At this point, it’s no secret that the Las Vegas Raiders are wildly disappointed in their defense from 2020. The team finished 30th in scoring defense by allowing 29.9 points per game. That led to the firing of defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.
There’s a real chance the Raiders would have made the playoffs this season had it not been for a few defensive meltdowns. The team had late fourth-quarter leads against the Chiefs, Chargers and Dolphins that the defense let slip away. The players have had to endure a ton of criticism over how the defense has performed and it appears starting cornerback Trayvon Mullen is fed up with it.
Well, the Raiders had a top-10 offense and a bottom-three defense. Obviously, the defense is going to take the majority of the criticism for the failed season. With new leadership taking over, it’s time for the defense to pick things up. Mullen will be an important player if the Raiders are hoping to turn things around.
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Mike Mayock Recently Had Harsh Words for Defense
The Raiders haven’t made any effort to hide their disappointment with the defense. They know the group had a rough year and they need to play better. General manager Mike Mayock recently had some really tough words for the defense.
“The way we look at it, or at least the way I look at it, is last year we did not have a dynamic playmaker at any level,” Mayock said. “And that’s hard when you go in a game every Sunday and they don’t have to specifically game plan for any one player.”
Mayock is absolutely correct but he’s definitely blunter than you’d expect from a general manager. He also called out the younger players.
“It’s time for them to start playing,” Mayock said. “And at the end of the day, they need to be a lot more consistent. And, again, COVID year, a lot of injuries — I get it. But we’ve got to demand more from them next year.”
The Raiders have invested a lot of draft picks and money into finding defensive talent. Unfortunately, the team has yet to find an impact player on defense. This offseason is critical.
Can the Raiders Fix This Defense?
While new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley is a good coach, this will probably be the toughest job he’s had yet. The Raiders have been bad on defense for over a decade now. Even well respected defensive coaches Dennis Allen and Jack Del Rio couldn’t fix the defense.
The Raiders have done a very bad job of drafting on defense. The team has drafted 15 defensive players in the first round of the draft since 2000. Only Nnamdi Asomugha and Khalil Mack made Pro Bowls. That’s a terrible track record of drafting defensive players. Recent first-round picks Clelin Ferrell, Johnathan Abram and Damon Arnette also don’t look like Pro Bowl-level players right now. The only way the Raiders are going to turn the defense around is if they’re able to start drafting the right ones.