The Las Vegas Raiders will begin their season Monday night with a nationally televised home opener against the Baltimore Ravens. After another offseason spending draft picks and salary to help bolster a notoriously poor defense, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley will look to help the Silver and Black field a competent unit.
Can DT Quinton Jefferson be effective in passing situations?
The Raiders’ defensive line depth could be a strength for them this season. Quinton Jefferson was not a heralded signing in the offseason, but he could quickly pay dividends. At only 28 years old, Jefferson has shown flashes and growth year after year as a pass rusher.
Las Vegas’s deficiencies along the edge are no secret. However, the lack of an interior pass rush has haunted the team for a longer period. Jefferson didn’t touch the field during preseason, essentially letting us know we should expect to see him starting. If he can push the pile on passing downs while not being a liability against the run, the Raiders have themselves a steal.
Will Cory Littleton’s career be resurrected in Gus Bradley’s system?
One season ago, Raider Nation rejoiced at the signing of former Los Angeles Rams linebacker Cory Littleton. After years of being gashed by tight ends, Littleton was supposed to remedy the issue. Unfortunately, the product Las Vegas received in Year 1 reeked of false advertisement. Littleton was often lost and an afterthought in several games last year. He openly spoke in opposition of former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s scheme, and to his credit, so did nearly everyone else.
Bradley’s scheme seems like a perfect marriage for Littleton’s skillset and Monday’s matchup could be the just right setting to showcase that.
Can Johnathan Abram finally flourish in a more natural position?
Not the safety you were probably expecting. I’m anxious to see how second-round pick Tre’von Moehrig looks in a real game scenario. However, I’m more excited to see how Johnathan Abram looks. It’s not hard to argue that Abram has often been used out of position in his short career. With a true free safety in the fold, the former MSU Bulldog can be the menace in the box that he was born to be. The Ravens will present a challenge in his ability to diagnose and his patience to flip the kill switch that many opponents know he’s capable of accessing, his teammates included.
*Top Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images