Defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. and general manager Reggie McKenzie went out this past offseason and signed former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith to a two-year, $7 million deal.
The move helped solidify their linebacking corps while also giving them a player who has won before and another player familiar with Norton and his defense.
First, the Super Bowl MVP proved it to be a solid move by beating out incumbent WILL linebacker Sio Moore for the starting job, ultimately making him expendable as he was traded to the Indianapolis Colts. Since then, Smith has been playing well for the Raiders and on Sunday he had arguably his best game in the Silver & Black.
Smith got the Raiders energized early when he intercepted a pass from Philip Rivers and returned the ball all the way down to the two-yard line before being tackled. Latavius Murray would punch it in from two yards out to give them the early lead.
Smith was all over the ball against the Chargers, tallying a 2 passes defensed as well while doing a great job staying with tight end Ladarius Green. He also recorded a sack on Rivers in the fourth quarter, the team’s only sack. He had 11 total sacks to lead the team.
Smith has become a key piece to the Raiders defense and is playing at a high level for the Silver & Black.