Las Vegas Raiders’ defensive end Carl Nassib is having a very quiet training camp.
The Las Vegas Raiders bolstered their defensive line in the offseason further overhauling a group that looks almost completely different than it did two years ago. And one of their biggest additions this past March was Carl Nassib.
Nassib signed a three-year, $25 million deal with the Raiders this past offseason which included $16.75 million in guarantees — a hefty figure for a guy who had never been viewed as a three-down player before.
And yet, the Raiders didn’t plan to use him that way either. With the likes of Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby firmly entrenched into the starting defensive end roles, Nassib was viewed more as a situational pass-rusher.
But a situational pass-rusher who was expected to earn his over $8 million average annual salary. Unfortunately, it’s been a slow start for the former Penn State standout thus far in training camp.
Nassib has been nearly invisible in practice and received essentially no work with the first-team defense. In fact, fellow reserve defensive end Arden Key has not only received more reps, but he’s made the most of them this summer.
All of a sudden, a guy the Raiders are paying over $8 million to this season looks like the team’s fourth defensive end going into the season. That’s not exactly ideal.
Perhaps the Raiders are just easing him into the defense as he continues to learn defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s scheme. Or perhaps his sluggish start is the result of an unorthodox offseason.
Whatever the case may be, it’s far from encouraging seeing as though we’re less than two weeks from the start of the regular season.
Carl Nassib’s slow start isn’t a promising situation for the Raiders.
Nassib has been a quality rotational defensive lineman over the last four years with both the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Over the last two seasons in Tampa, Nassib totaled 12.5 sacks while playing a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker role.
But in the Raiders’ base 4-3 defense, he’ll be asked to only play defensive end. However, his competition has vastly outplayed him.
Ferrell and Crosby have made strides now entering their second NFL seasons and Key put on some weight and is turning heads. All the while Nassib has been almost exclusively working with the backups and failing to make much an impact in the process.
There’s still time to turn things around and it’s never fair to get too worked up about training camp results.
But his performance is something that’s worth monitoring as we approach Week 1.