The Las Vegas Raiders offense has carried the team to a 3-2 record while the defense is still far behind. They will have yet another test against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 7.
The offense is faring well but what about the defense?
By now it is no secret that quarterback Derek Carr is off to a great start with a revitalized offense that’s seeing him be very aggressive. The defense under coordinator Paul Guenther is another story though. At one point, fans were calling for his dismissal. All not has been lost though, there have been some bright spots for the Silver and Black defense.
Defensive end Maxx Crosby has been getting to the quarterback on a more constant basis after a slow start and now has four sacks under his belt. Trayvon Mullen continues to grow into a shutdown cornerback before our eyes. Clelin Ferrell, the subject of much debate, is showing why the Raiders took him with the fourth overall pick. A staple in run defense, Ferrell has now been creating pressure on a consistent basis as evidence from his Week 5 performance.
The Raiders Defense Is Still Lagging Behind Offense
Positive trends aside, Pro Football Focus recently ranked the Raiders defense near the bottom at 27th. Moreover, the unit ranks 27th in points allowed with 152 after six weeks. Anthony Treash of PFF states that the Las Vegas defense has made strides since Jon Gruden’s return, albeit slow one. “By expected points added per play allowed, the Raiders ranked 31st in 2017, 32nd in 2018 and 32nd in 2019. So far this year, they have made a modest improvement to 27th.”
Another negative that Treash pointed out was rookie Damon Arnette, “[He] didn’t look all that great in his three games played, allowing 10 catches on 11 targets for 201 yards and one touchdown.”
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers offense ranks eighth in points allowed with 177 points and rank seventh in passing touchdowns with 14. They are averaging almost 30 points per game and only once in the 2020 season, have they scored less than 20. That was in their game against the Chicago Bears, which the ‘Bucs’ lost by one point.
The Raiders have two choices: They can either outscore them or their defense can stop Tampa Bay’s offense. Carr showed he can stretch the field against the Chiefs and it would be enticing to see him get in a shoot out against Brady. On the other hand, the defense showed in Week 5 that they can stop opposing offenses so maybe that can carry over in Week 7.
You May Also Like: Raiders Smart For Kicking The Tires On DE David Irving
*Top Photo: Associated Press/Reed Hoffman