Linebacker Watch Wk. 1
After causing the Raider faithful great trepidation, the linebacker corps played adequately, and that’s fine. While it was still a bit of a rollercoaster on 3rd and anything really, the linebackers did just enough to avoid being eaten alive by potentially devastating Titans rushing attack. Perhaps the most surprising number of the entire game was the 95 yards allowed on the ground. If we’re being fair some of that can be attributed to the Titans trailing for most of the game. However, still give some credit to the still green men in the middle.
Marquel Lee & Tyrell Adams
These guys would platoon as the second ILB in the Raiders 4-3 Over / 5-2 Hybrid defense. Their sole job on defense is to scrape (shed blocks) on the inside and make the tackle against the backs. To that end, the two combined for 9 tackles with both of Lee’s coming solo. While they did not post a dominant performance, they were did a solid job of bringing the ball carrier down. However, they will have to a do a better job of sorting through a muddy pocket, as there were instances where they were blocked or didn’t rush when the back stayed in to block.
James played a non-descript game in the box score, but was much better than the 4 total tackles (1 solo) may suggest. Rarely did you see any confusion with where to line up and often the issues that presented themselves were in the secondary away from James’ area. Although not a speed demon, James did a solid job of being in the right places to help plug some of the coverage holes left by the secondary. The capacity to find the soft spots will be important if he will continue to wear the green dot for the defense.
Usually Bruce Irvin would start off any conversation about linebackers for the Raiders, but Sunday was just not his day. In addition, stacking back to back penalties late in the fourth to more or less gift the Titans a field goal, Irvin only made one tackle on the day. He also spent his time being stonewalled by Tyler Lewan, which isn’t the worst. Lewan is a special player. All the same, it was a forgettable day for Irvin who is usually one of the steadiest performers on the entire team.
When the Jets fly into Oakland, Matt Forte should see plenty of touches. With that said, the linebackers need to key on the Jets running game early.