The Las Vegas Raiders appear to be finding their stride midway through the 2020 season after coming away with a thrilling victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 9.
At 5-3, the Raiders are in the mix for a playoff spot, but they still have improvements to make on both sides of the field. Derek Carr has looked more comfortable controlling the offense, and young weapons like Josh Jacobs, Henry Ruggs III and Hunter Renfrow have made his life easier each week.
Defensively, Las Vegas has their struggles both containing the run and the pass and have been one of the worse units in the league in both areas. Although Johnathan Abram has looked solid in his second year in the secondary and the defensive line has gotten better at creating pressure along the edges, they can still be much better in the second half of the season.
The middle of the field has been a problem, in particular, and the Raiders were dealt a blow this week when Cory Littleton was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Littletn is expected to miss the Week 10 matchup with the Denver Broncos but Jon Gruden provided an update on his situation, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN:
— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) November 13, 2020
Littleton was Las Vegas’s prized signing in the offseason when they inked him to a three-year, $36 million deal after his productive 2019 season with the Los Angeles Rams. He was coveted for his pass defense and run support but has had an up-and-down campaign so far.
Despite his early inconsistencies, Littleton did seem to improve on a weekly basis and is currently the team’s leading tackler with 48. He has also been a constant presence for Gruden and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, playing every snap on defense this season.
The linebacker will miss this week and could potentially miss more time depending on whether or not he has contracted COVID-19 (coronavirus) or not. In his absence, fellow linebackers Nicholas Morrow and Kyle Wilber will need to step up alongside Nick Kwiatkoski.
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