At this point in the 2013 NFL season, the most impressive and surprising thing about the Oakland Raiders is the defense. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor may get a lot of the credit for the team’s resurgence as of late, but the defense has been key to the storied franchise starting to turn it around in Oakland.
One member of the defense that is starting to make an impression is rookie linebacker Sio Moore. Although Moore made an impression during the preseason, the rookie has taken a backseat during the regular season until his breakout performance against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6.
Defensive Coordinator Jason Tarver praised Moore for his performance against the Chiefs, but wants to continue seeing improvement moving forward via Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com:
“That was the best game that he’s played,” Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. “He’s just got to keep that arrow going up. But, he’s starting to do some things that we thought he could do — using his hands and setting edges. And that’s what he needs to do to be consistent.”
In five games, Moore has only recorded five tackles and 1.0 sack, but put constant pressure on Alex Smith in Week 6. Moore forced Smith out of the pocket four times and embarrassed the Chiefs’ No. 1 overall pick in Eric Fisher. Moore’s best play by far was getting the game off to a great start by sacking Smith.
Needless to say, Moore is making a difference in Oakland this season as the defense continues to play well while keeping this team in games on a weekly basis.
The defense might be coming into its own under Tarver with promising young players like Moore, Lamarr Houston and D.J. Hayden leading the way, but the offense needs to step up moving forward. Pryor is coming off his worst game as a starter and the offensive line has been decimated by injuries.
As long as this team starts to get healthy and continues to improve, the Raiders may still be in the hunt for a playoff spot in the AFC.