The Raiders lost 31-19 Sunday afternoon to the New England Patriots infront of a soldout, and very roudy (including myself) crowd at O.co Coliseum. The game had it's moments. None of which proved costly then a pair of 15-yard personal foul penalties on the opening drive of the game.
Look fans, I know the referees of the National Football League look at teams like wrestling fans look at faces and heels (This comparison for the NFL has to be a first!). The Raiders have always been portrayed as the bad boys of the league. Discipline, or lack there of, hasn't helped the Silver and Blacks cause. The Patriots, inperticular Tom Brady, have been the golden boys of the league for many years now since that infamous game by a name I refuse to say to this day. The Raiders had nine penalties for 85 yards (mostly on defense), while New England had 5 for 45 (Should have been doubled the way their offensive line held most of the contest)
But penalties aside, and two costly Jason Campbell picks, the defense got flat out burnt for the third week in a row, mainly the backfield. Tom Brady and Wes Welker had no problem picking apart the Raider defense to a tune of 17 unanswered points! This is the third week in a row the Raiders have given up 17 unanswered. The defense has failed to adjust according to the offense the AFC East has ran on us this season.
The real issue for the defense comes from Chuck Bresnehan's man to man defensive scheme. It simply hasn't worked and a few adjustments can be made to fix it.
1) Bring more pressure to the Quarterback: Look, Brady is a great quarterback. possibly one of the greatest ever! But when he does have a bad game, look at the defenses ran against him. Pressure Pressue Pressure! The Raiders did it to Sanchez and Orton and it resulted in nine sacks in two wins. They had little to no pressure against Buffalo (one sack) and New England (one). When the Raiders attack the quarterback, they have had great results. But against Buffalo and New England they didn't show it.
2) Play Zone, once in a while!
This is the most important key for the defense to survive post Nnamdi! Like I said to a buddy of mine after the Buffalo game: The Raiders will get killed on the crossing rout and the slant for the rest of the season if this isn't done! Steve Johnson and David Nelson had 179 combined yards on 18 completions! Welker had 9 for 154! The difference? Well... besides Welker's YAC, both teams ran the same play ALL DAY LONG! The reason for this is because the man defense that has been played has left the middle of the field wide open! And the defense has been picked apart! Giving recievers ten yard cusions doesn't help either! Which leads to number three!
3) Bresnehan... If you are giving up chunks of yards through the air... MAKE AN ADJUSTMENT!
This has been my biggest problem with Chuckie this season! It was also my biggest problem when he was first here! The Raiders defense will come out with the same defense that might have worked the first couple drives... but other teams adjust to what worked. The Raiders have not done that this season (even in the two wins). Mixing it up a little would not only help the defense's chances to make a stop when needed (example: bailing out your QB for a couple of bonehead picks!) But it will give the rest of the team confidence, something I do not have in Chuckie or this defensive backfield right now! In order for this defense to succeed this year, Bresnehan needs to ditch what is getting his DBs killed and take an approach with the defensive plays that have worked!
If Bresnehan can get these steps done, the Raiders will win the AFC West this year! If the defense stays the same as it is, then it will be like the pre-Rob Ryan years all over again!