Oakland Raiders v. New York Jets: A Few Week Two X-Factors

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Taiwan Jones
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Taiwan Jones /
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Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders /

Eddie Vanderdoes and Justin Ellis

The rookie Vanderdoes and veteran Ellis seem to be working very, very well together on the interior of Oakland’s defensive line.

Last week, they did a good job of getting a good push up the middle, putting some pressure on Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, and helping out in the run game.

Next: A Few Keys To Beating The Jets In Week Two

While their contributions don’t necessarily light up the stat sheet – they combined for three tackles and half a sack – their presence was definitely felt on the field. And their contributions to a solid defensive showing go well beyond the stat sheet.

Last season, Tennessee had one of the league’s most potent rushing attacks. Running behind what’s being considered one of the league’s better offensive lines, DeMarco Murray (1,287 yards) and Derrick Henry (479 yards) formed the one-two punch that was the NFL’s third ranked ground attack.

Oakland’s defensive front was stout last week and held the Titans to 95 total rushing yards. Murray accounted for 44 of those yards, Henry 25, and Mariota tallied the other 26 yards on the ground. It was a good showing from the defense and a particularly good performance by the interior of that defensive line – a definite weak link last season.

Vanderdoes and Ellis now need to come out and show that they weren’t just a one-hit wonder. They’ll be facing an offensive line that’s less talented than Tennessee’s and they need to make the most of that. They need to take advantage of the opportunities they’re likely going to get against New York.

With a solid push up the gut, solid support in the run game, and some consistent – and contstant – pressure on the quarterback, Ellis and Vanderdoes have a chance to disrupt the offense and really impact this game.

If nothing else, they can occupy enough space and attention to free Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin up and allow them to do some damage from their spots.