The New Face Of The Oakland Raider Defense

james jamesContributor IMay 26, 2010

Changing the face of the defense....

Last season was definitely a huge disappointment to most everyone when it comes to the Raiders. But not everyone, obviously I would have loved for the Raiders to do well maybe reach the playoffs. It just wasn't realistic. We did some things well including dialing up blitz packages, and taking advantage of the athleticism of our LB corps. . This allowed the coaches a chance to see what they had. A group of guys with tremendous athletic ability but maybe not the tenacity and physical presence that some of the elite defenses have. 

So along come the winds of change. New defensive line coach Mike Waulfe was the first of the changes that would happen on the defensive side of the ball. High tenders and higher contracts left the defensive backfield in tact, Constant questioning and concerns however would shake up the entire front seven. Personnel changes sent long time Raider Kirk Morrison to Jacksonville. Gerard Warren Resides in New England. So we still have questions about our run stopping ability. So make way for the additions that are going to change the face of this defense. 

Rolando Mcclain. I generally hate to put stock in rookies but I just couldn't help it. Hear me out for a minute, listen. This kid comes into the NFL  at 21 years of age. 6 foot 4 255 pounds. He's a huge kid no doubt about it but it don't let that fool you. As an ex- basketball player this kid is all athlete. As a matter of fact his size, speed, and amazing athletic ability led him to be the field general that dominated oppositions. Crushing opponents week in and week out holding them to  abysmal 77 rushing yards/ game and only 166 passing yards/game. If you wonder how he would adjust to the higher level of play in the NFL  look at his freshman season as a middle linebacker at Alabama. In his first year their the run defense went from being ranked 48th  in the nation to 28th. By the time he left one of the most athletic conferences in football, This Dick Butkus Award winning All-American, run stuffing, tackling machine led  "The Tide"  to the  2nd ranked run defense in the country. And ranked 10th against the pass.  

Players like Mcclain definitely instill a ton of confidence in players, coaches and us; the fans. Matter of fact we could definitely use more players like that...At least coach Cable thinks so. I'm guessing that's why he went out and got 2 more huge Linebackers/ Defensive Ends. Both Quentin Groves and Kamerion Wimbley stand at 6'3 255 pounds. Both incredible athletes that compliment Mcclains run stuffing ability with outstanding pass rushing ability. Both of them have experience in playing a 3-4 which is what is rumored to be a new part of John Marshall's  top secret plan that he and Coach Cable have kept so tightly under wraps. Throw in Trevor Scott who we all know can definitely get after the QB AND Thomas Howard who is an amazing athlete that the Raiders are planning keep around primarily because of his play making ability in pass coverage.  

The Raiders of 2009 were a defense that was definitely speedy at the point of attack. The Raiders of 2010 plan to make you pay once they get there. The plan to go big should pay big. 

Cory Fair
Twitter : @blackhanside