Raiders Pass Defense Worse Than It’s Ever Been

In case you haven’t been able to tell from watching, the Raiders pass defense has been playing at an elite level of awful through six games.

They have just three interceptions (only three teams have fewer), have given up 16 passing touchdowns (only two teams have given up more), and opposing quarterbacks have a 115.6 rating against the Raiders. Even last year, in all of it’s horror, only saw the Raiders give up an opposing QB rating of 101.0 for the season and the worst the Raiders have ever been at opposing QB rating for a season is 105.1 (2013).

The graph below from offers an illustration of just how lopsided the Raiders touchdown/interception percentages are in comparison to the rest of the league. The “y” axis (vertical) indicates interception percentage and the “x” axis (horizontal) indicates touchdown percentage. The only team stuffed lower in the left quadrant than the Raiders are the Dolphins, who are literally trying to throw away their season for draft picks.

The question now becomes this: are the Raiders this incompetent from a talent standpoint or is the defensive coaching staff not getting the job done?

Certainly the Raiders don’t have elite talent in the secondary, but miscommunication and blown assignments have been the themes of Paul Guenther’s defense this year. Gareon Conley was the scapegoat this week, but the problems in the Raiders secondary extend far beyond Conley, who was probably the most talented member of the secondary before being traded to Houston.

If the best player in the secondary can’t find success, what are the chances that the lesser-talented guys will be better?

The good news for Guenther’s defense, however, is that they are having a lot of success stopping the run – giving up just 3.6 yards per carry this year (good for fourth-best in the league). Last year the Raiders gave up 4.7 yards to per carry, so there is real improvement there. Ten sacks through six games isn’t good, but it’s a lot better than the 13 sacks in 16 games the Raiders dubiously achieved in Guenther’s first year.

Overall, the Raiders are giving up 27.5 points per game and only three teams have given up more points per game this year. The combined record of those teams (MIA, ATL, TB) is 3-16, so the Raiders can probably be thankful their record isn’t worse.

One way or another, something has to give on defense for the Raiders to have any hope of making a playoff run. Whether it’s an adjustment in scheme or a series of personnel changes, the Raiders need to find answers… preferably in time to face Deshaun Watson this weekend.

twitter: @raidersbeat


1 thought on “Raiders Pass Defense Worse Than It’s Ever Been

  1. They have to start intercepting the ball. Because the Raider run defense has been so good, the other teams have been forced to throw the ball. Future Hall of Fame Quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Pat Mahomes can beat a team singlehandedly. Then again the Packers were without their best receivers, so it was totally inexcusable the way Rodgers shredded the Raider secondary.

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