Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 11/19/14
When the season began, the Oakland Raiders' defensive line was thought to be the strength of the defense. Through four games, the front four has not been able to pressure opposing quarterbacks, leading to large offensive passing games against the defense.

Because the Raiders are starting inexperienced cornerbacks due to injuries, the pass rush needs to make its mark on the game. However, they have only mustered three sacks this season and have been unable to make quarterbacks uncomfortable. If the front four can become the unit the Raiders thought they would be going into the season, some of the coverage areas would greatly improve.

“Rush and coverage work together,” defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. “I would say number one, we’re getting guys throwing the ball really fast. So we have to do a better job of making him hold it and then go and get him. And when get our one-on-ones we have to win that. That’s one of the things that’s happened. We have to win our one-on-ones.”

One of the things the Raiders have tried to do because of the front four's ineffectiveness is bringing more blitzers. However, veteran quarterbacks like Peyton Manning have the ability to identify the blitz and take advantage of it. With Oakland trying to learn a new defensive scheme, they are not yet familiar and comfortable enough to disguise blitzes to confuse offenses.

“Execution,” Tarver said of the ineffective blitzing. “Winning one-on-ones. Those would be the two biggest reasons. We have to do that all together schematically, player-wise, everything. We have to win our one-on-ones when we get them and make sure we understand where we’re supposed to be and where everyone else is so we can play fast.”

During the bye week and into next week, the Raiders need to find a way to get more pressure. One play in particular should give the Raiders hope this can be fixed. During the Denver Broncos game, Manning connected with Demaryius Thomas who broke loose down the sideline. As he switched hands the ball came loose and defensive end Lamarr Houston hustled all the way down the field to make the recovery. If Oakland can get that effort from the defensive line, things will rapidly improve.

“Oh, big time,” Tarver said of the Houston recovery. “That’s a great play. That’s how you play the game. You’ve got to love this game and you’ve got to love to play. When the ball is on the field, go get it. That’s our job. We’ve got to do a better job of that. But that is how you play football. That’s outstanding. That’s what we need to play like.”




Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.
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