At 2-7, the Las Vegas Raiders’ brass is talking about building for the future and part of that means finding young players who can be part of the plan.
We’re at that part of the season, whether it’s because of veterans faltering or injuries, young players are starting to get more playing time for Las Vegas. That was the case for the Raiders’ defense in a Week 10 loss to the Colts as undrafted linebacker Luke Masterson started and undrafted rookie cornerback Sam Webb played often.
Masterson played 47 snaps (72 percent of the defensive snaps Sunday. He had played a total of 13 defensive snaps prior to that this season with 11 coming in Week 9. The Wake Forest product had six tackles. Webb, from Missouri Western State, played 63 snaps (97 percent) against the Colts and he had eight tackles. He played 58 defensive snaps previously.
Webb played over Anthony Averett and could continue to play more. Masterson was playing because of an injury to Denzel Perryman.
No matter what happens the rest of the season, Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels is extremely impressed with both rookie defenders.
“I think both really are two quality young players that we were fortunate to get them when we did after the draft. I think just two good examples of guys that have really been out there every day and they’ve really progressed throughout the course of the of the year, whether it’s on the scout team, which a lot of their reps for the first, I’d say, couple months here have been on the scout team,” McDaniels said. “But they’re competing every rep, making our players on the offensive side of the ball better, or they get some reps on defense and then have an opportunity to contribute there as well and learn and grow and improve. I think both of them have factored into the kicking game literally since the beginning of the season. Unselfish, durable, out there every day improving, work very hard. Study the game plan, whether they’re going to play 65 snaps or 10.
“They’re both into it, they both are going through their process as rookies of how do they take care of their bodies, they’re doing a good job of maintaining their health. All good examples of what we’re looking for from the young guys on our team that ultimately earn opportunities to play in games like yesterday and show decent for themselves, clearly. There’s going to be some things we’re going to be able to correct today on tape for both of them, but I thought both of them really played with good effort, made some plays that helped us, and we’ll continue to look for that from them going forward.”
While this has been a rough season in Las Vegas, young players such as Webb and Masterson provide some hope for the future.