Raiders focused on making more interceptions after finishing last in 2017


The Raiders have seven interceptions in their organized team activities. That’s two more than Oakland had last season when it finished last in the league.

“This is what we want to be about for the whole 2018 season,” cornerback Rashaan Melvin said, via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. “With those guys out there making those plays, you see all 11 guys flying to the [football], that’s a great habit to have.”

How bad were the Raiders at intercepting opposing quarterbacks last season?

Safety Karl Joseph‘s interception in Week 14 was the first by a defensive back last season; Sean Smith had two against Dallas the following week, which were the only interceptions by a cornerback all season.

“We made a big emphasis on turning the ball over,” new Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said. “Obviously, it’s a big part of what we talk about in our meeting rooms. Turning the ball over, getting it back to our offense. We’ve had some opportunities and you see the guys are getting excited about it. It’s good to see that they’re all running down there, chasing the guy after he intercepts the ball. It’s been good. We’ve gotten our hands on a lot of balls, we just have to catch them more.”

The Raiders added safety Marcus Gilchrist and cornerbacks Melvin and Daryl Worley among others. They see the return of cornerback Gareon Conley, who missed 14 games with a shin injury, and safety Obi Melifonwu, who played only five games as a rookie because of ankle and hip injuries.

Thus, Oakland is confident it’s interception numbers will rise this season. Then again, it’s hard to be much worse than they were last season.