As the Oakland Raiders conclude their off season workouts before training camp in late July, the main goal for head coach Dennis Allen was to have a balance between offense and defense. Last year the Raiders offense far surpassed the production of their defense. This year the Raiders would like both units to be more consistent and effective.
“I think that, just as I said the other day, when you come off the practice field and you look at it with the naked eye and it’s not a real game life situation, sometimes it may appear that something happened and it was a big play when in reality the defensive guys, at times, were in position to make plays,” head coach Dennis Allen said after mandatory mini-camp. “I think this; I think when I look over the course of this last mini-camp and the course of the whole off-season with OTAs, there’s been a lot of give-and-take. Offensively we’ve had our good moments and then defensively we’ve had our good moments. So I think, as a head football coach, that’s the way you want it.”
During the 2011 season, the Raiders offense finished seventh in the NFL in rushing offense with 131.9 yards per game. The pass offense ranked 11th in the NFL with 247.6 yards per game and the Raiders scored 22.4 points per game good for 16th in the NFL. On the other side the defense struggled ranking 27th in the NFL in both rushing yards allowed per game at 136.1 and passing yards allowed per game at 251.4. The defense also allowed 27.1 pints per game, good for 29th in the NFL.
“You don’t want it to be too one-sided,” Allen said. “So I was pleased with both sides of the ball. I think we’ve got the ability to have some explosiveness on offense and then I think our guys are really taking to the culture and the way that we’re going to play defense.”
One of the main reasons for optimism in striking a balance between offense and defense will be the new schemes brought to the Raiders. Both the offense and defense will run new systems for the 2012 season. The organization also made a strong commitment to improve the defense this off season. They hired a former NFL defensive player as their general manager in Reggie McKenzie, followed by a former defensive coordinator in Dennis Allen as their head coach. They drafted four players on defense out of six total picks in the 2012 NFL Draft.
“It really is about, as far as the installation and what we installed, was exactly the way that we planned it,” Allen said. “But I was pleased with the way that the guys, especially later in the OTAs and really into this mini-camp, how they really got a grasp of what we were asking them to do schematically. Really kind of felt the improvement of the last couple of days.”
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