Early in the season, the shuffling going on in the secondary was a little odd, but somewhat understandable. They were trying to see what worked and what didn’t and if anyone would step up and take the starting job. Thus far at the safety positions no one has.
We don’t yet know what WILL work at the safety spot, but we do know what will NOT work. Reggie Nelson and Marcus Gilchrist have NOT worked. Those two are also the elder statesmen of the group, so with a clear long term rebuild happening, the only answer is to go with the young unproven safeties, Erik Harris and Karl Joseph.
Paul Guenther went with a different answer.
A week after Reggie Nelson wasn’t even active on game day, and Gilchrist was clearly the worst player on the field, the two of them trotted out once again as the team’s starters and played the majority of the snaps at safety.
Meanwhile Harris played 25 snaps (45%) and Joseph 13 (24%).
No one is saying Harris and Joseph have earned the starting jobs, but if either or both of them are going to be able to showcase themselves and show they are deserving of a shot at being the long term answer, they can’t be up and down each week and getting limited snaps.
Jon Gruden said after last Sunday’s loss to the Colts that the Raiders are trying to put the best players on the field, not just put players out there for evaluation or to “audition” them. The players on the field aren’t giving them any better chance to win, and quite possibly are hurting the team.
This team isn’t winning. Not even close most weeks. The defense is a travesty. Not only are Nelson and Gilchrist part of that, but it’s past time to shift into evaluation mode and put in players hungry to carve out a career. Not guys who are clearly giving up because hope in winning is lost.
Week 9 snap counts