It was a rough Week 1 for the Las Vegas Raiders secondary. Outside of Johnathan Abram, the group definitely looked like they had some rust they needed work off. Rookie first-round pick Damon Arnette was thrown into the fire and didn’t have his best showing. The low point was getting burned by Robby Anderson for a long touchdown.
Luckily, reinforcements are on the way. Veteran cornerback Nevin Lawson was suspended for Week 1 for using a helmet as a weapon during the last game of the season against the Denver Broncos. He served his suspension and the Raiders have brought him back to the active roster.
Along with LaMarcus Joyner, Lawson is the most experienced cornerback on the team. He’s started 59 games in his career, including five with the Raiders last season. Having him back should be a good boost. He probably won’t be stealing Arnette’s starting spot yet but he’s a good depth option to have. The young guys are going to have bad days due to their inexperience. It’s good to have a tested veteran like Lawson around in case things get out of hand.
Dallin Leavitt Waived, Practice Squad Likely
To make room for Lawson, the Raiders have to send safety Dallin Leavitt to waivers. He was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2018 and has stuck around the team. He managed to be on the team’s active roster for 15 games last season and the coaching staff clearly likes him.
With the addition of Jeff Heath in the offseason and the return of Johnathan Abram, it was always going to be hard for Leavitt to hold onto a roster spot. However, he’s a prime candidate to remain on the practice squad. The Raiders will need him ready in case there’s an injury. They only have three safeties on the roster now. If he’s able to clear waivers, expect the team to bring him back quickly.
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No Reason to Panic Yet
The fact that an average quarterback like Teddy Bridgewater lit up of the Raiders defense is definitely not okay. Christian McCaffery is arguably one of the five best players in the NFL so he was going to make plays but Bridgewater was way too effective. That was mostly thanks to poor secondary play and lack of a pass rush.
It’s easy to look at the performance of the defense and think that the unit hasn’t improved over last year but there’s still plenty of time for them to figure things out. The Raiders do have real talent on that side of the ball. There were bound to be growing pains with all the youth the team has starting this year. Unfortunately, the Raiders are going up against some elite offenses to start the season. This young defense is going to get tested and probably look really bad at times. If the team can survive their stretch of five brutal games with at least one or two more wins, things will be looking a lot better for them.