There’s versatility and then there’s what Las Vegas Raiders newcomer Isaiah Zuber did last night versus the New England Patriots.
One of the common themes with the Raiders throughout their offseason and training camp has been the importance of versatility. We’ve all seen it with regard to their offensive and defensive lines, the defensive backs, and their wide receivers. You can add Zuber to the latter. He caught a beautiful reception over rookie Patriots cornerback Marcus Jones, putting his abilities on full display. Well, by the night’s conclusion, he had another play to make.
Do the Raiders have a dual-threat player? Or just a lucky preseason play?
Isaiah Zuber tallied a reception and interception against the Patriots 👀
— The MMQB (@theMMQB) August 27, 2022
In a play he wishes he could take back; Bailey Zappe overthrew his receiver over the middle, and it appeared to go straight to Zuber. Maybe Zappe still thought Zuber was a patriot? Jokes aside, the play had the Raiders’ broadcast team reminiscing about Patriots legend Troy Brown. Could the Raiders have a player worthy of being tagged ATH, the label for players who can play multiple positions? Head coach Josh McDaniels was asked about Zuber’s play on defense and how he ended up playing in that role yesterday.
“We just kind of got short there in the secondary towards the end. We had a couple of guys cramping and I think it was a great example of what our team has become. Unselfish, willing to do whatever is asked of them. We’ve mentioned something to Isaiah yesterday about it, we walked through a few things for him to be able to help us in case that situation came up it did, and he was ready to go. He made it he made a great play, what a memory. So, we have a lot of guys that are playing in multiple roles across their side of the ball, and just so happened, that Isaiah was able to do that. He is also running down to kick off after we scored and covering punts, and so commend him for being ready to go.”
Isaiah Zuber’s versatility could be of use for Josh McDaniels
Essentially, McDaniels was short on players as several sat out following joint practices this week. Clearly, the coaching staff did a good job of preparing Zuber in case his name was called. It was your prototypical “right place, right time” moment, but it also showed Zuber’s ability to adapt. He has a receiver’s hands, so naturally he’d be looking to make a play as a defensive back. McDaniels also noted that he has several players that can play both sides of the ball, so maybe Zuber showed he could be of use on the roster.
Zuber played for McDaniels back in 2020, catching two passes for 29 yards. However, his impact will go beyond that of just a receiver buried in the depth chart. Zuber can play a multitude of positions, special teams included. We’ll have to wait a couple more days to see if his performance was enough to lift his stock onto a roster spot.
*Top Photo: Official Raiders Website