The Las Vegas Raiders offense finally looked to be coming to life last week in Dallas. Derek Carr threw for 373 yards and no interceptions, finally. Wide receiver Hunter Renfrow had eight receptions for a career-high of 134 yards, and running back Josh Jacobs rushed for a season-high of 87 yards.
If the Las Vegas offense wants to continue its hot streak, they will have to lean on these three players.
C Andre James
When the Raiders traded pro-bowl center Rodney Hudson away during the offseason, Raider Nation feared what was to come. Hudson was one of the most consistent and reliable players in the Raiders’ offense for years, and now they were left with… Andre James?
Las Vegas signed James as an undrafted free agent in 2019. Was he ready to be the starter after spending two years behind arguably the best center in the league?
For the first four weeks, it was clear that James had his hands full with this learning curve. He was consistently ranked as the worst center in the league by Pro Football Focus, but after the bye, he turned a corner. James is coming off his best two-game streak of the season. He hasn’t allowed a sack, hit, or hurry in the last two games, but with Washington’s powerful defensive front, he is poised for another big challenge this week.
James will have to continue to play aggressive football while drawing the least number of penalties possible. With seven penalties, James is tied for third-most in the league this season. The number of times you hear the offensive line’s name during the game is said to be the best way to determine their efficiency; the fewer the better. This week, Raider Nation hopes James continues his improvement and they don’t hear his name until he’s being praised during post-game interviews.
WR DeSean Jackson
DeSean Jackson is stepping into his third game with the Raiders with a chip on his shoulder. Jackson played for the Washington Football Team earlier in his career and is looking to show them what they are missing out on.
Last week, Jackson had his best game of the season, with three receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown. The spark the Raiders needed, they said, and they were right.
Jackson has been limited in practice this week with a calf injury, but is expected to play. Due to his impressive speed, Jackson can be used in many ways. How will the Raiders use him this week?
The Raiders are 6-0 when Derek Carr throws for over 300 yards. Deep shots to Jackson are the perfect way to get the Raiders to 7-5. With each passing day, Jackson is becoming more comfortable in the Raiders’ offense. Here’s hoping that shows again this week.
TE Daniel Helm
The injury to Darren Waller has opened the door for Foster Moreau and Daniel Helm to step up this week. During the Raiders’ Week 12 victory, Helm saw his first target of the season. Unfortunately for him, and for Raiders fans everywhere, it was a massive miscommunication between Carr and himself. Helm was unable to haul in the ball in the endzone and didn’t see another target for the remainder of the game.
He did, however, hit the field for many pass-blocking snaps. Helm proved he can be effective in the pass blocking game by earning himself a 73.9 pass block grade by PFF. Raider Nation knows that Moreau is always reliable as a blocker, so while Moreau sees more targets in this game, look for Helm to take over blocking duties.
*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal