Raiders

These 2021 NFL OTAs Are Critical For The Raiders

There has been a lot of outside noise already as it pertains to the Las Vegas Raiders offseason. Be that as it may, are there any positive takeaways?

We won’t get into too much of the outside noise part. Social media and other stories can fill you in, but one thing’s certain, it hasn’t been all that good for the Raiders. Following another second-half crumble to end the season, many fans are on edge and want results and no excuses. Will this year be different?

A big talking point last season was the pandemic and its effects on the Raiders. Essentially, they didn’t have much time to get acclimated and used to each other. We know there wasn’t much offseason work last year, but that was the same for all teams. This time around though, with the pandemic slowing down, there have been more chances for offseason labor. While virtual meetings are still in place, there was finally a chance for OTAs recently.

What have OTAs looked like for the Raiders?

Usually, OTAs are packed with participation and this year has been no expectation save for a few exceptions. Mandatory camp is June 15th and as of now, there seem to be no issues within the team and more than likely, the attendance will be 100 percent. With many showing up to OTAs, it surely sends out a positive message as far as the continuity of this team. Following two second-half collapses, Raider Nation’s shaky, but given the team’s output, the players may be just as on edge and eager as their fans.

Offensively, the Raiders rebuilt their offensive line so this time is crucial after so many changes. Also, the extra work with the receivers and a revamped backfield is crucial as Derek Carr looks to continue last year’s momentum on offense. Let’s not forget, there’s a lot of youth at wide receiver so having regular offseason activities will benefit everyone involved. Great things are being expected from Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards, so these OTAs are presenting this duo with time to finally build chemistry.

What about the Raiders’ defense?

As these OTAs continue, many are tuned into what the defense is doing, and rightfully so. Raider Nation has been clamoring for a new defensive coordinator since Jon Gruden brought in Paul Guenther upon his return. Well, be careful what you wish for as the team hired Gus Bradley along with a slew of new players. Changes have been made along the defensive line and of course, in the secondary.

In media calls, the players have raved about Bradley and what he’s brought to the table as a coach. The new players showing up add to the positives for the team, coming off a painful 2020 campaign, the defense will take all the positives it can get. If this unit can literally just be average, the Raiders have a shot at competing for a playoff spot.

With the offseason chatter and negative talk towards the Raiders, things could’ve been bad. It seems like the organization and players have chosen to ignore it and show up together. Yes, many things could’ve been done better, but again, the team has seemingly pushed the chatter to the side. Nevertheless, only a playoff appearance will help cool the chatter beyond the 2021 season.

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*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal

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