The Las Vegas Raiders will begin the preseason this upcoming Saturday night. While we shouldn’t anticipate seeing the stars of the offense for long stretches, if we even see them at all, that won’t be the case for the other side of the ball.
This Gus Bradley helmed defense is new and hopefully very much improved, filled with new and intriguing faces. With that being said, there have been plenty of changes already ahead of Saturday’s game. In particular, there will be a couple of headlines that fans should keep an eye on with regards to the defense.
How will Clelin Ferrell and Damon Arnette respond to their rotational roles?
Speaking of changes, defensive end Clelin Ferrell and cornerback Damon Arnette have gone from first-round picks and Day 1 starters to rotational pieces. With the signings of pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Casey Hayward, Bradley gained more reliable pieces this offseason. Said pieces will plug the spots that both Ferrell and Arnette previously occupied. If there is any silver lining to this for them, playing against backups should help them show how much they’ve improved. Anything less may have the Raiders’ brass wondering if they squandered draft capital yet again.
Who is the vocal leader of this Raiders defense?
New signing Gerald McCoy has instantly become a vocal presence on defense. The Raiders have missed such a voice since the days of Justin Tuck calling timeouts while Khalil Mack and Sio Moore celebrated in the backfield. With that being said, he should see much of the field on Saturday, so who will be the head of the snake? We all know Johnathan Abram is the loudest voice, but perhaps his new rookie partner Tre’von Moehrig takes the reins. We can’t rule out former undrafted free agent Nicholas Morrow either. Morrow was arguably the best defensive player last year. Now, he’s being rewarded with a starting role in the middle of the Raiders defense.Â
Look for the Silver and Black to come out with a lot of defensive energy and excitement. The question is, how long will it last?
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*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal