Raiders Are Proving Everyone Right With Pivotal Waiver Wire Pickup

The Las Vegas Raiders are on a roll, as all three phases of their gameplan are clicking at the moment. Make no mistake, though, the defense is holding up their end of the deal, and they deserve their flowers. One player in particular, however, is proving what so many fans and analysts were right about this past offseason. Of course, we’re referring to bringing in an interior pass-rushing lineman.

It seems like a distant memory now but during the offseason, Raider Nation was imploring the team’s brass to sign a proven veteran defensive tackle. More than that, one that could elevate a pass rush that was painfully lacking in the middle. Well, the team picked up former first-round pick, Jerry Tillery a few weeks ago and would you look at it, the defense has improved since plugging in him. Though Sunday marked the most action that Tillery has seen as a Raider, he made his impact known.

Going up against his former team, Tillery played 55 total snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. He earned himself a 66.1 pass rush grade for his efforts along the way. Another look at Tillery’s numbers reveals that the Raiders are only allowing 77 rushing yards per game, per Kristen Kuhn of TWSN. Additionally, the Raiders’ defense as a whole has accumulated an impressive stat line since arriving in Las Vegas. It reads as follows: 11 sacks, 35 QB hits, 17 tackles for a loss, six forced fumbles, and one interception—sheer dominance. The current defense is almost unrecognizable from earlier in the year, which is clearly a good thing.

Raiders HC Josh McDaniels acknowledges Jerry Tillery’s contributions

Speaking to the media today, head coach Josh McDaniels heaped praise on Tillery, citing his impact in his respective room with the defensive line. In addition, he also spoke in particular about how he’s impacted the defense in his eyes.

“He’s got great energy for us, and really, like I said last week, he’s kind of melded very well into the defensive line room. And those guys have great communication; I think they enjoy playing with one another. And Jerry’s just given us everything he has, and whatever we’re asking of him, he’s willing to do it and has been a great teammate. Certainly disruptive, and again, he’s one of those guys where he may not get you to the ground, but he might be a reason why somebody else gets you to the ground. And again, we’re still growing and learning, and he’s doing the same thing. So, hopefully, that will just continue to get better and better.”

Sometimes, though rarely, the fans are right. For months, Raider Nation has been yelling about needing a defensive tackle that could disrupt the passing game. Well, would you look at that? The Raiders now have a competent defense thanks in part to Tillery’s addition.

*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal

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