Fifth in a series analyzing players that need to step up their game in 2010 for the Raiders to be a playoff team.
Keeping Everyone Fresh
Desmond Bryant is the 290 pound defensive tackle who played 28% of the snaps in 2009. He is a Harvard graduate.
By comparison, Tommy Kelly played 69% of the snaps, Gerard Warren played 70% of the snaps and Richard Seymour played 23% of the snaps at defensive tackle.
This offseason, Warren was released, Seymour was given the exclusive franchise tag, Lamarr Houston was drafted, and John Henderson was signed. Kelly is still playing on his huge contract and Bryant was penciled in as the team’s new starting defensive tackle with Seymour slated to start at end. In a surprise move, it was announced Houston would play end as well.
As it turns out, Houston would play end because Seymour will play more inside. At least this has been the case in training camp to this point.
Where does that leave Bryant?
Bryant has gone from the potential starter opposite Kelly early in the offseason to the fourth or even fifth option. Seymour, Henderson and Houston will likely steal his snaps. There just isn’t enough to go around.
The coaches have done a good job of talking up Bryant, but it hasn’t been showing. His role is dwindling and he hasn’t made enough camp plays to be noticed.
It is still early, but Bryant needs to step up his game to even have a role in 2010 and beyond.
Unlike the previous players in this series, Bryant’s role isn’t clearly important to the Raiders making the playoffs in 2010. If Bryant was cut or didn’t see the field, few would likely point to him as the reason why the Raiders were or were not successful.
Perhaps Bryant’s importance is best pushed out one year. This will be the final year Tommy Kelly will receive a large sum of guaranteed money, which means the Raiders aren’t likely going to keep Kelly without a restructured contract in 2011. Seymour and Henderson are playing on one year contacts.
Bryant needs to prove to the Raiders he is ready for a starting role in 2011, if he doesn’t the Raiders will likely look elsewhere.