Matt Shaughnessy is flying dangerously close to Chaz Schilens territory. You know, that realm of Raider Nation fan favorites reserved for those that only tease us with their brilliance yet never fully deliver. Guys like Nick Miller and long before him Ronald Curry have all done time in the Schilens zone.
What makes Shaughnessy different is that he’s actually shown plenty of promise in his three years as a pro. So much in fact that Bay Area beat writers were expecting a breakout season in 2011 for Shaughnessy with a potential Pro Bowl berth as well.
As we all know Shaughnessy’s season was over almost as soon as it started. He appeared in just three games and was finally shutdown when it was learned that his shoulder injury wasn’t going to heal during the season.
What was so Schilens about Shaughnessy last year was that he looked amazing in the preseason including an athletic interception in the (as of now) final Battle of the Bay.
The year before last Shaughnessy showed his pass rushing prowess by racking up 7 sacks in just 8 starts. He also showed some real improvement in defending the run.
Now nobody is saying that Shaughnessy’s absence in 2011 was the reason why the Raiders were a dismal defensive unit. But there is no arguing that the team never recovered from losing their best perimeter pass rusher on the line. In 2012 it’s all about staying healthy and humble for Shaughnessy. He’s poised to breakout (again) but he’s also one more injury filled season away from officially gaining full membership in the Schilens club.