ALAMEDA -- The Raiders have revamped their linebacker corps.
Gone are the likes of Philip Wheeler and Rolando McClain and Omar Gaither. And as Oakland went through its rookie camp this past weekend, the Raiders had 11 linebackers on their roster, most of whom play on the outside.
So, of course, the thinking is that a switch in defensive scheme is coming, right? Well…
"We're basing out of a 4-3, just like we did last year," coach Dennis Allen said Saturday. "But we're going to have the ability to have some 3-4 looks, and being able to implement those things and try to make them as simple as we can for our players, as well as try to make it complicated for the offense."
Oakland has signed unrestricted free agents in Nick Roach, Kaluka Maiava and Kevin Burnett. The Raiders also drafted Sio Moore in the third round out of UConn and he can also play as a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end on rushing downs. Weakside linebacker Miles Burris return after starting 15 games as a rookie.
"I think a lot of people look at (us like), Well they've got this linebacker, they've got (that) linebacker," Allen added. "We're stacked at linebacker. And now all of a sudden we're going to a 3-4? Well, that's not really necessarily the case. I mean, when you look at the team, you've got to develop depth across the team and fortunately for us, we feel good about the linebacker situation."
Meaning, many of your key special teams players are backup linebackers, as well as defensive backs and taught ends.
"And when you really look at it," Allen said, "the quickest way we're going to help this football team is improving the special teams."
Another way to look at it, albeit in May? Perhaps the Raiders go base 4-3 on obvious running downs and flip to a 3-4 on passing downs.