The Oakland Raiders have been one of the surprise teams in the NFL this season. Heading into the 2013 NFL season, most expected to see the Raiders fail to transition from Carson Palmer to Terrelle Pryor while also attempting to improve on the defensive side of the football.
After the first six weeks of the season, the Raiders are sitting at 2-4, but have played much better than anticipated with the defense being the main reason for this team’s resurgence.
Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver has played a pivotal role in reigniting the defense in Oakland. Although the addition of veteran Charles Woodson and rookie D.J. Hayden has helped tremendously, Tarver has been the reason for the success as of late.
Apparently, Tarver does
a brilliant job of simplifying complicated defensive schemes earning the praise of head coach Dennis Allen via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com:
“He’s able to take something that might seem complicated, break it down and make it as simple as you can for the players,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said of Tarver. “I think us as coaches, sometimes we over-coach. When you over-coach, you tend to slow your players down. You want to try to make it as simple as possible so that your players can play fast.”
With the defense in Oakland currently ranked at 13th overall, Tarver is definitely getting the job done with the tools he has at his disposal. The Raiders might not be very talented defensively, but it’s hard to argue with the fact that Tarver has done an incredible job thus far.
The real question from here on out is whether or not the offense can start producing consistently. Terrelle Pryor may have stepped up his game this season and turned a lot of heads in the process, but the offense has been painfully inconsistent making the strong defense play of the team go overlooked.
If the offense is able to ultimately turn it around and play up to its potential, the Raiders may be able to compete for a playoff spot in the AFC. Winning the AFC West highly unlikely if not impossible at this point with the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs both undefeated at 6-0, but Oakland clinching one of the two AFC Wild Card spots is an achievable goal.