The defensive backfield was the biggest question mark for the Las Vegas Raiders heading into the season. After one week of play, it’s clear that the concern around the position group was warranted. Teddy Bridgewater is a decent quarterback but he shouldn’t be able to put up the kind of numbers he did with a new coach and new team.
The Raiders decided to rely on youth this year in their secondary but it seems like they might be rethinking that. According to Aaron Wilson, the team brought in a number of defensive backs for workouts.
Raiders working out former Texans safety Jahleel Addae, Walt Aikens, Chris Cooper, Stacy Keely, Anthony Zettel
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) September 14, 2020
The most notable name on the list is Jahleel Addae, who should be very familiar with the Raiders. He spent six years with the Chargers and started 59 games with the team. He most recently played with the Houston Texans but hasn’t had luck finding a team to sign him this offseason. Addae’s experience would make him an interesting pickup for the silver and black. Dallin Leavitt was recently let go to make room for Nevin Lawson. That means they have only three safeties left on the roster. They could certainly do worse than adding Addae for depth purposes.
Raiders Also Brought in 2 DEs
The Raiders didn’t only look at defensive backs. Defensive ends Stacy Keely and Anthony Zettel had workouts with the team. Out of the two, Zettel is the more experienced. He started his career with the Detroit Lions back in 2016. His best year came in 2017 when he started 16 games and accumulated 6.5 sacks. He’s since played for the 49ers, Browns and Bengals. He hasn’t notched a sack since 2017. His last gig was on the Vikings’ roster during training camp.
Keely has yet to play in an NFL game so it’s hard to know what exactly he does well. The former Viking is tall but lean. He’d likely be a candidate for the practice squad where Zettel could make the roster.
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Raiders Defensive Backfield Is Work in Progress
It’s easy to look at Sunday’s defensive performance and start to panic but it’s just Week 1. The Raiders defense was bad last season and it’s not going to magically get better overnight. Perhaps if the team had a normal offseason, they would’ve played better.
What matters is that the defense made a big stop when it counted and a win is always a confidence boost. The Raiders do have talent. Johnathan Abram looks like a stud and Trayvon Mullen played well. However, Erik Harris and Damon Arnette had the worst opening games imaginable. It’s not a good sign when two starters are getting lit up by an average offense.
Arnette is a rookie and he will get better as the season goes on. The fact that Harris struggled is more concerning. He’s a seasoned veteran and beat out former first-round pick Damarious Randall for the starting gig. He should bounceback but if he doesn’t, it’s time for some changes.