In the off season the linebacker position received an over haul with the additions of veterans Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Marshall.
Burfict who played eight years in Paul Guenther’s system while in Cincinnati is slated to start as the middle linebacker. Marshall, who has experience within the AFC West division having spent five seasons with the Denver Broncos is also being projected to start as the Will linebacker. Pending an injury the linebackers appear to be set with Tahir Whitehead joining Burfict and Marshall as the starters.
That leaves guys like Marquel Lee, Jason Cabinda, and Nicholas Morrow fighting for the role of first linebacker off the bench in what is one of this years most underrated training camp battles. To this point in camp it sounds like Nicholas Morrow is next in line for snaps.
“Morrow, to me, has stood out,” said head coach Jon Gruden. “Morrow is really playing well. He’s finding the ball and he is fast and I’m really impressed with Nick.”
Morrow is entering his third year with the Raiders after being signed as an undrafted free agent out of division three program, Greenville University. A bit undersized at only 225 pounds, Morrow makes his bones with his ability in coverage and on special teams.
Just when Morrow thought his chance to finally become a starter in 2019 had arrived the Raiders once again brought in a veteran linebacker to compete at the position just as they have done in his previous two seasons.
In an interview with Levi Damien on the Silver & Black Pridecast, Morrow spoke about having to prove himself to the coaching staff.
“I’ve had to take a step back and learn from those guys,” said Morrow. “The biggest thing when you’re in this position is you gotta learn. If you just sit there and say, man I gotta be playing, it’s my time, then once your time comes you will never be ready. So I’m just taking a step back and learning from these dudes.”
You can hear the full interview below.
Morrow’s time might not be now but if there is one thing he has learned from his short time in the league is that he must be ready to go when his number is called. At the midway point of last season Morrow saw his snap percentage take a major increase where he played nearly 75 percent of the defensive snaps the remainder of the season.