Is the Oakland Raiders Defense Improving?

The Oakland Raiders started the season with nine new starters on defense, and that number has quickly grown to 10 with an injury to safety Tyvon Branch. Last year's defense was horrible, so the expectation was that there would be some improvement with so many new faces.

Owner Mark Davis expects to see improvement, which may or may not put head coach Dennis Allen on the hot seat. So far, the Raiders' 1-3 record puts the team exactly where they were at this time last year. More excitement and hope has not necessarily translated to a better team.

Going from a stable veteran at quarterback to Terrelle Pryor has been a smoother transition than expected, but for the Raiders to really improve they needed their revamped defense to play better. Unfortunately, Oakland's defense looks as bad or worse than last year's unit, and there aren't many signs of improvement.

The pass rush is better, but the rest of the defense is actually worse. The pass rush actually gives the illusion that the defense has improved without it actually improving. In theory, an improved pass rush should help the secondary and the entire defense, but that just hasn't happened. 

Possibles for the lack of improvement are that the secondary is actually less talented than last year, the defense is worse in clutch situations, the defensive play-calling is making it harder on the secondary or a combination of those factors. Another possibility is that the run defense has been worse, which makes things easier for the opposing offense and subsequently harder on the secondary in key situations. 


Pass Rush Improvement? 

There have been some improvements by the Raiders, they just haven't translated to improvement as a unit. The pass rush was a huge concern headed into the season, but the Raiders seem to have calmed that concern through the first four games.

The Raiders won't be confused...

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