Finally, football isn’t too far from its glorious return, with training camp just around the corner. Optimism is flowing throughout the Oakland Raiders organization but time will tell if they are truly back on the map as a contender.
One of the biggest problems the Raiders faced last year was the vast amount of dropped passes from the entire receiving corps on an all-too-consistent basis. However, with a new staff in place, there’s hope that these will become less of a constant come game day.
Derek Carr was in the MVP conversation two seasons ago but now is in dire need of his supporting cast to step up a notch after a disappointing 2017 campaign.
So let’s dig into Carr’s stats from the 2017-18 season:
- Attempted passes – 515
- Completed passes – 323 (62.7% completion)
- Yards – 3,496
- Touchdowns – 22
- Interceptions – 13 (too high for a player of his caliber)
- Sacked – 20 times (OL needs to do a better job this year to keep him healthy)
Carr’s magical 2016-17 campaign is almost an unfair comparison, as the team had an experienced offensive coordinator and injuries did not plague the offense nor other issues preventing them from establishing cohesiveness.
Here’s a look at Carr’s main supporting wide receivers for the upcoming season.
After two great seasons followed by a less than stellar third season, Amari Cooper is only 24-years-old and still has a legitimate chance at being one of the leagues best wide-outs. Coop must iron out some flaws, however, primarily dropped passes.
It’s no secret Cooper will be Carr’s go-to weapon as coach Jon Gruden has expressed he will be the “focal point” of the Raiders offense.
Here are Cooper’s stats from 2017-18:
- Targeted – 96 times
- Receptions – 48 (50% catch rate)
- Yards – 680
- Touchdowns – 7
Martavis Bryant possesses a rare form of speed; with that, I’ll be expecting him to be featured regularly in the new-look Raiders offense. As Raider Nation has been accustom to the late Al Davis’ love for speed, he’s most assuredly looking down fondly upon the new speed demon donning the Silver and Black.
Bryant has dealt with his fair share of off the field issues that have impacted his availability to suit up on Sundays. As he has shown thus far in his tenure with Oakland, Bryant is on the right track and will likely cause problems for opposing secondaries.
Here are his stats from his 15 games he appeared in:
- Targeted – 84 times
- Receptions – 50 (59.5% catch rate)
- Yards – 603
- Touchdowns – 3
Jordy Nelson who once was a favorite target for Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay is now an Oakland Raider. Nelson’s experience, knowledge, and unique ability to get open in coverage will be vital for the team’s success.
Nelson is essentially serving as the replacement for Crabtree and I am fully expecting the veteran wide-out to bring back a high level of consistency to an otherwise young receiving corps.
The Raiders are likely hoping last season was an anomaly for Nelson, as his production saw a significant decline. A huge contributing factor to his lack of success in 2017 was due to Rodgers suffering a season-ending injury.
With last season in the past, it’s full steam ahead for Nelson and now that he has Carr as his quarterback, he should return to his Pro-Bowl form.
Here’s what Nelson produced last season:
- Targeted – 88 times
- Receptions – 53 (60.2% catch rate)
- Yards – 482
- Touchdowns – 2
These are currently the most likely starters for the Raiders and although their numbers aren’t eye-popping from last season, expectations are high for 2018. If these three receivers can all return to form, the Silver and Black will be back! Chiefs, Broncos, and Chargers better be ready for a rejuvenated Oakland Raiders team this year.