What if? Raiders unlikely duo edition

What if the Las Vegas Raiders managed to land Tom Brady and re-sign Antonio Brown? Two of the most hated names in all of Raider Nation kicking off a new era in Sin City.

Hear me out. A vast majority of the fanbase would immediately rule this out and immediately slander my knowledge. The remaining football connoisseurs would know that signing these two players could instantly make a contender out of the Raiders.

Brown has been nothing short of an astrological meltdown, the equivalent of a black hole that sucks anything near him to the point of the implosion and anything left, forever scarred. However, head coach Jon Gruden is about winning football games, has always liked the receiver, and has always thrown nothing but praise for Brady and the Patriot Way.

Gruden, as a football aficionado, has dreamed of working with players of that magnitude just like any other coach would. If it were me, this scenario is what I’m banking on.

Related: Las Vegas will apparently be Gruden’s scenes

With Brady under center

Right away, the Raiders have one of the premier field generals under center in the game. Brady can look Gruden in the face and tell him his play calling sucks, sit down, “let me handle this” the future Hall of Famer says. Akin to the stories we’ve heard about Rich Gannon and Gruden’s sideline interactions. No defense can confuse nor befuddle Brady for long, and Gruden’s quick hitting West Coast style will be a cinch for the signal-caller to execute. Most importantly, he has never seen a blitz he couldn’t beat.

The Raiders massive offensive line was the fifth best in pass protection in 2019. Brady won’t be going down early and is a master of maneuvering the pocket and delivering the football with surgical precision. An aging quarterback’s best friend is a power running team, one like the 2018 Patriots had and defeated the Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII.

The running game opens up tremendously, Brady can command the offense just as well as he can dissect a zone defense. Teams that dare to load the box up to stop the run will be punished quickly by him. Most defensive coordinators know this, therefore Josh Jacobs and Alec Ingold should find lanes to work in.

Gruden’s offense is based off the run, no matter what you may have heard about the pass happy philosophy. When the ground attack is working, it opens up the play action game and softens up the coverage on the outside.

With Brown in the passing game

The Raiders receiving corps got a bad rap this past season and a lot of it was undeserved. This unit had a heck of a lot less drops than there has been in years. Zay Jones played seven games and had none. Tyrell Williams was brought in to be the number one receiver and in his first four games, he scored in each one of them. At first, a case of plantar fasciitis in both feet derailed his season and later, inconsistency carried throughout the rest of the 2019 season.

Brown, had originally been acquired to be the Raiders number one receiver to begin with and what you finally see is all the pieces slide into place. Las Vegas has plenty of talent at wide out, the problem was is it was all complimentary talent. It was all supposed to play second fiddle to Brown, the true number one.

The former Patriots receiver commands double teams, and can also stretch the defense. With one of the most accurate deep ball throwers in history, Brown will get fed.

Williams, on the other side of the field looks a helluva lot better as the number two guy, seeing soft coverages and mismatches all game long. Renfrow, in the slot, will be happier than a pig in slop. Nothing but green grass and open field will await the wide receiver on the opposite end of crossing routes with Brown.

How will this make the Raiders great again

Brady lacked a dominant tight end in New England last season. Fullback James Devlin also missed time with injury. The Raiders may not have what experts call a good roster or even a dominant one, but they sure field an offense tailored for the quarterback’s liking.

Darren Waller had a breakout season in 2019. In an offense featuring Brady, Brown, and Jacobs, the tight end has the opportunity to be the forgotten man.

The play action game is where both Waller and second year tight end Foster Moreau should have the biggest impact in. Brady is a master with two capable tight ends and a running game. Meanwhile, Gruden ran an awful lot of 22 and 21 personnel last year. Waller will have the opportunity to be one on one with either a linebacker or a safety in the seam nearly every play. Defensive coordinators will be preoccupied in doubling Brown, keeping an eye on Williams and Renfrow while playing Jacobs and the run honestly.

Jacobs and the running game were a top ten unit last season despite the back’s early finish to the season. With Jalen Richard’s return, the Raiders are in need of a bruising back-up to fully spell Jacobs and reduce his wear and tear. Brady has made a career out of taking “average players” and elevating them into marquee difference makers.

Final Verdict

The Raiders are going to be a lot better because of the favorable matchups they should see on the field. Brady will be able to properly manage the game with consistency and decipher what the defense is presenting and how to attack it for maximum gain. With Brown, who showed no signs of slowing down despite getting cold feet in the 2019 offseason, their receiving corps will turn heads and garner respect.

Offensively, they will be good enough to score in any weather conditions, at any time, against any defense. When was the last time the Raiders were that good on offense? The apprehension is fair and there is more than enough reasons to have an aversion to this. But, for a team chasing the Super Bowl champions in their own division, with a shaky defense, more offense is the answer.

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