The Seattle Seahawks capped off an incredible season with a dominating 43-8 Super Bowl XLVIII win over the Denver Broncos. Seattle was in a similar position to the Oakland Raiders finishing with a 4-12 record, then a 5-11 record in 2008 and 2009. Seattle turned it around by building a fantastic, physical defense capable of taking over game.
With the rebuilding process underway in Oakland, the Raiders brought in two defensive minded leaders to run the team. General manager Reggie McKenzie comes from a defensive background as a former linebacker. Head coach Dennis Allen is a former defensive coordinator and grew up in the league on the defensive side of the ball. The Raiders front office and staff have been unable to really put their stamp on this team because of salary cap woes and limited resources to bring in players. This is the first offseason where McKenzie and Allen will have the ability to hand select free agents to make a run at. Chances are they will build through the defense.
Oakland also has a glaring hole at quarterback which is as important to fill. However, the Raiders need to go the defensive route to get back into contention quickly. For the Seahawks, they hit on late round draft picks and made hundreds of transactions to rebuild their roster. The Raiders are in a similar situation. Because of their cap issues, they could only get players on one or two year deals. They did not have a first round draft choice in two of the last three seasons. It is a roster void of talent.
Even though defense is the background of the coach and general manager, the product of the field has been awful. The Raiders have finished near the bottom of the league in defense both seasons with Allen as the head coach. They made slim improvements this season, but that came with 10 new starters on defense. They will again be rebuilding the defense this offseason. Continuity is important especially on defense, so guys can development chemistry and a comfort playing with each other. That is the task this offseason. The Raiders have the cap space and 2014 NFL Draft picks to build a defense to last. Now they have to find the right combination of players for them to make it work.
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