Preseason Recap: Hard to be optimistic about the Raiders defense, for now at least

The Oakland Raiders played their second preseason game of the year on Saturday night and perhaps the best way to summarize it is to say that the offense is as good or better than we thought and the defense is as bad or worse than we thought.

Of course, that leads me to the continued public service announcement that it’s only the preseason. The defensive game plan was, you know, non existent and the starters didn’t play for all that long. Things could get better by the start of the regular season. it’s entirely possible. It may be the “it’s possible you could win the lottery” kind of possible, but still possible.

But while it’s possible the defense could improve, you’d be hard pressed to find evidence it will improve in Saturday’s game film.

T.J. Carrie, who had looked good in training camp and preseason game number one was absolutely abused by rookie Cooper Kupp while Sean Smith was probably just thankful the Rams weren’t focused on him. And yes, Sean Smith did play but no, he didn’t look better than last week. Amerson did not look particularly impressive either and at this point it’s hard not to worry about the secondary.

It would also appear that opposing tight ends continue to receive an invisibility cloak when they play the Raiders.

Which brings us to the linebackers. Cory James and Marquel Lee both look like guys who belong in the NFL, but they also look like guys who need more time to develop if they want to have success in the NFL. It’s not that there was anything major wrong with the performance of the Raiders linebackers but there definitely wasn’t a reason to be very optimistic about what looks like one of the worst position groups on the Raiders.

The pass rush looked better with Khalil Mack in the game but you know… duh.  There were also some flashes by depth guys like Shalom Luani, James Cowser and Trayvon Hester but besides that, it’s hard to find reasons to be optimistic about what we saw from the Raiders defense.

And perhaps that’s where the optimism is: Far off in the future. The Raiders defense as it stands now gives much more reason to be concerned than to be optimistic. But when you look at some of the young players on the team, there’s reason to have hope for the future, even if not the immediate future. The Raiders already have some young big names on defense with Karl Joseph and Khalil Mack. Not too long from now, guys like Luani, Cowser and Hester could end up being integral role players on a very good defense.

So while the immediate future doesn’t look great for the Raiders defense, there are reasons to be excited about what this defense could be in the not too distant future.

1 Comment

  • still don’t understand why Ken Norton Jr. is still DC. He should have been replaced first thing in the offseason. makes me sick that the Sheep beat the Raiders to Wade Phillips.

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