Oakland Raiders Stepping Up on Defense

By Robert Cooke
Raiders defense steps up.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders‘ defense is truly coming together; with a little added depth, it could be a top ten defense in the NFL.

Rookies and veteran throwaways make up this highly penalized group on the Raiders’ defense. Most people questioned if this group could mold together and if they could slow down offenses coming into the season.

Five games into the season, they’ve shown they can. The San Diego Chargers came into last night’s game heavily favored to beat the Raiders in Oakland and lost 27-17.

The Raiders’ defense is sneaky, and it’s kept them in games, except for the blowout loss to the Denver Broncos who have destroyed everyone’s defense. Last season they were one of they worst defenses in football; this season, they’re in the middle of the league.

The unit racks up as 17th in the league, a huge improvement from last season. Pass rushers like Lamarr Houston have helped the Raiders to 14th in the league in sacks with 13. The secondary has been playing at an improved level as well.

Kevin Burnett, Sio Moore and Nick Roach make up the Raiders linebacking corps, which is truly the cornerstone to Oakland’s defense.

Burnett is a former Charger team captain and had an impressive game against them last night recording 12 tackles. He leads Oakland’s defense in tackles for the season with 38.

Three Raiders defensive backs had interceptions last night: D.J. Hayden, Charles Woodson and Usama Young. They played at an elite level against a Chargers receiving corps that has really been clicking.

Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Carver vowed his defense would get better, and they did.

Oakland’s group could continue to get better throughout the season, and their matchup next week against the Kansas City Chiefs is one that will truly test their defense.

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