Oakland Raiders: Keys To Victory Over Cleveland Browns

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Sep 13, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck (91) talks with teammates before the start of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Pressure, Pressure, Pressure

It is mind boggling that a team that lists Khalil Mack, Aldon Smith, and Justin Tuck on its roster has gone through two games this season without recording a sack. They’ve gotten close, have had some hurries, and have hit the quarterback a few times. But nobody has managed to seal the deal and put an opposing quarterback into the turf just yet.

Part of the problem seems to be that to this point, Ken Norton has called a rather vanilla, conservative defensive game. He’s not sending a lot of blitzes and seems to be relying on his four down linemen to supply the pressure. While Dan Williams, Justin Ellis, Smith, Mack, and Tuck have all gotten good pushes, they’re simply not able to get there – even worse, Norton isn’t sending anybody else in to make the play behind them.

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  • That lack of pressure is allowing the opposing quarterbacks – Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco so far – to sit back in the pocket all day long and pick apart the Raiders defense. Dalton lit up the Raiders for 269 yards through the air in week one and Flacco absolutely scorched them for384 yards in week two. That’s not a trend the Raiders can afford to see continue – not with their young, unproven cornerbacks.

    There were a few instances, primarily in the second half against Baltimore, in which Norton dialed up some pressure and it had good results. Flacco was forced to throw a few balls earlier than he wanted to which resulted in incomplete passes and in the case at the end of the game, an interception to seal the win.

    When Norton sent extra bodies and got into Flacco’s face, good things happened. We can only hope that he learned from that and will be unleashing the hounds on McCown – or Manziel.

    Next: Cut Them Off At The Knees