The Raiders right now need to look at another team who went from cellar dweller to Super Bowl contender: The New York Jets. The Jets have focused on their running game and their defense, and have used both of those to manage and win games.
Right now the Raiders have an astounding running game, and hopefully Hue Jackson will continue to keep playing it. The defense can be fixed, and if they can shut down the run, they could be one of the premier defenses in the league.
What do the Raiders need to do?
Switch to a 3-4 defense.
The second defensive tackle isn’t filling the holes, and that’s where the line is consistently attacked and broken through. Yet Seymour and Houston are both 300 pound defensive ends with speed, and Kelly has played nose tackle before. If the Raiders were to switch to a 3-4, the linebackers would also benefit by having runners directed towards them, as well as Groves, McClain, and Wimbley all having played the 3-4 scheme before.
The Raiders need to keep building the defense through the draft and the team will have a legitimate shot at being playoff bound for years.
If the Raiders were to draft either Ras I-Dowling, Aaron Williams, or Curtis Brown (All CBs projected in either the late first round or second round), and then McClain’s former teammate Don’t’a Hightower in the third round (ILB projected round 3-4), and finally physical beast Jack Crawford in the fourth round (OLB/DEprojected round 3-5), then the defense would be full of physical freaks with speed who would work perfectly in a 3-4 scheme.
Also, with a defense this young, the chemistry would show through the years and scare teams.
I know many will not agree with these suggestions, and they will point to the line as the main need of concern. I suggest you read my other article titled “Oakland Raiders: Can Richard Seymour Be Our Dwayne Wade?” (Shameless promotion, I know).
In the article I discuss how numerous Patriots linemen are becoming free agents this offseason, and the Raiders are a possibility for a destination.
That, as well as the progression of Veldheer and Campbell, hopefully will end the Raiders offensive line woes.
As usual, I thank you for reading.
Comments are always appreciated!