General manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen hoped that the turnover would translate to a better run defense after allowing 107.9 yards on the ground last year, 20th in the NFL.
This is why the Raiders struggles against the run have come as a surprise to Allen and company.
“Yeah, I’m a little surprised because that’s been an area that we’ve been fairly decent at over the last couple of years,” Allen said after Sunday’s game. “We’ve face a couple of good backs the first two weeks of the season but it all starts up front with our ability to stop the run and we have to do a better job stopping the run.”
The Raiders defense got off to a horrible start in week one, allowing the New York Jets to run for a total of 212 rushing yards (6.0 yards per carry).
The struggles certainly continued as the Raiders went home for their first home game of the season, losing 30-14 against the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Houston running back Arian Foster got off to a big start early with a 41-yard run right through the middle of the Raiders defense, going all the way down to the one-yard line before being tackled.
Foster wound up carrying the ball 28 times for 138 yards (4.9 yards per carry) and one touchdown for the entire game. This includes some key runs, such as one run on 3rd and goal from the five yard line where he went nearly untouched up the middle for a touchdown. He also had a draw play on 3rd and 9 in which he bursted up the middle for 16 yards and a first down.
As a team, the Houston Texans rushed for 188 yards with a 4.1 yards per carry for the entire game.
Veteran linebacker LaMarr Woodley didn’t have an answer right away for the Raiders problems, but has a pretty good idea of what they need to do better.
“I really can’t say right now,” Woodley said after Sunday’s game. “Usually when it’s a big gap like that there’s usually somebody out their gap or somebody missing tackles. Without looking at film, those are the only two things you can really say right away.”
The Raiders have played their first two games without starting middle linebacker Nick Roach who remains out from a concussion that he suffered in week three of preseason.
Allen won’t use that as an excuse.
“I think that’s a factor, but we’re all professionals here and we need to do a better job there,” Allen said about his run defense.”