Raiders News: Players To Monitor On Defense vs. the Los Angeles Rams, Raider Dad, Aidan O'Connell

Raiders vs. Rams: Jakorian Bennett And 2 More Defensive Players to Watch

The Las Vegas Raiders look to remain undefeated in the Josh McDaniels era — at least in the preseason — as they face the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday. A dominant 34-7 victory over the San Francisco 49ers last week came off the heels of encouraging performances from the Silver and Black’s backups. The expectation is that they will once again play impactful snaps in Week 2, with the regular season starters likely to sit again.

The Raiders’ impressive Week 1 win was due to a commanding performance from the defense. This means there should be no shortage of players to monitor on Saturday when Vegas takes the field. Here are three names to watch on defense vs. the Rams.

Raider Nation Should Keep An Eye On CB Jakorian Bennett

Jakorian Bennett got the start at corner alongside Duke Shelley in last week’s win over the 49ers. The secondary didn’t make many plays on the ball, but their unison with the Raiders’ pass rush resulted in a dominant all-around performance.

After turning heads throughout training camp, Bennett logged 25 snaps in the preseason opener. He gave up one reception on two targets for 17 yards while recording one tackle. According to Pro Football Focus, the Maryland product finished with a 61.6 defensive grade and a 72.8 tackling grade.

Expect the fourth-round pick to get the start once again in Saturday’s matchup with the Rams. Teams typically don’t open up the playbook in the preseason, but it will still be interesting to see how Bennett fares against a Sean McVay-led offense. If anything, the former Terrapin could be inspired to make some plays on the ball following a relatively “quiet” debut last week.

What About LB Curtis Bolton?

Bolton finished second among all Raiders with five tackles (two solo) while forcing a fumble on the day. He finished with an excellent 81.0 overall defensive grade (per PFF) with 19 total defensive snaps as the WILL linebacker. Having ample depth at the position will be critical for the Raiders’ 2023 season. Granted, that unit has been an Achilles heel of the Silver and Black defense for as long as one can remember.

Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler brought in the likes of Robert Spillane to help mentor Divine Deablo, who is expected to be a key fulcrum of the unit. But depth is the ultimate means of combating injuries and inefficiency. After playing a career-high ten games for the Raiders in 2022, another strong outing on Saturday will bolster Deablo’s case for a solidified role.

Can Roderic Teamer Be An “X-Factor” On Saturday?

Teamer got the starting nod at safety alongside Jaquan Johnson against San Francisco. Much like Bennett’s performance, the safety group didn’t make any particular plays on the ball but remained disciplined in coverage.

For long-time Raiders fans, any positivity is redeeming. They know all too well how disorganization and neglect in pass coverage have been a detriment to the defense overall. But an encouraging performance from the backend unit versus the 49ers, which Teamer was pivotal in, gives some reason for optimism.

Marcus Epps and Trevon Moehrig are locked in as the starters at safety, but depth in the secondary remains an x-factor for Vegas. It is crucial if the group wants to put together a successful season on the defensive side of the ball. Keep an eye on Teamer should he start once again in the team’s second preseason matchup versus Los Angeles.

*Top Photo: Scott Winters/Icon Sports Wire via Getty Images

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