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Raiders preview 2022: Bilal Nichols fresh and ready to play

Free-agent addition big part of defense

Syndication: Wilmington News Journal
Bilal Nichols
Saquan Stimpson / USA TODAY NETWORK

With the Las Vegas Raiders playing at the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1 in just three days, it’s a good time to remind all of this — Bilal Nichols is going to be a key to the defense.

Nichols may have fell to the back of mind of many fans because he was on PUP list until mid-August and has been working his way back from an injury suffered in the offseason. Yet, Nichols is now completely healthy and ready to be the impact player at defensive tackle that the Raiders signed him away from the Chicago Bears in free agency.

Nichols is fresh and is ready to be the player the Raiders signed him to be.

“I’m good, just a steady progress. It feels good to be back out there with my teammates, and I’m ready to go ... Everybody knows the grind and the wear and tear that training camp takes on your body, so it definitely feels good to be fresh going into the season and just being back out there with my teammates.”

The Raiders revamped their defensive-tackle position under new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and it will rely on rotation in the new-look unit. Yet, Nichols will be at the center of it all and should be at the top of the rotation. Whatever his role is, Nichols is clear about his goal in Las Vegas.

“My job is to do whatever it takes to win. Wherever that is that the coaches want me to line up at, wherever that is that I’m placed, my job is to go out there and play as hard as I can every snap and give our team the best opportunity to win,” Nichols said. “If I go out there every play, no matter what it is, my job responsibility is, and I play to the best of my ability then that gives us opportunity to win.”

Wile the new Las Vegas defense is somewhat of a mystery, Nichols believes it will open eyes in 2022.

“I think we have a high ceiling. The most impressive thing about our defense is that we have a lot of guys who want to win, a lot of guys who want to get better,” Nichols said. “You don’t have to stay on their back for them to do the right thing. They just do it because they want to win. That’s something that you love to see, and that’s something that picks everybody up. It picks the whole morale of the defense up. That’s something that I love about our defense.”