Few teams toy with the emotions of their feverishly loyal fan base quite like the Las Vegas Raiders. The swell of anticipation prior to the start of the season hadn’t seen such towering heights since the eve of the 2017 campaign. A campaign that also left fans with a collective knot of disappointment in their bellies. However, we can only look forward. There is no sense in dwelling on preseason hype anymore. Onward, Raider Nation.
The Raiders stumble into a Week 3 road game against the Tennessee Titans, attempting to reassemble the shattered pieces of their preseason contender image. But things could always be worse, and not everything has been underwhelming for the Silver and Black.
Nate Hobbs Has Thrived as CB1 For The Raiders
Until now, new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has thrust a lot onto the shoulders of second-year corner Nate Hobbs, but so far, the Illinois product has been up to the challenge. Hobbs spent his rookie year in the slot primarily, proving to be yet another late-round gem for former general manager Mike Mayock. However, Hobbs was a mainstay on the outside in a pro-style defense in college. With a thin and unproven secondary around him, No. 39 has been a steady presence that looks to get better by the snap.
Josh Jacobs Looks Stronger Than Ever
2019 first-round draft choice Josh Jacobs said all the right things when the new Raiders brain trust declined his fifth-year option prior to the season. So far, he’s living up to every word. Looking at his stat line is very misleading. The Alabama product looked like his rookie self again, making defenders miss and creating yardage on the merit of his skillset. With the early struggles of this Las Vegas offensive line, the ability to fool a defender in the backfield is that much more imperative. The running back room is loaded, but Jacobs has shown who the top dog is.
Johnathan Abram Hasn’t Injured Any Teammates
No, but seriously. Abram is who he is: a liability in coverage that looks adequate in the box as a blitzer and in run support. Under Graham, Abram has spent far less time in two-deep coverage, which is a godsend for not only the Mississippi State product, but also Raiders fans that get tired of seeing Abram fly headfirst at ballcarriers without consideration of who may be nearby. The four-year pro has yet to be penalized this season as well. He’s still missing his fair share of tackles (three to be exact, per Pro Football Focus) as a result of refusing to use proper form, but at least it’s happening five yards from the line of scrimmage and not 30.
Raiders Blog: Breaking Down The Tennessee Titans’ Offense
*Top Photo: NBC 3 New/Las Vegas