On defense, the Oakland Raiders have not done much well. They have faced plenty of growing pains in a new scheme with a new defensive coordinator. Between Jack Del Rio and Ken Norton Jr. leading this group, they should be playing a lot better.
Against the Bengals, Jeremy Hill tore apart the Raiders defense. Versus the Ravens, Joe Flacco looked precise and comfortable. Then against the Browns, Josh McCown kept his team in the game. Even Jay Cutler looked like a good quarterback against the Raiders.
So what has been consistent?
It has not been the passing defense. Everyone knows the Raider can not cover a tight end. Someone on Twitter said they want to be reincarnated as a tight end versus the Raiders, get in line bruh.
Then the secondary has been a mixed back. They make plays but they also make plenty of mistakes.
Here are some more specifics on position grades, after four games played.
Defensive Line: B-
The Raiders defensive line has played respectable. They have not been terrible, but they have not dominated either.
They find ways to create pressure, but not as a unit. To be fair, Aldon Smith just joined the unit. Justin Tuck and Justin Ellis have been on the injury report for a while. Khalil Mack also suffered an injury.
Outside of that, Denico Autry and Stacy McGee proved they are a little more than bums. C.J. Wilson and Mario Edwards should perform better with whatever snaps they get.
Hopefully they can bring it all together before the mid point of the season.
The Raiders made headlines by completely rebuilding their linebacker corps. Gone are starters Miles Burris and Sio Moore from the past regime. Khalil Mack plays defensive end now.
However, the new additions have not been lights out. Ray Ray Armstrong struggled early. He seems to be getting more comfortable, but is he anything more than a depth guy?
Curtis Lofton struggles in pass coverage still. Personally, I would like to see him create some turnovers.
Malcolm Smith has probably been the best in the group. He too struggles in pass coverage though.
As a unit, their best games were probably against the Browns and Bears. Aldon Smith also plays linebacker but he gets a pass as he was a late addition.
The Raiders secondary was mediocre at best. Now, they are mangled and doing their best to stay afloat. D.J. Hayden and T.J. Carrie both take turns getting picked apart. Charles Woodson and whoever has played in Nate Allen’s void also get beat in coverage.
Kudos to the coaching staff for finding David Amerson, he looks like he can be a contributor.
Nonetheless, the group is banged up. They’ve also saved themselves by creating some crucial turnovers. Against Baltimore and Cleveland, the secondary saved the game with an interception in the final moments.
What do you think about the Raiders defense thus far?