Lamarcus Joyner says he has a better hold of the slot cornerback position heading into his second year with Las Vegas Raiders.
Lamarcus Joyner didn’t have a spectacular year one with the Raiders
The Raiders gave Joyner a four-year $42 million contract in 2019. They surely projected him to have the same kind of impact he had with the Rams the two seasons before. However, it didn’t turn out to be the case and the defensive back struggled in his first year with the Silver and Black.
Joyner was good in run support but had a hard time keeping up with opposing receivers. Pro Football Focus gave Joyner a good grade against the run but a poor coverage one. One of the reasons he likely struggled was the fact defensive coordinator Paul Guenther made him change positions. While he played safety back in Los Angeles, he took over the slot last year and will continue to have that role in 2020.
Joyner is the starter heading into the season and he seems far from being in the hot seat. Nevertheless, the Raiders have brought in rookie Amik Robertson, who could see snaps at slot cornerback if Joyner were to falter. It doesn’t seem likely now but it may be possible down the stretch.
Things should be better for Joyner moving forward
Joyner knows he struggled at times last season and didn’t point fingers at anyone. Instead, he used his latest press conference to talk about his growth as a player. He said that it takes time to learn such a complicated scheme, but is more confident now.
“I feel a lot more comfortable, almost feel like my second year again in the league. when I went to a complicated system with the Rams and Greg Williams. It takes a lot to learn with those kind of complicated systems, but I feel much more comfortable and that’s going to help me with my confidence and executing and making more plays.”
On a different note, Joyner is happy former teammate Cory Littleton joined the Raiders and had previously said good things about him to the team’s brass. He thinks the linebacker will help all be in a better position to make plays.
“Cory and I know each other for like for seasons now. We had a very good relationship in L.A. I told coach Jon Gruden and coach Paul Guenther he was a musket. With a defense like this, where you have to trust the man next to you, I think he’s very trustworthy. He’s going to allow the players at the safety and nickelback position to make a lot more plays, trusting that he will be in position to help you out with leverage.”
Joyner is not at immediate risk of losing his job, and should have a better grasp of his role in 2020. Nevertheless, it’s time for the Raiders to see a return on their investment. If Joyner’s performance isn’t on par with his salary, the Silver and Black won’t hesitate to take action. In the short term, they could bench him for Robertson. In the long run, they may resort to other measures.
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