ALAMEDA – The Raiders defense got some good news on Tuesday afternoon. Cornerback David Amerson has cleared the concussion protocol and will start Sunday’s regular-season opener at Tennessee.
That positive change for a defense that has taken several punches to the gut this summer. Obi Melifonwu was placed on injured reserve after knee surgery. Gareon Conley missed most of the preseason with a shin issue. Sean Smith didn’t play well early in training camp and was charged with assault and battery.
The Raiders have a shaky inside linebacker, especially after a groin issue put Jelani Jenkins on IR.
Amerson was a stabilizing forced in the secondary, with consistently solid play in practice and games. Then he took a shot to the head in the third exhibition at Dallas, and entered the concussion protocol.
He quickly cleared hurdles, and was given the green light this week.
“I’m good to go,” Amerson said. “I’m cleared.”
The Raiders will need him playing his high-level best against the Titans, a potent offense full of young weapons. While many are wary of the Raiders defense, Amerson has a different view.
He believes they’ll defy expectation and be a stingy unit.
“As an athlete, you always want to be the best,” Amerson said. “We have a defense full of guys who want to be the best at what they do. They want to be the best defense, and that’s more than just words. I feel like we’ve put in the right work. It’s show time on Sunday.”
Amerson’s confidence was built from continuity. The Raiders have several returning parts, and rookie additions that have meshed together well.
“With this being another year together, especially in the secondary, the bond and energy is there,” he said. “We’re going to shock a lot of people.”
That’s certainly possible considering the low bar set for this defense, especially one entering the regular season less that full strength. Amerson says the Raiders haven’t shown much yet, and they won’t be the pushovers some think they’ll be.
“Coming out the gate in Week 1, against a good, balanced offense will be a good challenge for us as a team,” Amerson said. “We want to set the tone for the season.”