Daren Bates is a Raiders core special teams player, someone at or near the maximum snaps for that phase of the game. If the kicking game is in operation, the veteran linebacker is generally working in.
Rarely does he get snaps at his natural position. Raiders interior linebackers generally don’t come off the field in this defense, with Malcolm Smith and now Cory James as fixtures.
James played all 89 snaps in Sunday’s 28-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Smith did not. He suffered a groin injury in the second half and did not return, forcing a bench player into action.
Bates wasn’t the first choice. Ben Heeney entered the game for Malcolm Smith, but was pulled after eight snaps, two tackles and a missed tackle coaches despise. Bates took that spot at weakside linebacker and played the rest of the game, including the crucial defensive stop to seal victory.
Bates played a career-high 23 defensive snaps with two tackles to show for it, in addition to 28 snaps on special teams.
It’s uncertain how long Smith will be out, if at all, but they’ll need interior linebacker depth if he misses games.
In other notes, Mychal Rivera was active for the first time this season and played 11 offensive snaps. His role might expand with Lee Smith down with a lower leg/ankle injury, though he isn’t recognized as a good blocker. Smith was by far the team’s best blocking tight end.
The defense in general was on the field too long. They played 89 snaps as a unit, with James and safety Reggie Nelson playing every one. Sean Smith, Karl Joseph and David Amerson took just one play off.
Let’s take a look at the entire snap count:
60 – OL Donald Penn, OL Vadal Alexander, OL Kelechi Osemele, QB Derek Carr, OL Rodney Hudson
55 – WR Amari Cooper
46 – WR Michael Crabtree
44 – TE Clive Walford
41 – WR Seth Roberts
34 – RB Latavius Murray
18 – FB Jamiza Olawale
16 – TE Mychal Rivera
15 – RB Jalen Richard
11 – Lee Smith
10 – WR Andre Holmes, RB DeAndre Washington
89 – LB Cory James, Reggie Nelson
88 – S Karl Joseph, CB David Amerson, CB Sean Smith
75 – LB Bruce Irvin, DE Khalil Mack
62 – CB DJ Hayden
58 – LB Malcolm Smith
53 – DL Denico Autry
48 –DE Jihad Ward
40 – DL Stacy McGee
31 – LB Shilique Calhoun
23 – LB Daren Bates, DL Darius Latham
21 – DL Dan Williams
17 – DL Justin Ellis
8 – LB Ben Heeney
2 – S Keith McGill
29 – Brynden Trawick
28 – Daren Bates
26 – Shilique Calhoun
25 – Jamize Olawale, Andre Holmes
23 – Ben Heeney
20 – Keith McGill
17 – Mychal Rivera
13 – TJ Carrie, Johnny Holton, Jon Condo
12 – Marquette King
11 – Jalen Richard
10 – DJ Hayden, Dexter McDonald
9 – Clive Walford, Cory James, Sebastian Janikowski
8 – Jon Feliciano
6 – DeAndre Washington
4 – Donald Penn, Valdal Alexander, Gabe Jackson, Kelechi Osemele, Bruce Irvin, Khalil Mack, Denico Autry, Jihad Ward, Stacy McGee, Darius Latham, Dan Williams
3 – Lee Smith
NOTE: Snap counts taken from official NFL game book