Texans vs. Raiders

Texans vs. Raiders: Lovie Smith’s Defense Can’t Be Overlooked

The Las Vegas Raiders are surely looking to make a statement in Week 7. They’ll be welcoming Lovie Smith and his Houston Texans into Allegiant Stadium this Sunday in the hopes of getting on a roll. Despite the belief that the Raiders are beginning a stretch of favorable games, they cannot overlook Smith’s defense. While addressing the media this week, offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi echoed the same sentiment.

Often times, when you associate the word “young” with a defense, most automatically think it means they’re not very good. As if they’re still learning, picking up a new system, more than likely under a new coach. However, that’s not the case with the Texans, despite outside opinions. Lombardi made that a point in this week’s presser. “You think it’s a young defense, but other than the two DBs, they’re a pretty experienced group in terms of [Christian] Kirksey and Jerry Hughes. Those guys have four years of experience. They obviously have drafted two young players in the secondary, who have been playing and playing very well for them.”

Texans vs. Raiders: Derek Carr Will Face A Potent Pass Defense

The Texans feature a potent pass defense with a mix of rookies and some solid veterans. One of those players that’s having a notable season is Desmond King II, who mans the nickel corner slot for Smith. According to Pro Football Focus, King sports remarkable grades across the board. As far as coverage goes, King is currently receiving a grade of 74.4 based off of 152 snaps in pass defense. He’s already accumulated seven pass deflections and an interception; he’s consistently looking to make a play. You also have rookie Derek Stingley Jr. contributing with five pass deflections of his own. As Lombardi mentioned, they do the fundamentals well and will make you pay for your mistakes; “they flow fast with the football, they’re good fundamentally, they tackle, and they force turnovers.”

That last part is crucial for the Raiders. Whether it’s Derek Carr, Hunter Renfrow, or Josh Jacobs, ball security needs to be emphasized. “They really put stress on you as an offense in terms of focusing on your fundamentals, in terms of getting positive plays, staying true to your assignment and taking care of the ball. Because if you don’t focus for one second, the Texans are going to make you pay,” says Lombardi. Currently, the Texans are ranked seventh in the NFL for interceptions (six) and have forced three fumbles. In terms of pass defense, they’re second in touchdowns surrendered through the air (4) and 12th in passing yardage (1,247). This isn’t going to be a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination.

Fix the red zone woes

The Raiders need to focus on the fundamentals, such as taking care of the ball. They need to punch it in while in the red zone, as the Texans feature the 29th ranked red zone defense with regard to scoring. If there was ever a game to get the red zone woes fixed, it’s against the Texans on Sunday.

Raiders OC Points To Injuries As Reason For Waller And Renfrow Struggling

*Top Photo: Bob Levey/Getty

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