One of the biggest free-agent acquisitions for the Las Vegas Raiders was linebacker Cory Littleton. Unfortunately, he has yet to have the impact the team desired.
Dropping big money on free agents doesn’t always necessarily translate into victories. On the other hand, it does show that a team is serious about improving. For the Raiders, they knew that their linebacker corps needed a lot of help, so they signed Littleton in the offseason. Arguably the biggest acquisition, Littleton has yet to make the impact that the team had surely hoped for. There could be a myriad of reasons for this as we don’t always see the intricacies of a team, especially in such an odd year. The lack of a regular training camp and no preseason surely didn’t help Littleton get acclimated to his rule in a new defense. In his previous team, the Los Angeles Rams, Littleton played in a 3-4 defense. Under Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, he’s playing in a 4-3 scheme.
Maybe The Raiders Just Need To Give Littleton More Time?
This could all be a case of Littleton needing more time to adjust and familiarize himself in his new setting. He recently said, “It’s just progression with time, you know?” Needing time to get everyone up to speed with so many new faces is also a challenge. The Raiders also added linebackers Nick Kwiatkoski and Raekwon McMillan this offseason meaning they completely overhauled their linebacker corps. Guenther himself admitted this was an issue, “We have more (new players) than normal. We’ve got to get those guys caught up to speed.”
For his part, Littleton has played in 196 total snaps per Pro Football Focus. In coverage, he has accounted for 98 snaps and has received a 33.3 grade, not good for his price tag. A run defense grade of 36.0 on 84 snaps defending the run isn’t that much better. If the Raiders want any real shot at winning any of their next two games, Littleton must have an impact, quick, fast, and in a hurry.
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*Top Photo: Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal