Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

October 15, 2007
Tough to defend the defense

The Raiders defense (and lack thereof) is what everyone is talking about. Raiders defenders would like to convince us they’re fine and just need to make some adjustments.

But that’s not what everyone else sees.

Here a few (of many) questions about the defense.

Question: The reason way the Raiders are a bad team on third down, is the lack of safety help. Schweigert and Huff sounds like a law firm. But I call them CSI, you know like the TV show. They are always around the scene of the crime, after the fact, like fifteen yards down the field. (First down) Huff maybe young but in the hood they say if you don't bark as a puppy, you ain’t going to bite as a big dog. The corners are tight it's the deep middle. HELP!
Larry, Upper Marlboro, MD

Answer: What’s up Larry? You’re not the first person to complain about the Raiders safeties and they’re lack of impact.

Michael Huff and Stuart Schweigert have started every game together since last season. They have no interceptions in 21 games. Huff had a safety last year, but the Raiders expect more.

I’m not absolving them of all blame, but their issues are not theirs alone.

The Raiders lack of a pass rush doesn’t make things easier as deep routes can open up because quarterbacks have a lot of time. Huff is only asked to cover tight ends.

And there are no replacements on the roster. The Raiders cut B.J. Ward, who’d begun taking reps from Schweigert.

Schweigert starts because he’s seen as a smart player that won’t hurt the team with mental mistakes.

Huff is a first round pick from a year ago and will be given the chance to succeed.

A plan that was discussed last year was moving Huff to free safety and eventually finding a new strong safety.

I liked the idea of mixing things up and moving Schweigert near the line of scrimmage at times and playing Huff deep and moving him around that was supposed to happen this season.

But as the season has progressed, it’s looked a lot like last year.

With that said, you can catch your version of CSI on Sundays in Silver and Black.

Question: No question. Just wanted to say thank you for all of your info... You are very good at what you do.

OK, OK maybe one. Where do you stand on the Fabian Washington/Stanford Routt issue? I love Fabian’s heart and believe this is killing him not being a "starter" I love Routt's upside and size/speed. Will one of them have an Asomugha turn around and be great?
XL, Studio City

Answer: I believe benching Washington after just two games was a sign of panic. He hadn’t played well, but neither had Routt.

Lane Kiffin said today neither had emerged as the clear starter and the Raiders will continue to rotate them.

Neither will have a breakout year at this rate because the Raiders are rotating them. It’s hard to establish yourself when you’re coming in and out.

I think the key to either becoming solid player is putting them in a spot (starter or nickelback) and leaving them there. That was key for Asomugha.

I thought Washington was on his way, too. The rotation isn’t helping, but he said he and Routt talk a lot as they rotate, even if it is tough to get a rhythm in that situation.

Question: Is there anybody like Derrick Burgess on the Raiders that might put a rush on quarterbacks? Or will the Raiders just wait it out and is there anybody out there that we can get that will help us?
Sean, North Highlands

Answer: Not many teams have one player like a healthy Burgess and the Raiders definitely don’t have another player like him.

The chances of another pass rusher becoming available during the season are slim.

Good pass rushers are extremely valuable. And if one is available right now, there’s probably something wrong with him.

It’s an area I expect the Raiders to address in the offseason. I think Kansas City’s Jared Allen would be a good fit for the Raiders. And he’ll be a free agent.

Question: Quentin Moses?

Arizona has yet to activate him for one game and we let him go due to looking solid in shorts but did nothing in the preseason.

One solid year made Moses look like a future stud. Unfortunately I believe his talent maxed out in his junior year at Georgia and he's been a disappointment since.

I totally agree we could've done much better with that pick, however continuing ripping the Raiders for not having him around "in times like these" where we need depth is wrong when Tyler Brayton would still be ahead of the him.
Jeremy, Des Moines, IA

Answer: I can see your point. Moses hasn’t played this season. He joined the team late and hasn’t played for the Cardinals, who indicated they wouldn't rush him onto the field when they claimed him off waivers.

My point was rather than searching for help, the Raiders might have been able to develop another young player that could help them now.

Personnel decisions made in September can impact a team during the season and I think this one has.

I saw Moses play well in pads. Moses showed enough to warrant not being cut. He was ahead of Brayton at defensive end on the depth chart.

I don’t mean to make Moses out to be a Hall of Famer, but the Raider coaches sure did (unblockable is what they called him).

Brayton was playing defensive tackle for a reason. He hasn’t been a great pass rusher and had no sacks last season.

And with the injuries piling up, Brayton was forced back to a position he hadn’t been productive at.

I wasn’t taking a shot at rookie Jay Richardson, who I knew the Raiders would keep. Nor do I believe draft status alone should dictate a roster spot.

My point was with the lack of depth up front, cutting such a high pick looks worse than it did last month.

But I won’t mention Quentin anytime soon. Unless he’s active this weekend and gets four sacks.

Question: Jason - keep up the good work. My question: shouldn't you and Nmamdi be tight? I'm hoping he would have your back when Sapp, Williams, et al are riding our Golden Bears.
Dan, Boston

Answer: Actually, my biggest supporter in the fight against Cal heckling was Adimchinobe Echemandu, who was cut to put Dominic Rhodes on the active roster.

Former Cal tackle and practice squad player Mark Wilson has my back, too.

But the Bears flame out against Oregon State did me no good. Sapp said he told me Cal “sucked” though I don’t recall him ever saying that.

Then again, he went to Miami. Haven’t heard much from them since they lost to Ohio State in the National Championship game a few years ago. They must be on probation again.

Williams and Jerry Porter also let me know Cal lost (as if I didn’t know).

The good thing is Cal can still beat Williams and his beloved USC team and give me bragging rights for the rest of the season.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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