The addition of Henry Ruggs III was one of the most important moves the Las Vegas Raiders made this offseason. The Alabama standout was going to give the Raiders an element of speed their wide receivers didn’t have in 2019. He certainly delivered in the first two weeks of the season but he will be out against the New England Patriots. The rest of the team’s wideouts will have to step up in his absence.Â
Is Ruggs’ absence a blow for the Raiders?
If you are a draftnik, Ruggs’ stat sheet has certainly disappointed you. However, Raiders brass is surely pleased with the early returns. It’s true that he has hauled in just four catches for 59 yards. That’s not the production of an upper-echelon wide receiver, but his impact goes beyond the numbers.
Ruggs’ main attribute is his ability to stretch the field, he’s a threat to make a big play in a blink of an eye. Nevertheless, the Raiders offense is built upon the principle of efficiency and ball distribution. Ruggs’ mere presence opens things up for his teammates and helps them thrive. Although Ruggs’ may get a heavy workload down the stretch, it isn’t currently the case. Just last game, quarterback Derek Carr completed passes to 11 different receivers, the former Crimson Tide playmaker wasn’t going to get many passes.
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The Silver and Black will have to do with what they have
The Raiders will be without Ruggs in Week 3, as their rookie receiver is out with knee and hamstring injuries. We don’t know how long he will be out but the team’s other wideouts will have to step up in his absence. After all, Ruggs wasn’t the only wide receiver the Silver and Black added this past offseason.
Bryan Edwards joined the Raiders via the NFL Draft and they signed Nelson Agholor in free agency. Moreover, Zay Jones and Rico Gafford have shown improvement from last year. Agholor and Jones have already scored this year and lost in all the shuffle is sophomore Hunter Renfrow. The Clemson standout is still his old reliable self and the Raiders could involve him heavily against the Patriots.
Of course, the Raiders will miss Ruggs, but the cupboard isn’t bare, they have options at the position and they will look for ways to make up for his absence. Tight end Darren Waller and running back Josh Jacobs will also play a key role in the team’s gameplan in Week 3. It’s not pleasant to know Ruggs will be out with an injury, but the Raiders have enough offensive power to take on the Patriots on Sunday.
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*Top Photo: Grant Halverson/Getty Images