ALAMEDA -– Raiders defensive end LaMarr Woodley suffered a biceps tear in Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and Benson Mayowa took his place.
The second-year pro may have to do that quite often. Woodley’s injury could be season-ending, meaning they’ll look elsewhere for a regular defensive end.
C.J. Wilson will certainly factor into that assignment, possibly in a starting role. He leads the team with two sacks and has played consistently well. Mayowa will have an increased role in the defense, something that he looks forward to it.
Mayowa played 34 snaps on Sunday and fared decently well against the run.
He also batted a pass.
“It was an opportunity to play, and while it wasn’t expected, you have to take advantage of it just the same,” Mayowa said. “Some people have talent and never get a chance to shine. I had a chance to increase my snap count and I knew I had to be at my best.”
Early reviews were positive.
“I didn’t think the game was too big for him at all,” Raiders interim head coach Tony Sparano said. "I think he went in there and performed well. He did some good things against the run, which is, when you think about him, he’s a little bit lighter player. More of a pass rush type player, but he went in and competed really hard in the run game as well. I thought he did some really good things.”
The Raiders believed solid play was possible when they claimed him off waivers from the Seattle Seahawks before the regular season began. He had to learn quickly, without an offseason program or training camp to learn the scheme.
“My first three weeks were tough, but I’m comfortable with the scheme now,” Mayowa said. “If you want to play, you have to learn on the fly and show that you can compete at this level.”
The 6-foot-3, 252-pound athlete is known as a pass rusher with potential. He has speed and quickness to excel in chasing the quarterback, but Mayowa doesn’t want to specialize.
“I want to be known as a three-down guy,” Mayowa said. “I love to rush the passer, but I don’t want to come off the field. In order to stay in games, you have to do everything well.”