Oakland Raiders Hurt By Poor Defensive Line Play

By Josh Walfish
Kirby Lee- USA TODAY Sports

I won’t continue to rehash the issues with the Oakland Raiders defense because by this point it has to be repetitive. The team couldn’t stop the run effectively which made it susceptible to the aerial attack. The big issue for the Raiders in 2012 was the poor play of the defensive line which put more pressure on the other defensive units.

It is not like Oakland didn’t have talent because it had a lot of quality veterans, the issue was the line just underperformed. Tommy Kelly was not the disruptive force he is capable of being and he did not get much help from his defensive tackle counterpart Richard Seymour. The two combined for 60 tackles and four sacks, far below their production from the year before when they had 13.5 sacks combined. Desmond Bryant showed flashes of potential with four sacks and 26 solo tackles, but he did not play enough for us to get a full picture of his consistency.

There were two highlights on the defensive line, defensive ends Lamarr Houston and Matt Shaughnessy. The pair was not great, but they were much better than the rest of the line. Houston had 69 tackles and nine tackles-for-loss including four sacks as a disruptive force off the edge. His counterpart on the other side only had 31 stops, but made 25 solo tackles and had 3.5 sacks. The two were the clear class of what was otherwise an underachieving line.

If the Raiders want to improve their defense it starts with getting more pressure on the quarterback and upgrading the run defense. Both of these can be accomplished by getting more from the defensive line.

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