Oakland Raiders Defense Steps Up, Will Michael Bush?

After an uneven performance against Dallas in its preseason opener, I’m not going to say that Oakland has turned the corner on a seven-year run of bad football, but things are starting to look a little brighter for the silver and black.

Changes are happening in Oakland, but it's not all focused on the glamour positions.

Certainly, Jason Campbell has proven to be an upgrade over JaMarcus Russell, but after just one preseason game, the defense has stolen the show—especially if the new schemes and personnel continue to work.

For starters, the defense allowed just 66 yards rushing, which looks to be a huge improvement from years past, when Oakland ranked near the bottom of the league in that department.

Still, it’s only preseason and not much can be gained from that.

To be convincing to the doubters, the defense needs to show that it can play at this level week in and week out. A new defensive front, along with the concept of allowing Nnamdi Asomugha to freelance in the secondary, could make this defense as fearsome as something found only in depths of the Black Hole.

Moving Richard Seymour to the inside, with a slimmed down Tommy Kelly at nose-tackle, has allowed single blocking for the Raiders' youthful ends. With the type of speed Oakland has here, it’s essentially a free pass to the quarterback.

Both Lamarr Houston and Matt Shaughnessy received high praise for their efforts against the Cowboys last Thursday night—as each racked up a pair of sacks on the bewildered Cowboys line.

In a new twist, two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha will now get to roam free in the secondary and cover the opponents’ best receiver with regularity. We’ve heard of “Revis Island,” now we’ll see if the Raiders shut-down corner is up to par with his counterpart in New York.

Asomugha says t...

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