Raiders Week 9 Passing Review Versus Giants

After a tragic week, the Las Vegas Raiders flew to the East Coast to play the New York Giants. Although they started hot, the offense did not do enough to win this game. 

Hot Start, Quick Cool Down

With the tragedy surrounding the Raiders offense due to the Henry Ruggs situation, many would have forgiven the team if they came out flat in this one. However, the opposite was true. On the first drive, Derek Carr was able to find Hunter Renfrow for a touchdown on the goal line. The scoring play was a play-action pass that Renfrow was able to catch through contact. While this was a great showing from the Raiders offense, it was all downhill from here.

That rings especially true in the red zone. The Raiders’ Achilles heel from 2020 reared its ugly head again on Sunday. The biggest miscues in this regard were the missed throws to Darren Waller. On the first one, Waller got wide open in the middle of the end zone but Carr couldn’t get him the ball. The second was similar as Waller had a chance to make a contested catch in the corner, but the pass was overthrown. For the Raiders to win without a field stretcher like Ruggs, they will have to dominate in short-yardage situations like these.

Derek Carr Struggles

For Carr, this was one of the worst games he has played in some time. He just never looked as if he was locked in, and the interceptions were proof of that. The first one was just an inexcusable mistake as he was far too late on an out route to Hunter Renfrow that the Giants’ Xavier McKinney jumped on for a pick-six. Routes like these to ‘13′ are usually easy pickings when Carr has it going, but Sunday was just not one of those days.

The second one was just confusing. The Raiders ran wideout Zay Jones on a double move down the sideline where he was able to gain a step on cornerback James Bradberry. However, the reason he gained that step was that Bradberry knew he had help over the top by McKinney. Carr, for some reason, did not read this coverage correctly and ended up tossing an easy one to McKinney.

So far in 2021, Las Vegas has gotten MVP caliber play from Carr. While this game will not be one he wants to replay often going forward, it is an outlier for him this season. We all know the Ruggs situation weighed heavy on Carr, so look for him to try and rebound next week when there is, hopefully, less controversy.

The WR Group Is Getting Help; But It Needs More

Without Ruggs, the Raiders’ receiver group is straight-up bad. While many members of Raider Nation were hoping to see young Bryan Edwards take a big step forward, he was a non-factor in this one with no catches. He struggles to get open, and Carr does not always seem willing to give him chances, especially this week. The other boundary wide receiver is Zay Jones. One of the hardest workers on the team and a player who is routinely applauded by Carr and the coaching staff, Jones is just not an NFL starter. He had one catch for twenty yards in this one.

After the game, it was reported that the Raiders had signed former Rams wide receiver DeSean Jackson. What Jackson offers the Raiders is the straight-line speed that they sorely lack without Ruggs. Will “DJax” replace what Henry Ruggs brought to the Vegas offense? Absolutely not. Remember, Jackson is 35, and while he can still run, he has never had the contested catch or route running ability of Ruggs.

If the Raiders send out Jackson and Edwards as starting receivers on Sunday night against the Chiefs, they will still have problems. As such, the team should make a full-court press for Odell Beckham Jr. As mentioned, the game against the Giants proved that Edwards should not be relied upon as a full-time starter. While Odell has a reputation as a diva, he is still a superbly talented player who would be a massive boost for the Raiders’ offense right away.

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*Top Photo: Michael Clemens/Las Vegas Raiders

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