ALAMEDA – The Raiders defense couldn't get off the field in the second half versus Houston. Scores or kneel downs were the only way drives ended from midway through the second quarter on, leaving Deshaun Watson to methodically work his way down the field to tally points.
That left an already thin linebacker corps on the field too long. And, by linebacker corps, we mean Tahir Whitehead and Nicholas Morrow. Those guys played all 83 defensive snaps during Sunday's 27-24 loss to Houston at NRG Stadium, a massive sum that explains the negative result.
The Raiders are able to cycle defensive linemen through, using all available bodies to keep rushers as fresh as possible. That's just not available right now, with reserve linebackers not ready for meaningful snaps at this point.
Even if the Raiders want to hold on to precious draft capital as Tuesday afternoon's trade deadline approaches, they strongly should consider adding another member to the group. Dakota Allen hasn't played much defense, Kyle Wilber is a special teams player and practice-squad promotion Justin Phillips doesn't seem quite ready for big moments.
Vontaze Burfict's season-long suspension was so impactful, even just removing another component player from the position group.
The receiver rotation snapped back in place with Tyrell Williams re-joining the fray. He resumed his place as the alpha, playing almost every snap in his return to action. Zay Jones got in the act with 22 snaps, a total that will increase in the coming weeks. Hunter Renfrow remains the primary slot guy, with Trevor Davis as a supporting player who could see decreased time as Jones gets up to speed.
Trayvon Mullen started in Gareon Conley's vacated cornerback spot Sunday, but split time with Nevin Lawson. Part of that split was medically-based, with Mullen needing intravenous fluids early in this game.
Total offensive snaps: 56
Quarterback – Derek Carr 56
Running back – Josh Jacobs 31, Jalen Richard 17, DeAndre Washington 9, Alec Ingold 7
Wide receiver – Tyrell Williams 50, Hunter Renfrow 36, Trevor Davis 26, Zay Jones 22
Tight end – Darren Waller 54, Foster Moreau 22, Derek Carrier 6
Offensive line – Richie Incognito 56, Kolton Miller 56, Trent Brown 56, Gabe Jackson 56, Andre James 46, Rodney Hudson 9
Total defensive snaps: 83
Defensive line – Maxx Crosby 74, Johnathan Hankins 63, Clelin Ferrell 52, P.J. Hall 49, Maurice Hurst 31, Arden Key 28, Benson Mayowa 28, Josh Mauro 5
Linebacker – Nicholas Morrow 83, Tahir Whitehead 83, Kyle Wilber 3
Defensive back – Karl Joseph 83, Daryl Worley 83, Erik Harris 81, Lamarcus Joyner 77, Trayvon Mullen 62, Nevin Lawson 25, Curtis Riley 2, Keisean Nixon 1
Wilber 26, Lawson 25, Carrier 25, Justin Phillips 21, Moreau 20, Dallin Leavitt 19, Nixon 18, Riley 15, Dwayne Harris 13, Ingold 13, Harris 12, Morrow 11, Joseph 10, A.J. Cole 10, Crosby 10, Trent Sieg 10, Daniel Carlson 9, Washington 6, Mullen 6, Key 5, Hurst 5, Hankins 5, Worley 5, Denzelle Good 4, David Sharpe 4, Whitehead 4, Incognito 4, Miller 4, Brown 4, Jackson 3, Davis 3, James 1