The Woodson Effect: Dennis Allen Can Finally Run Aggressive Defense for Oakland Raiders
Last season, the Oakland Raiders had arguably the worst secondary in the NFL. One can argue that the 2012 Raiders defensive backs were the worst of the decade. Both mediocre starting cornerbacks Shawntae Spencer and Ronald Bartell went down to injury early in the season. Safety Michael Huff and a plethora of CFL-caliber cornerbacks Joselio Hanson, Pat Lee, Phillip Adams, Coye Francies, Chimdi Chekwa and Brandian Ross all lined up at cornerback for the Raiders. Perennial backup Matt Giordano was forced to start at free safety, which made the defense even worse. Although Tyvon Branch once again played his heart out, he could do nothing to improve the terrible secondary play of the Raiders.
Fast-forward to the beginning of the 2013 season and the Raiders have one of the best secondaries in the NFL. General-manager Reggie McKenzie cut or did not resign most of the secondary this offseason. Although it was no surprise that McKenzie let Mike Mitchell and Giordano walk, it was shocking that Huff was released.
McKenzie made it a priority to improve the Raiders secondary this offseason. Not only did the Raiders draft DJ Hayden in the first round but they also added Mike Jenkins and Super Bowl XLIV hero Tracy Porter. Backup running back Taiwan Jones converted to cornerback, which added more depth to the stacked cornerback position.
The Raiders added former Cleveland Browns starting free safety Usama Young to the secondary as well. It looked like the Raiders secondary would be complete with Hayden, Jenkins and Porter at cornerback and Branch and Young at safety. However, McKenzie pulled a move that the late Al Davis would smile upon by bringing in fan favorite Charles Woodson.
Now that the Raiders secondary is set, expect second year head coach Dennis Allen to finally be able run his aggressive hybrid defense. Allen was not able to bring the Raiders defense into the 21st century last year because of the bad news bears that manned the secondary. Expect the Raiders defense to finally live up to the expectations that were built by Allen last year. With a porous defensive line the secondary play will be even more important for the 2013 Raiders. Linebackers and cornerbacks will be blitzing from both the 3-4 and 4-3 for the first time in recent memory for Raiders fans.
If the Raiders defense does not vastly improve in 2013, Dennis Allen will be looking for another job next year.
Jorge Contreras is an Oakland Raiders writer for RantSports.com. Follow Jorge on Twitter @jraycontreras