The Las Vegas Raiders struggles in pass-defense are nothing new, and it won’t get any easier in 2020 for Paul Guenther’s unit.
In order for the Raiders to make any noise this season, the defense will have to improve in more ways than one. No one’s expecting the unit to become elite overnight, that said, fixing the pass defense will be a priority. General manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden have done their job in reaching that goal. Guenther, the current Raiders defensive coordinator, suddenly finds himself with a plethora of young talent due to their work. Once again, as it was in 2019, the question is can he maximize the talent? In other words, can he be trusted to put these players in positions to succeed?
The pressure of having a potential in-house replacement in Rod Marinelli should definitely give Guenther an added incentive. If that’s not enough, perhaps facing these five quarterbacks will force Guenther to step up his gameplan in 2020.
The Top Five Quarterbacks the Raiders Will Face
Patrick Mahomes – Completion 65.9%, 287.9 Passing Yards Per Game, 105.3 QB Rating, 77.2% Of On-Target Throws Per Attempt
Drew Brees – Completion 74.3%, 270.8 Passing Yards Per Game, 116.3 QB Rating, 84.1% Of On-Target Throws Per Attempt
Matt Ryan – Completion 66.2%, 297.7 Passing Yards Per Game, 92.1 QB Rating, 75.3% Of On-Target Throws Per Attempt
Tom Brady – Completion 60.8%, 253.6 Passing Yards Per Game, 88.0 QB Rating, 73.1% Of On-Target Throws Per Attempt
Cam Newton* – Completion 67.9%, 242.5 Passing Yards Per Game, 94.2 QB Rating, 62.8% Of On-Target Throws Per Attempt
What Does This All Mean For The Silver and Black?
The most obvious trend is how deadly accurate these five passers are. Cam Newton, whose numbers reflect the 2018 season due to only playing in two games last year, has the lowest percentage of on-target throws. That said, before injuries caught up to him, Newton had a QB Rating of 94.2 so the Raiders can’t afford to overlook him now that he’s under Patriots head coach Bill Belichik. The two elder statesmen that the Raiders will face are no joke either, old in age yes, but still dangerous. Both Tom Brady and Drew Brees displayed that their accuracy hasn’t digressed, both of them also had a 92+ QB Rating in 2019.
Finally, and most importantly is Patrick Mahomes. The matchup between the Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs will be pivotal in 2020. Of course, the question is whether Raiders quarterback Derek Carr can get the monkey off his back and beat their rival. In spite of that, the real question is whether Guenther can slow down Mahomes, if he’s unable to do that, a change could be in order.
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*Top Photo: John Hefti/Associated Press