The Oakland Raiders were one of the most talked about teams in the NFL this offseason. The development of Derek Carr and Amari Cooper as well as the offseason signings of Kelechi Osemele, Sean Smith, Bruce Irvin and others, were going to rebuild the defense and make a step in the right direction. Well it’s week two and while the offense has been explosive and fun to watch, the defense has been abysmal.
Let’s talk about the positive. The Raiders offense has put up 63 points in the first two games, and big plays have been the norm. Jalen Richard’s 75 yard run through the teeth of the Saints defense to tie the game up. Jack Del Rio’s gutsy two point conversion to upset the Saints on their home turf. The Oakland Raiders have not failed to put points on the scoreboard, but like the famous saying goes, “Defense Wins Championships” and that is exactly what the Raiders are missing.
Sean Smith, Bruce Irvin, Karl Joseph, Jihad Ward, Shilique Calhoun, Reggie Nelson and others were all brought in to help reload the Oakland defense that needed help. Charles Woodson’s retirement as well as DJ Hayden’s lack of first round production depleted the Raider secondary. These big names have not lived up to the hype surrounding them before the season. They have allowed 69 points in just the last two games combined. The defense made Matt Ryan and the Falcons look like Super Bowl contenders allowing 528 yards, and 396 of those were Matt Ryan. They also gave up 507 yards of offense to the Saints week one. No matter how good Derek Carr and Amari Cooper can be, giving up 500+ yards every week is unacceptable.
Is it time to worry?
But if the defense does not step up, the time is coming.