Oakland Raiders: The Run Defense Can Be Fixed With a Few Simple Moves

big ROC Stockton, CAAnalyst IIIOctober 5, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 19:  John Henderson #79 of the Oakland Raiders in action during their game against the St. Louis Rams at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 19, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

During the off season the Raiders focused on shoring up a run defense that has been as bad as it gets since the last Super Bowl run.  Guys like Kamerion Wimbley, Quentin Groves, and #8 overall pick Rolando McClain were brought in to "beef up" the LB core. 

The Raiders traded for Richard Seymour the year before to help out the run defense.  This season he was moved to DT so that he and Tommy Kelly could clog up the middle for aforementioned LBs to make plays on the ball.  John Henderson was signed for depth and to give us a big body to rotate with Kelly and Seymour.  We drafted DT Lamarr Houston to solidify one of the DE positions.

When the Raiders signed Henderson, Tom Cable hadn't yet made the announcement that Seymour would be playing DT.  When we signed Henderson I was very pumped up about the new revamped defensive front four we had.  I was expecting Kelly and Henderson at DT with Seymour and Houston at DE.  That would give us four 300+ pounders across the defensive line.  Who can run against that?

Well, Henderson wasn't looked at as a starter so the starting front four was going to be Seymour and Kelly at DT with Houston and Shaugnessy at DE.  Still, this lineup was going to be tough to run against with Henderson rotating in and out.

Initially, Trevor Scott was going to start at LB with McClain and Wimbley.  That seemed like a very good idea as well.  Just before the season began Tom Cable made some moves that left me scratching my head.  He made Quentin Groves a starter at LB, moved Trevor Scott back to DE, and Matt Shaugnessy was given a backup role.

Trevor Scott is only about 260 lbs.  He is an excellent situational pass rusher but you can't expect him to shut down the run from DE.  He's just too small.  Groves is a solid player but how is it that a 3rd string LB during preseason jumps to the starting position a week before the season opener?  Scott should have been kept at LB. 

Here's my solution to the problems against the run:  We need to move Richard Seymour back to DE taking Scott's place and have John Henderson start at DT.  Again, this lineup gives us two 305 pounders at DE with the mammoth Henderson clogging up the middle and allowing Tommy Kelly to go one on one and make plays.

Our only win this season came with Henderson starting at DT along side Tommy Kelly.  I was there against the Rams and Henderson elevates the level of energy the defense plays with.  Before every snap Henderson was waving his arms pumping up the crowd which pumps up the defense.  That was our best game against the run as we bottled up Steven Jackson.

Mike Mitchell should start over Michael Huff.  I know Mitchell isn't the most polished safety but he can't be any worse than Huff.  Michael Huff looked as if he was playing "two hand touch" against the Texans.  On Foster's long TD run Huff could have launched his body into Foster to at least slow him down maybe even make him fall.  Instead of a collision, Huff pumped his brakes and allowed Foster to run right past him.  Same thing when Derrick Ward scored a TD.  If I can see these things the coaches had to see them and they must make a change NOW.

Well that's what I got this week on our beloved Oakland Raiders.  These few simple moves would go a long way towards getting better against the run. 

What do you think Raider Nation?  Do you want four 300 pounders starting along the defensive line?  Do you want to see Mike Mitchell at FS as our last line of defense instead of Huff who seems afraid of contact? 

Please let me know in the comment section.  Thanks.