The Las Vegas Raiders were on the brink of disaster in Week 13 before Derek Carr found Henry Ruggs III streaking along the left sideline to stave off an embarrassing loss to the winless New York Jets.
The Raiders’ defense was unable to corral the Jets ground game as their backup running backs combined for 178 rushing yards and one touchdown. Sam Darnold was also able to create with his legs, rushing for 26 yards and running in a touchdown of his own.
The defensive line has been disappointing during the 2020 season, failing to generate must pressure and getting to the quarterback. Las Vegas tried to address this need in the offseason when they signed Carl Nassib to a three-year, $25 million contract, although the veteran was a surprise healthy scratch against New York.
According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, head coach Jon Gruden said that Nassib still has a chance to contribute but his productivity in practice will determine whether or not he sees the field:
“We like Carl, we like everybody,” Gruden said Monday. “We try to play the guys that have the best weeks of practice. We feel like we want to create competition — Vic Beasley is here to create that. He didn’t come here to sit on the bench.
“Takk McKinley, when he comes back, he’s not going to be just sitting out there waiting until next year. We’re going to put the ball down Wednesday morning for practice and we’re going to play the guys that perform their best on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.”
Nassib has not provided much of an impact so far, registering only 1.5 sacks in 11 games played. The defensive end was brought in to be a boost along a young defensive line, but appears in danger of being left out of the rotation completely if he is unable to pick up his play in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, the Raiders are hoping that the recent additions of Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley are able to shore up the pass rush and help the defense get off the field sooner. Beasley made his first appearance with the Silver and Black against the Jets, while McKinley remains on the injured reserve list with a groin injury.