Thanks to a lot of strong offseason additions, it looked like the Las Vegas Raiders were going to put together a good defense this season. Through four games, that hasn’t been the case at all. The team is frequently picked apart by opposing offenses.
One of the biggest reasons the Raiders were excited about their defense was the return of former first-round pick Johnathan Abram, who missed most of last season with an injury. While he’s played well at times, he’s also made some bad mistakes. He’s contributed to the defensive struggles. He was asked how he’d rate the Raiders defense this season and he got pretty blunt.
“Ok, but we’re nowhere near where we can be,” Abram said recently.
Even saying the Raiders defense has been “ok” is probably giving them too much credit. That said, he’s right that they have potential. There is talent at every level for the defense, they just haven’t been able to figure things out. While they are far from being elite, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be better.
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Abram Talks How He Plays Defense
There are a lot of expectations for Abram but he’s essentially in his rookie season. He’s obviously going to make mistakes but should also keep getting better. He’s also becoming a very smart player. Abram recently explained how he approaches defense.
“I mean it’s just like any other game, you have to go out and evaluate who is their top receiver, their most explosive guys,” Abram said. “Then do your best to try to eliminate those guys. Take away what they do best to make them play with their left hand.”
The Raiders have faced some stacked offenses to start the season and that doesn’t change anytime soon. The defense has been tested a lot and hasn’t been able to step up yet. The second half of the schedule is a bit easier so perhaps that will give the defense a good chance to pick things up.
Abram Explains How He’s Staying Healthy
Fortunately for Abram, he hasn’t missed a game this season but he’s definitely had scares. There have been a couple of times where he’s been really slow to get up after plays. He fires around the field like a torpedo which isn’t great for a person’s body. Abram doesn’t seem too worried about getting hurt.
“I’ve done a really good job of putting together a recovery regimen each day for every day of the week,” Abram said. “I’m doing a really good job of taking care of my body, so it allows me to play the game the way I play it. At the same time, just [trying] to be smart with the shots I’ve taken and stuff like that.”
He’s already a key player on the defense despite his inconsistencies. If he had to miss time the Raiders’ secondary could be in trouble.