Sunday, January 1, 2012

Everyone Wants to Blame Bresnahan

Raiders coaches, fans, haters and Raiders players themselves can all agree on one thing.  The defense just does not get the job done.  This has been a problem for many years.  We can talk alignments and strategy all day but it comes down to personnel decisions of years past catching up with reality.

Al Davis signed several players to big money deals that did not work out.  I have written about this in an article Raiders Defensive Line By the Numbers.  We don't even half to rehash all of the horrible signings Al is responsible for.  DeAngelo Hall, Gibril Wilson, the list goes on.  There is no denying all of that spending to marginal players (with the exception of Richard Seymour) has hurt not only the Raiders spending ability but their flexibility in bringing in good players to backfill the mistakes.

With just a few exceptions such as Tyvon Branch and a resurgent Michael Huff, there has not been any real consistency on defense. What happened to Lamarr Houston?  He was an animal for a while and is now invisible.  Injuries have taken their toll no doubt.  Matt Shaughnessy was doing well and has been out.  Trevor Scott has not gotten the playing time after showing promise as a sackmaster.  I will also admit Tommy Kelly has lived up to his contract after all.  I doubted his big money signing when it happened as did most everyone else but I will eat some crow.  He has played well.

But Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour is not enough.  Signing a flameout in Aaron Curry is not going to cut it.  A shutdown corner like Nnamdi was not enough.  Bringing in a great former player in Rod Woodson to coach the secondary was not enough to salvage a crumbling defensive backfield.  You'll get some decent plays here and there from guys like Matt Gioradano and (ugh) Stanford Routt when he is not negating his successes with penalties. I'm not so sure Mike Mitchell is anything but a bull in a china shop.  You can change defensive coordinators and alignments.  You can blitz more.  None of it will change the lack of depth and talent to compensate for bad personnel decisions by Al Davis.

What is worse is no matter how hard the front office has tried to fix this such as drafting Rolando McClain in the first round, there are just too many holes to fill on defense every year. So if you are looking for someone to blame, don't point the finger at Chuck Bresnahan.  The guy is as adequate a defensive coordinator as there is in the business.  The problem is/was with Al Davis.  Just as it always has been.

The franchise has a chance to fix this but not in next year's draft.  The Raiders have sparse picks to be had there. They have no choice but to mine the waiver wire and see what they can haul as far as trades and free agency.

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