Linebacker Aldon Smith, who signed a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders on Friday, is expected to play during Sunday's opener against the Cincinnati Bengals. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora writes that the Raiders "intend to play him in a limited role on Sunday, according to league sources", adding Smith "is still obviously working into game shape and is just digesting Oakland's scheme." NFL Insider Ian Rapoport adds that Smith "will play about 20 snaps."
Smith's lone career game against the Bengals (Sept. 25, 2011) didn't produce any statistics, with the exception of a quarterback hurry, on 20 snaps. Despite the lack of production against the Bengals, Smith, who was a rookie that year, produced 14 quarterback sacks, a safety and four passed batted down at the line of scrimmage.
Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck thinks Smith will make an immediate impact. "I don't think it'll take him that long to get going," Tuck said via CSN California. "If he plays on Sunday he won't have a full practice, but he'll have enough. With a guy like Aldon and the talent he has, I think he'll get in there and fit right in."
"His mere presence on the field will immediately take pressure off the rest of Oakland's defense as opposing offensive coordinators will have to worry and game plan for Smith's pass rushing ability," writes Tyler Green with Silver and Black Pride. "When he is in the game, teams will not be able to focus on just one pass rusher, which was part of the reason Khalil Mack's sack numbers weren't great (4.0) last season."
We could yammer about his legal complications and express self-righteous indignation regarding his love for the sauce and the plant, but we're not presenting anything new (and we're not that self-righteous). That being said, after Friday's signing, the Santa Clara County district attorney filed three misdemeanors from an August incident that led to his release from the San Francisco 49ers. It was unknown if the league, already embarrassed by DeflateGate and the Patriots' subsequent win over the Steelers on Thursday night, would offer a disciplinary response. Insiders at the time said he was "eligible" to play late Friday afternoon.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was a little more practical in this thoughts. "It’s a waste of my time to talk about something out of my control."