The Raiders added many new linebackers during free agency this year. Derrick Johnson came over later in the off-season after Raiders signed Tahir Whitehead and Emmanuel Lamur. Take a look at this film study of Tahir Whitehead here. All three linebackers are slated to start in the middle of the defense this upcoming season.
Emmanuel Lamur is easily the most mysterious of the three free agent linebackers acquired by the Raiders this off-season. Lamur is familiar with the new Raiders scheme after starting for Guenther in his first year as defensive coordinator in 2014 with the Bengals. But that has been his only major playing time so far in his career.
Most recently Lamur played in Minnesota under Mike Zimmer from whom Paul Guenther learned this scheme. It was hard for Lamur to crack into the starting line-up behind Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks and primarily subbed in at linebacker during obvious passing situations.
Now that he is reunited with Guenther who gave him his most playing time thus far in his career, Lamur is poised to prove he can be a difference maker.
Covering Running Backs
In the clip above, Lamur covers the Saints running back to the flat. Lamur showcases his impressive speed for a LB by closing the cushion fast and dropping the receiver for a small gain. Notice Lamur mirroring the running back’s path before bursting when the ball is thrown. Lamur can stay patient in this type of coverage because he can make up ground with his athleticism.
In 2017 Lamur continued to prove he can still close with the best linebackers in the game. This time he checks in during an obvious passing situation. There are a couple impressive parts of this play; first Lamur is able to effectively “wall off” Julio Jones by forcing the superstar receiver to run around his 6’4 240lb frame. Matt Ryan checks down to Tevin Coleman running a crossing route. The first linebacker misses the tackle but Lamur makes an impressive play outside of his primary coverage responsibility to force a 4th down.
Getting hands on passes
Going back to Cinncinnati in 2014, Lamur plays this Joe Flacco pass perfectly. Tight End Dennis Pitta is running a “wheel route” where he’ll run up the sideline from an inside alignment. Lamur again stays patient and trusts the coverage opting to widen and protect against a deep route. This forces Flacco to attempt a back-shoulder pass. Lamur times his break perfectly and is able to snag an interception,
Fast forward to 2017 with the Vikings and that 6’4 frame pops up again. This time Lamur is bluffing a blitz in Zimmer’s Double A Gap blitz package. Lamur bails out at the snap and utilizes his length to deflect what otherwise should be an automatic throw and catch against his former teammates.
Against the Run?
In the clip above, Lamur covers down over the slot receiver, he reads run and throws Marques Colston aside like a rag doll. He shows good physicality here but it remains to be seen if he can do this consistently against offensive lineman.
This area is where Lamur has the least amount of film. Even when he got his most playing time in Cinncinnati, Lamur was scheme protected against the run, often the first LB to step out of the box or lining up on the weakside as a free hitter in the run game. Lamur has a few good looking run stops where he knifes into the backfield unblocked to make a tackle for limited gain. But when it comes to defeating a blocker he has little film.
Lamur was brought to Oakland because of his familiarity with Paul Guenther’s scheme. His veteran knowledge of the defense, relatively fresh legs, along with elite size and athleticism at the linebacker position could translate into a break-out season for the talented linebacker.
At very least Lamur will be a match-up weapon to use against certain teams and help 5’10 safeties Karl Joseph and Marcus Gilchrist against bigger WR’s. At most Lamur takes his game a step forward and becomes an every down linebacker who can make plays all over the field.
It was encouraging to see that even with sparse playing time for Minnesota, almost all of his tackles were stops; either a short gain on 1st or 2nd down or stopping the chains from moving on 3rd down. Raiders fans have reason to be optimistic about his addition to this defense.