The man in charge of leading the Las Vegas Raiders defense, Paul Guenther, shared some early training camp observations. He talks about how the team’s young defensive players have come along.
With so much talk surrounding Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, it’s easy to forget about the defense. Carr can certainly play better, but it’s the Silver and Black defense the one that really needs to step it up. This past season, the defensive coordinators unit ranked 19th in total yards, and 24th in points.
Guenther doesn’t even have to field an elite defense. As long as he can turn it into a middle-of-the-pack unit and make stops when necessary, they will give the Raiders a fighting chance. To help him, the Silver and Black added plenty of talent these last two years. In 2019, they drafted cornerback Trayvon Mullen, defensive end Maxx Crosby and defensive tackle Clelin Ferrell. This past offseason, they selected Damon Arnette among others, and signed defensive tackle Maliek Collins. Moreover, EDGE Arden Key seems to be backing up his talk.
Steadily, the Raiders have given Guenther plenty of talent to work with. Furthermore, defensive line coach Rod Marinelli’s addition should facilitate the defensive coordinator’s job. Moving forward, there’s no reason to believe the defense can’t be significantly better than they were in 2019.
An early assessment of the Las Vegas Raiders players on defense
In his latest press conference, Guenther talked some of the Raiders defensive players and how they’re coming along. He started with first-round cornerback Damon Arnette and how talented he is. Recently, a video of him making a play surfaced on Social Media, and the defensive coach says that’s the kind of play the team expects him to make.
“He’s a talented corner, that’s why we drafted him. He is not scared, he is real patient at the line of scrimmage, he trusts his speed and his technique. That’s really what we expect each and every day when he goes out there. I don’t understand, it was a good play but that’s what he is supposed to do, and that is why we brought him here, and we are excited to have him.”
Later, he moved on to undrafted free agent Javin White. The UNLV standout has been getting a lot of praise and recognition, but Guenther believes we have to take the hype down a notch. As good as White is, he’s going through the normal growing pains a player in his position would.
“He has done a nice job for us, he still has a long way to go. It’s a natural progression as a rookie linebacker trying to learn some of the different coverages, the run fits and all that stuff. He’s a good communicator in there, he’s still learning, he has a lot of good play and a play he has to clean up. He’s a typical rookie guy that has some talent and we’re excited to work with.”
Arden Key has walked the talk
It wasn’t long ago when Key talked about how he was going to do things the “Arden Key” way and how the best is yet to come. So far, he has been able to live up to his own words. Observers have noted the EDGE defender has been terrific in practice and Guenther acknowledged as much.
“I just think he’s got his weight where he needs to have it. He is a lot quicker, he wasn’t playing bad before he got hurt last year. He just got hurt early in the season. I just think he came in, he understands he’s in his third year, and he’s not satisfied with what he’s done so far. I’m glad he’s got a chip on his shoulder and we’re looking for big things from him. I hope he’s having a great year this year.”
It’s too early to tell if the Raiders defense has turned the corner. However, early indications are that there is evidence of progress. If the Silver and Black wants to have a good defense, they have to keep taking small steps and not get whatever sign of improvement get in their heads.
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