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: Cooper Kupp /

Mistakes in the secondary continue to plague the Raiders. This was such an issue last year – and through Ken Norton Jr.’s tenure as the defensive coordinator – that the Raiders brought in John Pagano to clean up this gaping wound.

Through two preseason games though, the issues don’t seem to have improved.

In the preseason opener in Arizona, the Raiders had two critical mistakes in the secondary that should have led to two easy touchdowns for the Cardinals. Luckily, one was overthrown by Carson Palmer and the other was a misfire by Blaine Gabbert as he was hit.

The Raiders didn’t seem to learn from those mistakes though, because the mix-ups in the secondary repeated themselves the following week against the Rams.

Indeed, it didn’t take long for that vulnerability to be exploited. On the opening drive of the game, Rams quarterback Jared Goff was sucking the Raiders’ bone dry. And It looked easy.

On a first down from the Oakland 23-yard line, Goff was handed what might have been the most wide-open touchdown throw he has had in his career.

Fourth-year cornerback T.J. Carrie was lined up in man coverage. Following his receiver on a crossing route, he bumped into teammate David Amerson and lost sight of his assigned receiver.

Carrie continued to look at the quarterback even as his man, rookie Cooper Kupp, pulled away from him, running free to the end zone.

Second-year quarterback Jared Goff had no problem taking advantage of the full seven yards of separation Kupp was given. With a flick of the wrist the Rams were up by six. A Pop Warner quarterback could have thrown that touchdown.