Oakland Raiders Linebacker Grading: Week Two

Raiders LB Cory James
Jun 13, 2017; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders linebacker Cory James (57) reacts during minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


After two weeks we have a little bit larger of a sample size to measure the performance of the Raiders linebacker corps. It is worth acknowledging that the Jets aren’t exactly an offensive juggernaut, but that makes a solid performance against a subpar performance even more important. Here’s a look at how they made out.

Bruce Irvin

This was another tough go around for the normally steady Bruce Irvin. He posted 3 tackles, each of them solo but really struggled to make his presence felt in the game. While the Raiders were able to rack up 4 sacks and 7.5 tackles for a loss, Irvin barely contributed. He did a solid job of setting the edge at times, but at others got pushed off the ball or simply sucked into a pile of bodies moving backwards. While it is not yet time for concern, the Raiders will need Irvin to raise his level of play against teams like Kansas City and New England.

Marquel Lee

Marquel Lee’s first two games haven’t been anything to write home about. On a number of rushing plays he was blocked completely out of the play. When he finally did make his only solo tackle (one of two total) it should have been a TFL and instead he drew a 15 yard taunting penalty. This helped set up a Jets field goal and kept the game uncomfortably close in the first half. These kinds of mistakes cannot happen for a defense that will need to remain disciplined to be competitive. Lee didn’t receive many snaps after that gaffe. In addition, what happens with the emergence of the next man remains interesting.

Nicholas Morrow

Morrow is a player the RaiderNation are pining to see on the field more. This week, the coaching staff gave him snaps over Marquel Lee. His first tackle was a two yard loss and generally held up in coverage. Overall, he provided a measured boost to the defense as at large. Yet, he is by no means the solution to the Raiders linebacker woes yet. There were several plays where he either appeared confused on the coverage, or simply vacated his zone in the middle. To be clear, he wasn’t the only ‘backer to do so and watch Josh McCown scamper for a first down. However, the arrow is certainly pointing up for him.

Cory James

Cory James cemented himself as the weakside linebacker until further notice. He notched seven tackles, including five solo stops and  second to Reggie Nelson. However, he struggled with tracking the running backs and sometimes was move backwards upon making the tackle. Credit the Jets running game as Matt Forte showed he still has something in the tank. For James, this proved to be a decidedly average game which is about as much as can be expected from him at this point.


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