Oakland Raiders Free Agency: Building up

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Rey Maualuga

The Raiders’ greatest weakness is the inside/middle linebacker position and will go nowhere until they can stop the run. And it just so happens that Rey Maualuga has become a free agent right after head coach Jack Del Rio hired Ken Norton Jr. as defensive coordinator.

This is huge because Norton Jr. was Maualuga’s position coach when he starred for the USC Trojans. And though he may not have coached him, Del Rio will have a gravitational pull because they are both former Trojans linebackers. And for those of you that want to bring out Maualuga’s missed tackles stats and coverage, read on.

The Bengals were 8-3-1 with Maualuga starting at middle linebacker, giving up 3.6 yards per carry and 2.2 yards before contact per carry according to ESPN stats. When Maualuga was out of the lineup, the Bengals were 2-2 in 2014, giving up 4.9 yards per carry and 3.4 yards per carry before contact.

Not all missed tackles are created equally so you can’t treat his the way you treat Miles Burris’. Maualuga can see a play is coming, blow it up, not quite make the tackle but someone else does and it’s a missed tackle. That’s exactly what happened when he made the play on the safety the Bengals scored on the Houston Texans in November.

Next: Julius Thomas