Last season, the Las Vegas Raiders had to circulate through a number of pass rushers due to their lackluster defense. One guy who got a decent number of snaps was Chris Smith, who was signed during the season. Though he never started a game, he did notch one sack in his Raiders debut against the Kansas City Chiefs.
That was his only sack of the season and the team didn’t re-sign him this offseason. The Raiders are set to play the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1 of the season and it looks like they’re gathering intel. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Baltimore is signing Smith to a one-year deal.
The Ravens will be Smith’s sixth NFL team throughout his career. In 68 career games, he has 9.5 sacks and 23 quarterback hits. He was a solid addition for the Raiders last season but Baltimore has a much better defense. It’ll be tougher for Smith to hold onto a roster spot.
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Ravens Tried out 3 Former Raiders Defensive Linemen
Prior to signing Smtih, the Ravens actually worked out two other former Raiders defensive linemen. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the team worked out Dion Jordan and Shilique Calhoun.
Jordan was briefly with the Raiders during the 2019 season and had two sacks in seven games. He was a solid addition to the team but they decided to move on after the season.
Calhoun was a third-round pick by the Raiders in 2016 but only lasted three seasons with the team. He had 0.5 sacks in 26 games. Interestingly enough, all three of these pass rushers spent time playing under Jon Gruden. Though the Raiders have a new defensive coordinator in Gus Bradley, it appears the Ravens are attempting to get some intel on their Week 1 opponent.
Raiders vs. Ravens Could Set Tone for Season
Last year, the Raiders shocked the world when they beat the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football in Week 2 in Las Vegas. This season, the team will be hosting the Ravens for Monday Night Football to start the year. Baltimore is one of the better teams in the NFL so a win won’t come easy.
Pulling off the upset at home could set the tone for the entire season. Jon Gruden has done a great job in Week 1s since taking over as the Raiders head coach. The team has won two straight Week 1 games. The game against the Ravens will represent the first time the Raiders has fans in attendance at Allegiant Stadium. It’s going to be a massive event to start the football season. The Raiders will undoubtedly be pumped up.
The Ravens likely have the better team but Las Vegas is going to have a lot working in their favor. Even if the Raiders struggled this season, it shouldn’t be a surprise if they pull off the big win in Week 1. The Ravens are going to have their hands full.