Las Vegas Raiders are at a crossroads heading into Week 6
The Situation for the Defense
As for the defense, they have actually been better than anticipated. They have found a way to get good pressure on four-man rushes and their secondary looks more reliable than they ever have. Unfortunately, injuries have hit the defense hard.
Trayvon Mullen, who was having a good year thus far, suffered a foot injury against the Los Angeles Chargers that would place him on the injured reserve list. Damon Arnette is also on the IR with a groin injury, and Johnathan Hankins exited Sunday’s game with some type of back injury. Losing these players is a massive blow to the team, especially in the secondary.
And until we officially know how long they will be out, Las Vegas is going to have to scrape by with their backups.
The potential loss of Hankins could make a big impact on the defense, who have struggled to stop the run in the past two games. If the defense wants to force more three-and-outs in big moments, then they are going to have to keep opposing backs from gauging them on big runs. To do that, they’ll have to find ways to clog up holes and get into the backfield before the opposing back has a chance to make a read and cut.
After the game against the Chicago Bears, Gruden and Yannick Ngakoue both stressed that they need to force more turnovers, and that’s certainly true. Giving your offense the ball in enemy territory is much better than starting on your own fifteen.
But really, even without turnovers, the defense has done its job. They have forced teams to give the ball back when it counts. Especially in the second half, when Las Vegas has to make a comeback. But the offense rarely takes advantage. So while turnovers could help, both losses are on the offense.