When a running back as good as Josh Jacobs put the offense in his shoulders, the rest of the team can ride in cruise control. That’s precisely what happened with the Las Vegas Raiders in their 34-30 win against the Carolina Panthers in Week 1. The passing game took a complementary role with Jabobs leading the team.
The Raiders wide receiver group did what was asked to do
To say the Raiders had a subpar wide receiver unit is 2019 is by now something everybody knows. Only Tyrell Williams and rookie Hunter Renfrow had more than 600 receiving yards and the third leading receiver, Zay Jones, finished the year with 147. The team’s brass knew they needed to upgrade the position and that’s what they did this offseason. They drafted Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards. Moreover, they signed veteran Nelson Agholor.
All those acquisitions the Raiders made earlier this year ended up playing solidly against the Panthers. Ruggs finished the game with three receptions for 55 yards, but one of those was a 45-yard pass, the kind of play the Silver and Black brought him in for. Had he not gone out of the game with a knee injury, he might’ve had a bigger game. Agholor only had one catch but it was the team’s second touchdown of the day. Hunter Renfrow contributed with two receptions for 21 yards while Edwards only had one catch for nine yards, which had to do with how the Raiders distributed the ball.
All in all, the Raiders wide receiver corps were responsible for 108 of the team’s 239 passing yards. That wasn’t due to poor play but rather, by design. Head coach Jon Gruden made Jabos the focal point on the offense and that the passing game take a step back. The group did what the coach asked them to do and played their role well.
Gruden is pleased with their wide receivers’ week 1 performance
Talking to reporters, Gruden seems to be content with how the Raiders wide receivers performed against Carolina. He acknowledged Ruggs made a couple key catches and described Agholor as a professional. Moreover, the coach said the fifth-year wide receiver is better than what people give him credit for.
I said it during camp, Nelson Agholor is a lot better receiver than people think. He’s a professional and that showed in that situation, that was huge for us.
Although Jacobs carried the Raiders offense against the Panthers, he won’t be able to always do so. That’s when the Silver and Black will deploy their wide receivers, and based on how they played in the team’s first win of the season, they should answer the call. This time around, they only hauled in seven passes, but they are surely capable of producing double that amount.
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