Oakland Raiders: Many Silver Linings In Loss To Arizona

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 12: Derek Carr
GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 12: Derek Carr /
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Oakland Raiders
GLENDALE, AZ – AUGUST 12: Safety Shalom Luani /

Coming off a torn ACL in his final season at West Virginia, Karl Joseph didn’t fully trust his knee last year and at times it showed.

Whatever hesitancy he felt last season though, seemed to evaporate in Arizona. He laid a couple of big hits that are reminiscent of his college highlights.

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  • Joseph’s play in run support really impressed against the Cardinals. His burst of speed from the third level to the ball carrier is both terrifying and awe-inspiring. The Raiders will need to see more of this from their 2016 first-round pick throughout the regular season.

    Saturday’s performance might be a sign of things to come.

    If Joseph was Batman, Shalom Luani was Robin. Luani, a seventh-round draft pick this year, mimicked Joseph in run support showing that same acceleration to the point of attack and ferocity when laying the wood.

    He follows a simple, old creed that is essential to the mindset of an aggressive hard-hitting safety: “see ball, get ball.”

    In addition to his run stuffing acumen, Luani showcased his athleticism in the passing game. This was most evident on a first-down throw by Drew Stanton from over 30 yards out.

    With the ball lofting above his head and earmarked for the hands of Cardinals receiver Chris Hubert in the back of the endzone, Luani jumped what seemed like six feet in the air to break up the pass. Who knew Robin could fly so high?

    When he drafted Luani out of Washington State, Reggie McKenzie referred to the six-foot 205lb. safety as a “football playing Jesse.”

    It’s not clear if anyone understands what that phrase means, including Luani himself. What is clear is that the second string safety loves the game, and it was reflected in his play against the Cardinals.