I believe having Matt Shaughnessy last year would have been enough to get the Raiders into the playoffs. He has a motor that just wont quit and when he went down it was a major blow to an already struggling defense. When Oakland lost Matt they lost their best run stopper and possibly their best pass rusher. He is an all around athletic beast that was on his way to an outstanding season before it was cut ridiculously short in just Week 3 vs the Jets.
Now comes another year and a whole new world for Mr. ShaughNASTY. I just hope he can return to form after a devastating shoulder injury. He could be a major X factor in the new defense that is to be unleashed. He is a perfect fit for a hybrid defense because he is capable of playing both DE in a 4-3 and OLB in a 3-4. He is going to be given every opportunity to succeed in the Raiders new defense, hopefully he comes back physically able to cash in on his chances.
The good news to me is that the injury he went through was up top instead of down low. A knee injury to him I think would have been much worse for his chances at recovery. He relies on his first step and intelligence more than his strength. His quickness and decision making are what makes him a different type of player than the rest of the defensive line. Most of their DL is built on brute strength instead of the quick feisty attitude that Matt brings to the table.
His toughness is easy to see and his resilience has already been shown this offseason. There was the possibility that he was not going to be ready until training camp but he was able to be a full participant in mini camps back in June. That was a huge milestone for a player that hadn't been able to practice with his team for 9 months. It also was very important considering the massive scheme changes happening for the Oakland Raider defense under Dennis Allen. There was a strong probability that he would be behind come training camp, but instead he has been able to be there right along with everybody else learning the new defense.
Matt Shaughnessy is a major part of the Raiders defense and it is going to be very nice to have him back on the field. He is only 25 years old and has the whole prime of his career ahead of him. This year has the chance to really put him on the map in the world of the NFL. He was on his way to establishing himself as a top young talent before his shoulder injury. I am certain now that he is healthy again that he will get right back on track to establishing his dominance around the league.
His contract is coming up in the near future and he is one player that needs to stay wearing the Raiders' historic colors. If he plays like he is capable of he is going to cash in big time and the Raiders should not have a problem paying a single cent of whatever that salary is. He is going to be an integral part of what the Raiders do on defense this year.