ALAMEDA – Just one participant in NFL historical past has recorded an interception and a number of sacks in the identical Tremendous Bowl.
That participant had been unemployed since Sept. 1 till the Raiders signed him on Monday.
Kony Ealy, who tallied an interception, compelled fumble and three sacks for the Panthers in a 24-10 Tremendous Bowl loss to Peyton Manning’s Broncos in 2016, is the newest to hop on the Raiders’ defensive finish turnstyle.
He trotted off the follow discipline with assistant line of defense coach Marco Coleman virtually 10 minutes after each different defender on Thursday, enjoying catch-up together with his personal quick week of preparation however keen to provide the Raiders a much-needed increase come Sunday in opposition to the Chargers.
Since his historic efficiency lower than three years in the past, Ealy has hung out with the Patriots, Jets, Cowboys and now Raiders. He hasn’t been capable of replicate that Tremendous Bowl evening, or something near it, in any of his previous three stops. However the Raiders (1-7) hope their latest defensive finish may give them one thing, something, to bolster an anemic move rush within the second half this season.
“He’s a man that’s performed within the Tremendous Bowl, performed with a pair completely different groups. He’s a bodily man, huge man, as a defensive finish for us, that has some expertise,” Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther mentioned Thursday of the 6-foot-4, 275-pound Ealy. “We’re simply looking for the correct mix of fellows. We’re churning the roster a bit of bit simply to search out some guys that match us, not just for now however for the longer term.”
Ealy is simply 26, younger for this staff, and a 2014 second-round pick of Missouri. He’s amassed 18 sacks, 101 mixed tackles, 15 passes defensed, three interceptions and 6 compelled fumbles in his profession. He’s solely began 20 of 67 profession video games, however the flashes of competence at defensive finish the Raiders have lacked this season have surfaced in Ealy’s early years.
“ Kony Ealy has had manufacturing in some huge moments,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden mentioned, along with noting Ealy’s arsenal additionally consists of masking tight ends on first and third down.
The Panthers traded Ealy and a third-round decide to the Patriots for a second-rounder in March 2017, however the Patriots waived him earlier than he performed in a sport. The Jets claimed him off waivers, and Ealy performed 15 video games for them with 9 passes defensed however just one sack and 14 mixed tackles in 2017. He signed with the Cowboys as a free agent final offseason, however was launched on roster cutdown day this September.
So what’s going to it take for Ealy to recapture that fleeting dominance of his early years within the league? As a result of the Raiders definitely wouldn’t thoughts it resurfacing right here in Oakland.
“Simply cool down, actually focus in on my sport. I acquired nice coaches, an incredible alternative to try this. So long as I get the performs down, I’ll get on the market and get on the sector and make performs for the staff,” Ealy mentioned Thursday. ” … Simply the type of play, I really feel prefer it was an incredible match. Coach Gruden, (Guenther), all my coaches simply make me really feel proper at house. For me it’s nearly getting the playbook all the best way down. That manner I really feel comfy and free to maneuver on the market quicker and make performs.”
Ealy mentioned signing with the Raiders was “sudden” and that watching the season’s first 9 weeks from his sofa was powerful. A uncommon profit he reaped from watching video games from afar was having the ability to tweak his personal repertoire with bits and items from others he noticed on tv.
Now he’ll implement them right into a unit that’s already misplaced its two finest gamers since Sept. 1. With Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin gone, the Raiders are left with rookie Arden Key, veteran Frostee Rucker, second-year DE Fadol Brown and new signee Jacquies Smith at defensive finish. It may well’t harm bringing Ealy, who’s proven he can thrive within the league, into the fold with not a lot left to lose in 2018.
And with one more probability to rediscover his outdated kind, Ealy is lastly hoping to take action with a staff that wants him to.
“Soccer is soccer, whether or not it’s first, second or third, your job is to get to the ball,” Ealy mentioned. “Enjoying with these guys, I hope this will probably be scenario for everyone to have the ability to play collectively and wreak havoc within the backfield.”