Former Las Vegas Raiders safety/nickel corner Lamarcus Joyner has been making some rather interesting comments lately. Making references to being misused and playing out of position.
Let’s go back down memory lane first…
Four years ago, Joyner convinced himself he was a slot cornerback in spite of having a great year at free safety. This great epiphany and brilliant idea may have become what necessitated his departure from the Los Angeles Rams.
Joyner then decided to take his talents to the Raiders. Then, Scott Bair of NBC Bay Area News did an introductory interview with Joyner back in 2019, asking him about what brought him to the Silver and Black.
“After getting to talk to him (coach Jon Gruden) and some of the guys in the building, I was very excited about the way they were going to use me and how people were happy to have me here. It’s just something I’ve been doing since literally high school, college. Going from nickel to safety, nickel to safety, it’s what keeps me going.”
“I love the nickel back position. It’s a natural instinctual position for me,” Joyner said. “I get to do a lot of things I’m great at, tackling. I’m great at covering.’
Things didn’t exactly go as planned for the Raiders and Joyner. When he signed to a four-year $42 million deal back in 2019, he was supposed to be the most complete player on the defense. Additionally, he drew the exciting job of shutting down the slot receiver.
Joyner never delivered at either position. Not as a safety. Not as a nickel corner. His tenure with the Silver and Black was a disaster from the start. Joyner has been paid $22 million dollars. For that money, the Raiders received eight passes defensed, zero interceptions, zero forced fumbles, zero fumble recoveries, 115 total tackles, 16 starts, and 28 games.
“To take me away from the slot and put me in the post, that’s not doing any justice. I play the ball well, the run well. I can cover. All of those things are great. Being in the slot, I can flash all of my abilities.” …
Raiders get a lot wrong, but players don’t get a pass.
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) August 11, 2021
Does Joyner have a legitimate gripe with the Raiders?
Joyner’s best season with the Rams was as a deep safety in Wade Phillips’ defense. In 2017, Joyner intercepted three passes with 104 return yards and a 46-yard pick six to his credit. Along with nine passes broken up, one forced fumble, and 49 total tackles in 12 games.
So what is really going on? Joyner may cry foul whenever he leaves town but he’s right. Schematically, he wasn’t a good fit for the actuality of the role. Joyner never should have been a slot corner, he should have been played at free safety where he had produced his highest level of success.
Inversely, Joyner will say anything in front of a hot mic to make himself look good. As bad as his stats were while participating with the Raiders (he didn’t make many plays), who wouldn’t throw shade. Many Raiders defenders, current and former, have expressed frustration with Guenther and his now-defunct defense.
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*Top Photo: Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports