When it comes to the Silver and Black’s defense, one of the biggest areas for improvement is at linebacker. A big reason for the need is the poor play of Tahir Whitehead. The veteran has failed to live up to expectations and is struggling to adapt to the new pass-happy version of the league.
In recent years, coverage skills have become extremely important for linebackers. With passer ratings of 119.2 and 144.3 when targeted as a Raider, Whitehead clearly cannot be relied upon to defend the pass. Granted, he was brought in for his run-stuffing abilities but the linebacker has posted subpar PFF run-defense grades in the last couple of years.
According to OverTheCap.com, Oakland/Las Vegas would save $6.25 million by releasing Whitehead. With that amount of savings, getting rid of the defensive captain has to at least cross general manager Mike Mayock‘s mind. The linebacker needs to show some promise in coverage down the stretch, otherwise, it might be time to update the resume.