The Las Vegas Raiders aggressively spent resources in order to improve their offense this past offseason. Tight end Darren Waller thinks said additions will be enough turn the team into a top five offensive attack.
Waller said he’s confident the Raiders could field a top five offense this year in interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, per NBC Sports Bay Area.
“If you look at things across the board, starting with the offensive line and the quarterback, with improvement at the receiver positions and the tight ends trying to be consistent, I think our offense has a chance to do a lot of great things and put up a lot of great numbers,” said Waller. “The big thing for us is finishing in the red zone this year. I know that we’re doing everything in our power to improve upon that. I don’t feel like having a top-five offense is out of the picture.”
Knowing that, is it just offseason hype or there’s some truth to Waller’s words?
Darren Waller: Raiders Definitely Improved Offensively, But How Much?
The Raiders added veteran tight end Jason Witten this past free agency. In the same manner, they selected Bryan Edwards, Henry Ruggs III and Lynn Bowden Jr. in the 2020 NFL Draft. Likewise, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow and Josh Jacobs should be fully healthy after suffering different injuries in 2019. The Raiders offense will surely look different and with all the turnover, there are no excuses to underperform on the field.
When Waller says the Raiders can be a Top five offense, he’s likely referring to total yards on offense. If that’s the case, the Raiders just need to move up six places on the list. Last year, they were 11th on yards. On the other hand, if he’s talking about scoring offense, the Raiders will have a harder time getting to the top five. In 2019, they ranked 24th on points scored, not even in the top half of the NFL.
Although the Raiders offense will probably put more points on board in 2020, they aren’t the only ones that improved. Furthermore, it’s unlikely they will displace any of the top five offenses from last season.
What about the Rest of the League?
The Ravens have a punishing running attack and the reigning league MVP in Lamar Jackson. Together, they scored 531 points and had 6,521 total yards, good for first and second place respectively. Even if the league catches up to their offense the drop-off in production might not be steep. Let’s not forget about Kansas City either. They won the Super Bowl on the strength of their offense, which didn’t undergo many changes in the offseason. Last season, they were fifth in scoring and six in total yards. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes missed two games last season and in spite of it, he lead the Chiefs to the championship. Baltimore and Kansas City are just two examples within the AFC that were offensive powers. Their NFC counterparts equally equipped to produce both points and yards in an efficient manner.
The Saints have been perineal leaders when it comes to scoring offenses as long as Drew Brees plays quarterback for them. Even if the veteran signal-caller declines physically, this upcoming season, they are balanced enough to make up for it. The same goes for the Buccaneers. Tom Brady’s time in the NFL is running out, but he will arguably have the best offensive arsenal he’s had in his whole career. The Cowboys offense has also been efficient, with their core intact and a new head coach in Mike McCarthy, they should have no problems keeping up their production.
Is Darren Waller onto Something or Not?
One of their aforementioned teams would have to decrease their offensive production for the Raiders to climb up the offense ranking. Nevertheless, there other teams that will surely challenge the top five. Aaron Rodgers is still one if the best quarterbacks in the NFL despite not getting enough weapons. The Cardinals could be a powerhouse in the making with sophomore Kyle Murray taking the next step in his development. Just like Raiders’ Brass, Arizona’s front office made sure they surrounded their quarterback with playmakers.
Also, don’t discount Seattle. Quarterback Russell Wilson always finds ways to somehow win games. Last season, the Seahawks ranked ninth in points scored and eight in total yards. Those are some examples, but the list of the best offenses doesn’t stop there. The Vikings should be there too, even if they produce empty yards. The NFL is so competitive, it’s hard to envision team’s that constantly put a top scoring offense together fall apart.
Raiders Can Have a Top 5 Offense with 1 Caveat
If Waller was referring to a top 5 offense in the AFC, his argument holds more ground. Teams in the NFC are built offensively, and currently, many teams in the AFC are undergoing transition or rebuilding efforts. That’s where the Raiders can catch up.
The Raiders are in better offensive shape than they were in 2019. Needless to say, it might not be enough to keep up with the best teams in the NFL.
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Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal