Oakland Raiders must build a powerful defense first


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.

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  • Sam Cowhick

    The Raiders have great LBs already. They need to get rid of Porter, pick up a new, reliable cornerback and find a pass rusher. I think the stat ESPN has been running with this week is top defenses are 12-3 when they reach the super bowl. Top offenses are a little better than .500. Good article

    • Walter Spargo

      Thanks Sam! I agree. I’d even consider swapping out Jenkins too. I saw another article somewhere that pointed out that the larger and faster CB is the way to go. They referenced guys like Lester Hayes and Mike Haynes who used their size and speed to be shutdown corners.

  • The Dude

    I completely agree Sparky

  • al

    I say we are another pass rushing DE and possibly a pass rushing DT from becoming a dominant defense. While having great cbs is awesome, but if you don’t get great pass rush, cbs are defenseless, especially in todays passing league.
    I understand the fascination with Donald or possibly WIll Sutton in this draft. Two pass rushing DTs who can be havoc on opposing offenses.

  • BlazerInMexico

    Great LB’s? Are you serious – our LB’s are average to a tad above average – at best. Check their ratings on PFF – they cannot tackle (Burnett) – play well in coverage (Roach) but have a high learning curve ahead (Moore and Burris) – they also lack depth and health (Maiava) – I thought they played well early and then, due to the lack of depth, ran out of gas at the end of the year – the play speaks to it! We need play making LB’s as bad as any other position – don’t be fooled by the mediocrity, please. Anthony Barr, CJ Mosely or Khalil Mack would start day one in this group.

  • Dre

    I agree wholeheartedly that defense is the way to go for us. I don’t care for Tarver as the DC at all but I will take him for sake of consistency. That I think is more important than anything else. We need an identity on both sides of the ball and stick with it!!!

  • fb24

    The defense got WORSE every week down the stretch. But of course the idiot Reggie decided to keep every sorry ass coach on the roster, including Tarver who obviously got outcoached the past 8-9 games in a row.
    Meanwhile Gregg Williams and Wade Phillips were available, but no, we’d rather have this guy back for “continuity”. Enjoy your continuity when we win 4 games again.

    • Walter Spargo

      You bring up an interesting point. The defense did get worse down the stretch. There are valid reasons that have been given. From fatigue due to the defensive players having played more snaps than they have in their career. Either way, it is a case for getting depth and talent all around. Something this defense does not have. Remove that problem before just throwing Tarver under the bus.

      His strategy is sound. He just doesn’t have the people to execute it. Read this piece about player fatique: http://www.csnbayarea.com/raiders/playing-time-high-snap-counts-hurt-thin-raiders-defense?p=ya5nbcs&ocid=yahoo
      Scott Bair makes a pretty valid point.