We've seen several hard-nosed, exceptional players wear No. 24 uniform for the Raiders organization. Johnathan Abram is beginning to prove the he fits that bill.
After the first quarter of the season, Abram has added a dimension to the Raiders defense that reminds fans of some of the great Raiders safeties of the past. Abram is currently tied for first in total tackles (23 with Erik Harris) and interceptions (one with Nick Morrow) on the team for the season. Abram, despite missing his rookie season due to torn labrum, is proving to his team that he can be everything they drafted him to be.
Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther realizes how important Abram is to the makeup of his unit and that staying on the field is crucial for his continued development.
"I think one of the things that he understands is there's a time where you can take your shot, and if it's a real good shot," said Paul Guenther. "I don't want to take any of his aggressiveness away. He's just got to understand when he can be overly aggressive and when he needs to get the guy on the ground."
Abram also agrees with the sentiment of his defensive coordinator and is doing everything in his power to stay healthy for the defense.
"I've done a really good job of putting together a recovery regiment each day for every day of the week," Abram said. "I'm doing a really good job of taking care of my body, so it's allows me to play the game the way I play it. At the same time, just being a lot smarter with the shots I take and stuff like that. That's about it."
The Raiders are traveling to Kansas City to play the undefeated Chiefs this Sunday and Abram believes that the secondary needs to 'take away what they do best' by throwing different coverages at Chiefs receivers Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Mercole Hardman.
Abram has been somewhat content with how the defensive unit has performed so far this season, but knows they are capable of more.
"We've been okay," he said. "We're nowhere near where we can be. In the first game, we played a pretty solid game and gave up some explosive passes. Came back against the Saints, a couple of screens and big plays they got with us. Against the Patriots, we didn't do a good job of stopping the run and the screens and missed tackles. Then we come back this week and everybody didn't execute their jobs."
While Abram and the Raiders defense is trying to clean things up in time for the Chiefs, Abram has kept some advice from legendary Raiders cornerback Charles Woodson close to his heart.
"He told me to just continue to be who I am and go out there and do the best that I can do," said Abram.
"Make sure we're all on the same page in the secondary because if we're one, everybody is going to have the ability to make plays."
Check into Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center for another day of practice as the Silver and Black prepare for their Week 5 matchup against the Chiefs.