OAKLAND – Raiders head coach Jon Gruden kept his rotations largely under wraps, leaving several question marks about how certain Raiders would be used. Monday night's 33-13 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, and offered clarity for how some Raiders fit on the depth chart and within the scheme.
That was especially true at safety, where all four on the 53-man roster were touted for their play over the course of the summer. Marcus Gilchrist always had a starting spot. Reggie Nelson took the other over 2016 first-round pick Karl Joseph, who didn't play a defensive snap until Gilchrist got hurt late. Erik Harris never saw the field on defense.
The Rams kept the Raiders in sub packages most of the night, meaning slot cornerback Leon Hall rarely left the field. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, got some time, taking series away from Gareon Conley and Rashaan Melvin. Rodgers-Cromartie was effective, per analytics site Pro Football Focus, with one pass defensed on as many targets. He was flagged for a long pass interference call.
[BAIR: Raiders Week 1 Report Card]
Brandin Cooks got Conley twice for 53 yards, but the Raiders corner didn't allow another reception. Melvin allowed to catches for 30 yards on four targets, but got beat on a deep shot and was lucky the ball was overthrown.
Defensive linemen rotated heavily in this game and will continue to do so, even with Bruce Irvin. He played most every down last year, but only played half the snaps on Monday night. He had a big strip sack on third down, per PFF, but was quiet outside that.
PFF also said the Raiders' five pressures generated was the NFL's worst mark. Arden Key had two pressures, but missed some opportunities in what Jon Gruden said was an underwhelming debut.
Here's a complete list of snap counts for the Raiders from Monday night's loss to the Rams:
Total offensive snaps: 74
Quarterback – Derek Carr 74
Running back – Jalen Richard 37, Marshawn Lynch 27, Doug Martin 10, Keith Smith 7
Wide receiver – Jordy Nelson 72, Amari Cooper 69, Seth Roberts 47
Tight end – Jared Cook 67, Derek Carrier 25, Lee Smith 9
Offensive line – Donald Penn 74, Gabe Jackson 74, Kolton Miller 74, Rodney Hudson 74, Kelechi Osemele 74
Total defensive snaps: 63
Defensive line – Justin Ellis 45, Maurice Hurst 42, Frostee Rucker 41, P.J. Hall 32, Arden Key 32, Bruce Irvin 31, Fadol Brown 17, Shilique Calhoun 12,
Linebacker – Tahir Whitehead 63, Derrick Johnson 39, Marquel Lee 24, Emmanuel Lamur 1
Defensive back – Reggie Nelson 63, Leon Hall 62, Gareon Conley 57, Marcus Gilchrist 56, Rashaan Melvin 49, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie 20, Karl Joseph 7
Total special teams plays: 30
Marquel Lee 26, Kyle Wilber 26, Erik Harris 26, Nicholas Morrow 26, Carrier 18, K. Smith 18, Morrow 18, Hatcher 16, Harris 15, L. Smith 15, Calhoun 14, Joseph 14, Gilchrist 13, Rodgers-Cromartie 11, Irvin 9, Whitehead 9, Melvin 9, Johnny Townsend 8, Mike Nugent 8, Hall 7, Key 7, Ellis 7, Rucker 6, Jon Feliciano 4, Penn 4, Jackson 4, Miller 4, Hudson 3, Richard 3, Hall 3, Conley 2, Andrew DePaola 2, Nelson 1, Hurst 1, Johnson 1, Brown 1, Lamur 1