The Las Vegas Raiders experienced playoff success; a true sample size in the form of an appearance. Now, they want more, and owner Mark Davis did everything in his power to make sure that his team returned to that place. I’m not the biggest fan of puns, but yes, the Vegas team has gone all in this year. As The Ringer recently wrote, the Raiders still have questions needing to be answered despite a blockbuster-like offseason.
While the Raiders have largely been media darlings this offseason, something Raider Nation isn’t a fan of, many have questions for the team. For example, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell recently criticized the Adams trade and what it means for the Raiders’ future. He pointed out factors such as his age, the potential drop in productivity without Aaron Rodgers, etc. As you may guess, fans didn’t take too kindly to this harsh assessment. Why would they? Acquiring a next-level talent such as Adams is a game-changer, even in the crowded AFC West where teams are involved in an arms race of sorts.
Lindsay Jones pointed out that one potential issue will be Derek Carr and his long-term status. Yes, the Raiders loaded up their roster with Adams, Chandler Jones, and Rock Ya-Sin. But they also made commitments to Hunter Renfrow and Maxx Crosby, giving them extensions this offseason. Raiders fans are likely tired of the Carr conjecture at this point. Be that as it may, it is certainly worth noting, as Jones did. Carr will essentially play one year under Josh McDaniels before the Raiders can cut bait and start over. On the other hand, if the Silver and Black take off, we can assume Carr will retire as a Raider with a new deal.
What about the Las Vegas Raiders’ defense?
Another aspect of the Raiders’ offseason was defense. Patrick Graham was brought in to modernize the Raiders’ unit with a more versatile approach, which required new personnel. The primary additions were Jones and Ya-Sin, but they also added Anthony Averett to help support the cornerback group. The concern that Jones raises is whether that was all enough to keep up with the rest of their divisional foes. The Kansas City Chiefs have consistently dominated the West during Andy Reid’s reign, is that going to change this year? There are doubts as Jones mentions.
“The Raiders have beaten the Chiefs just once in the Mahomes era (a 40-32 win in 2020) and have given up at least 28 points to Kansas City each time they’ve played since 2018. That includes allowing the Chiefs to score 41 and 48 points in two games last season.”
It’s a legitimate gripe to question whether the Raiders did enough on defense. Then again, you could argue that Las Vegas had plenty of weapons prior to Graham’s arrival that might end up thriving. Nate Hobbs and Trevon Moehrig, along with Crosby, come to mind. September 11 can’t come soon enough for the Raiders and Raider Nation.
*Top Photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images