After having been a non-factor for most of the season, Las Vegas Raiders safety Jeff Heath came up huge when it mattered against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Heath, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys, was brought in by Raiders brass to help shore up the safety position. Having been a solid contributor on special teams, Heath was to provide depth for Las Vegas. There was no doubt the Raiders were going with Johnathan Abram and Erik Harris as their starters in 2020. However, the team lacked quality depth in the backfield.
While Heath had been relatively quiet, when the team needed a big play on Sunday, boy did he show up. Intercepting Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes helped solidify the Raiders’ best defensive effort this year.
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Raiders And Heath Getting Love This Week
Pro Football Focus analyzes the entire NFL after each Sunday as they update their “team of the week.” This didn’t come as a surprise for Raider Nation but Heath was named as one of the starting safeties.
In fact, PFF gave Heath an overall grade of 92.4 for his Week 5 performance, the highest of all safeties who played 20-plus snaps. Talking to Mike Florio earlier this week, Heath elaborated on the Raiders’ defensive performance from his perspective. Though Heath was careful to not reveal much of the Raiders gameplan. He emphasized that besides having to account for Mahomes’ arm, the Raiders must at all times account for where number 10 is, where number 17 is, where 87 is, how they can use those guys.
A savvy veteran, Heath admitted that Sunday’s win was big but the team has to remain focused. The bye week allows you to celebrate a little bit longer as Heath alluded to. But Las Vegas can not lose focus with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming up. Though not starting, the Raiders now know Heath can come in any play and possibly deliver a knockout blow.
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*Top Photo: Associated Press