Friday, November 8, 2013
How will Raiders defense respond?
By Paul Gutierrez
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver insists he's "excited" to see his defense take the field again.
The embarrassing showing against the Philadelphia Eagles, in which the Raiders were torched for an NFL record-tying seven touchdown passes by Nick Foles, was more aberration than the norm, Tarver said.
"Nobody wants that taste in their mouth," Tarver said Thursday. "We've had two good days of practice.
"There are some basic things that we've done pretty well for six for sure, and part of seven weeks, and then one week we just didn't do it and that's what it comes down to. It's not what you do; it's how you do it … when you're supposed to set the edge, set the edge. When you're supposed to tackle the quarterback or the running back when they do their read scheme, tackle whichever one you're supposed to tackle. And those are the biggest things. That's it. We talk about top-down coverage every day. We had done a great job of top-down coverage for seven games, and we will come right back and do a good job of top-down coverage because we learned our lesson."
The Raiders entered that Eagles game with the No. 10-ranked total team defense in the NFL. After falling 49-20, giving up 542 yards and 21 first downs in 57 plays, they are now No. 18 heading east to play the New York Giants.
But even Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he would glean next-to-nothing from the Raiders' most recent game film.
"It makes you scratch your head, there's no doubt," Coughlin said in a conference call with Bay Area reporters. "There's a lot of evidence prior to that – let's face it, the undefeated [Kansas City] Chiefs had 216 yards of total offense against the Raiders. So yeah, you've had two teams, the [Denver] Broncos and the Eagles, who've both scored a lot of points against them and the way we look at it is that the Eagles just had one of those days -- guys falling down in coverage … DeSean Jackson runs the post route, he's well covered, the ball falls in his hands.
"So those things just happen and were prevalent on that particular day … it really was a kind of shake-your-head kind of a deal."
Tarver and his defense, meanwhile, will be facing a quarterback in Eli Manning who leads the league in interceptions with 15, but who is coming off a bye week and did not throw a pick in his previous two games.
"I just kind of have eliminated that game from my preparation," Manning said of the Raiders' loss to the Eagles. "Philadelphia caught every break and for Oakland, everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong.
"If you look at the other games this season, their defense plays at a high level. They do a good job getting pressure on quarterbacks and making plays defensively and doing a lot of good things, and not many teams have scored a lot of points on them. You have to understand that they have really good players and a good scheme and we have to play really well."
The Giants also have only the NFL's No. 30-ranked rushing attack, averaging 69.9 yards per game.
"The best part about football is you've always got that next week," Tarver said. "There are 16 weeks that you get, so you look at it, you learn, and you put it to bed and you say, ‘We've got another opportunity.'
"These guys, they're professionals … they learn from their mistakes. They want to be great, and that's how they've practiced for two days."
But will it translate on Sunday?