The Las Vegas Raiders made a somewhat confusing move when they decided to waive defensive tackle Daniel Ross. It’s not that Ross has been an impact player but the team is really thin at defensive tackle due to injury issues. Apparently, the plan was to bring him back on the practice squad so that he could still play on Sundays.
That plan has been thwarted. DEC Management announced that Ross was claimed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, which will put him right on their active roster.
Now the Raiders are down another defensive tackle. Considering Ross wasn’t having a strong season and has missed multiple games with injury, it was reasonable to believe that he’d clear waivers. However, it’s now looking like a boneheaded move by the team. The team now needs to hope that Maurice Hurst can stay healthy after recently missing a number of games due to injury.
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Raiders Have DEs Who Can Move Inside
With Ross off to Jacksonville and Maliek Collins on the injured reserve, the team only has two true defensive tackles on the roster in Hurst and Johnathan Hankins. Fortunately, they have a couple of defensive ends who have experience moving inside.
Clelin Ferrell has been known to play a little bit of defensive tackle for the Raiders. He’s coming off one of his best games as a pass rusher on the outside so it would be preferable to keep him there, but the team might not have a choice. David Irving is another guy who has played inside throughout his career. He’s very likely to get promoted to the active roster for this week’s game and should see time at defensive tackle.
Arden Key, Maxx Crosby and Vic Beasley are way too lean to play inside so they’ll likely stay outside.
Raiders Defensive Struggles Continue
It sounds like a broken record at this point but the Raiders’ defense has not been good this season. Heading into Week 13, New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold hadn’t thrown a touchdown pass since Week 3. He threw two against the Las Vegas defense and also ran for one.
It’s one thing to give up a lot of points to teams like the Kansas City Chiefs or Tampa Bay Buccaneers but there’s no excuse for allowing a winless Jets team to score 28 points. The Raiders have invested a lot in their defense over the last couple of years and it hasn’t worked out.
There isn’t a single standout from the team’s previous free-agent haul. Cory Littleton looks like a shell of his former self, Maliek Collins hasn’t done anything and Carl Nassib was a healthy scratch last game. At a certain point, Jon Gruden and company need to question if it goes beyond player talent and has to do with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. He’s now in his third season coaching the defense and there doesn’t seem to be any improvement. Gruden clearly doesn’t want to move on but he might not have a choice.