Can Raiders Improve Their No. 31 Run Defense?

Matt KayContributor IMay 20, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 09:  DeAngelo Williams #34 of the Carolina Panthers runs against Nnamdi Asomugha #21 of the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game on November 9, 2008 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

We all know that one of the Raiders’ strengths is their ability to stop the pass. But on the other hand, we all know one of the Raiders’ weaknesses is stopping the run.  

Only one team in the NFL allowed more rushing yards per game than the Raiders in 2008.

Guess who?

Yep, none other than the winless Detroit Lions.

Oakland gave up nearly 160 rushing yards per game last season. On average, the Raiders’ opposition ran for 4.7 yards per carry. 

And no matter how good your squad is at stopping the pass, if other teams can run all over you, you can’t win. Simply put, if your defense is on the field too long, you end up losing in the long run.

After a not-so-great defensive season (No. 24 in points, No. 27 total yards), one would assume the Raiders would attempt to make some big offseason moves to fix the problem.

But what players have the Raiders added to help their run defense this season?

Absolutely none.

Sure they drafted three defensive ends.

But a third-round draft pick, along with a fourth and sixth rounder, aren’t going to close the gaps overnight.

Mike Mitchell sure isn’t going to solve the Raiders’ defensive run stop woes.

These guys will take a few years to develop—if they ever do.

The Raiders made just one other acquisition on the defensive side of the ball—Ryan Boschetti.

In five seasons with the Redskins, the new Raider started in just two games, adding 19 tackles and not much else.

So here’s what it comes down to: Is coach Dwaine Board going to magically make the Raiders defensive line better as he did for Seattle in 2003?

Maybe. We’ll have to wait and see.

But if the players on the field aren’t capable of closing the gaps, it probably doesn’t matter how good of a defensive line coach he is.

Fixing the Raiders’ run D is going to be a tough task for Board, but he’s worked wonders in the past.

Do you think he’ll get the job done in restoring the Raiders’ rushing defense?