Oakland Raiders: Notes And Observations From Week One

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September 13, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) scores a touchdown against Oakland Raiders defensive back Larry Asante (42) during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland’s Defense Didn’t Come Ready To Play

The Raiders brought in players like Dan Williams, Curtis Lofton, Nate Allen, and Malcolm Smith to help beef up an incredibly porous defense. Last season, the Raiders were relatively decent against the pass – they ranked about in the middle of the league – but had a terrible run defense.

Oakland’s retooled defensive front was supposed to become a strength of the defense, with a load of bona fide run stuffers and monsters on the line. Against Cincinnati though,the results the defensive front posted were fairly mixed.

While they held Cincinnati without a 100 yard rusher – a fairly decent accomplishment after Bengals running back Jeremy Hill ran for more than 1,100 yards last season. They limited him to just 63 yards on 19 carries for a paltry 3.3 yard per carry average. They did however, allow him to cruise in for two short touchdown runs. Backup Giovani Bernard had much more success against the Oakland run defense, gaining 63 yards on just eight carries for a 7.9 yards per carry average. They did manage to keep him out of the endzone though.

The defense did a pretty good job overall, of limiting the impact of A.J. Green. He was held to five receptions on eight targets for 63 total yards. And, they kept him out of the endzone. However, third year tight end Tyler Eifter had a career day, posting nine catches on twelve targets for 104 yards and two scores.

It was as if the defense was so focused on Cincinnati’s stars – and rightly so – that they somehow forgot about the Bengals’ role players. And it was those role players who, for the most part, lit up the Raider defense.

Oakland applied almost zero pressure to Andy Dalton, allowing him to remain clean and comfortable in the pocket on his way to a 25 of 34, 269 yard, 2 touchdown day. Dalton completed nearly 75 percent of his passes and wound up with a QB rating of 115.9.

Though Dalton had a very solid performance, the Raiders’ defense obviously didn’t. The Bengals shredded Ken Norton‘s defense for 396 yards – an average of 6.1 yards per play. You’re not going to get many stops or win a lot of games when you’re giving up that many yards per play.

Del Rio and Norton need to get this defense right and they need to do it quickly.

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