Raiders New Identity Takes Shape

The Oakland Raiders defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 21-18 on Sunday, behind a stout defensive effort and a sporadic offensive effort. The new look Raiders have played enough games under Reggie Mckenzie and Dennis Allen for an identity to start to take shape, think Voldemort in The Goblet of Fire. The early signs indicate the Raiders will be a defense first team which was sort of expected given Dennis Allen’s background is in defense and Reggie Mckensie is a former linebacker.
The defense appears to get better and better each outing. For the first time in almost decades the Raiders’ defense is not being gashed by long runs and the longest run allowed was 19 yards. The defense also forced 2 interceptions and held the Steelers to 3 first half points. Reggie Mckenzie has a knack for evaluating defensive talent and fielded ten new starters from a year ago and with depth to boot. The Raiders defense will be formidable for years to come under The watch of Reggie Mckenzie and Dennis Allen.
Unfortunately, every coin has a flip side. I just haven’t seen anything that suggests Mckenzie has offensive scouting acumen in there is such a thing. All offensive stat categories are led by players left over from the previous regime with Pryor leading in passing (1149), Mcfadden in rushing (340) and Moore in receiving (431). The best offensive linemen are probably Jared Veldheer and Stefan Wiznieksi, who were also already in place when Mckenzie and company came to town. Every offensive addition can at best be labeled as shows potential. Rod Streater is a nice addition, Menelik Watson and Mychal Rivera shows promise, but these are sort of overshadowed by the high price additions of Matt Flynn and Mike Brisiel. Mike Brisiel was paid handsomely at a time when the team was strapped for cap space and Matt Flynn was given a raise immediately which gives credence to Mckensie believing that each was a difference maker.
Christo Bilukidi was waived to make room for LB Martez Wilson who was claimed off waivers. Wilson may be a nice addition, but I have to believe no position group is in need of reinforcements as much as the offensive linemen. The offense is inconsistent for the most part and has only consistently taken naps in the second half. The offense will most likely continue to be inconsistent, almost like a garden unattended where weeds will sometimes grow. Mckenzie has done an admirable job fielding a competitive and at times downright stingy defense, but at some point the offense will need some attention or weeds will continue to sprout.

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