There is one team in the NFL that has yet to intercept a pass: the Raiders.
Opponents have attempted 246 passes this season, completed 171, and none have ended up in the hands of a Raiders defender.
The Raiders defense simply doesn’t make life difficult for offenses. They have forced turnovers on just 3.7 percent of opponent drives, the lowest in the NFL. The Raiders sack rate of 4.7 percent is the fifth worst in the NFL.
“We understand that there’s a certain process,” defensive coordinator Ken Norton said. “There’s a certain technique. There’s certain defenses that you call. It’s about mastering your defense, mastering your technique. Then putting yourself in position to make plays. Study well. Watching a lot of film. Really understand the formations that you’re getting. I think that the process of being smart and adding your hustle and your enthusiasm to it, it puts you in a position to make plays. You have to obviously play the defense, work with your teammates. Anticipate plays and then make your plays.”
But the Raiders aren’t making plays. And as a result opponents are scoring on 43.9 percent of drives, the second highest mark in the league. While the offense continues to struggle, the Raiders defense is providing no resistance.
But Sunday night brings a matchup with a horrible offense in the Miami Dolphins and could see the Raiders finally pick off a pass.
“If you’ve been around a long time, you know (interceptions) come in bunches,” Norton said. “Sometimes you get them really fast. Sometimes they come over a period of time. Sometimes you get none and then they all come. You have to understand and believe in your principles. You have to understand and believe in your fundamentals and the way you work and the way you practice and know it’s going to come. Sometimes you just don’t see things, but you know, you have faith that your work ethic and your principles and the things that have got you to this point. You’re here for a reason. It’s going to come. We know it’s going to come. It’s just about working, keeping the belief and knowing that we know what’s out there. It’s just a matter of when. We’d like to see it sooner, but we aren’t in charge of when it comes. We’re ready to roll.”
This Sunday might be when the interceptions come in bunches. Between Matt Moore and Jay Cutler, the Dolphins have thrown nine interceptions this season, fourth most in the NFL.
The Dolphins have been shut out twice this season and have scored more than 20 points just once.
A new name will surface in the Raiders secondary this week as Obi Melifonwu will make his NFL debut. Melifonwu, a safety out of UConn, was drafted in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft. He has yet to play this season, as he was placed on injured reserve to start the season.
But now the rookie will make his debut and have a chance to do something his teammates haven’t done all season and intercept a pass.
Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.