Gruden Shy? Raiders’ lack of defensive additions is curious

Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther has to be thinking “WTF does a coach have to do to get some reinforcements on his side of the ball?” After multiple noteworthy additions to the offense, Guenther must be hoping his new ingredients come draft day or he’ll have to make chicken salad out of chicken shi… (you know the rest) once again.

Perhaps to show the beleaguered defensive boss that he hasn’t been completely forgotten, the Raiders landed diminutive, but effective, defensive back Lamarcus Joyner and underrated run-plug defensive lineman John Mauro. Joyner is a curious case based on Guenther’s perceived height parameters.

At 5-foot-8, Joyner would pair with 5-foot-10 Karl Joseph to create a small hit squad. The pair fall into the shadow of much taller backfield mate Erik Harris as the 6-foot-3 safety will likely be tasked with covering tight ends like Kansas City’s Travis Kelce. Yeah, I shuddered at that thought, too.

There’s plenty of cap and time for Oakland to add more talent to the defensive side of the ball on the second wave of free agency and the 2019 NFL Draft– not to mention cap casualties and cuts after training camp. You have to feel for Guenther though, his unit was downright comical last season and while Gruden has been getting new toys, he has to play with the same big wheel tricycle that’s missing a rear tire.

The Trifecta

Can the Raiders hit the Brown Trifecta? They’ve got Antonio and Trent in the fold. Why not linebacker Zach Brown?

Infamous for his “moneybagg yo” tweet from his free agent tour in 2017, Brown is once again free to ink a deal and the Raiders have a need at middle linebacker. The 29-year-old isn’t the biggest cat on the block at 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds, but he can get the job done with speed, IQ and tackling ability. He’s like former Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison — but he stops ball carriers behind or at the line of scrimmage.

The Raiders haven’t added many high profile players on defense, but the signing of Burfict could be the sign of things to change soon.

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