There aren’t a lot of players that the Las Vegas Raiders should try to bring back for next season but they should consider at least one. Linebacker Nicholas Morrow has been with the team for years now. He was actually signed as an undrafted free agent during Jack Del Rio’s tenure as head coach.
Morrow hadn’t done too much for the Raiders prior to the 2020 season but Jon Gruden was high on him. Well, he proved why the coach was high on him and was arguably the team’s best linebacker this season. He notched three sacks in 11 games and saw his role increase as the season went on. The veteran linebacker is set to hit free agency soon but he’d like to stay in Las Vegas.
“I’d love to be a Raider. This is all I know. I’ve been here four years,” Morrow said Monday. “This is basically where I grew up as far as football goes.”
The Raiders would be very wise to keep him around. He’s still young at 25-years-old and is only getting better. The team has struggled at linebacker for years but a trio of Morrow, Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton could actually be really good under the right defensive coordinator.
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Morrow Talks Raiders’ Defensive Struggles
Despite the emergence of Morrow this season, they still struggled on defense. The group was so bad that defensive coordinator Paul Guenther got fired after the Week 14 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Guenther deserves a lot of blame for the defensive struggles but Morrow believes the players need to be more accountable.
“We have to hold ourselves to a standard that’s acceptable for a professional football player and I think in some cases, to be honest, we lacked the accountability,” Morrow said. “The players, coaches, we all have to be more accountable to our jobs because we’re all connected together.”
The Raiders looked very undisciplined at times. Coverages were blown, running backs would make big runs and teams would score a lot of points on them. Better accountability would go a long way in helping the young defense.
Maxx Crosby Says Defense Lacked Intensity
The Raiders had a mixture of youth and experienced veterans on the defense last year. The group never seemed to gel properly. Defensive end Maxx Crosby detailed some of the issues he thought the defense had.
“I feel like as a defense as a whole we need to be locked in from start to finish. I feel like we had some good moments, then there’s lack of focus, lack of detail, lack of intensity at times,” Crosby said.
The Raiders were in the playoff hunt for most of the year so it’s inexcusable that they would lack intensity. There were at least three games that the team could’ve won if the defense didn’t give up late scores. They could’ve easily finished with 10 or 11 wins had the defense would have been at least average. It was wise to move on from Guenther as the Raiders need to find a guy who can help teach the young players while bringing a lot more intensity to the group.