Is there any defense for the Raiders defense?
In losing to the New York Jets Sunday in Game 1 of the regular season, Oakland couldn’t stop the run or the pass. While neither Chris Ivory (102 yards rushing) or quarterback Geno Smith (23-of-28, 221 yards) is a star, both looked like All-Pros in a 19-14 victory.
Although the Raiders defense was overhauled in the offseason – with big-name free agents and high draft picks – it was torn apart in its regular-season debut, giving up 402 total yards and a whopping 6.2 yards per snap.
Now, as the Raiders start work toward facing the Houston Texans this coming Sunday at O.co Coliseum, the pressure is on to come up with some fast fixes.
Falling to 0-2 – against two teams that looked vulnerable going into the season – would be disastrous for a Raiders team hoping that 2014 will be a turnaround year.
After the Texans come the high-powered Patriots. A loss to the Texans Sunday would put the Raiders in jeopardy of an 0-3 start and another march toward mediocrity.
Yet head coach Dennis Allen is remaining Dennis Allen. He’s not ranting and raving and pointing fingers or threatening to change his lineup. He looked at what the Raiders did against the Jets and believes there were some good things – that his team just needs to fine tune itself.
In a second game, perhaps, that means Raiders linebackers will close gaps to stop outstanding running back Arian Foster (103 yards rushing in Week 1) and the cornerbacks will clamp down on the dynamic duo of wide receivers (Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins) who combined for 10 catches for 182 yards and a TD this past Sunday.
“The fact that we had a one-score game with about seven minutes to go in the game … we gave ourselves an opportunity to win,” Allen told Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle. “What we’ve got to be able to do – and really one of the reasons why we brought in a lot of veterans – is get over that hump.”
Second-year linebacker Sio Moore, meanwhile, says the Game 1 defensive mistakes were caused by “very little details” that can be fixed. If the Raiders had stopped Ivory from making his 71-yard TD run that proved to be the deciding score, Oakland might be 1-0 this week. Moore said the defense simply was in the wrong alignment.
“That was on me,” he said.
Though the Raiders defense wasn’t the dominating unit Moore hoped it would be in Game 1 – it was billed that this team would put tremendous pressure on opposing QBs this season – Moore remains a believer. He says the Raiders will clean some things up and show the NFL world what it can do against the Texans.
“When we go, I don’t think there are too many people that can play with us,” Moore told reporters Monday. “We dictate tempo. We scare offenses and we really can be great.”
If that’s the case, the Raiders will need to show it Sunday afternoon against QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Texans. The future for this season is now.