Skip to main content

Breakdown: Aaron Curry to the weak side

It comes as a bit of a surprise that the Raiders will start Aaron Curry after just one practice with his new team. What was almost as surprising was that the Raiders will move Curry to the weak side. Curry replaces Quentin Groves as the starter.

The Raiders obviously believe Curry was miscast as a strong-side linebacker in the 4-3 and flipped him over the weak side. What's the difference between the two positions in the Raiders 4-3? The weak-side linebacker in the Raiders defensive scheme is responsible for basically three things.

Clog running lanes. The weak-side linebacker needs to keep the opposing running back from turning the corner on running plays and he needs to make tackles in the running lane. Curry has shown he is solid against the run and should be effective in this role. Groves has been inconsistent diagnosing the correct running lanes and has been unable to turn the run inside when a lineman engages him. This is undoubtedly Curry's strength.

Cover the flat. In the passing game the weak-side linebacker has the role of covering the flat. In man coverage this would typically be a back coming out of the backfield, but it could also be a wide receiver screen or a tight end short out in zone coverage. As a strong-side linebacker Curry struggled in coverage on the strong side, mainly in zone coverage where he was required to back-peddle into a middle zone and in man coverage against the opposing tight end. Curry will now play with everything in front of him and his only coverage responsibility will be a back in the flat in man coverage alignments. If the Raiders go into zone alignments Curry would gain more coverage responsibility in the flat, but would not have to sink into a zone as flat plays develop quickly. Curry has the quickness to get to the flat consistently and in the Raiders scheme and as a weak-side linebacker Curry will not have to do the things he does poorly.

Backside pursuit/cutback protection. The last responsibility of the weak-side linebacker is chasing down running plays and short pass plays on the opposite side of the field. This requires the linebacker to be the fastest of the three linebackers in a 4-3 defense. He'll need to fight through blockers occasionally and protect against a cutback. The strong-side linebacker tries to seal the edge and the middle linebacker tries to shoot the running lane to bring down the runner, so the weak-side linebacker needs to protect against a cutback when Rolando McClain "chooses" the wrong running lane.

I've gone back and watched some of Curry's best games as a professional. He's had success against the 2010 49ers, Bears, Broncos and Cardinals and the 2009 Bears, Jaguars and 49ers. These teams were are all passing deficient teams with running backs that lack elite speed, but thrive on cutback runs. Curry wasn't required to cover much in the best games. If the Raiders can keep him out of coverage, particularly middle zones and in one-on-one situations they might have themselves a pretty good linebacker.

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Oakland Raiders Swing for the Fences in 2016 NFL Draft

[embed align="center"]http://gty.im/153039819[/embed]
These aren't your daddy's Oakland Raiders or even your younger self's Raiders. If anything, these are your newborn's Raiders or your puppy's Raiders. These are the Raiders we've never seen before.

Indicative of the freshness of the franchise was their 2016 NFL Draft. No longer slave to a high draft pick and desperate needs, the theme of the draft for the Raiders was upside.

It's as if general manager Reggie McKenzie got so used to hitting his draft picks out of the park that he started swinging for the fences. We'll have to wait a couple of years before we know if he struck out or if he'll continue his Ruthian ways.

First, McKenzie boldly went with a safety at No. 14 overall. Kyle Joseph is coming off a torn ACL and fills a major need, but safety isn't a premium position. Only a handful of safeties have been drafted in the first 14 picks in the last 15 years and include names like Earl …

Final 53-Man Roster Prediction

The Oakland Raiders will trim their roster to 53 players today. Expect them to make at least two waiver claims Sunday to address needs at defensive back and on the offensive line. As such, there are a couple guys on this final roster who could be waived on Sunday and could subsequently find their way onto the team's practice squad.

As is, I've included a list of players who are candidates for the practice squad. There is some positional imbalance on the 53-man roster as I expect the Raiders to balance it out with a few waiver claims.

[table id=8 /]

The Raiders aren't who we thought they were....they're better

The Oakland Raiders are tired of being the team that will be good in a year or two. The team expects to win now and it is winning now.

We thought the Raiders needed more talent. We thought that being in the playoff hunt was a year away for this team, but we were wrong. This isn't the team we thought they were, they're better.

On Sunday, they moved to 3-3 on Sunday with a 37-29 win over the San Diego Chargers that wasn't close until the final minute. It was also the Raiders second road win of the season. The last time the Raiders had two road wins by their sixth game was 2011. Before that, a five-year streak from 1998-2002.

The Raiders went 8-8 in 1998, 1999 and 2011 and narrowly missed the playoffs each year.  They made the playoffs in 2000, 2001 and 2002. They didn't have a losing record in any of those seasons because teams that can win on the road are usually pretty good.

As the season matures, there is more and more evidence that some of the "best-case scenarios&q…