Aldon Smith hasn’t been a Raider long. He signed a one-year contract with the team on Friday and participated in a walk-thru late that morning.
The Raiders were impressed by the former 49ers edge rusher’s conditioning that day and were leaning toward playing him without much prep.
Head coach Jack Del Rio wouldn’t commit to Smith’s playing status on Friday.
Now it seems Smith is going to give it a go.
Plans could change last minute, but league sources told CSN Bay Area Saturday night that Smith will make his Raiders debut on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Smith will likely play on passing downs in sub packages, where he can focus on rushing the passer. The NFL Network reports that Smith is set to play about 20 snaps against the Bengals. The Raiders will keep an eye on his effectiveness and his conditioning throughout the game and could adjust his playing time accordingly. Smith is obviously unfamiliar with the Raiders defensive scheme, with just a few days to study his playbook.
Smith will join forces with Tuck and Khalil Mack on the defensive front. Tuck often rushes from the interior in the nickel package, meaning it's possible that all three pass rushers could be on the field at the same time.
Tuck, who knows Smith well, didn't think limited prep time would kill the 25-year old's playing prospects.
"If he plays on Sunday he won’t have a full practice, but he’ll have enough," Tuck said on Friday. "With a guy like Aldon and the talent he has, I think he’ll get in there and fit right in."
Smith has 44 sacks in 50 NFL games, and was an All-Pro in 2012.