Why should the Oakland Raiders concentrate on building the defense first? The answer is simple. Defense wins championships. The NFL is full of elite passing attacks such as Denver, New England, and countless other teams with big name quarterbacks and wide receivers. Still, it is the ability of the defense to stop them that wins in the end.
A well balanced team is the ultimate goal in building and is the best formula for winning championships, however defense is the X-factor. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, the team with the better defense has won the Super Bowl, sometimes with a average offense.
Even with some of the powerhouse offensive teams that the 49ers, Cowboys, Steelers, Packers, and yes, even the Raiders have fielded in the big game, it was the ability of the defense to shut down their opponents that allowed them to become champions.
As a matter of fact, the Raiders should be very familiar with the concept of winning championships with defense. In their three super bowl victories, it was their crushing defense that allowed those lopsided wins. In their losses to the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they faced stellar defenses which shut them down offensively.
Several powerhouse offenses have appeared in the Super bowl. Even in some instances where they won the game, it was the play of the defense which was the difference. Whether it was one decisive play at a key moment or their play throughout the game, the defense ended up being the difference.
In last year’s Super Bowl win by the Baltimore Ravens, the final play by their defense was the difference. They were able to stop the 49ers when it mattered the most.
Conversely, many super bowls were lost on last minute drives because the defense was not able to stop the offense. The Patriots defense was the ultimate reason for their two losses to the New York Giants as they were unable to stop them on last minute drives both times. The same thing happened to the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXVII against the 49ers.
Look back at Super Bowl XXXIV between the St. Louis Rams and Tennessee Titans. The first half of that game was a defensive struggle with the Rams defense having the edge. The defense allowed them to hold on for the victory on the final play of that game. Remember the tackle on WR Kevin Dyson by LB Mike Jones to prevent the tying score?
One could look back at all of the previous 47 super bowls and find many instances where the winning team had a mediocre offense and a great defense. The teams that come to my mind the most are the 1985 Bears, 2000 Ravens and the 2002 Buccaneers. It remains to be seen whether or not the 2013 Seattle Seahawks will continue this trend with their league leading defense.
Given what the Raiders should have learned from their own history as well as the 2013 season, why would they not concentrate on the defensive side of the ball first? There were many games where the offense played well enough to win and even held a lead going into the third and fourth quarters only to be let down by the defense.
The 2014 draft and free agency are fairly rich in defensive players. The Raiders could really help themselves a lot by concentrating on defense and going after these guys. They will need shutdown corners with good size and speed as well as big and fast linemen and linebackers to compete with the offenses in their own division, not to mention the rest of the league.
Raiders Defensive Coordinator, Jason Tarver has the ability to form these players into a lethal unit. All he needs is for his GM to go out and get them, which he has the means to do.