The Las Vegas Raiders invested heavily on their offense, mostly via the NFL Draft. In spite of this, they’re predicted to fall in the middle of the pack in 2020.
The Raiders offense came into 2020 sorely missing wide receivers, so general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden decided to go all-in on the position in April. As of right now, it appears they played their cards right, as both rookie receivers, Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards, figure to be Week 1 starters.
It wasn’t all bleak in 2019 though, the Silver and Black featured one of the better offensive lines, anchored by center Rodney Hudson. Coming into 2020, the line remains intact from a season ago, which bodes well for quarterback Derek Carr. Let’s not forget the Raiders running game exploded last year with the arrival of former Alabama running back, Josh Jacobs. Despite these additions, Pro Football Focus believes the Raiders aren’t quite ready to join the next echelon of offenses, at least not yet.
This Raiders offense will go as far as Carr takes them
Just like last year, the 2020 season for the Silver and Black will rest on Carr’s shoulders. As PFF pointed out, Carr had an 81.2 passing grade as he maintained accuracy and limited his bad passes. To his credit, he’s done a good job at this the last two years all things considered. Unfortunately, there’s a downside to Carr’s game as Anthony Treash highlighted.
“…Carr also recorded the league’s highest checkdown rate, while his 6.9 average depth of target tied for the second-lowest mark league-wide. That said, he does precisely what the Raiders ask of him, and he helped the offense to produce the eighth-most-efficient passing attack in terms of EPA per play last year.”
The Season Will Ride On Two Players
Carr criticisms aside, the Raiders are indeed loaded at key positions now. This is without even mentioning Darren Waller, who emerged as one of the better tight ends in the NFL last year. The problem with a lot of the Raiders’ talent is that it’s relatively inexperienced. This means Gruden will rely on Jacobs to continue carrying the load this year. Treash points out that Jacobs, “looks very much like one of the top pure runners at the position after he produced the NFL’s second-best rushing grade as a rookie, at 86.9. His elusiveness and ability to plow through contact are exactly what you want in a running back.”
The Raiders are also banking on Ruggs and his speed opening up the offense, more so than ever with the loss of Tyrell Williams. Without Williams, the team lost its most veteran presence in the wide receiver corps. All signs point to Carr and Jacobs having to put up a monster season in 2020 if the Raiders want to move up from No. 16 next year.
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*Top Photo: Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group