Just like that, the Las Vegas Raiders got their first win of the 2020 season against the Carolina Panthers. Although it was encouraging to see they can score more than 30 points it’s equally worrisome that they allowed 30. If they want to become a contender they will have to be stouter on defense.
The Raiders offense had a solid Week 1 performance
There were many things to be excited about when watching the Raiders in Week 1. Running back Josh Jacobs was likely their most exciting players, but quarterback Derek Carr was sharp and efficient. Henry Ruggs III had a great 45-yard catch in his debut and Nelson Agholor caught Carr’s only touchdown of the game. Another positive was that their offensive line was as dominant as it was last year and only allowed three pressures.
Pretty much, all those positives were on the offensive side of the ball, but what about the Raiders defense? That was a whole different deal, as the unit let the Panthers hang most of the game and it was until the fourth quarter that they made a stand. Johnathan Abram, who missed most of his rookie year was the best of the bunch. All those additions the Silver and Black made in the offseason didn’t account for much in Carolina.
The defense and their offseason additions not so much
Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst and defensive end Carl Nassib registered half a sack each against the Panthers. The rest of the Raiders’ defensive line failed to pressure the quarterback, and the unit as a whole deserves blame for letting running back Christian McCaffrey score twice. Defensive end Clelin Ferrell said his focus was on improving this past offseason and even said he bulked up in order to improve. Nevertheless, he didn’t record any pressures in 30 pass-rush snaps.
Nick Kwiatkoski left the game with a pectoral injury, that likely affected the unit’s overall performance. Before the linebacker left the game, he had six combined tackles. He could miss some games so the Raiders need to find a way to mask his absence. Moving forward, the Raiders defense needs to a better job at generating sports. Head coach Jon Gruden is right when he said they made stand when it matters the most. However, that approach might not always work. The good thing is that they still have time to figure things out.
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