Prized Offseason Acquisition is the Raiders Worst-Graded Starter on Defense

The Raiders were able to sneak out a win in Los Angeles on Sunday, but if the plan is to be in the playoffs, Paul Guenther’s defense is going to have to change course quickly.

Guenther has taken heat for the Raiders undisciplined play on defense, but the players bear responsibility, too, and now may be the time for Guenther to adjust the role of his star linebacker, Cory Littleton.

Littleton was the Raiders prized free agent acquisition in March, but he has been a huge disappointment through the first 8 games of the year. According to Pro Football Focus analysis, Littleton has been the Raiders least effective starter on defense. In fact, only two players (out of 27) on the Raiders defensive roster have a worse overall grade than Littleton.

Overall, Littleton ranks 143rd out of 164 linebackers that have taken snaps this year, according to Pro Football Focus.

Some have pointed to Guenther’s system as an explanation for Littleton’s poor play, but the reality is that he is simply losing individual matchups. He isn’t holding up in coverage, he is missing tackles, and the film would suggest he is too often avoiding contact.

Take a look at the effort Littleton put up on the Chargers first touchdown on Sunday. It was fourth and goal from the five yard-line. Littleton actually pulled back from getting a piece of the ball carrier.

With the season at the halfway point, there aren’t many good reasons to wait on Littleton any longer. Guenther’s job is on the line and the same should be true of his least effective player on defense.

Time to pull the plug on Littleton, Paul. Revisit again in a few weeks.

twitter: @raidersbeat


37 thoughts on “Prized Offseason Acquisition is the Raiders Worst-Graded Starter on Defense

  1. You are right but there a reason why they signed LITTLETON need him to cover tightened. Give it time

  2. Agreed . . he hates contact and is not good at coverage either . . so why is Littegame on the field!

    So much inept decision making in free agency and to a slightly lesser degree in the draft! So many quality FA defensive players we could have signed, but elected to sign crappy reach players and pass on so many top notch players we could have had!

  3. couldn’t agree more…..go back and look at the pivotal play against Tampa bay in the 4th qtr when TB had a 3rd and 13. Lttleton was the one that could have made that play but he actually backed way up and even when the ball was dumped off never came up and made the tackle …..kwatakaowaski made the tackle. I’ve seen enough….let him sit a game and see if that makes any difference.

  4. I thought I was the only one to notice the alligator arms. He is definitely avoiding all contact. Cant blame coaching on softness.

  5. I agree! I’ve been paying attention to him and he gets Beat and literally grabs players on a lot of Plays. I do t think he wants to be a Raider! Body Language and Facial Expressions speak Volumes at times! He’s not going to get better! He could cost us a key game down the stretch!

  6. I was so excited to get this guy … he played his butt off for the Rams but he has stunk hard for Raider Nation . I have watched every tight end make simple cuts and this dude is all the sudden 5 yards off the ball . The half-hearted arm tackles are brutal to watch as well ….meanwhile Kwiatkowski is out there doing work . Honestly Marquel Lee played better then Littleton has so far …if he doesn’t improve then hopefully Mayock can trade him .

  7. 2nd & 4th quarters traditionally are a letdown for the team. Maybe even more so this season. Can’t keep letting teams put up double digits every other quarter. Especially if they aren’t shutting teams down in the other quarters, either.

  8. Wow! Nothing like the obvious. Angry every minute watching this guy. Take my word for it….going nowhere if they make postseason. Not if Gruden can’t see that Littleton and Guenther have to go. Beg Phillips or Rex Ryan out of retirement.

    1. I love the idea of Rex Ryan,I still think the fire burns in him..Guenther has no fire,no passion..We need a coordinator with some passion..I do believe Guether is as good as gone at the end of our season..
      I do think the Defensive Line coach brought in from Dallas will be the next coordinator..

  9. What the hell was that? Not even an arm tackle…is he hurt or just doesn’t care..we (PG) need to make some changes
    C.Littleton has done LITTLE if anything

  10. Move him around at different positions first before you dump Cory Littleton. And see if he fits n another position. And sign Collin Kapernick and use him in back field as a Quarterback option player and running back. You know his legs work and surely he would qualify as a backup Quarterback.



  12. Agree littleton needs to sit what bothers me is players have a good season and then expect to be paid and when they flop I feel they should give money back he does not to tackle you can see it on the field

  13. I can not understand why on 3rd and 10 or even longer, why our defense continue to line up beyond the first down marker time after time. Is this P.G’s defensive scheme or is the defense lining up deep on their own? Either way we can not keep on letting our opponents convert these long 3rd downs. As it is the defensive are very poor tacklers. Arm tackles tell me they worry to much about getting hurt.

  14. I’m just as disappointed in Littleton as the next Raider fan but he was not avoiding contact on that first TD. Not saying he doesn’t avoid taking blocks but the angle on that gif you posted doesn’t doesn’t tell the story. The ball carrier had already gotten past Littleton by the time he got off his block and he was falling to the ground. I watched this from another angle. Raiders beat have the worst Raiders material. It’s either click bait or inaccurate most of the time. That said, it is true, Littleton and Collins are giving us pretty much nothing against the run or pass. I personally believe Collins is playing worse than Littleton. He’s blown off the line in every run play, and not sure if I’ve witnessed a single pressure, if he’s doubled he’s not holding his ground and is completely wiped out. He’s a huge downgrade from PJ Hall who at least was solid against the run and knew how to eat blockers. As far as effort, Collins too slow to get up and looks like he gives up on plays too easily. Littleton has been bad, but I think Collins has been worse.

  15. Littleton has played a step slow all season because he’s thinking and not reacting. He doesn’t know where he’s supposed to be and it shows. He didn’t forget how to play football. A LOT of our guys are out of position. That’s coaching.

  16. I have seen games where He is just standing back , not even trying to make a play! Put someone who is hungry! and is going to give an effort!

  17. I totally agree and I think Psul Guenther should have been replaced last year.What good does it do for the offense to score points if our defense lets our opponent come back on us.

  18. It wasn’t little effort if you look he is falling down as he makes attempt to tackle him

  19. Littleton has been given too many chances to show he is a starting LB. It’s time to bench him.

  20. Littleton has the Trent Brown syndrome, after they get paid, they do not want to get hurt. It is clear the guys does not want to expose his body.
    Like someone said, bench him for a game and have a hard talk to him. The luck of tackling is not Gunther’s fault. WIth the Rams, the guy was great at coverage, but he was also a tackle machine. So the difference is just the luck of interest.

  21. Littleton slipped on that play, but he has definitely underachieved so far, but to me Morrow is out of position and missing more than any LB we have. Defensive scheme needs to change…maybe bring Abrams up as a roving Safety/LB andbbnlet him go!

  22. Why is it that the fans see the flaws concerning the Raiders but Gruden can’t?? Can anybody tell me why Burfict isn’t a Raider? I would like us to get a defensive coach who knows how to use the individual strengths of each player on defense. We keep getting veteran players and then expect them to play a position that they’re not used to.

    1. I agree with the player pics with free agency being a major weakness of the Raiders. Burfict is a no brainer and should have been resigned to another year! They also had so many chances in pre season and in season to bolster the pass rush . . but apparently the Raiders are the only team that thinks a good pass rush is not important. At east they were not stupid enough to get rid of Carr as some predicted the geniuses would do this year!

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