The Las Vegas Raiders had to be encouraged by their strong defensive finish to Monday’s thrilling 33-27 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens, but unfortunately, they’ll go the rest of the way without defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, McCoy is out for the 2021 season due to a knee injury he suffered in Week 1.
#Raiders DT Gerald McCoy suffered a season-ending injury on Monday night, sources say. Another season cut short for the former multi-year Pro Bowler. The team announced it as a knee on MNF. Damion Square has replaced him on the roster.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 15, 2021
It’s another stroke of bad luck for McCoy, who was one of the most dominant interior defensive lineman of his generation during his prime with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
McCoy was the third overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and largely lived up to that billing. He went to the Pro Bowl six times and was an All-Pro on three occasions. The 33-year-old veteran has bounced around more recently, as Las Vegas is his third different team in as many years.
Following a one-year stint with the Carolina Panthers, McCoy signed with the Dallas Cowboys before last season, but a ruptured quadriceps muscle forced him to miss all of 2020.
The Raiders’ maligned defense trailed 14-0 at one point on Monday night but did its best to contain Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, who broke off some dazzling runs in his own right. Thankfully, Las Vegas’ relentless play on the front seven led to two costly fumbles from Jackson and contributed to the victorious cause.
While the Silver and Black have to be encouraged by what they saw in the season opener on defense, losing McCoy certainly isn’t ideal. Even if he’s not the high-impact player now that he once was, he’s a great presence in the locker room and could’ve eventually worked his way into better game shape to be an excellent rotation player.
Coming off the high of Monday night, Week 2 looms with yet another tough test against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue is dealing with a hamstring injury. Las Vegas’ depth up front is already being tested in a big way.
The good news for Raider nation? AFC Defensive Player of the Week Maxx Crosby and plenty of new faces like linebacker K.J. Wright and rookie safety Trevon Moehrig offer hope that the Raiders can turn around their woeful defense under new coordinator Gus Bradley.