I remember in the offseason in June, Paul Guenther mentioned that Marquel Lee had surprised him with his performance. So much so that Lee could have a role on the defense on running downs. Fast forward to the present and you see how much Lee has worked since then. It’s impossible to not notice Lee in these preseason games. He looks solid against the run once again like how he started last season, but even better. Lee is just raging to the ball. You want your linebacker to treat the football like it’s gold.
Lee’s current stock is on fire. Everyone should be buying now to get a fat return on investment. I’m willing to even say that he will be the starting middle linebacker no later than midseason. If he keeps this up, it should be expected that he takes the starter role from Derrick Johnson.
The Raiders have struggled to fill the middle linebacker position for years. Mainly because they could never draft and develop one. That trend is poised to end this year with Marquel Lee’s emergence.
Just when you think this Raiders defensive line couldn’t be more exciting, Fadol Brown arrives to the sack party. Brown’s presence was surely felt in this game. 6 tackles, 1.5 sacks, a force fumble and three quarterback hurries. Even Jon Gruden should feel like a little shook because he now has another tough decision to make. It’s not a lock that Brown makes the final 53 man roster.
Even if they were to keep him on the practice squad he would certainly be swooped up by another team. Brown has shown up in every one of the preseason games. His play has elevated every following game, yet that still might not be enough to earn him a spot on the 47 active man roster. I would love to see Brown suited on Sunday.
He would just add to an already young and dangerous defensive line. Gruden will struggle with this decision for sure, but I believe Brown has earned his spot.
Speaking of earning their spot. Can we all give Shilique Calhoun some credit? He took a lot of slack the last two seasons and has worked his tail off to become a productive player. Who would’ve thought that if you have good coaching the players will actually develop?
Calhoun is just another example of how great this defensive staff is. Even though it’s just preseason, this defense has looked exponentially better.
The fact that they have rejuvenated Calhoun into a player who can actually be useful proves that. He’s looked fantastic all preseason and has made us all question if he’s an imposter. Perhaps the master of disguise is imitating him?
Regardless, Calhoun’s stock is certainly up there. He should have a spot on this team for his special teams usage and possible rotation on defense.