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Oakland Raiders: The State of the Team, Part 2 (Defense)

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Oakland Raiders: The State of the Team, Part 2 (Defense)
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Overall Defense: B-

Richard Seymour was acquired a week before the season started. He was traded for a 1st round pick. He didn't play like a guy that had first round worth. I'm not saying he was awful, but he certainly didn't play great. That's where I'm coming from.

He had two 2-sack games.That's all. Yes, he got double teamed many times, but great defensive ends get more than four total sacks. He dousn't really have a signature move to fall back on too.

For example, Dwight Freeney has the spin move and Jared Allen has his bull rush.

Seymour was also better in run support then we've had in years. 

Greg Ellis, signed to a 3-year deal in the off season was also a tad bit underwhelming. He did have seven sacks, but he was constantly on the injury report list. He wasn't as consistent as you would like either.

Matt Schaugnessy was a pleasant surprise. He doesn't necessarily do anything great, but he does everything well. He could challenge Ellis for a starting position next year, even though Ellis isn't being paid to be a backup.

Tommy "Pants on the Ground" Kelly was very solid this season. Often praised by Cable, Kelly recorded 37 solo tackles up the middle. He still isn't there in the consistency department. Even though the Raiders remained at the bottom of the league vs. the run, not all of it was Kelly's fault. 

Gerrard Warren continues to disappoint. He's awful against the run and is very average in pass rushing.

Desmond Bryant was a surprise out of training camp. The undrafted rookie from Harvard didn't make much of an impact during the regular season though.

Jay Richardson was OK as a backup this season. It was clear he wouldn't get much playing time, after he was neglected in training camp.

Slade Norris didn't even make the team out of training camp. That's really disappointing considering he was a fourth round pick. He was signed to the practice squad. 

Kirk Morrison has got to be the most frustrating linebacker alive. Sometimes he can make great plays and sometimes he looks downright foolish. It should be all clear to us that his natural position is on the outside. His biggest problem is his tendency to over pursue everything.

Because he over pursues, he can't make up the lost time. And that's why there are so many 10 yard consecutive runs. And with Morrison, when it rains it pours.

Thomas Howard is a solid player. He's a speedy guy, but is below average against the run. He needs to be able to get off blocks faster. But Howard is a guy who can match up well with tight ends, and running backs better than some outside linebackers.

Ricky Brown is a below average starting linebacker. He plays with fire. However, he doesn't have the consistent flint. What I'm trying to say is that he makes a great play one out of 10 times. And he could be the most injury prone guy on the team. This is the second year in a row he's landed on IR.

Trevor Scott was very solid this season. Even though his specialty is 3rd down speed blitzing , he showed he can play a bit at linebacker. He just couldn't hold up full time at the Defensive End position.

Tyvon Branch is a tackling machine. He is very physical against the run, and is a big hitter. He needs to work on his pass coverage skills.

Michael Huff was excellent to start the season. He had some key interceptions. But he was almost never heard from again. He did improve his tackling from a year ago after becoming a liability.

Hiram Eugene has to accept a lot of the fault for the big plays. He is mostly asked to play center field. He sometimes gets fooled badly by pump fakes by opposing quarterbacks.

Mike Mitchell had hamstring issues in the preseason, which really set him back. He was drafted in the second round, which was a MAJOR surprise for a guy who wasn't even invited to the combine. Mitchell is a big hitter and a solid athlete.

Nnamdi Asomugha is by far our best defensive player. He was very effective again in 2009. He is a very good athlete, and uses his hands well in coverage. The only disappointing thing was that Asommugha was injured too much.

Chris Johnson was a disappointment considering he was very good in the last eight games in 2008. Johnson doesn't have great overall speed, and is often beat with the double move.

Stanford Routt is a joke of a corner. Every time you see him, he's getting called for a penalty or his man is beating him for six. Routt is an average athlete. You'd think he'd be better suited playing man because of his size, but that idea is false. 

Best player in 2009: Nnamdi Asomugha

Most potential in 2010: Tyvon Branch

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