How to Solve Oakland Raiders’ Tight End Coverage Issues

Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio jokingly said he needed to remove the opposing tight ends' cloaking device to provide better coverage. In actuality, the serious answer should focus on communication between his players.

Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. gave props to the tight ends who’ve gashed the Raiders week after week, but it’s more of a problem for the Raiders than any other team in the league. Norton’s defense surrenders nearly 100 yards per game to tight ends:

These statistics pose an alarming threat to a team that will attempt to defend tight ends Antonio Gates, Travis Kelce and Owen Daniels twice a year.

The coaching staff must address this problem directly during practice as it prepares for Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett in Week 4. He’s the most prominent tight end in the first four games on the Raiders schedule and poses a serious matchup issue in the middle of the field.

Here's what average to subpar tight ends have accomplished against the Raiders defense:

Now, it’s time to address the issue that leads to this problem and find a solution before Bennett embarrasses his opposition on Sunday.


Strengthening Communication

The Raiders must establish an open line of communication. The success of any relationship—in any type of setting whether it’s personal or on the football field—hinges upon how well the involved parties exchange information and ideas.

In each week, Oakland displayed a breakdown of communication between the linebacker and safety positions.


Communication Breakdown No. 1

In Week 1, Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert easily found the soft spot in the Raiders defense with simple pass routes. Quarterback Andy Dalton capitalized with quick accurate passes into the Raiders coverage dead zone.<...

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