Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Nate Hobbs appears to be on schedule to return to a game in the near future. Whether that will take place in Week 12 is still a question for a couple of reasons. According to recent news reports, Hobbs is now dealing with a bug (illness) on top of recovering from his hand injury. The other observation with regards to Hobbs is that if he were to return on Sunday, he’d likely face Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf.
Nate Hobbs vs. DK Metcalf?
Hobbs’ toughness is undeniable, especially after playing with an injured hand the last time fans saw him. Unfortunately, Hobbs’s physical style of play and the way he handles opponents at the line of scrimmage mean that he needs to be fully healthy to be effective. Considering his timetable, you have to beg the question of whether having Hobbs line up against Metcalf is a sound strategy, assuming that’s the plan.
Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels talked about the problem that Metcalf presents this coming Sunday.
“He [Metcalf] catches the ball when you’re on him. I think he’s at the top of the league in terms of contested catches. So even if you have tight coverage, it doesn’t really mean that you stop the ball from being thrown to him for sure. And it doesn’t mean that you’ve stopped the ball from being completed, so that’s one. Two, getting Metcalf on the ground once he has the ball is an entirely different conversation. This is as good an athlete. [He’s] as tough a football player to get to the ground as you’re going to see generally. There may be a couple of other guys in that category, but he’s big, fast, strong, tough, and physical.”
Maybe avoid getting Hobbs hurt again
McDaniels also pointed out something else that’s notable. Basically, regardless of coverage, the Seahawks will find a way to get the ball to Metcalf. His rare combination of all the aforementioned physical attributes makes him a tough assignment for anyone in the league. That isn’t to say that Hobbs can’t handle it. Not at all. Nonetheless, in a season that’s likely lost, is it worth it to bring back a foundational piece? Why not have him return in Week 13 against the Los Angeles Chargers?
It might just hinge on McDaniels’ belief of whether the Raiders are still trying to make a run. We’ll soon find out on Sunday.
*Top Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports