Raiders LB Vontaze Burfict returning to Pro Bowl level
Sept. 20, 2019
For years, the Oakland Raiders have struggled to find competent linebacker play. They have repeatedly signed veterans past their peak, and it rarely has worked out. However, Vontaze Burfict might be the first veteran linebacker to pan out with the Raiders.
Through two weeks, Burfict has been everything Oakland could have ever wanted and more. On the field, his play is slowly returning to a Pro Bowl level. Through two weeks, Burfict has 10 total tackles and is Pro Football Focus’ 24th-ranked linebacker.
Not only is he playing well on the field, but he’s becoming a leader off-the-field as well. As we saw on HBO’s Hard Knocks, Burfict often played “peace-maker” during fights, confrontations, etc. He’s been a calming influence on many of the younger players, and his growth and maturity can be credited to rejoining defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.
While Burfict certainly isn’t a long-term solution for Oakland, he is proving to be a massive upgrade from what the team had the position last season. If Burfict continues to play at this level, it wouldn’t be a shock if made the Pro Bowl for just the second time in his carer.