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Let Me Release The Hounds!!!
Without actually being able to see the shelves, we'll probably never know if Al Davis really does cut off and store the testicles of his defensive coorindators in a jar in his office, but the rumor stays strong and steady every year.
Despite exotic packages and blitzes that are rolled out in practice and preseason every year, the Raiders stick with the traditional man-to-man, single-high safety staple since Al was coaching in the 60's when the games begin to count.
This offseason, the Raiders added numerous pass-rushing threats via trades, free agency, and the draft, acquiring hybrid rushers like Kamerion Wimbley and Quentin Groves, middle linebacker Rolando McClain, and defensive end Lamarr Houston amongst others. The Raiders had multiple pass rushing threats that could play in multiple positions and multiple formations. It was time to unmuzzle the dogs and let them loose.
Which is precisely what defensive coordinator John Marshall did in the preseason, taking his testicles out of the jar and getting creative, helping to lead the Raiders to an NFL-best 15 sacks over the four preseason games and leaving Raider Nation with a sense of anticipation as to what this team could accomplish, given the chance.
Unsurprisingly though, Marshall's testicles were neatly returned to the jar after the preseason, and the Raiders' same old same old vanilla defense was shredded like paper against the Tennessee Titans last week.
With Sam Bradford coming to town, we all hoped Marshall would provide some excitement and some different looks for the rookie QB. You know, what any other defense would do when facing a rookie. We hoped, but knew better.
Well, imagine how surprised we all must have been when the Raiders brought the house on the Rams' first possession, creating two sacks and forcing a punt. The Raiders blitzed periodically throughought the day. It was always effective, and it was probably as much of a surprise to the Rams as it was to anyone who knows and watches the Raiders.
After changing things up and keeping the Rams offense off balance, Marshall then went back to the vanilla defensive scheme for the second half. By then it was effective because the Rams were shell-shocked from the exotic looks and blitzes being thrown at them early in the game.
Marshall surprised us all by either being allowed to change things up and get creative or saying I'm taking my testicles back and making something happen.
Either way, it was the defense we've all wanted to see, and it better continue.