After the first preseason game, the Oakland Raiders were hoping that some of their defensive line questions answered. However, defensive end Lamaar Houston and defensive tackle Pat Sims and Vance Walker did not play. Now questions about the front four being able to get pressure and have enough depth remains.
“Well obviously we haven’t had a lot of time with them, so it’s been hard to evaluate, but my anticipation is that they would be the starters and that they would see significant action,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said of Sims and Walker. “But I think always with the defensive line, the key is to be able to roll through guys and keep them all fresh.”
Sims, Houston, and Walker are viewed as starting quality linemen so the product the Raiders put on the field Friday was not what they envision come the regular season. However, they are going to need contributions from defensive ends Jason Hunter and Andre Carter as well as Jack Crawford and Christo Bilukidi. Rookie Stacy McGee and David Bass also could be members of the rotation. At times, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo had exorbitant amounts of time to sit in the pocket. Coming to the second preseason game against the New Orleans Saints Friday, Bilukidi and McGee will see increased reps to prove their worth.
“They still have a lot of improvement to do, but it was good for those guys to get in and get a lot of reps,” Allen said of the duo. “My anticipation is that they’ll get a lot of reps again this week against New Orleans, and I think the more work they get, the better they’re going to be.”
The Raiders finished last season with only 25 sacks and not many more quarterback hurries. The team focused this offseason on improving the secondary and linebacking corps, but they all work in unison with the defensive line. With only three games remaining before they count, the Raiders will keep a close eye on the next games to see some players step up. The second preseason game will see the defensive linemen playing longer for a clearer picture of who can contribute.
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