New York

Raiders Sign a Pair of Veteran Defensive Ends

Kony Ealy and Jacquies Smith could get playing time this Sunday against the Chargers

The Raiders' pass rush is bad. Really bad. Awful, actually.

Oakland has just seven sacks in 2018 and ranks last in the NFL. Defensive end Khalil Mack, traded to the Bears from Oakland just before the start of this season, hasn’t played in Chicago’s past two games because of an ankle injury, and has the same number of sacks as the Raiders in that span: zero.

So, this week the Raiders signed two veteran NFL defensive ends to at least bulk up a line weakened by the release of defensive end Bruce Irvin Monday.

Joining the Raiders are Kony Ealy and Jacquies Smith.

Ealy, 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, has played for the Panthers and New York Jets after being a second-round pick by the Panthers out of Missouri in 2014. He has 15 career sacks.

Smith, a 6-foot-2, 260-pounder, played three games for Arizona this season before being released. Originally an undrafted free agent from Missouri, Smith was a starter for Tampa Bay in 2014 and 2015 when he had seasons of 6½ and seven sacks. He then went to Detroit, back to Tampa and then to Arizona since 2016. In 10 games since 2016, he has zero sacks but has played sparingly because of injuries.

Smith believes he can get back to the player he was in 2014 and 2015 and is eager for the chance to go to work for the Raiders this week and make an impact Sunday against the Chargers.

“You have to love football,” he told Raiders.com after his signing. “Every opportunity you get, you have to cherish it, because I know firsthand, coming from where I’ve been, been at the top, and now I’m trying to work myself back up to be the player that I was. You have to cherish this thing.”

The Raiders will take on the Chargers Sunday at home. Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m.

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