In 2019, the Las Vegas Raiders crashed and burned down the stretch. After starting the season 6-4, they finished with a putrid 7-9 record. Although this team was playing out of its mind for the first 10 weeks of the season, a lack of depth and talent finally caught up with them. Did the Silver and Black do enough to combat these issues for the 2020 season? Here are the reasons why I believe the Raiders will take a major leap forward this season.
A bad secondary mixed with slow linebackers caused the Raiders to allow the 25th most passing yards per game in 2019. Did the Raiders do enough to improve on the teams Achilles heel? After a slew of offseason additions dedicated to the coverage units, they should be able to handle high-power passing attacks in the AFC. Signing Jeff Heath, Damarious Randall, Prince Amukamara, and Cory Littleton gives the Raiders depth and flexibility. Drafting Tanner Muse, Damon Arnette, and Amik Robertson replenished the group with upcoming talent.Â All in all, a combination of young faces and savvy veterans has the Raiders poised to take a major leap forward in this area.
In 2019, the Raiders ranked 22nd in red-zone touchdown percentage. Also, they were last in less than a yard to go situations. This is not ideal for a team that employs a west coast offense and relies on long, draining drives. Field goals and empty drives do not win games in the modern NFL. You have to score touchdowns and lots of them.
Bryan Edwards, Henry Ruggs III, and Jason Witten could eliminate some of the problems. However, the easy solution is to get the Raiders best offensive weapons more involved. Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs, and Alec Ingold can help alleviate the red-zone issues.
In 2019, Darren Waller had three touchdowns. However, he has the tools to score eight or even 10. Moreover, his red-zone target share needs to triple. Jacobs and Ingold also need to be better in the red-zone as well, and this falls on coaching and play-calling. Gruden must be a lot more creative in 2020.
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Anybody who watched the Raiders in 2019 would assume they were better than 24th overall in the scoring department. Nevertheless, they lacked big-play ability and red-zone scoring prowess. They needed to address a clear lack of playmakers and firepower in 2019.
The Raiders had some pieces on offense to be excited about, the offensive line, combined with Renfrow, Williams, Waller, Ingold, and Jacobs is a good start. Nonetheless, Ruggs, Bowden, and Edwards have to show they were worth a selection in the top 100 of 2020’s draft. By all accounts, the rookies are lighting up training camp and seem ready to contribute right away.
The hottest debate in Raider Nation is Derek Carr suddenly has the weapons to prove everyone wrong or right.
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Top Photo: D. Ross Cameron/Associated Press