The Las Vegas Raiders have come back down to Earth with back-to-back losses, and their defense struggled during this stretch.
Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s unit just has not gelled yet and that is concerning since we are four weeks into the NFL season. The altered offseason due to COVID-19, which included missing out on the preseason, did not help the Raiders. That is a crucial time where teammates become familiar with one another while acclimating to a new scheme. This was of more importance for Guenther’s unit with so many new faces after the team invested heavily in the defense via free agency and the draft.
Unfortunately, the results are not on par with said investments yet. During this most recent loss, the Raiders only managed one sack versus the Buffalo Bills. This is egregious when you look at all the “talent” that the team currently possesses. Even more concerning was the inability to create any turnovers yesterday. Head coach Jon Gruden himself said, “We have to get the turnovers from our defense. We’re just not getting any turnovers.”
When will the Raiders hold Guenther accountable?
We are not saying Guenther should be fired though Raider Nation seems to have had enough of him. At some point, Gruden’s words will fall on deaf ears, if they have not already, because numbers do not lie. His defense is mustering measly numbers such as only two interceptions and no forced fumbles. Postgame, Gruden said, “We’re playing a lot of new players and I think it worked out pretty good. I think his communication was good with the middle linebacker from the box. I think he was good [at] communicating with the staff from the box as well.”
Communication is definitely key in football, there is no arguing that. Unfortunately, the execution is leaving a lot to be desired and the numbers are showing that. Players are not being put in positions to succeed, a perfect example, why isn’t Guenther giving Maurice Hurst more snaps? Or, why is Erik Harris still being trotted out there when he’s clearly a liability? Injuries are not surely helping the Raiders, but when will Gruden admit that perhaps, a change is needed if 2020 is to mean anything?
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*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal