It’s still early in the season but the Las Vegas Raiders have needed to retool their roster a bit due to injuries. Offensive line depth is quickly becoming a major concern for the team. They’ve already dealt with injuries to three starters two games in.
The Raiders signed offensive tackle Jackson Barton off the New York Giants practice squad to add some depth to the banged-up unit. One area that the team is looking solid is at linebacker. They haven’t had any serious issues and will be bringing back Nicholas Morrow and Javin White soon. That led to there being no room for Marquel Lee. The team announced that they’re letting go of the veteran linebacker to make room for Barton.
Lee was drafted by the Raiders in 2017 and started 19 games in three seasons. He was out of football last season as he dealt with injuries. He spent some of the offseason with the Buffalo Bills before getting cut. The Raiders picked him up again and placed him on the practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster for last week’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had three tackles in the game. He should be on the team’s radar if they need linebacker help later in the season.
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K.J. Wright Praises Raiders Defense
A big reason why a linebacker like Lee is expendable right now for the Raiders was the addition of K.J. Wright. The former Pro Bowler for the Seattle Seahawks joined the team right before the season and is already making an impact. It wasn’t the hardest transition as Wright is familiar with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s scheme. The Raiders defense look vastly improved so far this season. Wright hasn’t been around the team long but likes what he sees so far.
“I love the way this defense plays,” Wright said Wednesday. “We play fast. This defense plays very confident. There are not too many mistakes out there because what we do is prepare like no other and we’re able to play fast.”
Last year, the defense played much slower. There’s always been talent with this group but they just never realized it. Bradley is doing a fantastic job developing the young talent on the Raiders’ roster.
Wright Talks Bradley’s Preparation
While the Raiders did make some notable additions on defense this offseason, most of them had connections to Bradley. Casey Hayward, Yannick Ngakoue, Denzel Perryman, Darius Philon and Wright have all been coached by him in the past. He deserves a ton of credit for early defensive improvements. Wright praised the coach’s preparation each week.
“Gus, he just really prepares,” Wright said. “There is nothing the offense is going to do, that we won’t be prepared. Come Sunday we are ready.”
Obviously, it’s still early in the season and the defense needs to prove that it can be consistent every week. The early signs are very positive but they can’t get overconfident just yet.