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Raiders Missing Key 3-4 Ingredient

The Raiders public relations primed the fan base for a switch to the 3-4 defense with a story about the Raiders "evolving" defense and how the Raiders played the 3-4 during super bowl seasons.

When it comes to switching from the 4-3 defense to the 3-4 defense, there is one major factor to consider: Are the players suited for the 3-4?

This is where arguments can be made. The reality is the Raiders have tried just about everything to stop the run and still been unable to do so.

It could be blamed on players, but most of the players in the front seven have turned over or changed positions from year to year. You can't really blame the coaches, they keep changing and the result remains the same.

The only thing left to blame is the culure and the scheme. So the scheme is the next logical thing to change, as the owner doesn't see anything wrong with the culture he has created.

It would be easy to think the Raiders' man-to-man defense would make for a poor secondary, but it's the front seven that has struggled to defend the run.

One of the primary reasons for this is the current scheme requires the linebackers to make the correct read every time and make the tackle to make the play.

When the linebacker makes a mistake the running back can slip into the secondary where the defenders have their back to the play.

If the front four does a better job, it makes the linebackers job easier, but the Raiders haven't made blitzing a part of the scheme, meaning the front four must focus on the pass rush.

So the solution could be the 3-4, where the extra rusher comes from a different location each play and their isn't as much pressure on the linebackers to be perfect.

The short zones would enable the Raiders to force more turnovers and allow the defense to bend instead of having a breakdown every other drive.

Not only does this make sense, but it fits the personality of new defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan.

The Raiders roster isn't void of 3-4 experience either. Of the front seven players no fewer than six have experience in the 3-4. Among them, Richard Seymour, Kamerion Wimbley, Rolando McClain, Quentin Groves, John Henderson and Tommy Kelly.

As is, the Raiders have one major problem switching to the 3-4. They don't have the run-plugging 330+ pound squaty nose tackle that makes it all work.

If the team is serious about a scheme change they will be shopping for a nose tackle. A hybrid 4-3 and 3-4 defense makes the most sense, but even without a nose tackle you can hardly blame them for trying to make the change to stop the run.

Four quality 3-4 ends all with pass rush skills can make a huge difference in the success of the scheme as well as its ability to force turnovers.

The 3-4 might be able to remove that pebble from shoe of the Raiders defensive soul.

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