Oakland Raiders’ Defense: A Failure of Fundamentals

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 19: John Crockett
OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 19: John Crockett /
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Oakland Raiders
OAKLAND, CA – AUGUST 19: John Crockett /

The Oakland Raiders, in their second preseason appearance of the 2017 campaign, widened the gap between its potent offense and its underachieving defense.

The Oakland Raiders showed that they have an offense that can strike very quickly and put up a lot of points. Against the Rams, Derek Carr threw the football nine times and scored touchdowns on two of those attempts.

And he did it by spreading the ball around, connecting with Jared Cook, Lee Smith, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree.

Unfortunately, the team also revealed that they have a defense that will give up just as many — if not more – points than their offense can generate. Right off the bat last Saturday, in a very disappointing, and frankly embarrassing opening drive, the Raiders held up their defensive struggles for all to see.

In that initial sequence, they surrendered 85 yards on eight plays for an average of 10.6 yards per play.  They made Jared Goff, who threw four passes for 66 yards and a TD, look like the franchise quarterback that the Rams hope he is.

Apart from a few bright spots such as Khalil Mack and Cory James, the starting defense looked horrible. Looking to provide a much-needed explanation of this poor performance, Matt Millen, the color commentator for the television broadcast, referred to “fundamental football” multiple times during the game.

Given it was preseason, one would assume he was talking about second and third-team players or rookies. Instead, Millen was elaborating about the starting defense.

So what’s going on? And how much of the blame is on the coaching staff?