MIAMI – Raiders need more from Bruce Irvin.
Head coach Jon Gruden made that clear last week. The effort is there, Gruden said, but production isn’t at a level required to generate pressure on the quarterback.
He was right. Irvin had two pressures through two games, a strip sack in the opener a quarterback hit in Week 2.
He didn’t have a ton of opportunities on a hot, humid day where the Raiders played just 44 defensive snaps. He played 26 downs in Sunday’s 28-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins, just 59 percent of the overall total.
A heavy rotation continued up front, but those spelling Irvin didn’t offer much. Shilique Calhoun wasn’t in the right spot subbing for Irvin in the third quarter and Jakeem Grant blew right by him for an 18-yard touchdown.
Irvin played a lot more for the previous coaching staff, who used him and edge rusher Khalil Mack on virtually every down.
Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther prefers keeping guys fresh, but Irvin and Frostee Rucker are the team’s best edge run defenders. He’s definitely their best edge pass rusher, and Raiders need him to find his way back to the quarterback.
The coaching staff seems committed to starting captain Reggie Nelson and playing him regularly, though it will be interesting to see if Erik Harris can chip away at Nelson’s snaps as the season progresses.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie rotated in on defense as he did in Week 1, taking series from Gareon Conley and Rashaan Melvin. Raiders cornerbacks have been the steadiest part of an ailing defense that can’t hold strong for four quarters.
The receiver corps also got shaken up some in Miami. Seth Roberts played significant snaps the first two games but was a healthy scratch on Sunday. Martavis Bryant pushed him down on the priority list, and now it seems veteran Brandon LaFell has caught up quick enough to start earning more playing time.
The total number of snaps is also of note. The Raiders dominated time of possession, holding the ball more than 17 minutes longer than the opposition and only totaled 20 points. The Dolphins, by contrast, used some trickery to create big plays and efficient scores in only 44 plays.
The Raiders allowed five plays of 20-plus yards, including three touchdowns from at least 34 yards out.
That will get you beat. So will struggles in the red zone, where the Raiders were 2-for-5 with an interception and a turnover on downs.
Total offensive snaps: 76
Quarterback – Derek Carr 76
Running back – Marshawn Lynch 42, Jalen Richard 20, Keith Smith 19, Doug Martin 13
Wide receiver – Amari Cooper 60, Jordy Nelson 55, Maratvis Bryant 35, Brandon LaFell 33, Dwayne Harris 2
Tight end – Jared Cook 62, Lee Smith 19, TE Derek Carrie 18
Offensive line – Gabe Jackson 76, Kolton Miller 76, Rodney Hudson 76, Kelechi Osemele 76, T.J. Clemmings 58, Donald Penn 18, Jon Feliciano 2
Total defensive snaps: 44
Defensive line – Clinton McDonald 34, Maurice Hurst 28, Bruce Irvin 26, Johnathan Hankins 23, Forstee Rucker 22, Arden Key 19, Fadol Brown 14, Shilique Calhoun 9
Linebacker – Tahir Whitehead 44, Marquel Lee 28, Derrick Johnson14, Emmanuel Lamur 11, Nicholas Morrow 2
Defensive back – Reggie Nelson 39, Rashaan Melvin 33, Leon Hall 33, Marcus Gilchrist 33, Gareon Conley 31, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie 24, Erik Harris 17, Karl Joseph 1
Total special teams plays: 23
Lee 23, Rodgers-Cromartie 22, Harris 22, Kyle Wilber 22, Carrier 19, K. Smith 18, Morrow 18, Harris 16, Calhoun 14, Mike Nugent 9, Melvin 9, L. Smith 9Gilchrist 8, Richard 8, Johnny Townsend 7, Trent Sieg 7, Lamur 6, Whitehead 5, Nelson 5, McDonald 5, Irvin 4, Rucker 4, Key 4, Miller 4, Feliciano 4, Jackson 4, Osemele 4, Clemmings 4, Joseph 3, Conley 2, Brown 1, Nelson 1, LaFell 1, Penn 1