Raiders having something of a historic defensive collapse

Ezra Shaw

The Raiders' defense has been a big problem the past two games, and doesn't seem like it's getting any better.

Not a lot has gone right for the 3-6 Oakland Raiders this season. But nothing has gone right for the Raiders in their past two losses, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Baltimore Ravens.

The Raiders' defense is in its worst stretch of the season, giving up a total of 97 points in the past two games. Last Sunday, the Ravens topped the Raiders, 55-20. The 55 points ties the mark for the most points scored against a Raiders team in history.

The week prior, in a 42-32 loss to the Buccaneers, running back Doug Martin rushed for 254 yards and four touchdowns. The defense lately has been so bad it hasn't even given a chance for Carson Palmer and company to have a chance to win the game.

As Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury writes, the Raiders' ineptness at defense is almost to the point of job security.

The GM has already started a mini-purge of overpaid, under-performing players; by next offseason, I'd imagine that it will be nearly complete -- and expensive players such as [Tommy] Kelly, Richard Seymour and Rolando McClain could be on the chopping block.

Even the Raiders' players are admitting their faults on defense. Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly told Kawakami that the Raider D is like a broken dam. "You put your finger in one hole, two or three more holes pop up," he said.

Defensive back Michael Huff echoed Kelly's sentiment, telling Kawakami the Raiders are as hot and cold as it gets.

"When we play our defense, we're good-good in spurts," Huff said. "But when we're bad, we're bad. We're either all good or all bad."

Kawakami puts the blame on both the players and coaching staff, citing a lack of talent in the players' end. But he is extra critical of the coaches, who seem to be doing an even poorer job with what they've been given.

But other questions have to focus on Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver; they're drawing up the schemes and they're directing the players.

And mistakes continue to be made. Awful, TD-allowing mistakes.

There is a lack of talent, sure, but a coaching staff that can't fix mistakes now might never be able to do it.

It doesn't get any easier with the high- octane offense of the New Orleans Saints coming to town this week. The Saints don't exactly run the ball, but their passing offense under quarterback Drew Brees is as prolific as ever. They are ranked second in the NFL In passing yards per game at 303.9 yards.

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