Schweigert fending off the competition

Free safety Stuart Schweigert has to be looking over his shoulder now that B.J. Ward is getting increased playing time.

According to team sources, Ward is a favorite of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and the team is planning on using the former Florida State standout with more frequency as the season moves along.

Ward, who also doubles on special teams, got his first taste of defense in the regular season during Oakland's 26-24 win over Cleveland on Sept. 23 when he subbed for Schweigert for one series late in the first quarter. Ward also filled in at free safety against Miami, though he was hit hard and run over at the goal line by Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown.

Schweigert remains the starter for now and will likely remain in that role for the time being. Still, it's clear Oakland is exploring other options at safety. And with the other changes the team made to the starting defense, it's also certain that no job is secure.

Schweigert, who held off Donovin Darius for the starting job in training camp, hasn't entirely fallen out of favor with the coaching staff and will continue to start for the time being, but if Ward can get his mental game to match his physical approach, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Raiders make a permanent change.

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