Before we fully turn our attention to Sunday’s crucial game at the Tennessee Titans for the Las Vegas Raiders, let’s look at some key Week 2 defensive snap counts from a 29-23 overtime defeat to the Arizona Cardinals:
Harmon stands out:
Safety Duron Harmon took advantage of an injury to starter Tre’von Moehrig and was on the field for every defensive snap. He made back-to-back big plays in overtime, one in the ground game and one a big-time hit deep in Raiders’ territory that turned the ball over on down and gave Las Vegas a chance to win. Had the Raiders, indeed, won the game, Harmon’s big plays would be long remembered. Expect him to get more and more playing time.
Crosby’s snaps are still up:
So far, new Raiders’ defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is using star pass-rusher Maxx Crosby heavily. Against the Cardinals, Crosby was on the field for 82 of 87 snaps. That is a lot of snaps for a pass-rusher considering how much Arizona quarterback, Kyler Murray, moved around the field. In Week 1, Crosby was on the field for 64 of 67 plays. So, Crosby, has sat out just eight defensive plays this season. That wasn’t the approach of former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley last year. He tried to keep Crosby fresh after he was banged up late in his second season. Crosby played more than 90 percent of the snaps in just two games with 93 percent being the most. This will be an interesting trend to watch develop as the season progresses.
Robertson plays extensively:
The third-year cornerback played a career-high 74 snaps. Last year, against Chicago, he did play all 64 snaps. But he has mostly been a deep backup. Robertson, who had his first career interception against Murray, may be playing his way into more playing time. The 2020 fourth-round pick has always had a lot of promise, but there has been little payoff. Maybe Sunday represented a shift in both playing time and success for Robertson.
A lot of Vickers:
The defensive line rotation continues to evolve. Kendal Vickers led the non pass-rushers with 58 snaps (67 percent). He played in 30 percent of the snaps last week. Andrew Billings played in the second most with 44 snaps. Bilal Nichols, was hurt and played just 33 percent of the snaps. When healthy, he should be at the top of the snap counts at the position.
Clelin Ferrell continues to get the most snaps behind Crosby and Chandler Jones as a pass-rusher. He played in 26 percent of the snaps against the Cardinals after playing in 28 percent against the Chargers. Tashawn Bowers played nine percent of the snaps after being inactive in Week 1. Second-year player Malcolm Koonce didn’t play on defense in Week 2.