On Friday, the Las Vegas Raiders will be playing in their final preseason game against the New England Patriots. With the Patriots in town earlier this week, the two teams participated in joint practices.
On the Raiders’ side, it was a fantastic way for the stars to get some experience against another team, as they have not played in any of the preseason games. For Derek Carr, Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, etc., that was the last real action they got before the regular season.
In New England, the team has massive question marks on offense. Three years removed from the Tom Brady era, there are still questions to be answered at quarterback. Mac Jones had a fine rookie season, but still has much to prove. With former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels now the head coach in Vegas, they are undergoing massive changes on offense.
While the Raiders have not released much video content from these joint practices, the beat reporters from both teams have been hard at work covering the events. This is what we have learned so far through many Tweets.
Raiders WR Davante Adams Is Still That Guy
In an offseason trade with the Green Bay Packers, the Raiders acquired star wideout, Davante Adams. The best wide receiver in the NFL over the last several seasons. Few players in the league are better than him, regardless of position. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this acquisition was his connection to quarterback Derek Carr, with whom he played at Fresno State.
Despite their prolific collegiate careers, many wondered if Adams would still be the same player without Aaron Rodgers. So far, all signs point to yes, as reporters from both teams can’t stop raving about his dominance.
Out of all the training camp practices I’ve seen since 2018, Davante Adams today was the best for any wide receiver. The things he was doing were downright ridiculous.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) August 23, 2022
Truthfully, there should be nothing surprising about this. While Rodgers is obviously an incredible quarterback, Adams is just as talented at his position. His presence makes the Raiders one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL and it appears that he is picking up right where he left off.
The Red Zone Offense Should Be Massively Improved
As all Raiders fans know, the red zone offense under Jon Gruden and Greg Olson was unimaginably poor. For a team that was routinely good on offense, they settled for field goals far too often inside the 20-yard line. Now under McDaniels, the Raiders appear poised to have more creativity in the shorter areas of the field.
Furthermore, Las Vegas simply has too many talented weapons in the form of Adams, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow to be as bad as they were in recent seasons. With their elite ability to create separation, the Raiders should be able to score at will in the short areas of the field in 2022.
Sexy play alert: I know you guys are tired about hearing about Davante Adams, but he just went up and snatched a 50/50 ball over a defensive back in 7-on-7 red zone drills.
And then caught another TD two plays later.
— Levi Edwards (@theleviedwards) August 24, 2022
The Raiders’ Pass Rush Can Carry The Defense
Last season, the Las Vegas defense lived and died on the play of Maxx Crosby. That’s not to say that there aren’t other good players on the unit, but Crosby is the one who most often creates the big plays.
So, this offseason, the Raiders got him a new running mate in Chandler Jones. He is currently one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. He and Jones will look to form one of the best pass-rushing duos in the league. If the rumors from camp are true, it would appear they are already on their way.
This is most evident for Crosby, who has been, by all accounts, unblockable regardless of who lines up against him. As Raiders fans have seen in the past, he is easily capable of taking over a game and the new front office rewarded him for it with a new contract. Early on, he does not appear to be resting on his laurels.
Maxx crosby had a tremendous practice. Can't report direct quotes from practices, but let's just say he wanted the world to know how well he was playing
— Adam Hill (@AdamHillLVRJ) August 18, 2022
While the defense should take a step forward all around in 2022, it will do so because of the two premier pass rushers. When both Crosby and Jones get going, it can certainly be too much for any offensive line to handle.
*Top Photo: Matt Aguirre/Raiders