The Las Vegas Raiders defense has seen a major boost this year thanks to defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. In his first year with the team, he’s turned the defense from one of the worst in the NFL to an average unit. The group still isn’t great, especially in run defense, but the pass defense has been solid.
However, the defense remains a work in progress as the Raiders have given up over 30 points in three straight games after not allowing a single team to break 30 in the first eight games. The weakest area on the Raiders defense is likely the secondary. The group has faced injuries all year, which has made it difficult to be consistent. In an effort to possibly bring in more depth, the team brought in veteran safety Natrell Jamerson for a tryout.
Jamerson originally came into the NFL as a fifth-round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints but never ended up playing a game for the team. He eventually landed with the Green Bay Packers where he played in two games before making his way to the Houston Texans. His longest stint was with the Carolina Panthers where he played two seasons.
Jamerson has played in 21 career games and has never caught an interception. He’s also never started a game. If the Raiders decided to sign him, it would likely be for a depth/special teams role.
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Raiders Defense Has Chance to Get Back on Track
The Raiders defense has given up a lot of points in the last three games but they’ve also faced some explosive offenses. The Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys all have top-10 scoring offenses this season. After that brutal stretch, the Raiders are getting an easier task against the Washington Football Team this week.
Washington is only scoring 20.8 points a game, which is 20th in the NFL. Taylor Heinicke has been a pleasant surprise but he’s certainly not among the league’s elite quarterbacks. Washington got off to a rocky start this season but is now on a three-game winning streak. If the Raiders defense can keep the game low scoring, it should be a winnable game for the silver and black at home.
Raiders Still in the Playoff Hunt
Unfortunately for the Raiders, their schedule doesn’t lighten up the rest of the season. Washington is arguably the worst team they play going forward and they don’t have a bad squad. Las Vegas has one of those rare teams that could beat any team or lose to any team in a given week. If they get hot now, they can get back in the playoff race.
“The fact that we are right there — not where we want to be — but right there with a chance and an opportunity to get some really good football teams coming up, some very capable football teams coming up, we know what’s at stake,” quarterback Derek Carr said after Thursday’s win over the Cowboys. “We know what we have to do. Hopefully, we can go on a run and get hot.”
If the Raiders still have their eyes on the playoffs, Sunday’s game against Washington should be considered a must-win.