As fans have noticed, the Oakland Raiders are making MOVES. Recently, the Raiders added two linebackers that will serve as upgrades, at least. Oakland inked Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Marshall to one-year deals this month. Along with Marquel Lee and Jason Cabinda who remain on the roster, Oakland added talent.
Both players bring playoff experience to the team, which is helpful. Considering the Raiders have not won a playoff game in forever. Burfict visited the playoffs three times with the Bengals. Marshall, however, won six games in the playoffs, including the 2015 Super Bowl win over the Carolina Panthers. Obviously, playoff wins bring more weight with experience than playoff losses. If there is, any strategy or trick that these players know to shed some of the playoff jitters could prove game changing.
As for what can be expected from a game-to-game standpoint, neither of these players are sack specialists as the pair has combined for 15 sacks in nine quality seasons (if player played 10 games or more). Burfict and Marshall also are not big on interceptions either (9 combined ). Meanwhile, both really step up in the tackles department, as the duo combined for 707 solo tackles in about 130 games (5.4 tackles per game.
Not only can they tackle, but also each linebacker brings veteran leadership and balance to the defense. Ideally, the team would respect Burfict and Marshall as defensive captains, and hopefully their play and actions on the field will represent that well.
However, not everything about these signings is promising as there are some intimidating factors as well. The biggest red flag for either player is attached to Vontaze Burfict. Burfict gets himself in to trouble more times than anyone should have and has not been the cleanest player on the field. The former Bengals’ linebacker has been suspended or fined 8 times in his seven-season career. The Raiders clearly took a risk in signing Burfict, especially with Burfict’s history with Antonio Brown, but Jon Gruden is a strange man who works in mysterious ways and might be able to assist in avoiding future problems.
As for Marshall, no red flags yet, but he may be drifting into the orange flag territory. Marshall has been cut or added to the practice squad 4 times in his career. While the cuts and demotions came early in his career and could be attributed to growing pains in the NFL, news has surfaced about Marshall not being a guaranteed starter. As a result, his role feels far from concrete.
Regardless of the flags and whatever color they may be, the excitement level to have these two talented athletes in the Silver and Black appears high.