The Oakland Raiders have rotated their defensive backs all season, and that rotation increased by one man Sunday afternoon at StubHub Center in Los Angeles.
After sitting out the first four games of 2018 due to suspension, Daryl Worley made his Oakland Raiders debut against the Los Angeles Chargers, finishing his first regular season run with eight tackles – good for second on the team – and one tackle for loss.
“It’s great to have him [Worley] back, and see where he is,” said Head Coach Jon Gruden postgame. “He had a good week of practice. He did make some plays today, some physical plays. We’ve had a lot of moving parts on this football team through the first five weeks, in all three phases. The kicker, the punter, the long snapper, the offensive line, the defensive line, and at corner, and it’s good to have Worley back. We think he’s a guy that potentially could stabilize us at [that] position.”
As Gruden mentioned, the team’s defense – the secondary included – has dealt with its fair share of personnel groupings through the first five weeks, something that defensive coordinator Paul Guenther spoke about earlier in the week.
And while the team isn’t imploring “base corners” per se, the addition of Worley to the mix unquestionably provides some intriguing possibilities for Guenther defensively.
Although, Worley is just 23 years old he already has 32 NFL appearances to his name, and has shown that he can add value to any defensive secondary.
“It was definitely exciting to be back out there,” Worley explained. “It felt good. I was able to fly around a little bit, but wish we would have came out with a win, that would have made it even better.”
Although the Silver and Black ultimately fell to the Chargers 26-10, and Philip Rivers once again proved to be a thorn in the side of the Raiders defense, Worley’s return proved to be a bright spot, particularly his first quarter tackle for loss after sniffing out a would-be screen pass from Rivers to Keenan Allen.
That said, even with Worley back in the rotation, defensively, once again the Raiders struggled to stop the big play, ultimately surrendering three plays of at least 26 yards to Rivers and the Chargers.
“Two screens, and a check down, a check down that turned into a touchdown, and that’s us, that’s not them,” Worley explained when discussing the team’s defensive miscues. “It’s not really anything, I think we may just be overcompensating a little bit, all 11 guys. Everyone just has to do their job, do what we have to, make the tackles when they come, and it’s going to come together.”
“We have to take that out,” added fellow cornerback Gareon Conley. “I feel like we play together, we’re all on the same page communicating. I feel like we play real good, and then I just feel like it’s times where we have miscommunication or something, bad eyes, or something, and give up a big play.”
Sitting at 1-4 with a critical international matchup against the Seattle Seahawks fast approaching, the Raiders will need to right the ship in a hurry if they want to turn the course of their season around.
And while a healthy Daryl Worley certainly won’t remedy every aspect of the Raiders defense, if he can replicate the type of production he enjoyed Sunday, it certainly won’t hurt.