Free agency is always a good way to improve and reinforce different areas on a team. The Las Vegas Raiders used this period to sign defensive tackle Maliek Collins this past offseason. The addition made sense since he played under defensive line coach Rod Marinelli during his time with the Dallas Cowboys. So far, Collins hasn’t had the impact the Silver and Black thought he would have heading into the season.
It made sense for the Raiders to add Maliek Collins
We can discuss how effective their strategy is, but the Raiders have been aggressive in free agency these past two seasons. They brought in safety Lamarcus Joyner, wide receiver Tyrell Williams, and Trent Brown in 2019. This year, they signed defensive end Carl Nassib, safety Jeff Heath, linebackers Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski, and Collins on defense.
The Raiders registered 32 sacks in 2019 after recording just 13 the year before. Their 2020 free-agent additions would strengthen their front four and make them even more stout. The move made sense in theory as Collins and Nassib would join a group that included defensive tackle Maurice Hurst and ascending defensive end Maxx Crosby. Nevertheless, the Silver and Black are waiting on both to deliver.
Collins isn’t a Pro Bowl-caliber player and expecting him to be one would be foolish. However, he showed growth and became a solid contributor in his last year with the Cowboys. He accounted for 48 quarterback pressures in 2019, more than the entire Raiders defense and Pro Football Focus gave him the eight best grade as an interior defender: Moreover, ESPN says the defensive tackle had the fourth-best win rate among defensive linemen even though he was double-teamed 64 percent of his snaps.
We are now waiting for Collins to produce
Collins displayed last year he can be proficient at rushing the passer. Nevertheless, he has failed to have an impact on the Raiders this year. In two games with the Silver and Black, the defensive tackle has posted two tackles, that’s it. He hasn’t registered a sack and has one hit to his name. The team’s brass surely wants more out of him and head coach Jon Gruden has talked to him about playing better.
“Maliek and I just had a meeting. He’s going to play better. I think he’s trying to do too much right now. I think he’s trying his best. I really like his effort, but we expect a lot more, obviously, and I’m confident we’ll get that from him.”
The Raiders defensive front four hasn’t had much success these past three games. As a team, they have registered three sacks and 491 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. The unit must play better if the defense wants to stop giving up points, they have allowed 90 points this season or 30 per game. They simply can’t afford to give up as many points if they want to compete for a playoff spot.
The Raiders defense is currently a work in progress and many players are responsible for it. Collins needs to play the way he did in 2019 to give them a fighting chance.
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*Top Photo: AP Photo/John Locher, Pool