I like Yannick Ngakoue. His teammates and coaches like Yannick Ngakoue. Or at least his Raiders teammates and coaches did. Hence the reason he was named a captain last season and was credited with the an improved Raiders pass rush.
Yannick Ngakoue is also a highly motivated guy, which is great. It’s why he has been able to put up 55.5 sacks in his six-year career.
But there is a reason this fiery presence at a premium position is now on his fifth team since 2019.
Most will say it’s his lack of run defense. True, he is not good at stopping the run. To put it lightly.
Ngakoue was 55th out of 55 edge rushers in run grade per PFF. Jones was 52nd https://t.co/rpJmcxqqgx
— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) May 10, 2022
But that can often just mean he needs to find the right fit. Fifth time’s the charm?
Ngakoue put up ten sacks in his single season with the Raiders. Then the new staff came in and traded him to Indianapolis where he rejoins Gus Bradley who was his DC with the Raiders last season. Clearly, Bradley sees him as a fit with his defense. It was a straight-up trade for CB Rock Ya-Sin.
In true Yannick form, he is now fired up to face the Raiders team that traded him away when the two teams meet up this season, and he’s tossing out threats to that effect.
“They’ll see how I feel when we play them,” Ngakoue told Go Long’s Tyler Dunne. “We go to their house. They’ll see why they f—-d up. They’re going to have to pay. They’ll pay.”
We don’t yet know when this meeting will be — we’ll find out Friday when the schedule is released — but we know it will be Yannick coming to Las Vegas and playing on his former home field against his former team.
How afraid should the Raiders be of the message Yan is trying to send them? Well, if the last time he tried sending an opponent a message in their house is any indication, they should welcome all the smoke.
Last season when the Raiders traveled to Arrowhead to face the Chiefs, Ngakoue — who, remember. was a team captain — led his Raiders teammates — many of whom reluctantly — to the center of the field following pregame warmups to try and fire them up by stomping all over the Chiefs logo.
It got them fired up, all right. If by “them” you mean the Chiefs.
The Chiefs boat raced the Raiders that day, jumping out to a 35-0 lead before halftime and ultimately winning by a historically large 48-9 margin — the worst loss the Raiders have ever suffered to the Chiefs in their 62-year rivalry.
So, if I’m the Raiders, I am inviting all the smoke Yannick has to offer. Talk it. And when the Colts come to Allegiant, go ahead, pull another stunt like you did at Arrowhead. Lead your team to the logo or whatever. Get cute with it. See what happens.