The Las Vegas Raiders signed Nick Kwiatkoski in the offseason with the goal of improving their linebacker corps. In conjunction with Cory Littleton, the duo should patrol a unit the Silver and Black had neglected in previous years.
The Raiders revamped their linebackers unit during this past free agency period. They opted against bringing back veteran Will Compton and the often suspended Vontaze Burfict. Moreover, they released Marquel Lee. One of the reasons for such turnover was the lack of results at the position. Littleton and Kwiatkoski should change that this year.
Nick Kwiatkoski is embracing his role with the Raiders
Despite the fact this will be Kwiatkoski’s first season with the Raiders, he sounds as if he has been with the team for many seasons. On a Zoom conference, Littleton talked about his role with the team and his relationship with Littleton. Via a transcript the Raiders provided, Kwiatkoski mentioned he feels comfortable wearing the green dot. Moreover, he said the team is trying to make up for the time they couldn’t practice this past spring.
I did it a bunch in Chicago. Off and on in the time that I was there, so it’s something that I’m used to, but just for here I’m working on communicating with Cory [Littleton] — he’s right next to me, helping him with calls. Just overall communication with the defense, we lost a lot of time in spring and that’s a big part of what I’m trying to do on the field right now.
Kwiatkoski never started more than eight games in a season during his time in Chicago. Furthermore, he didn’t play more than 50 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in any year. Nevertheless, the Raiders saw enough in the linebacker to trust him with wearing the green dot. So far, he isn’t disappointing them.
Another thing working in Kwiatkoski’s favor is the rapport he’s building with his teammates and Guenther. Regarding Littleton, he says he’s “excited to play with him.” When talking about Guenther, Kwiatkoski said his first impression “was great” and he feels the same way after finally getting to meet him.
The Raiders defense should be better in 2020 after ranking 24th in points allowed last season. If they manage to finish some spots above, Kwiatkoski will be one of the reasons why.