The Raiders Defense: #1in Sacks! Are They That Good?

“Pressure busts pipes” they say, but pressure also busts up NFL passing schemes. And in the NFL, championships are won up front. The New York Giants proved that theory against the more talented New England Patriots with a pass rush that neutralized Tom Brady and the Patriots' high-flying passing attack.

Thus far, the Oakland Raiders lead all NFL teams in sacks with 12, which is better than the Baltimore Ravens and the Minnesota Vikings.

Some NFL fans and analysts mock preseason stats, but I argue that certain stats, such as sacks and quarterback pressures, are indicative of the dominance of a defense.

For instance, Lamarr Houston sacked Tony Romo twice last week in his NFL preseason debut against the Dallas Cowboys. Matt Shaughnessy, too, had two sacks against the Dallas Cowboys. Most of the sacks, which were against the Cowboy starters, illustrated the Raiders' dominance over opposing offensive lines. And not just a line comprised of second teamers and scrubs, but against a proven playoff offensive line.

A student of the game, Houston said, "I ask Richard Seymour everything I can ask. Anything I can ask, I ask him during meetings and after meetings and sometimes just sit down with him and ask him about techniques and stuff."

In preseason game two, with Pro Bowl-caliber defense tackle Richard Seymour absent, the Chicago Bears double teamed Houston. Bad idea! That allowed Kamerion Wimbley to showcase his elite pass-rushing abilities, and Wimbley, in response, did his job and exited the game with four sacks.

Wimbley’s performance illustrated one thing that has offensive coordinators trembling: The Raiders have at least four pass-rushers with the ability to have double-digit sacks this season.

No other team can make that assumption. 

In 2009. the Raiders ranked seventh in pass defense. With the improved pass rush, the Raiders will be more fi...

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