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Sunday’s loss was an important learning experience for Raiders’ safety Johnathan Abram

Promising player took his lumps on run defense in 36-20 loss to New England Patriots

NFL: SEP 27 Raiders at Patriots
Johnathan Abram
Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Johnathan Abram has played just four NFL games, these things are going to happen.

Abram, a 2019 first-round pick that missed all but one game last season with a shoulder injury, was a bright light on a struggling Las Vegas defense in the first two games of the season. He flew all over the field, making plays and appeared to be a tone setter. Yet, Abram struggled in run defense on Sunday — along with the rest to the Raiders’ defense — in a 36-20 loss at New England.

The Patriots had 250 yards rushing and had 217 of those yards through three quarters. The Raiders were gutted on the ground and Abram, who did have an interception in the game, was exposed a few times. After reviewing the film, Raiders coach Jon Gruden discussed Abram’s tough day as a run stopper.

“I think you when rewind it, you say, ‘man, he should make that tackle’ or ‘the angle wasn’t appropriate.’ I think when he’s in the post and he’s making open field tackles, I think there’s a time and a place for going for the big hit,” Gruden said. “There’s another time and place for just coming to balance and trying to make an open field grass tackle, and that’s something that we need to work on. We probably need to put him back there in the post more often and ask him to do that, but we can’t let these runners get up on our safeties one-on-one. The runners get paid too, as you know.”

I wouldn’t be too concerned about Abram on the whole. The coaching staff will work with him on tackling technique and angles. He is an aggressive player who wants to be great. He will learn from this experience.