There are several stand-outs on this year’s Oakland Raiders roster, but when firing on all cylinders, the “Cripplers” have proven this year that, between the five of them, they can win the game.
The five C’s: Carr, Coop, Crab, Cook, Cord. This is a collection of men who can bring the game to the field, and when they do, they can bring the hurt to a defense.
Derek Carr – The White Mamba
There are still people thriving on the ridiculous notion that Derek Carr is a fluke, somehow he’s not an elite quarterback. This ridiculousness goes further, saying that he had a one-off season that he won’t be able to replicate. Stop. If you’re one of those people, just stop. The first franchise quarterback ever drafted by the Raiders was a huge win for the club. He’s proof that a second-round quarterback has something to prove. He’s shown up big for the Raiders, improving year to year. Currently, he’s ranked #15 per profootballfocus.com. His grade of 79.0 is a little misleading, as Carr has missed a game this year, but his grade versus the Chiefs was his best of the season at 82. When he’s on, he shreds a secondary like finely grated cheese.
While Carr has rated under 100 twice this season, it’s been against two solid pass rushes with decent or lesser secondaries. When roles are reversed, Carr has a QBR average of 113. So it stands to reason that when the offensive line is on its game, Carr takes care of the rest. If you can’t believe in a quarterback who drops a dime pass into his receivers hands perfectly while rolling toward his non-throwing hand, you can’t believe in anything.
Amari Cooper – Cooooooooooooooooooop
Ladies and gentlemen, “Coop” is back. Well, it looks like it after the Thursday night performance he put up. His 210 yards and two touchdowns were enough to be named AFC player of the week. And rightfully so; those numbers are impressive for any receiver, not to mention a man who’s struggled so much with drops this season that he led the league.
When he shakes off the nerves and starts bringing the ball into his body before he turns to run, he shows the kind of versatility he truly has. He lined up in the slot and killed his competition. He ran go routes up and down the Chiefs’ faces. Cooper seems to show up big against the Chiefs every year, making their secondary look foolish and running over Marcus Peters making him look like a second-stringer. That’s a bad, bad man.
Michael Crabtree – Mr. Consistency
When Carr is planning to throw a game-winning touchdown, he looks to his consistent producer, Michael Crabtree. Crabtree has scored six touchdowns in seven games this season, one of which he didn’t even play. So he’s on track for an impressive 14-16 touchdowns, if he can keep his momentum going.
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- The Good and Bad as Raiders defeat Chiefs
- Two Schools of Thought on Marshawn Lynch
- AC/DC is back and Thunderstruck Chiefs
Mr. Crabs caught two of the three touchdown passes in the game against Kansas City. Even though only one of them counted, it was the one that mattered most. In an unprecedented game that gave the Raiders three tries at 0:00 left on the clock, the Carr-Crab connection put the game to bed yet again.
Jared Cook – Silver & Black is the new Pack
One of the best offseason pick-ups was former Green Bay Packer tight end Jared Cook. Cook has consistently produced for the team. The Raiders look to him regularly to dominate opposing secondaries. With a receiving tight end on staff finally, the Raiders can run a double tight end set, which has benefited them greatly in the passing and blocking game.
He’s graded at 74.9 by Pro Football Focus and is the 13th ranked tight end in the league, one space above Oakland’s other tight end, Lee Smith. He’s the perfect complement to the stellar blocking of Smith. Cook was responsible for a fumble in the Ravens game that led to a Baltimore touchdown, but he has spent his time since then trying to make up for that. Since the Raiders are a pass-first offense, passing 62% of the time, higher than 23 other teams in the league, incorporating a pass-catcher like Cook has been a huge plus for Oakland.
Cordarrelle Patterson – C-Flash-P
Another big offseason acquisition was former Vikings special teams wiz Cordarrelle Patterson. Cord holds a couple of NFL records, including longest kickoff return (109 yards), and first NFL player with a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown, a 75-yard touchdown catch, and a 50-yard rushing touchdown in the same season. He made the 2016 Pro Bowl and was first team All-Pro as a kick returner.
He has been no slouch since donning the Silver and Black. He’s averaged 30 yards per return so far and has been a threat both in the air and out of the backfield. He’s accumulated 124 yards rushing and has two touchdowns on the ground. With Marshawn Lynch on the bench this coming Sunday, incorporating a speedster like Cord in the backfield may make all the difference. Going forward, he’ll be an integral part of the stable of weapons that the Raiders have.