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The Las Vegas Raiders had to be encouraged by their strong defensive finish to Monday’s thrilling 33-27 win over the Baltimore Ravens, but sadly they will go the rest of the way without defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, McCoy will be out for the 2021 season due to a knee injury he sustained in Week 1.
It’s another setback for McCoy, who was one of the most dominant interior defense linemen of his generation during his heyday with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
McCoy was the third overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and largely lived up to that billing. He went to the Pro Bowl six times and was an All-Pro three times. The 33-year-old veteran has bounced around a bit recently, as Las Vegas is his third other team in as many years.
After a one-year stint with the Carolina Panthers, McCoy signed with the Dallas Cowboys for last season, but a torn quadriceps muscle forced him to miss all of 2020.
The maligned defense of the Raiders trailed 14-0 at one point on Monday night, but did their best to hold back Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, who broke off some dizzying runs on his own. Fortunately, Las Vegas’ relentless play on the front seven led to two costly fumbles from Jackson and contributed to the win.
While the Silver and Black should be encouraged by what they saw in the defense’s season opener, losing McCoy is certainly not ideal. Even though he’s not the high-impact player he once was now, he’s a great presence in the locker room and could have eventually worked his way into better play form to be an excellent rotational player.
After Monday night’s climax, Week 2 looms up with another tough test against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue has to deal with a hamstring injury. The depth of Las Vegas up front is already being tested extensively.
The good news for Raider nation? AFC Defensive Player of the Week Maxx Crosby and plenty of new faces such as linebacker KJ Wright and rookie safety Trevon Moehrig offer hope the Raiders can turn around their woeful defense under new coordinator Gus Bradley.
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