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 Betreff des Beitrags: Can the Raiders defense still get
BeitragVerfasst: 08 Jul 2019, 03:33 
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the job done this year despite losing their best player? Make no mistake Seth Roberts Jersey , trading Khalil Mack was the dumbest move in Raiders franchise history. It’s like Lawrence Taylor, Reggie White or Derrick Thomas getting traded while in their respective primes. Sure, you can talk about how statistically bad the Oakland Raiders defense has been with Mack but in 2016, the Raiders went 12-4 because Mack made plays to seal games after quarterback Derek Carr threw game-winning touchdown passes. But now the question is do the Raiders have enough on defense to win now?Well, with Jon Gruden coaching a healthy Derek Carr and his fully loaded offense, they might. But of course, Carr has to stay healthy and that means 2018 1st-round pick Kolton Miller has to protect Carr’s blind side well but that’s for another article. A lot of things that are on the if side for the defense have to go the Raiders’ way for them to win now. Interior rushIt all starts with P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst as every defense needs an interior pass-rush. Mack overcame a lack of an interior rush and secondary to become 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. But this year, the Raiders just might have that much-needed interior rush. Hurst is the highest graded college interior defensive lineman in Pro Football Focus’ brief history and Hall is a 6’1”, 310-pound, 4.7 40 running, 750-pound squatting athletic freak. Both have looked the part over the course of their first training camp and preseason too. Bruce Irvin and Arden KeyBruce Irvin is a great football player as shown by his landing at No. 85 on the NFL Top-100 list. He can cover, play the run, and rush the passer but he hasn’t proven he can be a primary edge-rusher. He looked like he was going to be that guy with eight sacks his rookie season. But he has yet to reach 10 sacks in his seven years and barely got back to eight again last year. However, Irvin did show he is capable with six sacks in the second half of last season.Arden Key’s talent rushing off the edge rivaled Myles Garrett’s in college in 2016. But off-the-field stuff and injuries got in the way in 2017 so he dropped to the third round. He obviously needs to show the talent that got him 12.0 sacks for LSU in 2016. Key didn’t play much this preseason but did flash it when he did. If Hall and Hurst answer the interior-rush question Isaiah Johnson Oakland Raiders Jersey , Irvin and Key don’t have to be as great as Mack to produce on the edges.The secondaryThe secondary should improve this year with the addition of cornerback Rashaan Melvin to play on the other side of Gareon Conley. Melvin ranked third last season with 23.6 percent of his targeted passes defensed or intercepted according to Pro Football Focus. Gruden brought in a few vets that aren’t impressive so how the Raiders secondary plays will depend mainly on the emergence of Conley and safety Karl Joseph.As two of the last three 1st-round picks for the Raiders, that talent needs to show up. If they don’t, look for Gruden replace general manager Reggie McKenzie’s picks with more undistinguished veterans. The good news is they’re both healthy now and have looked pretty good this preseason. But if they start is even a question now as Gruden is playing his games with the lineup.Bottom line Of course, the way to replace a talent like Mack is to make the defense better overall. But whether or not the Raiders have done that to this point is anyone’s guess. Most of the free agents added to the defense are average and it looks like the players they drafted for it are good. Then you have defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, known for his blitzing schemes and keeping the point total of his opposition down as the HUGE upgrade to Ken Norton Jr. But But every great defense needs that one guy every offense has to account for. The Raiders do have a few young guys on that defense that could emerge into one of those guys.But since Gruden and Carr are leading the offense, the Raiders don’t need a statistically great defense. They just have to make plays to protect the lead Carr gets them late games.Who’s going to do that in Mack’s absence? That’s the team’s biggest question.We hope to have an answer after the Raiders face the Rams Monday. Just one game left. There are only 16 of them in a season for these guys, so they have to make them count. That goes more for some guys than others as either their roster spots or their position hangs in the balance. Here are ten Raiders who are most looking to make a strong last impression today.Rashaan Melvin The hyper-confident 29-year-old journeyman signed a one-year ‘prove it’ deal with the Raiders, and it hasn’t gone as well as he had hoped. He found himself coming off the bench this season once Daryl Worley returned from his suspension. He has swagger and is a solid tackler, but also tends to give up a lot of catches. With Daryl Worley on IR, he is starting. This is his last chance to show the Raiders and the rest of the NFL that he deserves to be a starter and perhaps sign a deal for more than just one year.Johnathan Hankins Coming onboard after the season opener, he soon was named a starter and remained there the rest of the season. The 27-year-old former second round pick seems to have carved out a spot for himself, but with Justin Ellis back and Eddie Vanderdoes set to return in the offseason, it’s hard to say. He may be playing himself into a deal elsewhere.Marcell AtemanIt wasn’t until the Raiders receiving corps this season was considerably depleted that this seventh round rookie got his shot. He began the season on the practice squad, but week 11 was named a starter after Amari Cooper was traded and Martavis Bryant and Brandon LaFell were sent to injured reserve. This offseason the Raiders will have a chance to revitalize the unit. Jordy Nelson will be back Isaiah Johnson Oakland Raiders Jersey , but after that it’s wide open. Ateman may or may not be a part of that. He has 14 catches for 147 yards and a touchdown this season in six games. Last week against Denver, he didn’t have a target. He will have one shot to rebound and make a lasting impression.Kony EalyThis former second round pick was unemployed when the Raiders signed him off the street this season. He hadn’t played for an NFL team since last season. He’s been signed twice this season by the Raiders, the first time they waived him days later without even activating him for the game. But more injuries had the Raiders bringing him back. Ealy was once a highly thought of pass rushing talent and he had 14.0 sacks over his first three seasons. The Raiders are desperate for pass rushers and he knows if he could get some pressure on the quarterback today, that could very well keep him employed.Denzelle GoodGood had been soured by one of the Colts coaches for how the big offensive lineman was treated following the death of his brother. They waived him a month ago and the Raiders claimed him. The past two weeks, he has been the team’s starting right guard. He will get one more start at the position. Three weeks is a small sample size to prove he is worthy of being a reserve utility lineman. He played much better last week than he had in his first start. The 6-5, 345-pounder will look to duplicate that.Brandon ParkerAs you might expect of a raw talent from a small school, Parker has had some rough games as a rookie. Last week, it became clear, Jon Gruden knew he needed help, so he consistently gave Parker either a tight end to help block the outside speed rush or a running back to come by and help out with a chip block. It worked for that game, but it also shows a lack of confidence in Parker. To be fair, he was often going up against the likes of Von Miller. Either way, Parker will look to give the coaches some positive tape or he could be looking at the the Raiders hoping the likes of David Sharpe, Donald Penn Isaiah Johnson Jersey 2019 , or perhaps another drafted tackle to step up and take the job.Erik HarrisFor the first time in his career, he has been looked at as more than just a special teams guy. He has been playing a good amount at safety. With Conley injured last week, Marcus Gilchrist played some cornerback, which had Harris come in a good portion of the time at safety. He has had an interception each of the past two weeks; the first one being the first of his career. He’s 28-years-old so he has a shot to be a consideration as a potential starter alongside Karl Joseph next season. He will have a job this week against Pat Mahomes, which would make it all the ore impressive if he were to ball out.Arden KeyThe subject of this week has been how Key has gotten some pressure this season, but has just one sack because he can’t seal the deal. His head coach and defensive coordinator have both commented on how he should have like 8 sacks if he could just get the QB down. Can he answer the bell? The Raiders will be looking to add pass rushers this offseason, so if Key can’t prove he can be one of them, he may be relegated to situational pass rusher. Last chance to make sack into sacks before the long offseason.Darren WallerIt’s a crowded tight end room at the moment. Jared Cook had is having a career year and could head to his first Pro Bowl before all is said and done, Lee Smith had his 2019 roster bonus moved to this year, which says the Raiders want him back. That means Waller and Derek Carrier are competing for third tight end duties. This will be Waller’s fourth game with the Raiders and he will want to give the coaches a memorable performance to help his chances of currying favor over Carrier.Johnny TownsendNot many teams would have put up with the level at which Townsend was playing this season. If the Raiders season wasn’t basically over by midseason, Townsend would undoubtedly have been cut for someone more reliable. The rookie 5th round pick won’t be handed the job this offseason, that’s for sure. It would help him tremendously if in this last game, he at least lifted himself above 32nd overall in punting average (43). Being considering literally the worst punter in the league is not a good look.Follow @LeviDamien
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