Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

September 13, 2008
Plenty of questions about the defense

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - This weekend's mailbag was filled with anger. Most of it is aimed at Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

Here are a few examples of what I've been seeing:

Where are the blitzes?

Why no pressure on the quarterback?

This is why Lane wanted to get rid of Rob!!!!

"MeAngleo" Hall sucks!

There's no way to sort through all of the anger after a pitiful opening-night showing.

So here's a sampling of the questions before I head out to enjoy some good Kansas City BBQ.

Question: Why did CB DeAngelo Hall play so far back from the line of scrimmage -- I've never seen such a thing -- especially when he is considered a bigtime, man-to-man, bump-and-run corner?!?. He played like a "third safety," while his counterpart at CB, Nnamdi Asomugha, played tight coverage. Hall's defense was so soft that he gave Eddie Royal huge spacing to make EASY plays all game!!! Was Hall scared to cover Royal tightly and why no coaching adjustment early on eliminating Hall's cushion?!? I think Stanford Routt could have fared much better.

Please explain and THANKS, from a Raider fan (and Broncos-Hater) since 1975.
Tim, Lakewood, CO

Answer: Based on what defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said earlier in the week, the Raiders were experimenting with some zone coverages. They hoped by playing Hall deep, they could bait Denver QB Jay Cutler into deep throws that would be picked off. But as we all saw, Royal just took was available to him. One thing Hall doesn't lack is confidence so I'm sure he wasn't afraid to move up. Ryan said put the blame on him, so you can do that for how Hall looked.

Question: With the defense not getting any pressure on Jay Cutler on Monday night will Coach Ryan start blitzing more? It dosent matter how good the secondary is if the quarterback has all day to throw the ball. And blitzing could also help the run defense if it is done right.
Jim, Crestview, FL

Answer: Ryan plans to blitz selectively. He said his defensive scheme is about winning individual matchups. In that way it is similar to a Tony Dungy-style defense, the famed Tampa 2. In a defense that depends on players winning their matchups, you really ruin the scheme by doing too much different. On the same hand, when players can't win their matchups, some changes need to be looked at. I think there will be some blitzing, but Ryan is going to depend on his players to show up, too.

Question: Jason, first off I enjoy your articles and blogs, not a lot of info on the Raiders in Ohio. I'm not sure but it seems like Rob Ryan is trying not to help out Lane Kiffin, I can't believe that is the defense that he seriously thought could stop Denver. When is Kiffin going to take control of the defense because Ryan cannot call a defense. Next time you see Al Davis ask him how it feels to watch all that money play like garbage. I can't believe his eye for talent is that far out of focus.
Bret, Girad, OH

Answer: Much to your chagrin, Kiffin won't take "control" of the defense.

The one thing that is clear after comments this week from Kiffin and Ryan is Kiffin is not in charge of the defense. If he were, the Raiders would not be running the defense they run now. I think you would see more blitzing from a Kiffin defense, especially after he spent years at USC with Pete Carroll.

If Davis does speak to the media this season and the new players haven't played up to their pay, he will be asked some form of your question for him.

Question: With the money that was thrown around this offseason is there enough money in the Davis fund to pay Asomugha what he deserves. He is easily the best player on the team. Classy, professional, career long Raider. He has a real swagger and leadership and is probably the second best corner behind Champ Bailey. Can the Raiders bring him back? More importantly does he want to be back?
Michael, Long Beach

Answer: Always good to hear from my hometown. There is money to pay Asomugha. There was in the offseason. The problem is the exclusive franchise tag used by the Raiders meant Asomugha could not negotiate with other teams. And with a guaranteed salary of almost $10 million, figuring out what to add to that to get a deal done isn't easy.

Asomugha will be back next season because the Raiders will either franchise him again or agree to a long-term deal.

Asomugha likes playing for the Raiders, being that he is from Southern California and played college football at Cal. But he also wants to win.

I'm sure if the Raiders don't show signs of improvement, he'd be open to looking elsewhere for a chance to win. But that won't happen until 2010.

--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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