The biggest weakness for the Oakland Raiders over the last dreadful decade has been their run defense. Reggie McKenzie hired Dennis Allen as the Raiders first defensive minded head coach since John Madden because of Allen’s hybrid defensive schemes. Last year’s Raiders defense was once again atrocious which is why the Raiders have brought in 9 new starters on defense. While the secondary and linebackers are much improved this season, the defensive line looks like a weakness for the Raiders.
Last week, the Indianapolis Colts rushed for 127 yards with 4.9 yards a carry. Although the Raiders run defense did not look that bad, they must show great improvement to stop Bay Area native Maurice Jones Drew. If the Raiders can take away Jones-Drew on Sunday, they will have a field day shutting down the mistake-ridden Chad Henne.
We will get our first chance to see how the new look defensive line of Lamarr Houston, Pat Sims, Vance Walker and Jason Hunter play against a run first offense. General manager Reggie McKenzie took a lot of flak this off-season for not bringing in more talent on the defensive line but the Raiders salary cap nightmare prevented him from signing big name defensive lineman.
Sunday’s game marks the first time that the Raider Nation gets to see exciting rookie linebacker Sio Moore play in a regular season contest. Moore has shown the right type of swagger and tenacity so far in the off-season so it will be exciting to see how that translates on the field tomorrow. During the preseason Moore was flying around the field making plays so expect his presence alone to help bring a new dimension to the defense.
Not only is tomorrow’s game against the Jaguars a must win game but it will also help shed light on what we can expect from the Raiders run defense for the rest of the year.