Raiders Defense Needs to Clamp Down on Tight Ends - NBC Bay Area


Raiders Defense Needs to Clamp Down on Tight Ends

Raiders allowed Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert to come up with clutch catches all game long in 33-13 opening-season loss



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    Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert (No. 85) had nine receptions against the Raiders defense in the opening game of the 2015 season. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

    The Raiders not only had their egos bruised in their season-opening loss to Cincinnati, but their bodies took a hit, too.

    As Oakland tries to rebound from a 33-13 loss to the Bengals – that wasn’t even as close as the final score would indicate – the team isn’t sure if quarterback Derek Carr (hand), safeties Nate Allen (knee) and Charles Woodson (shoulder) and defensive tackle Justin Ellis (ankle) will be good to go for Game 2 against the Ravens this Sunday at Coliseum.

    But injuries or no injuries, the Oakland defense will have to do a better job of covering the Ravens’ tight ends than it did Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert.

    Time and again, the Raiders gave up big chunks of yardage in the middle of the field to Eifert, who had nine catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

    The new Raiders defense under coordinator Ken Norton Jr. looked soft and vulnerable. Head coach Jack Del Rio said the idea going into the game defensively was to give up “nothing cheap,” yet the Bengals tight end was “running wide open,” he said.

    The Raiders will have to address the issue this week. They’ll need to put the clamps on Ravens tight ends Crockett Gilmore and rookie Maxx Williams. In a loss to the Denver Broncos in their opener, the Ravens’ Gilmore had two catches for 23 yards while Williams had one for 15.

    Why was Eifert so consistently open? Del Rio wasn’t sure, but he said it was evidence of a wider breakdown that will have to be fixed.

    “Look, if you don’t execute well then it ends up coming down to that,” he said at his postgame news conference. “The way I’ve always said is we’re all in it together. Coaches will always take our part in terms of how we can help our guys be in a better position, but players have to take their part in terms of executing the things we have designed. And together we make it happen.”


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