OAKLAND – Raiders linebacker Sio Moore returned to practice last week after a long layoff. While he didn’t do much during practice periods open to the press, he was healthy enough to play 10 snaps on special teams during Sunday’s 30-23 exhibition loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
On defense, however, Moore was glued to the bench. The third-year pro didn’t take a single snap at linebacker.
Head coach Jack Del Rio said last week that Moore was “competing to be a role player” upon his return from injury, a significant statement about someone with 22 starts in two NFL seasons.
Malcolm Smith continues to play well in Moore’s starting weakside linebacker spot, which he has occupied since the offseason program while Moore was recovering from hip surgery. Moore was healthy enough to practice a few times since then, but has worked with the second team.
Smith played 50 snaps with the first unit against Arizona and had a team-high nine tackles, including one tackle for a loss.
It’s uncertain what kind of defensive role Moore can earn early in this regular season with one preseason game remaining, especially considering he hasn’t played linebacker in the previous three. He should see some playing time Thursday against Seattle, when lower units see more snaps.
Moore is a talented player and would make for excellent injury protection even if he isn’t in the starting lineup. Del Rio has been willing to jettison talent that doesn’t fit in well, as he did Saturday by releasing safety Jonathan Dowling. Might he and the front office consider trading Moore for the right price? Or is this just a temporary setback for a player going through a rough patch?
Time will tell in that regard, but playing time often speaks to the esteem a player has with a coaching staff. Let’s take a look at who played and how much in Sunday’s exhibition against Arizona, when starting units saw significant time:
54 – WR Rod Streater
53 – OT Donald Penn, OG J’Marcus Webb, OG Gabe Jackson, QB Derek Carr, C Rodney Hudson
52 – OT Austin Howard
38 – WR Kenbrell Thompkins, WR Amari Cooper
35 – WR Brice Butler
34 – WR Michael Crabtree
33 – TE Lee Smith
30 – C Tony Bergstrom, OL Khalif Banes, OG Jon Feliciano, OL Matt McCants
28 – TE Mychal Rivera
25 – WR Seth Roberts, OG Mitch Bell
21 – TE Gabe Holmes, RB Latavius Murray
19 – QB Matt McGloin
16 – RB Roy Helu Jr., RB Trent Richardson
13 – WR Kris Durham
12 – FB Marcel Reece
11 – RB George Atkinson III, QB Christian Ponder
9 – RB Taiwan Jones
7 – RB Michael Dyer
6 – OT Menelik Watson
4 – TE Brian Leonhardt
50 – CB TJ Carrie, CB DJ Hayden, S Nate Allen, DE Khalil Mack, LB Malcolm Smith
46 – LB Ray-Ray Armstrong
43 – DL Denico Autry
36 – DT Stacy McGee
33 – S Larry Asante
30 – DL Mario Edwards Jr.
26 – DT Justin Ellis, DT Dan Williams
24 – S Brandian Ross, CB Neiko Thorpe, DL Shelby Harris
23 -- LB Ben Heeney, S Taylor Mays, LB Curtis Lofton, CB SaQwan Edwards
21 – DT Ricky Lumpkin
20 – CB Keith McGill
19 – LB Neiron Ball, LB Gary Wilkins
17 – S Charles Woodson
16 – CB Dexter McDonald
15 – DE Benson Mayowa
12 – S Tevin McDonald
5 – DL Max Valles, DL C.J. Wilson
1 -- LB Horace Miller
18 – Neiron Ball, Benson Mayowa
17 – Brandian Ross, Ben Heeney, Keith McGill
16 – Roy Helu Jr.
15 – Taiwan Jones
14 – Larry Asante
13 – Marcel Reece
11 – Neiko Thorpe, Sebastian Janikowski
10 – Jon Condo, Sio Moore
8 – Marquette King
7 – Rod Streater, Lee Smith, George Atkinson III
6 – TJ Carrie, Denico Autry, Josh Shirley
5 – Donald Penn, J’Marcus Webb, Gabe Jackson, Tony Bergstrom, Khalif Barnes, Mychal Rivera, DJ Hayden, Nate Allen, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Gary Wilkins
4 – Austin Howard, Jon Feliciano, Khalil Mack, Shelby Harris, Taylor Mays, Curtis Lofton, SaQwan Edwards, Horace Miller
3 – Malcolm Smith, Mario Edwards Jr., Ricky Lumpkin, Max Valles, C.J. Wilson
1 – Michael Dyer, Menelik Watson, Tevin McDonald, Spencer Hadley, Ras-I Dowling, Giorgio Tavecchio
DID NOT PLAY
-- QB Cody Fajardo, WR Devon Wylie, WR Milton Williams III, WR Andre Holmes (injured), WR Josh Harper, CB Robertson Daniel, CB James Dockery, S Jimmy Hall, FB Jamize Olawale (injury), OL Lamary Mady, OT Dan Kistler, OT Anthony Morris, TE Clive Walford (injured), DE Justin Tuck (injured), DT Leon Orr