The Future of the Oakland Raiders Defense Under Jason Tarver
Jimmy Hal – May 16, 2012
A lot is expected from the Oakland Raiders defense headed into the 2012 NFL season. Ranked 28th in 2011, there is no place to go but up in 2012.
It has been a long time since the Raiders have had a truly dominant defense on a consistent level.It is time for that to change.
The Raiders finally have a defensive minded head coach in Dennis Allen, the first since Hall of Famer John Madden. Not much is known of Allen, but it is widely assumed he is the disciplinarian that will bring an attacking mentality to the defense.
To help Allen do this is another coach that many do not know much about in defensive coordinator Jason Tarver.
Tarver has an interesting background with a Bachelor degree in science. However his love for the game of football has led him into a career of coaching over the past ten years. The majority of that time was as a linebackers coach for the San Francisco 49ers, and most recently co-defensive coordinator at the University of Stanford.
At Stanford, Tarver’s defense ranked first in total defense and run defense in the Pac-12. Stopping the run has been a thorn in the Raiders side for years. Having a coordinator with a background in that area will be a sight for sore eyes.
But what exactly is Tarver’s philosophy on defense?
“Multiplicity through simplicity” are Tarver’s words in regards to the style of defense the Raiders will play. The Raiders have not committed to any base defensive scheme to the public. Instead, Tarver and Allen have promised to be “multiple”.
What does that mean for the players on defense?
Each player will be asked to do exactly what they do best. This must be music the ears of Rolando McClain and Aaron Curry. Both were considered the best linebackers in the 2009 and 2010 drafts, and both are still trying to live up to that status. They are still young players that can be the cornerstones of this defense.
Looking at the defensive line, Richard Seymour should also benefit from this versatile style of play, as he is familiar with both the 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. Lamarr Houston has primarily played defensive end in a 4-3 but was a tackle in college, yet he also has the skill set to play defensive end in a 3-4.
Certainly Tarver will use Houston in many ways. Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly may have the hardest transition, yet the coaching staff believes he can be a 3-4 nose tackle.
Looking at the 2012 NFL Draft, the Raiders spent the majority of their picks on defense.
Outside linebacker Miles Burris may be the most popular draft pick in this class and his scouting report gave him the compliment of being a versatile player, with the chance to thrive in a 3-4 or 4-3.
Sixth round pick Christo Bilukidi was the Raiders most criticized pick, yet he was impressive in his rookie mini-camp. He too is used to being used in multiple ways as he has played in three and four man fronts at Georgia State.
Tarver has his work cut out for him. But he also has a young enough defense that he can shape in his image. Though the Raiders have not committed to any base defense, they have the personnel to execute whatever they chose.
Whatever the scheme, the Raiders will strike fear in opposing offenses once again under Tarver.
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