The Las Vegas Raiders are dealing with a rash of injuries as they prepare for their Week 2 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals. One of the key players that went down on Sunday was cornerback Anthony Averett. Raiders’ defensive coordinator Patrick Graham recently spoke up about the effects of losing one of his starting corners. Moreover, mentioning what it means for the cornerback group moving forward in the early part of this season.
“The thing we pride ourselves on and I know these guys, especially in that corner room, it’s next man up, everybody’s competing. I mean, they all hopefully see themselves as the guy that could go in and play. So, we’ll see how it plays out this week in practice. Josh [McDaniels] will talk about any of the injury stuff, but I just know this, I’m excited about the guys competing. The guys compete on a day-to-day basis. No one’s going to be scared to go out there. So, we’ll see what happens. I know this, the Cardinals don’t care.”
Next man up for the Raiders and Patrick Graham
By trading away Trayvon Mullen prior to the regular season getting underway, the Raiders pinned their hopes on Averett, Rock Ya-Sin, and Nate Hobbs. So far, Hobbs is exceeding expectations, quickly emerging as the top cornerback in the room. His versatility is invaluable right now, being able to shift between the slot and the outside at a moment’s notice. As for Averett, losing him creates a conundrum for the Raiders. As of right now, Averett’s absence creates an opportunity for Sam Webb and Amik Robertson, though their lack of experience is a concern.
To further shore up the cornerback unit, Nickell Robey-Coleman and Javelin Guidry were added. Looking ahead to Sunday’s game, the Raiders are in luck that DeAndre Hopkins isn’t available for the Cardinals. The Kansas City Chiefs’ defense held quarterback Kyler Murray to 193 passing yards and a demoralizing 5.67 yards per passing attempt. Can the Raiders bounce off of that performance and have some success of their own?
The word most commonly associated with the Raiders this offseason was “competition.” Graham dropped that bit in his presser when talking about this whole situation. From all accounts, he’s done a solid job of preparing his defensive backs for this moment. With injuries to Averett and others in the defensive backfield, bringing out the best in each other during camp and practice should pay dividends.
*Top Photo: Las Vegas Review-Journal