Raiders CB Nate Hobbs

Nate Hobbs Raiders’ Rewind: Explaining His Sophomore Slump

Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Nate Hobbs entered the NFL with a bang in his rookie year. Hobbs had a great season and cemented his status as one of the better young cornerbacks in the NFL. However, due to injuries and whatnot, his sophomore season left a bit to be desired. Hobbs had his moments and at times looked just as good, if not better, than his rookie season. However, Hobbs struggled with injuries throughout the year, which made it difficult for him to hold that form.

A Strong Start For Nate Hobbs

The Raiders started their season in a disappointing way, losing their opener to the Los Angeles Chargers 24-19. For Hobbs, however, it was a very good game. Nate was excellent throughout the game, making big play after big play to keep his team in it. Here was his biggest moment from the day:

Hobbs would go on to allow just one reception that game. Pro Football Focus gave him the second-best grade among Raiders’ defenders in week one, at 85.9.

In Weeks 2 and 4, against the Cardinals and Broncos, Nate Hobbs continued to play well. Against the Russell Wilson-led Broncos, Hobbs was targeted six times but only gave up two receptions for 19 yards. Hobbs earned coverage grades of 69.6 and 72.2 via Pro Football Focus in those two games.

An Injury Derails Nate Hobbs’ Season For The Raiders

Hobbs was excellent throughout the first four weeks of the year and even played every defensive down in two of those games. However, in a huge divisional matchup against Kansas City in Week 5, Hobbs suffered an injury that would wreck his stellar start to the season.

Hobbs had a rough game against the Chiefs. After four impressive weeks, Hobbs had an ugly game against Kansas City. Hobbs couldn’t seem to make a tackle and wasn’t good in coverage, a fact that was startling for Raider Nation after his excellent start to the season.

Then, the cause of some of those issues seemed to be revealed. Hobbs eventually left the game after breaking his left hand, and somehow the Raiders’ defense got even worse with his departure. This injury would end up sidelining Hobbs for six weeks, completely derailing his excellent start to his sophomore campaign.

A Rough Way To End The Year

Nate Hobbs came back in Week 13 and helped the Raiders defeat the Chargers. He never did get back to his usual level of playing, though. Nate played decently against the Chargers and Rams and put up a solid performance against the Chiefs to formally end the year. Nate did have some ugly outings against the Patriots, Steelers, and 49ers, right in the middle of the Raiders’ playoff race. To his defense, his play after the injury seemed to be a shell of what it had been to begin the season. It does seem like that injury was still affecting Nate a bit and could have influenced his poor play.

What Was Hobbs’ Final Stat-Line?

Even with his injury and struggles towards the end of the year, Hobbs still put up some decent numbers. Nate had 71 total tackles, with 57 of those solo, which is impressive considering the fact that he only missed 10 tackles. To put it another way, Hobbs completed 71 of the 81 tackles he attempted during an injury-plagued season.

His coverage was poor, but that was only an issue during his play after his injury. In total, Nate Hobbs allowed 11.8 yards per reception and gave up an opposing passer rating of over 108. Those numbers are not ideal.

Hobbs did have a sophomore slump, but his injury should have been factored in. Hobbs picked up right where he left off to start the season, and that is very encouraging. He suffered a major injury, and after that, his play completely fell off. With a full off-season to heal, Nate Hobbs should be expected to resume his stellar level of play.

*Top Photo: Saturday Tradition

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