Oakland Raiders: Keys To Victory Over Cleveland Browns

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Sep 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Crockett Gillmore (80) celebrates with receiver Kamar Aiken (11) after scoring on a nine-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cover the Tight End

The Raiders have developed a very bad habit over the first two weeks of the season. And that habit is allowing the opposing tight ends to run free and have field days. In week one, Cincinnati’s Tyler Eiffert blew them up for 104 yards on nine receptions and a pair of scores. In week two, Baltimore’s Crockett Gilmore got loose enough to snag five passes for 88 yards and two scores.

Are we seeing the disturbing trend here?

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  • This week, Oakland faces a tight end in Gary Barnidge who seems to be something of a peripheral player in Cleveland’s offensive scheme, hauling in just four passes on six targets for 55 yards total. But you better believe that Mike Pettine realizes that the Raiders have had some difficulty accounting for the tight ends and will be looking to feed that beast. Which makes it imperative that the Raiders put a body on him when he releases off the line.

    Oakland can’t afford to let yet another unheralded tight end torch their defense. It’s not like it’s Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham lighting them up. It’s Eiffert and Gilmore – who aren’t exactly household names.

    Norton has said this week that he recognizes the problem and that it is being addressed. He said that the team will be looking at ways to keep the tight ends in check. And to be fair, the Raiders did play much better defense against Gilmore in the second half of last week’s game, limiting him to just one reception for nine yards after the break.

    They will need to do more of that and put a stranglehold on Cleveland’s tight ends.

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