Oakland Raiders: Defense Remains Strong While Offense Continues to Struggle

Sep 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback Tracy Porter (23) shows an abrasion to defensive coordinator Jason Tarver (left) and cornerback Mike Jenkins (21) after the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Jaguars 19-9. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If you have any questions about the Oakland Raiders defensively, I highly suggest you watch how the defensive unit performs come Sunday against Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles.

OK, maybe that’s not quite the challenge needed to help you understand the level of defense Oakland has displayed through the first seven games of the season. Regardless of the fact that the Raiders will be facing a struggling young quarterback in Foles, their success thus far has been predicated on the potency of their defense.

Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, also known as the mad scientist (he has a master’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology and an award bestowed by the UCLA chemistry department for distinguished teaching in biochemistry), has done whatever he’s needed to do in his laboratory in creating a defensive animal in Oakland.

The men in black rank 10th in the league in total defense, allowing only 330.9 yards of offense per game. Remember last season, when it seemed as if every handoff resulted in an enormous gain? Well, that changed dramatically, as the Raiders rank an impressive sixth in the league at stopping the run, giving up just 89.9 yards a matchup. Do you believe in the heart of a mad scientist?

Head coach Dennis Allen certainly deserves credit for the way the defense has played, for Allen has a history of coordinating defenses in the NFL very effectively. With the brilliant defensive minds of Tarver and Allen, mixed with a combination of hungry football players on the defensive side of the ball who’ve done nothing but make plays, the Raiders are on the road of becoming legitimate threats.

With that being said, the defense deserves most of the credit for why the Raiders are sitting on a competitive 3-4 record. Moreover, the offense, led by the electric Terrelle Pryor, needs to take significant strides for improvement.

Pryor has brought something to Oakland offensively that they have been in search for, for a long time. The former Ohio State superstar has brought life to the Raiders offense.

Carson Palmer was a disaster last year; if anything he took the life OUT of the Raiders offense by turning the ball over left and right. Pryor is an outstanding athlete whose made crucial strides in becoming the quarterback the Nation needs desperately. Quarterback problems have stalled the Raiders for years, though Pryor just may be the guy.

The 24-year-old is in his first year facilitating a NFL offense, he’s been impressive, but far from perfect. However, I take in account what surrounds him offensively, and the harsh reality is, he hasn’t had much to work with. There are areas where Pryor needs to improve if the offense is to take a step forward. Getting in and out of the huddle quicker, pocket awareness, accuracy, vision, and perfecting his mechanics are all areas with room for improvement.

Injuries across the board on the offensive line, lack of a run game due to Darren McFadden either sidelined to injury or struggling to find holes to burst out of with a makeshift offensive line, and poor receiver play have all been factors to why the offense has struggled to produce. The Raiders rank 25th in total offense, accumulating a disappointing average of 314.9 yards of offense per game. They are dead last in passing yards per game, averaging a league low 176 yards in the air. Oakland must improve in all cylinders offensively.

Something worth noting, the Raiders are getting healthier and healthier every week. Players on the offensive line are steadily making a return, and McFadden looked explosive in last week’s win against Pittsburgh. If the offense can continue to improve, while the defense continues to play at a high level, I would not count the silver and black out of the postseason picture.

 

 

Topics: Darren McFadden, Dennis Allen, Jason Tarver, Oakland Raiders, Terrelle Pryor

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  • Bob

    The Raiders will not make the playoffs with a bottom feeding Offense. There is no reason to believe the O will get better.

    • Alex Mendoza

      Since when is offense the only thing that gets a team to the playoffs? Also, with Terrelle Pryor alone they are Far from a ‘bottom feeding’ offense. McFadden looked great last week, and Denarius Moore is catching excellent now. Against the woeful Eagles, there is Every reason to believe the offense will get better.

      • Bob

        DMC had 72 yards lat week, which is a long way from good. He is at pace to get 700 yards. The Raiders trying to regain the Ford magic is hurting the team. I have been a fan for 50+ year and this team is going nowhere.

        • AF AF AF

          Apparanty you have never heard of a salary cap. When 1/3rd of your cap is in dead money what do you exspect. We will have money spend next year and im sure we are going to the playoffs in the next 3. The donkeys are one big hit on manning to being a toiletbowl team and even when they make the playoffs manning will choke. The chiefs i have no clue what lucky horse shoe is up their $$$. Im sure they bubble will pop pretty soon. We have to give some time for the chemistry to build for the raiders.

          • Bob

            I am responding to the statement the Raiders will make the playoffs THIS year.

          • AF AF AF

            Sorryi misunderstood than.

          • Danny Saeed

            I never said they WILL make the playoffs, I simply said to not count them out. Have a shot.

  • Eric Kench

    Although I am impressed with Pryor’s play so far I cannot agree with the statement that Carson Palmer was a disaster in 2012. If we had this years defense in 2012 we would have gone to the playoffs with Palmer at the helm. But all things aside I would say that Pryor is much better than Tebow ever was. Pryor has a completion percentage that is well over 60%. He’s just thrown too many interceptions and he needs to learn how to throw the ball away just like Jason Campbell did. He need’s to learn how to be a game manager.

    • AF AF AF

      His numbers came from between the 20 yard lines. Inside the 20 he was horrible. 2012 we went 4-5 last games with out a offensive td. The first td came after pryor took over against the chargers. That to me is a disaster. Who cares if he put up big numbers he was horrible when we really needed him. Im glag carson is gone and throwing picks for the cards!

    • Danny Saeed

      Palmer racked a lot of those yards in garbage time, the Raiders seemed to be losing badly virtually every week. Not to take away the 4000 yards completely, certainly an impressive stat. But the bigger picture here is, Oakland should have NEVER brought him in in the first place. We were in the midst of rebuilding, yet thought Palmer would be the answer with very average receivers and a struggling OL. He’s a guy that turns the ball over a tun, and he isn’t mobile. I thought everything about last year was a disaster, including Carson. I’m like Terrelle, I think he’s going to continue to develop and become the franchise tag in Oakland. Defense is playing incredibly well in addition. Second WC spot ain’t too far fetched.

  • Danny Saeed

    Palmer racked a lot of those yards in garbage time, the Raiders seemed to be losing badly virtually every week. Not to take away the 4000 yards completely, certainly an impressive stat. But the bigger picture here is, Oakland should have NEVER brought him in in the first place. We were in the midst of rebuilding, yet thought Palmer would be the answer with very average receivers and a struggling OL. He’s a guy that turns the ball over a tun, and he isn’t mobile. I thought everything about last year was a disaster, including Carson. I’m like Terrelle, I think he’s going to continue to develop and become the franchise tag in Oakland. Defense is playing incredibly well in addition. Second WC spot ain’t too far fetched.

  • Danny Saeed

    I*

  • Danny Saeed

    Hey Bob, why wouldn’t there be a reason to think the O will improve? Makes no sense to me. The Raiders have a 24-year-old under center whose still learning how to play the position at this level. He works his tail off, wouldn’t surprise me whatsoever if the O continues to improve, considering the OL is getting healthier and healthier (Watson probable now), DMC looked great against Pitt, DMoe is shining, Rod is solid, Reece another weapon, and Pryor will get better. It’s no dangerous offense, but I think they can climb their way up the ladder offensively, without a question. Defense will give them opportunities to do so.

  • Danny Saeed

    I never said they WILL make the playoffs, I simply said to not count them out. Have a shot.

  • Blake Lewis

    Foles must have read this article before he decided to tie the single game TD record with his 7 TD performance.. If you didn’t see it, I highly suggest you watch the highlights because they’re going in the record books..

    • Danny Saeed

      Of course I saw it. Awful, just awful. Were outmatched at the LOS, and the secondary couldn’t cover. Just a breakdown. I think they’ll bounce back.