The Las Vegas Raiders defense ranked 24th in points allowed last season. Injuries and ineffectiveness were among the reasons why they had such a bad unit. After aggressively adding talent in the offseason, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther has now plenty of talent to work with.
The Raiders defense was bad regardless of the metric in 2019. It’s true they had the eighth best unit against rushing yards but when considering points allowed, it went all the way down to 21st. They didn’t fare any better against the pass and the Silver and Black’s pass defense finished 27th in points allowed.
Part of the defensive miscues were due to the dearth of talent the Raiders went through last season. There sure were some building blocks such as defensive end Maxx Crosby and cornerback Trayvon Mullen. Nevertheless, the team will have as many as six or seven starters on defense in 2020.
Regardless of the talent or lack thereof the Raiders had last season, Guenther oversaw the defense. He was the man responsible to field a competent group in spite of the talent he had. He failed and he should be feeling the heat with defensive line coach Rod Marinelli joining the team.
For the moment, Guenther remains at the helm, and he will have a chance to turn around the Raiders defense.
The Raiders defense didn’t have much trouble adjusting to an unusual offseason
The Raiders and all NFL teams had to go through a very unique online offseason due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All teaching partook in Zoom sessions as teams couldn’t meet with players in person. The Silver and Black players didn’t have much trouble adjusting to the circumstances though. In his most recent press conference, Guenther talked about the adjustments the organization had to make due to the sanitary crisis. He also touched on the fact there aren’t any remaining starters from the 2018 defense.
The offseason has been different with the Zooms. The meetings with the guys, believe it or not, the guys have picked it up. I’m really excited about the new group. I look back in 2018, we opened up against the Rams on Monday Night football and not of the starters is with us any more.
There’s nothing pleasant about recognizing that the Raiders haven’t had continuity on defense. However, they have added plenty of talent and potential to the unit., and Guenther says they have been receptive towards his scheme.
We really rebuilt the engine here with some new young talent. [I’m] Very excited with where they’re at. They’re doing a hell of a job picking up the system, the scheme, the techniques and everything we are doing. Looking at the Zoom meetings and how that was going to come out, how much retention these guys were going to have on the field but it really carried over. There has been very little error.
Related: How Will Raiders GM Mike Mayock Scout Talent Without a 2020 College Season?
Paul Guenther hypes safety Johnathan Abram ahead of 2020 season
One of the new starters the Raiders defense will have is safety Johnathan Abram. Guenther says the Mississippi State product is ready to contribute after missing pretty much all his rookie season with a torn rotator cuff.
He looks great. He played 30 minutes for us last year. He’s kind of going through it again like a rookie year, but he has picked up the system in his second year looking it from the 10,000-mile view last year, sitting back and watching everything happen. He has come back in tremendous shape. He’s good in the middle of the field,he’s an enforcer down in the box, and he’s a good blitzer. He’s a vocal guy out there, which we need for his leadership in the backend.
Abram will finally have the opportunity to be the enforcer the Raiders wanted him to be in 2019. Although it will be one year later than anticipated, Guenther is surely rooting for him to improve the defense or else run the risk of getting the boot.
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