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 Raiders /

Tackling is an attitude. As a defender, you have to want to take your opponent down and sacrifice your body to do so. Perhaps it wasn’t so surprising then, that the Raiders came up short in moments that called for an attitude or a mindset that showed they were going to put up a fight.

This was on full display on a second down and one. Todd Gurley was originally stopped at the line of scrimmage, but the Rams offensive line simply wanted it more. They wanted the first down more than the Raiders wanted to prevent it.

With multiple offensive linemen lending their body weight to the cause, Gurley ended up with a nine yard gain.  The Raiders’ lack of spatial awareness and aggressiveness to the ball carrier on this play were frustratingly clear to see.

A similar situation presented itself later in the quarter. With a first down and goal to go from the two yard line, the Rams ran it up the belly of the Raiders’ defense and scored. Easily. Goal line run defense is as much about who has more fight in the dog as it is about technique and discipline.

Technique was certainly lacking on that play. Poor pad level led Denico Autry to be pushed back into teammate Jelani Jenkins. And in an otherwise admirable performance, Cory James got pushed back and fell on his butt.

More importantly however, this was a moment where at the very least, the team is supposed to dig deep and put up a fight. Instead, the Rams’ score looked entirely too comfortable.