Oakland Raiders: Bye Week Notes And Observations

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September 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Crockett Gillmore (80) is tackled by Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) during the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Shutting Down Other Team’s “Secret” Weapon

At the risk of being redundant – too late – through the first four weeks of the season, the Raiders were getting absolutely lit up by opposing tight ends. And it’s not like it was a list of Hall of Famers who were setting those fires in the Oakland defense.

Tyler Eifert. Crockett Gillmore. Gary Barnidge. Martellus Bennett.

Not exactly a murderer’s row, is it? Yet somehow, this collection of largely unheralded tight ends has been torching the Raiders week after week after week.

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  • The Raiders though, may have found a solution, at least in part, to help them with their tight end troubles. Using rookie linebacker Neiron Ball at outside linebacker and sticking Malcolm Smith in the middle, the Raiders were able to have some success stopping the opposing tight ends for the first time this season.

    Owen Daniels was targeted by Manning five times and was held without a catch. The only catch by a Denver tight end – a two yard gain by Virgil Green – was wiped out by a penalty.
    Though Curtis Lofton is a stud against the run, he struggled mightily when it came to defending the pass. And when we say struggled mightily, we mean that he couldn’t stop anybody from catching a pass. Every time he dropped back into coverage, the man he was suppose to be guarding caught the ball for positive yards.

    This is not to say that Lofton does not still have plenty of value to the team. He most certainly does and will continue to get reps. But mixing up the linebackers group, and giving the opposing offense different looks with different personnel paid big dividends against the Broncos. It’s something that has to continue – and get better – as the season goes on.

    Next: Sharpen Those Blades