Lamar Jackson presents new defense with first test
The Las Vegas Raiders host the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season, and the new defense will have a major test in Lamar Jackson.
Much has been said about the new-look defense of the Las Vegas Raiders, led by a defensive coordinator who has been very successful at the NFL level. Gus Bradley is inheriting a squad that was one of the worst in football last season, but also a squad that made some drastic changes, so he has a blank slate to work with in some areas.
One area that needed a major upgrade in 2021 is the pass rush, and the hope is that the Raiders have done enough by bringing in Yannick Ngakoue via free agency and Malcolm Koonce via the 2021 NFL Draft. When you add them to a group that includes Maxx Crosby, an established passing specialist, and people like Carl Nassib and Clelin Ferrell, you would think the Silver and Black have enough talent to get started quickly.
In Week 1, we’ll see if all the moves have paid off, as Silver and Black play one of the most elusive signalers in all of football. Lamar Jackson is a dangerous player, who can dominate a defense with his arms or legs, so it will be a major test for this new defense upon release in 2021.
Raiders could capitalize on potential Ravens injuries
Luckily for the Raiders, Jackson might be without some of his key weapons in Week 1, as he’s already lost JK Dobbins for the year, and his top two spreaders are nursing injuries. Rashod Bateman and Myles Boykin were placed on IR and can’t return until Week 4, so they’ll be out, and Marquise Brown just returned to training two days ago.
Even without his guns, Jackson is going to be a problem and will seek to separate a young high school kid who is looking to step forward himself. Playing in front of fans for the first time in the regular season inside Allegiant Stadium will create an electric atmosphere in Week 1, and beating the Ravens would get them off to a good start in 2021.