he’ll be back from injury to help anchor the inside at the line of scrimmage.
Ferrell will be another guy, who is a monster in the trenches, and stops the run consistently. In college, he was a large part of Clemson’s run stuffing with his knack to shed block on the edge and get into the backfield. He totaled 20 tackles for loss in his final year in college.
With Gruden and Mayock brining aboard two veteran linebackers with Burfict, and Marshall, they should be a large part in hitting the open holes of the defensive line and bringing down the running back before the damage is done.
With still running out such a young defensive line, it’s expected that there will be some growing pains with stopping the run, but expect it to exceed the production that the Raiders had last season.