The Oakland Raiders are heading into 2019 with an almost completely revamped defense. Each level has received an injection of talent from free agency and the draft. While it won’t take a lot for the team to improve upon last year’s pedestrian display, the defense could improve more than most expect. Rookies like Clelin Ferrell, Johnathan Abram and Trayvon Mullen could all be big contributors for the team going forward. Perhaps the biggest thing the Raiders did for their defense in the offseason was adding a couple of talented linebackers in Brandon Marshall and Vontaze Burfict.
Burfict’s a Perfect Fit for the Team
Though Burfict has made more than a few bad headlines throughout his career since he entered the league in 2012, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have talent. While with the Cinnciannit Bengals, he was named second-team All-Pro in 2013. The former undrafted rookie was a consistent starter for the Bengals during his tenure, but he missed a lot of time. Some of it was due to injury, but a lot of his time missed was due to the many “dirty” plays he committed against opposing teams. He’s been fined or suspended on 12 different occasions. After the 2019 season, Burfict was cut loose by the Bengals. Fortunately for him, his old defensive coordinator, Paul Guenther, was ready to welcome him to Oakland with open arms.
“I’m going to be there with you one day,” said Burfict to Guenther when it was revealed he was leaving to Oakland. “When the Bengals let me go, [Guenther] was the first coach to call me and I said, ‘hey, I’m on the way.’ Happy to be here.”
Based on the Raiders’ history, Burfict would be a perfect fit with the team’s of the 70s and 80s. He always knew that he’d end up in the silver and black.
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The Team Is Having More Fun Than Others
Based on a quote from an interview that Burfict gave the Associated Press’ Michael Wagaman, he’s more than happy to be with his new team:
“I just think it’s exciting for people to see what type of team we have because the team chemistry we have is just amazing. This is my second team, but it’s the first time I’ve had a team like this and everybody gets along. It doesn’t matter what type of day it is. We’re all here to see each other get better and motivate each other. We’ve got a lot of characters, in a good way.”
That quote reads like a subtle jab at the Bengals. Regardless, it’s good that the Raiders are building a comradery. Burfict having fun could maybe help keep his temper in check so he avoids getting fined or suspended. Guenther has high expectations for the veteran linebacker and with Tahir Whitehead and Brandon Marshall, the Raiders could have a solid unit on their hands for the first time in years.