For the first time all season, the Las Vegas Raiders showed some promise and it was against the best offense in the NFL. Their linebackers finally started to improve their play which is a really good sign for the rest of the season. However, it appears they’re losing a potentially key depth option.
According to Aaron Wilson, the Houston Texans have signed Raiders practice squad linebacker Kyle Emanuel.
Texans signed linebacker Kyle Emanuel off Raiders' practice squad, per a league source
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 12, 2020
Emanuel just recently came out of retirement to play for the Raiders but didn’t make the active roster to start the season. He was then brought on to the practice squad and was active for the Week 3 game New England Patriots. Though Emanuel was recently retired, he’s still just 29-years-old.
Prior to this season, he spent his whole career with the Chargers and started a lot of games. He’s a solid player who should get some decent playing time for a struggling Texans teams.
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Raiders in the Market for Linebackers?
From Emanuel’s standpoint, the move to sign with the Texans makes sense. It didn’t seem like the Raiders had much of an intention to give him any meaningful playing time. There have also been rumors going around that the team is in the market for linebacker help.
It was recently reported that the team was bringing in Mychal Kendricks for a visit. He’d be a solid addition to a linebacker group that has been struggling. With Emanuel now gone, it almost seems like an inevitability that the Raiders will try to add a linebacker soon. They are currently in their bye week so this a perfect time to add a player and get them acclimated. The team had an interest in Kendricks prior to the start of the season and it’ll be interesting to see if they can get a deal done.
Nick Kwiatkoski Had Best Game as a Raiders in Week 5
One of the Raiders’ key offseason additions was linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski. He was brought in to be the team’s middle linebacker and serve as the leader of the defense. He got off to a decent start but an injury forced him to miss two games. He hadn’t done anything too impressive through his first two games played as a Raider but he showed the team what he could do against the Chiefs in Week 5
According to Pro Football Focus, Kwiatkoski had his best game of the season.
Nick Kwiatkoski had his best game so far as a Raider on Sunday 💪
– 83.0 overall grade
– 89.1 coverage grade
– targeted twice and recorded 2 PBUs for a 39.6 passer rating when targeted 👀
His ranks among LBs in 2020:
– 78.1 overall grade (8th)
– 84.4 coverage grade (6th) pic.twitter.com/AAGyT8MG9f
— PFF Las Vegas Raiders (@PFF_Raiders) October 13, 2020
If Kwiatkoski can play as well as he did in Week 5 every week, the Raider defense is going to be much better. The group has struggled quite a bit so far but they do have a lot of new pieces. It was always going to take time to get the group to play well together. The defense is still very much a work in progress and one strong showing doesn’t mean they’ve turned it around. However, it’s a step in the right direction and shows that they do have potential.