Oakland Raiders: Notes And Observations From Preseason Game #2

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Aug 22, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Oakland Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack (52) tackles Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon (31) for a 3 yard loss on a run in the first quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

2. Oakland’s Run Defense Looks Very Solid

A season after fielding a run defense that gave up a tick under 120 yards per game, the Raiders spent a considerable amount of time, energy, and money doing something about that. McKenzie and Del Rio know that if the Raiders can’t stop the run, they are going to be in big trouble as opposing offenses will be able to march up and down the field at will – just as they did last season.

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After bringing in big Dan Williams to play alongside Justin Ellis – the mammoth combination of defensive tackles called Meat and Potatoes – along with tackling machine Curtis Lofton and former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith, and adding UDFA Leon Orr as well as hanging on to Stacy McGee, the Raiders have some real meat clogging the middle of their defensive front.

And for the second straight week, that run defense held an opponent under 100 yards. They limited the Vikings to 87 total yards on the ground, though the first unit was the best of Oakland’s run defense groups and really smothered the Vikings running game. No, they weren’t squaring off against Adrian Peterson, but the Raiders’ defense did a terrific job in shutting down and opponent’s ground game.

The Raiders run defense is going to be vastly improved in 2015, and opposing offenses are likely going to be forced into more third and long situations than they were last year. If the Raiders can continue improving and growing as a unit, they very well could field a top ten run defense this year.

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