Oakland Raiders: Should Head Coach Dennis Allen Switch to 3-4 Defense?

One of the main focuses for the Oakland Raiders this offseason is the fine-tuning of a defensive unit that ranked 29th in the NFL in both total yards allowed and points allowed. The team was equally vulnerable to the run and the pass, ranking 27th in the league in defending both categories.

With so much blame to spread around the defensive side of the ball, it’s a bit hard for the coaching staff to pinpoint one area that needs special attention. Looking at last year’s film would give the 39-year-old rookie head coach Dennis Allen a bout of heartburn. The fact is that all three levels of the Raiders’ defense—the front line, the linebackers and the secondary—put up nauseating performances at some point last season. And each level was responsible for their fair share of poor play that contributed to devastating losses, which ultimately led to the team’s absence from the postseason for the ninth straight season.

With his defensive background, Allen will be expected to apply his experience and expertise to remodel the Raiders defense. The numbers are cringe-worthy in all areas. The defensive front line did not have the same success they had in 2010 in getting to the quarterback, producing 39 sacks last season. Worse was the league-high 5.1 yards-per-carry average they allowed.

The pass defense was singed time and time again, allowing a franchise-record 31 touchdown passes. The second-level defenders also had trouble tackling and keeping receivers in front of them, allowing 12.417 yards per completion—good for (bad for) 30th in the league.

All of the numbers will obviously make Allen, the new captain of the Raiders’ pirate ship, a little seasick. But that is all in the past. Allen heads a new regime hell-bent on revamping the culture of the dank franchise that had been so firmly commandeered by former owner Al Davis. This is a fresh new start, and Allen is determined to get th...

About the Author