Though mostly just the backups played in the first preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks, the Las Vegas Raiders have to be feeling pretty good about the 20-7 win. For the first time in a long time, the team appears to have some solid depth throughout the roster. Even the defense is starting to look like it’s on an upward trajectory.
However, linebacker is still a bit of a question mark for the Raiders. Nicholas Morrow has played really well for the team and is slated to start but he’s only started in 29 of 62 games. Cory Littleton is a former Pro Bowler but was a big disappointment for the team. Nick Kwiatkoski was another notable addition last season and while he didn’t play poorly, he wasn’t a difference-maker. The group has the potential to be very good but they could also be bad. In an effort to bring some more competition to the group, the Raiders announced the signing of Te’Von Coney.
The former Notre Dame standout has been on the Raiders’ roster before. He originally came in as an undrafted free agent rookie in 2019 and spent some of the season on the team’s practice squad. He was re-signed last offseason but got cut before training camp. Coney is an interesting project at 24-years-old but it’s hard to imagine that he actually makes the team this go around.
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Tanner Muse Talks First Game at LB
One very intriguing player to keep an eye on for the Raiders is Tanner Muse. The 2020 third-round draft pick missed the entirety of his rookie season due to a toe injury. He quickly became an afterthought and was just chalked up as one of the several bad draft picks Las Vegas has made in recent years. However, he may just end up being an impact player for the Raiders. He’s been taking a lot of first-team snaps in practice in training camp and had his first chance to play linebacker during Saturday’s preseason game.
“It felt great,” Muse said of playing his first game at linebacker Tuesday. “I spun down a lot from safety at Clemson, so it felt natural. I was in spots I’ve been at prior in my career, so it was no big deal. Just a little adjustment. Used my hands a little more.”
If Muse develops into a difference-maker, that would be huge for the Raiders. Linebacker has been a position they’ve struggled at for years. Muse could be part of the equation that eventually gives the team a long-term solution.
Are the Raiders Set at LB for the Season?
Recently, the Raiders brought in former Pro Bowl linebacker KJ Wright for a visit. They didn’t end up signing him but it did show that the team could be a little concerned with what they have at linebacker. That said, it could have also just been a case of the team seeing a talented player available and wanted to take a quick look.
Regardless, the Raiders are likely set with their linebacker for Week 1. They could look to make changes down the road if the group struggles but they should have a solid group. Littleton will be the most important player to watch. He was once considered one of the best linebackers in the NFL. He didn’t look anywhere close to that last year. If he returns to form and Morrow continues to improve, the Raiders could actually have a really strong linebacker corps.