Raiders Cut Former Pro Bowl Linebacker, Sign DE to Practice Squad

antonio pierce

Getty Las Vegas Raiders interim Antonio Pierce.

The Las Vegas Raiders have been dealing with injuries to their linebackers through the early part of the season but are starting to get healthy. With Luke Masterson, Divine Deablo and Robert Spillane all being healthy to play, the team has moved on from a veteran.

The Raiders announced on November 22 that they’ve waived linebacker Jaylon Smith.

The former Pro Bowler was recently brought in when Las Vegas was dealing with injuries. He played in Week 9 against the New York Giants but was inactive for the last two games. Though Smith was a Pro Bowler back in 2019, he hasn’t been able to reach those same heights in recent years due to injuries.

Smith is familiar with Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s defense so he could be a logical addition to the practice squad if he’s able to clear waivers. He’s not the player he once was but is a solid veteran who understands the scheme.

The Raiders also announced the signing of defensive end Elerson Smith to the practice squad. He was a fourth-round pick of the Giants in 2021 and played in 13 career games. He has yet to register a sack in a regular season game.

Maxx Crosby Confident in the Defense

The Raiders defense is playing its best football in years and held its last three opponents to 20 or fewer points, including the Miami Dolphins‘ No. 1 ranked offense. Defensive Maxx Crosby has been with the Raiders since 2019 and has seen some bad defenses.

He’s confident in this current group, which could be the best defense he’s played on.

“We’ve just got to keep improving,” Crosby said during his November 19 postgame media availability. “You see what we’re doing. We’re getting better. We’re playing as a unit and flying to the ball. And it’s about the things that don’t show up in a stat sheet. Good defenses fly to the damn ball and impose their will on offenses. No matter who we play, I’m confident with those guys going out there, and I expect success.”

Maxx Crosby Believes Team Isn’t ‘Riding a Rollercoaster’

Following the firing of head coach Josh McDaniels and the promotion of Antonio Pierce to interim head coach, the Raiders got hot and won back-to-back games. They came crashing back to Earth with a Week 11 20-13 loss to the Dolphins.

However, Maxx Crosby thinks the Raiders have genuinely improved.

“At the end of the day, we’re not riding a rollercoaster,” Crosby said. “It’s not like: ‘We won. Oh my God,’ or: ‘Oh my God, thank God the week is over.’ It’s not like that. Guys are itching to play, and you feel that (expletive). You see it every time. You’ve seen it the last three weeks, it’s not a coincidence. It’s not like some fluke. The guys are playing together, and there are no other guys I’d rather play with. I can go on and on about how much everybody is improving and the sacrifice they’re making. I’ll go to war with these guys every day of the week.”

The Raiders have another big test at home against the Kansas City Chiefs at home in Week 12. Beating the Super Bowl champions would give the team a ton of momentum for a late-season charge.

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