Dion Jordan hasn’t touched an NFL field since 2018, but the new Oakland Raiders defensive end has been staying in shape. According to his trainer, Jordan “is in the best shape I have ever seen anybody in.” While it would take many players a couple of weeks before they were ready to get back on the football field after a long absence, that may not be the case for Jordan. Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther made it seem like the defensive end is almost for sure going to play.
“Absolutely,” Guenther said when asked if Jordan could play on Sunday. “I think there’s a very good chance he makes his Raiders debut.”
Jordan barely was able to join the team for practice on Tuesday. He’s in a completely new defensive system and is coming off a long suspension. It would be very surprising to see him have a significant role against the Cincinnati Bengals.
All Hands on Deck
The Raiders have been hit with a large number of injuries throughout the season, especially on the defense. They’ve already lost both safeties for the season and it looks like LaMarcus Joyner will miss some time, as well. The team brought in veteran safety D.J. Swearinger to help fill in for the injured players and he could also be thrust into the spotlight after just a week with the team.
“I do [expect Swearinger to play],” Guenther said. “It’s all hands on deck this week with the guys we got.”
Unlike Jordan, Swearinger is in a pretty good place to be ready to play. He started four games earlier in the season and he’s familiar with a system that’s similar to Guenther’s.
“You know, coming from Arizona, Vance Joseph is the defensive coordinator there,” Guenther said. “He was my secondary coach when I was in Cincinnati, so he’s used to kind of the same terminology. When we got him here I was like, ‘hey this is this coverage, this is that coverage,’ and he shook his head, ‘yeah I got it.’ So that was helpful. And he’s a smart guy to begin with so he’s picked it up really good.”
Considering how late into the season it is, Oakland is fortunate that a veteran like Swearinger was available. He’s never been a bad player, he just doesn’t always get along with others. He should fit in well with the Raiders secondary.
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Starting Defensive End Could Be Back
Arden Key is done for the year because of an injury, but Oakland could be getting another defensive end back. Josh Mauro is far from the most exciting or flashiest player on the defense, but he’s a very good run stopper. The Raiders missed his run-stopping ability against the Los Angeles Chargers as Melvin Gordon ran for over 100 yards. It’s not a given that Mauro will be back for the Bengals games, but he’s been back at practice this week. Joe Mixon is a talented running back and might be the only exciting option on the Bengals offense. He’s going to get a lot of carries and the Raiders getting back one of their best run defenders could help shut down the Bengals entirely.