The Oakland Raiders defense has quietly started to gel over the past month.
However, the unit was so out of sync at the start of the season due to so many new players that defensive coordinator Jason Tarver actually had to resort to game film to show his team how to properly celebrate good plays together.
“This team, with the collection of guys that we started this year (with), really didn’t celebrate together,” Tarver said Thursday after practice. “There might be a good play, but everybody turns around and walks back to the huddle. That’s not defense. That’s not the Raiders.”
He and the staff cut up some game film in Week 3 and showed the players that they looked like they were doing their taxes.
“Now, we don’t need to have a 20-second celebration when we’ve got to use a timeout, but we learn from that,” Tarver said. “Celebrating together and working together with that like kind of passion, that’s defensive football and we’ve grown a lot.”
While it may sound slightly silly, it’s also helping the unit come together. Raiders rookie defensive tackle Justin Ellis recalled Tarver’s celebration film study fondly:
“I thought it was cool. He wants us to feed off each other’s energy and keep it going.”
Of course, it definitely helps that the Raiders actually have things to celebrate as of late. The team may be 2-11 but their two wins have come over the past three weeks (we’ll ignore the 52-0 beat down that the Rams gave Oakland on November 30th). Now, the team will just have to work on not wasting timeouts due to celebrating a stop too much.