The Oakland Raiders made a bit of a splash in free agency with the addition of safety Lamarcus Joyner and it appears he has already started to show signs of promise that he can provide the team with plenty of bang for their buck.
It is no secret that the Raiders have ushered in some significant changes to their roster in recent years. The secondary has seemingly been a point of emphasis for the front office after shoring up their depth through free agency and the 2019 NFL Draft.
Of course, joining a new team comes with its own set of challenges as he currently gets up to speed with the defensive scheme during OTAs. Fortunately, it seems he is already making himself at home in Oakland.
According to Eddie Paskal of the team’s official website, Joyner has embraced the team’s culture that head coach Jon Gruden has created since his arrival:
“My teammates have been very supportive trying to catch me in,” said Joyner. “I like the culture that [Head] Coach [Jon] Gruden is creating around here, it’s family oriented. It’s been a brotherhood and nothing but love since I have been here. It makes me comfortable at that position.”
Joyner added that of all the positions he has played in his career, defending the slot can be the most tricky:
“I wholeheartedly believe that the slot is the hardest position on the field,” Joyner explained. “You especially have to play the run game, the pass game, so just having a guy with the ability and the mental aspect of the game to be able to handle those challenges.”
Joyner’s comments certainly carry plenty of weight in this area considering he began his career as a cornerback before making the full-fledged switch to safety under the new regime with the Los Angeles Rams. It is safe to say that the move has worked out for him so far after signing a lucrative four-year, $42 million contract this offseason.
Joyner’s versatility is likely what drew so much interest from the Raiders’ front office after experiencing some turnover on that side of the ball as of late. His skillset will provide the coaching staff with some flexibility when it comes to certain schemes.
Not only will the 28-year-old be taking on an integral role on defense, but he is also expected to be a mentor to rookie safety Johnathan Abram. If everything goes according to plan for the Raiders, they will have finally secured some stability over the top with the tandem of Joyner and Abram for years to come.