The Las Vegas Raiders offense should light up the opposition this season. Scratch that. The Raiders’ offense must light up the opposition this season. Anything less would be pathetic.
Now, before I get into this further, I admit the offensive line is the biggest question mark. As it should. The group is slated to be relatively intact for the upcoming 2022 campaign, and that in itself should raise concern.
But you don’t bring in the likes of Dave Ziegler (at general manager) and Josh McDaniels (at head coach) — the New England Patriots BOGO combo — and not make wholesale changes if you don’t have an inkling of confidence behind the new power structure. Ziegler is the roster builder while BFF McDaniels is the Xs and Os mastermind — at least, that’s the initial belief. In comes new offensive line boss Carmen Bricillo, another former Patriot. Ziegler, McDaniels, and Bricillo must’ve liked what they saw from the big uglies up front, because outside of drafting two linemen and signing a versatile spot starter and backup, the Raiders didn’t do much to bolster the group.
Raiders didn’t bring in any big-name free agents
There was no “name” free agent brought in. There wasn’t a trade up to snag a highly rated prospect to man right tackle. Instead, Las Vegas signed Alex Bars (Chicago Bears) in free agency and selected Dylan Parham (Memphis) in the third and Thayer Munford (Ohio State) in the seventh round of the NFL Draft. Thus, there’s definitely some “run-it-back” vibes emanating from Bricillo’s group.
Then again, that much-maligned group headed by Tom Cable was good enough to power the Raiders offense to a playoff appearance. The group finally began to gel in the second-and latter-half of the 2021 campaign.
So why not, one mo’ gain?
The trench warriors aside, Las Vegas has everything in place on offense to make this sucker a spectacular spectacle. Creative play caller: check. Franchise quarterback: check. Bellcow lead back: check. Bona fide No. 1 wide receiver: check. Specimen of a tight end: check. Oh, and for the obtuse, that’d be: McDaniels, Derek Carr, Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams, and Darren Waller. That doesn’t even account for the receding hairline GOAT slot wide receiver, Hunter Renfrow. That’s six elements of a McDaniels-led offense that must engulf and immolate opposing defenses.
Red zone woes?
With both the long-term coin and his dream wide receiver now in tow, Carr should have not only his best statistical season, but his most successful year too, leading the Raiders deeper into the postseason. You don’t acquire and pay Adams, nor do you secure Carr with a long-term extension without the Super Bowl being the goal. Vegas is now armed with the personnel for a sharp AF offense.
Hoisting the Lombardi trophy is always the goal, but not making an AFC title game in the next 3 seasons–at least–would be a patented faceplant for an organization accustomed to doing so.
A snippet from Ezekiel 25:17 says it best: “And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger.” With McDaniels cooking things up in his lab and Carr at the helm of the offense, it’s time for the Silver and Black to strike–furiously.
O-Line shuffle for the Raiders
Parham’s arrival should make for quite a fight up front. He’s the versatile type of linemen McDaniels and his coaches seek — no one-trick ponies; players who can play other positions — who can play guard or even center. If Parham is as advertised—a solid technician of an offensive lineman who can lock onto defenders and render them moot—he’s going to push incumbents and perhaps claim a starting spot. Don’t be surprised if he gets snaps at either center or guard or even starts in 2022.
Parham’s development has a chance to push Alex Leatherwood back to right tackle, the position he was drafted for.
My early projection for Vegas’ starting offensive line goes (from left to right tackle): Kolton Miller, John Simpson, Andre James, Dylan Parham, Alex Leatherwood.
*Top Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images