The Las Vegas Raiders snuck away with a win this week against the Los Angeles Chargers.
That win moved them to 5-3 and has them firmly in the playoff hunt going forward.
However, Raider’s defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will need to make some adjustments if they want to stay in the hunt.
The Raiders have looked undisciplined on defense all year.
Las Vegas ranks 23rd in the league in yards allowed per game – 26th in passing and 16th in rushing.
Troubling numbers from a team that was the fourth-worst pass coverage unit in 2019, per Pro Football Focus.
Raiders signing LB Cory Littleton to three-year, $36M deal. (via @RapSheet)
— NFL (@NFL) March 17, 2020
From 2016 to 2019 with the Rams, Littleton logged a PFF coverage grade of 87.3 – second-best among all linebackers with a minimum of 200 snaps during that time.
While Guenther needs to step up, Littleton has not played to expectations.
Through 8 weeks he is ranked the least effective Raider starter per PFF.
Among all linebackers in the NFL, Littleton ranks 143rd out of 164.
With the season halfway done, it may be time to switch up Littleton’s role.
Littleton has not played well this season.
He is not playing to his standards in coverage and is already credited with 15 missed tackles.
Cory only missed 1 tackle all of last year.
Cory Littleton had only one missed tackle on 1,039 defensive snaps in 2019 pic.twitter.com/HXI5jbIOJN
— PFF (@PFF) June 16, 2020
Part of this slip could be the result of a change in the defensive scheme Littleton is playing in.
Under Wade Phillips with the Rams, Littleton typically played inside linebacker.
Cory never graded out as a good run-stopper, but that was often nullified by the presence of Aaron Donald.
In Las Vegas, Littleton is playing behind a weaker defensive line while also playing outside linebacker more frequently.
Because the Raiders linebackers were so poor in coverage last season, they may have panicked when signing Littleton.
Going from a 3-4 scheme in Los Angeles to a 4-3 scheme in Las Vegas could have been a tough transition.
Especially with COVID-19 throwing a wrench in offseason camps.