On Sunday, the Cleveland Browns’ take on the Las Vegas Raiders. To help preview a few topics from Las Vegas’ perspective, we reached out to Cam Mellor from Silver and Black Pride and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!
Cam: “Specifically, it’s been their coverage unit as a whole, from linebackers to cornerbacks and safeties. Even in their wins this year, the Raiders defense has been susceptible to the pass, essentially anywhere on the field. They’ve allowed 11 passing touchdowns compared to just three interceptions, and outside of Trayvon Mullen at left cornerback, no one has really presented a player capable of making plays on the ball. Coverage over the middle of the field has been, at times, wide open and has been their biggest weakness.”
Chris: “Myles Garrett has been moving around the line this season, typically matching up against either the weaker tackle or an interior lineman with some issues. What position is the Raiders’ biggest strength, and weakness, on the offensive line?”
Cam: “I’d fully expect Myles Garrett to stay away from Kolton Miller in this one, not because Miller has been great, but because the right tackle spot has been hit with injuries and four different players have logged time at right tackle so far this season, with terrible results. Denzelle Good was forced into action at right tackle early after Trent Brown went down with injury three snaps into the season opener. Though Brown returned in Week 5, he hasn’t played since and remains questionable for this matchup. If Brown doesn’t go, it’s a combination of Brandon Parker or Sam Young, and each have been suspect in pass protection this year. If Garrett does move to the right side of the defensive line to match up with a left-sided offensive lineman, I’d expect to see him inside as well, and on Good, who has been far less than that (Good) in pass pro.”
Chris: “In the 4 games that he’s been active, rookie first-round pick Henry Ruggs has 8 catches for 212 yards. How come Ruggs hasn’t had a bigger role offensively?”
Cam: “Ruggs’ slight frame has seen his impact drastically affected by injuries this season. When fully healthy, he truly is a home-run threat but he hasn’t had a clean bill of health for an entire game it seems like in all four of the games that he has participated in.
That, and the chemistry between he and Derek Carr needed a preseason, in my opinion, or at least another month or so of figuring out where he was going to be able to get it to him downfield. It’s something that we’ve seen a couple of times connect on incredible downfield passes, but far too often, he’s being targeted and either underthrown, overthrown or miscommunication on routes and coverages.”
Chris: “I know it’s still early, but through 1.5 seasons, has Jon Gruden’s return to the Raiders been a positive one? Have fans griped over him at all?”
Cam: “So far, so good in the rebuild. Fans seem to understand it wasn’t going to be a drastically different team in just a summer’s worth of work from Gruden, so the fanbase is patient, relatively speaking. It hasn’t all been bad, and with some of the draft ‘questions’ dominating draft time, those players are exceeding the ‘consensus’ expectations’ for them so far, and that has helped the public reception on Gruden this season, at least.”
Chris: “Tell us about one player on offense and one player on defense who Browns fans might not be familiar with, but who could make a nice contribution for this week’s game.”
Cam: “By now, everyone knows about Darren Waller, the human mismatch at tight end. So, shockingly, a player you may be familiar with by name, but not with receiving prowess so far this year is Nelson Agholor. He’s come on strong the past three games and has a touchdown catch in each of the last three outings, already tying his second-best touchdown outing as a professional with the Philadelphia Eagles over the years. He seemed like an afterthought this offseason but has begun to click with Carr.
On defense, it’s defensive tackle Maurice Hurst. What feels like so long ago, he was considered a possible top-five draft pick but slipped in the draft to the fifth round in 2018. He’s quietly recorded multiple big wins, either in run defense or with his pass-rushing skill, and he’s slowly starting to look like that player who dominated the Big Ten for years at Michigan.”
Thanks again to Cam for taking the time to answer my questions.