Raiders’ defense surprises but concerns still remain

Week 1 is in the books for the Oakland Raiders after delivering an excellent road victory over the Tennessee Titans. Despite a lackluster preseason showing, the defensive unit shined with an impressive performance against a Tennessee Titans’ offense loaded with young talent. Oakland held All-Pro running back DeMarco Murray in check, and that alone should spark hope as the season progresses onward.

Stout Run Defense

The Raiders stout run defense limited the Titans to a mere 95 rushing yards, despite Tenessee’s preferred means of running it down their opponents throat. Oakland’s stiff defense was able to consistently force the Tennessee offense off the field with multiple three and outs. On many occasions, the speed of the Silver and Black’s defense was the reason for those stops. The production noted above, will only help this young group grow and gain more confidence throughout the entire year.

Pass Recognition

When Raider Nation is not talking negatively about Sean Smith on social media, well, that can only mean one thing; he did his job! The rest of the secondary was consistent all game long as well. Safety Karl Joseph made a superb pass breakup that would have been a sure fire touchdown for the Titans. The aforementioned drive subsequently ended with a field goal but very well could have changed the fortunes for Marcus Mariota and company had they got six, but the defense stood its ground.

Young Linebackers

Fifth round draft pick rookie linebacker Marquel Lee played sparingly finishing with only two tackles. Undrafted free agent linebacker Nick Morrow had an exceptional tackle for a loss on third and short that resulted in another field goal for the Titans. Inside linebacker Cory James got dinged up and was rather quiet because of it. Second-year linebacker Tyrell Adams was a standout with seven total tackles; however, he will need to improve if he wants increased playing time. Pro Football Focus’ Austin Gayle pointed out that Adams gave up 110 yards on eight receptions; no doubt this must be addressed.

Overall the Raiders’ defense did enough to hold the Titans from gaining traction on offense. Something every Raider fan has been waiting to see against a quality opponent. Only giving up 16 points is a positive note this unit can hang their hat on and use it as a catalyst heading into week 2 as they await the New York Jets. For Week 2 and beyond the Raiders will need to bring the same intensity and grit that got them through a springboard season opening triumphant victory.

 

 

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