The Las Vegas Raiders are getting counted out heading into next season. According to Odds Shark, there are only seven teams with worse Super Bowl odds in the NFL. Considering the Raiders went 8-8 last year, it seems exaggerated to count them out already.
The team’s defense could dictate how many games they win in 2021. They have fielded some of the league’s worst defenses over several years now. Las Vegas hired a new defensive coordinator in Gus Bradley and added some possible difference makers in free agency and the draft. However, the Raiders may still need to make some moves. According to Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report, linebacker Cory Littleton should be a trade candidate:
The 27-year-old provided little of the playmaking he had come to be known for as part of the Rams defense. He had no sacks and only four tackles for loss after racking up 7.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss in his last two seasons in Los Angeles.
More importantly, he had no ball production in coverage, which was one of his greatest selling points as a free agent. He registered five interceptions and 22 pass breakups in his final two seasons with L.A. but had none for the Raiders.
Littleton was easily one of the most disappointing Raiders last season. He was supposed to revamp the team’s linebacker corps but ended up contributing to the problem. That said, his talent didn’t just disappear. Playing under Bradley could be exactly what he needs.
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Gus Bradley Recently Praised Littleton
There’s a slim chance the Raiders consider a Littleton trade. One bad season doesn’t mean he can’t play. Most of the team’s players struggled under former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. Bradley has a strong track record of success and should help bring the best out of Littleton. Also, the coach was just recently signing the linebacker’s praises.
‘I’ve been impressed with him and his speed,” Bradley said at the Raiders’ recent minicamp. “He’s a very skilled linebacker. One of the things is his physical nature, that’s the thing we are looking at right now and challenging him on, but he has it in him. But matchups … what I think is great about Cory is the matchups he allows us to have. He’s really a skilled cover guy, what I’ve seen so far.”
Littleton’s Role Could Change
The Raiders simply need to do a better job of taking advantage of Littleton’s strengths. Just two seasons ago, he was considered one of the best linebackers in the NFL. Bradley believes that maybe switching up his role could lead to more success.
“When the bullets fly and we go full speed, I think we’ll have a better sense of where everybody’s at,” Bradley said. “And I think the other thing we’ve seen on him is he’s really a good edge setter. So, I think he has that ability maybe in base to be more of an outside linebacker for us too.”
Las Vegas needs Littleton to return to form if they hope to show vast improvement on defense. Bradley should be whatever he can to get the best out of him.