Teams across the league faced many challenges leading into the 2020 NFL season.
Coronavirus protocols, the absence of off-season programs, not having the ability to build chemistry and cohesiveness with the team, challenges that hurt everyone coming into a new team.
Coming off back-to-back seasons with the Los Angeles Rams as a top-five linebacker, highly talented free-agent Cory Littleton signed with the Las Vegas Raiders a year ago. Their goal was simple, to help solidify a weak linebacker core.
"As a really young team, we came up against a lot of challenges, no different than a lot of other teams," Littleton said after a young Raiders team was unable to overcome most of the challenges last season.
After a year of playing together, the Silver and Black are hoping to get an opportunity to enter training camp and have another chance to get to know each other.
"Communication is a key thing, and also fundamentals and little simple rules and techniques. Everybody just has to be on the same page and be able to do those little things, and unfortunately we weren't able to," Littleton added.
Littleton said he wasn't on the same page with the rest of his teammates early. As the season progressed, he felt more comfortable stepping up in the role he was expected to fill.
"I don't know if I can actually pinpoint an exact date and time, but I can say as the season progressed, I felt more and more comfortable through the year. I felt like a chicken with its head cut off," a reflective Littleton said.
The Raiders are using this offseason to find ways to improve on defense. Bringing a new defensive coordinator to the team should help the Raiders' defense improve.
Gus Bradley, widely heralded for his defensive savvy, is now entrusted with fixing Jon Gruden's defense.
Based on his standards, Littleton had a miserable season, and eagerly knows he has to take it upon himself first before going out to the team to fix things.
Tackling was a big issue. Littleton noted that he missed many tackles he should have made. That leads back to doing the basic things right and working on the fundamentals of the game.
Having everyone feel comfortable out on the field, trusting each other is vital. We saw last year how much it could hurt a team down the stretch.
"I believe we have all the potential that we really need to be able to win a championship, finding the right cohesiveness to get us to be able to play all on the same page and actually get stuff done. Once that happens, we should be able to do it," Littleton said.
Littleton plans to be a Raider for the rest of his career. Las Vegas is where he intends to stay, so getting his game back up to his standards is critical. Improving the defense also means taking on a leadership role to ensure the team gets better next season.
Please make sure you tell us your thoughts when you like our Facebook Page WHEN YOU CLICK RIGHT HERE.
Want the latest breaking Las Vegas Raiders news delivered straight to you? CLICK THE FOLLOW button on the top of the page. Don't miss any of the latest up to the second updates for your Las Vegas Raiders when you follow on Twitter @HondoCarpenter