After several additions and subtractions, the Las Vegas Raiders defensive line is receiving much praise ahead of Monday Night Football.
The time for offseason speculation has come to an end with the Raiders’ season opener now days away. One of the biggest changes to come about this year was the team’s defensive line and its reshuffling. Considering just how bad the unit looked last year, both on film and statistically, a bevy of changes shouldn’t have surprised anyone.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden brought in Gus Bradley to run his defense but that wasn’t all. A slew of players including Solomon Thomas and Quinton Jefferson joined, with Yannick Ngakoue being the prized acquisition. After an offseason program that received positive reviews, the defensive line has been getting love in response.
Several Raiders like what they see from this defensive line
Raiders linebacker Cory Littleton shared his thoughts on the new-look unit today, praising their hunger and excitement.
.@Raiders LB Cory Littleton on the rebuilt defensive line: “We have dogs out there that’s ready to hunt. They’re ready for this game. They’re excited for it. And I’m excited to see them hunt.”
— Vincent Bonsignore (@VinnyBonsignore) September 7, 2021
If this new defensive line does indeed live up to this hype, players such as Littleton will reap the rewards. Bradley’s defense will be successful if they can generate pressure, something that isn’t lost on Gruden when he spoke to the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently. Particularly when speaking of new players such as Jefferson, Thomas, and Gerald McCoy, Gruden acknowledged the lack of a pass rush.
“There’s some guys right there that have a history of being inside rushers. We haven’t had a history of rushing the passer, inside, at all. I don’t care who you’ve got outside. So I feel much better about the front.”
There’s no doubt that the defensive line certainly looks better on paper. The duo of Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby could end up becoming special, they certainly don’t lack confidence. The only question that now remains is if this unit will be up to the task of getting to Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson next week.
*Top Photo: Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal