OAKLAND – Nate Allen’s torn MCL sent the Raiders secondary into an early-season tailspin. The back end had been carefully mapped out, with Allen and Charles Woodson at safety and TJ Carrie and DJ Hayden on the perimeter at cornerback.
Allen’s injury in the regular-season opener left the Raiders looking to stabilize the back end. They tried Taylor Mays and Larry Asante in that spot, but didn’t like the results. TJ Carrie was moved to safety in Week 3, which helped. So did the addition of David Amerson, who took Carrie’s spot on the outside.
The Raiders mixed, matched and shuffled for eight weeks with Allen out, to varied levels of success.
Allen’s return for Sunday’s game brought stability back to the secondary in a 30-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. He was able to start and play 59 snaps at safety, though strong safety will be his spot with Woodson’s shoulder forcing him to play back.
Carrie moved back to corner opposite Hayden, with Amerson in on passing downs. While time will tell how this group fares against the pass, they defended it well for one week. Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater only threw for 140 yards and was sacked four times. That’s a good line for the Raiders, though Adrian Peterson’s rushing success had something to do with that.
Allen wasn’t perfect – he had two missed tackles and allowed a 37-yard pass – but added experience and stability to an ailing group in need of a calming influence.
Here’s a look at the entire Raiders snap count from Sunday’s game:
64 – OT Donald Penn, OG J’Marcus Webb, OT Austin Howard, C Tony Bergstrom, OG Gabe Jackson, QB Derek Carr
59 – WR Amari Cooper
56 – WR Michael Crabtree
39 – WR Seth Roberts
38 – RB Latavius Murray
30 – TE Lee Smith
27 – TE Mychal Rivera
19 – WR Andre Holmes
17 – FB Jamize Olawale, FB Marcel Reece
15 – TE Clive Walfrd
3 – Khalif Barnes
62 – LB Malcolm Smith
60 – S Charles Woodson
59 – S Nate Allen
55 – LB Khalil Mack
51 – CB TJ Carrie, LB Aldon Smith, CB DJ Hayden
49 – LB Curtis Lofton
48 – DE Mario Edwards Jr.
45 – DT Justin Ellis
40 – NT Dan Williams
25 – DL Denico Autry
22 – CB David Amerson
17 – DT Stacy McGee
13 – S/LB Taylor Mays
12 -- CB Neiko Thorpe, DE Benson Mayowa
6 – LB Ray-Ray Armstrong
2 – LB Ben Heeney, S Larry Asante
27 – Lorenzo Alexander, Keith McGill
18 – Jamize Olawale, Ben Heeney, Taiwan Jones
16 – Andre Holmes, Larry Asante
14 – Neiko Thorpe
13 – Korey Toomer
11 – TJ Carrie
9 – Nate Allen, Khalil Mack, Aldon Smith, Curtis Lofton, Dan Williams, Denico Autry, Benson Mayowa, Ray-Ray Armstrong
8 –Marquette King, Jon Condo
7 – Mychal Rivera, Lee Smith
5 – Taylor Mays, Sebastian Janikowski
4 – Marcel Reece
2 – Donald Penn, J’Marcus Webb, Austin Howard, Tony Bergstrom, Gabe Jackson, Seth Roberts, Khalif Barnes, DJ Hayden