This week, the Las Vegas Raiders go to battle with one of their most long-standing rivals, the Denver Broncos. Let’s take a look at three defenders that could be key to the Silver and Black’s sixth win of the 2020 season.
Nevin Lawson Is Still Here
It is safe to assume cornerback Nevin Lawson has spent the last week attempting to douse the fires and dodge the pitchforks on his social media mentions. After all, corner Isaiah Johnson did a more than adequate job of filling in for an injured Trayvon Mullen.
Lawson was the logical answer to step in when rookie corner Damon Arnette landed on the Injured Reserve list. However, his numbers haven’t been very impressive. Through Week 9, the veteran corner has allowed a passer rating of 111.7, and 63 percent of the passes thrown his way.
So far, Lawson has recorded three pass deflections but has given up two touchdowns. The Raiders coaching staff all but shot down the idea of Lawson losing his role outright. However, keep in mind that Arnette set to return on Sunday, another poor showing could see him sliding further down the depth chart.
Nicholas Morrow to the Rescue
Starting linebacker, and top free-agent signing, Corey Littleton has landed on the reserve/COVID list. It is currently unclear whether he himself has the virus. What we know is that Nicholas Morrow will likely take over the role Littleton would have had in Week 10: Stopping Broncos tight end Noah Fant.
Morrow has his limits, but he has thrived in nickel packages and heavy passing situations. The small sample when opposing quarterbacks have targeted him coverage is a bit skewed (six passes allowed), mostly because he’s spent a lot of time in zone.
The Raiders might keep things interesting and allow Abram a few cracks at Fant. Johnson could also shadow the tight end due to his size. Then again, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther is a creature of scheme. Even if Fant splits out wide, you just might see Morrow tracking him. Here’s to hoping the Greenville standout makes the most of the opportunity and gains more playing time moving forward.
Remember Arden Key?
The Raiders’ depth will greatly come into play this week. Denver has seen tackle Garett Bolles have a quality season, even when the rest of the offensive line hasn’t exactly followed his lead. Keep in mind the Broncos are giving up nearly three sacks per game.
Arden Key has missed time due to injury. Nevertheless, his bend around the edge on passing downs will be very important to keep the Broncos offense in check. Key is still hunting for sack number one on the season and Sunday would be the perfect time to get it. It won’t be easy though, Bolles has been on a roll.
Top Photo: Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group