Committed to safeties:
With Tre’von Moehrig out injured for a second straight game, the Raiders continued to go with Duron Harmon (who replaced Moehrig) and Johnathan Abram for every snap. Of course, Abram does move around. When Moehrig returns, I still expect to see Harmon on the field often. He’s been playing well.
Working Crosby hard:
Star pass-rusher Maxx Crosby was on the field for 53 of 58 snaps, good for 91 percent playing time. Thus, Crosby continues to be a mainstay. Against the Cardinals, Crosby was on the field for 82 of 87 snaps, which is a ton of work. In Week 1, Crosby was on the field for 64 of 67 plays. So, Crosby, has sat out just 13 defensive plays this season. Former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley tried to keep Crosby fresh in 2021 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. New Las Vegas defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is not taking that approach with Crosby yet, at least.
Ferrell eating into Jones’ playing time:
The Raiders gave Chandler Jones a three-year deal worth $52.5 million in the offseason to pair with Crosby. it made sense because Jones had experience in this system. Yet, through three games, he’s been a dud in Las Vegas. Jones has just four pressures in three games. Against the Titans, his playing time shrunk as he played 40 of 58 snaps for 69 percent of the snaps. He played 90 percent of the snaps in the first two games. Backup Clelin Ferrell played 26 snaps, for a season-high 45 percent. The truth is Ferrell isn’t getting much done either. so this change is more about Chandler not delivering than Ferrell stealing snaps.
Defensive tackle rotation changes:
The defensive-tackle rotation has shifted each week. In Week 2, Kendal Vickers led the non pass-rushers with 58 snaps (67 percent). At Tennessee, he played just nine snaps. Against the Titans, Andrew Billings played in 40 snaps after playing 44 snaps against the Cardinals. Not surprisingly, Bilal Nichols, was healthy against the Titans and led the non-passing rushing defensive lines with 44 snaps. Expect that to continue if he stays healthy.
Robertson snaps down:
In Week 2, 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 went back to being a backup as he played 23 snaps at Nashville. The Raiders have injuries at cornerback with Nate Hobbs and Rock Ya-Sin getting hurt Sunday, so maybe Robertson’s snaps will increase against the Broncos.
Koonce hasn’t made impact yet:
For those expecting 2021 third-round pick, pass-rusher Malcolm Koonce to become a big part of the rotation, it hasn’t happened. He has played just five defensive snaps in three games. it can always change, but it’s clear he is not currently part of the defensive plan.