Not too long ago I mentioned that Matt Shaughnessy is one more injured plagued season away from officially entering Chaz Schilens Country. It’s that special place in Raider Nation reserved for players with all kinds of talent yet their production is somewhat of an urban myth.
To be fair Schilens never came close to producing like Shaughnessy has even with the talented defensive end missing most of last season due to injury.
Something else Schilens never had was a massive vote of confidence from a future Hall of Famer. Shaughnessy got just that today during the first day of Oakland’s mandatory mini-camp in the form of a glowing review from Richard Seymour. When asked about what it means to have Shaughnessy healthy Seymour said the following.
“I tell him all the time, he’s the best run defensive end in the NFL, for sure, in terms of stopping the run. He’s the best in the NFL against the run. I can’t say that against the pass now for all the sacks a lot of the other defensive ends have. In terms of the run, I’ll put him out there with anyone. He’s definitely developed into a complete player. It was a big blow for us when he went down.”
That’s a seriously bold statement considering how horrible Oakland has been when it comes to defending the run. What’s even more impressive is that Shaughnessy began his career as a guy that was pretty mush a pass rushing specialist. We’ve seen him improve in defending the run but to hear Seymour call him the best in the league is a high compliment to say the least.
Of course all that high praise means nothing if Shaughnessy isn’t healthy. Today was the first action Shaughnessy has seen since he was shutdown last season due to that shoulder injury. As of now there are no side effects. In fact, Shaughnessy says he’s ready to go right now.
“I’m full-go now. If there was a game on Sunday, I’d play.”
Let’s hope it stays that way. A lot of people see a Pro Bowl caliber player in Shaughnessy. He’ll have to put up some impressive numbers to work his way into that conversation. Something else that will help his cause will be the Raiders’ talented D-line playing up to their full potential this season. That’s something else Shaughnessy is expecting this season under Dennis Allen’s new philosophy. Of course Coach Allen knows that the scheme will only take this defense so far. The rest is on the players.
“It’s dependent on how much those guys are willing to put forth as far as the effort to continue to improve. If they’re willing to put forth effort to continue to improve, they can be as good as they want to be.”