In Week 1, the Los Angeles Chargers travel to the Las Vegas Raiders’ sunny Inglewood vacation home for a highly anticipated matchup. The last time these two heavyweight teams met, chaos ensued, and the Raiders emerged playoff bound. However, both teams have made key additions after a historically wild offseason. With high expectations on both sides, here are three players who will need to step up to give the Raiders the early edge.
Raiders News Today: The team needs big performances from the following guys
Jermaine Eluemunor, RT
Let’s start with the obvious. Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa will be looking to cause problems. The Raiders’ offensive line has been labeled one of the weakest links on an otherwise loaded roster. In Week 1, Jermaine Eluemunor and his teammates will face their most difficult challenge yet, a revamped Chargers defensive line.
Thus far in his Raiders tenure, the six-year vet (Eluemunor) has been serviceable. However, serviceable won’t exactly cut it against Mack and Bosa. Eluemunor will have to put his best foot forward to keep Derek Carr upright. Expect Josh McDaniels to scheme around a quick passing attack and play action to take some of the pressure off. The former New England Patriot needs to rise to the occasion to help plays develop down the field. If the line gels early, the Raiders will be in great shape.
Nate Hobbs, CB
The versatile cornerback will be tasked with a lot in 2022. His first mission will be to attempt to minimize the dangerous Chargers’ passing attack. Coming off an encouraging rookie campaign, Nate Hobbs has been playing both inside and outside corners in his camp action.
Hobbs will have to be an anchor for a Raiders secondary that has yet to prove itself. Sure, the entire unit will have to step up this week, but Hobbs’s rookie resume and “CB1” label make him a player the Silver and Black will rely on. Locking down a flashy Mike Williams outside, or the underrated Keenan Allen in the slot would certainly turn heads.
Johnathan Abram, S
No way around it, Johnathan Abram has been a liability in recent years. Abram should, however, have an expanded role in Patrick Graham’s defense. His new role will be one that more closely fits his strengths. Abram is going to need to be on his A-game this Sunday as he could match up against players such as Austin Ekeler, Sony Michel, Joshua Palmer, and Gerald Everett.
In 2022, the hit-sticking safety should find himself being utilized more around the box as well as in blitz packages. If all goes well, Abram will be an insurance policy for a slippery Ekeler, who totaled over 1,500 all-purpose yards in 2021. With more body control and a smaller role in coverage, Abram could be an asset to this team. He has a chance to prove it in a heavyweight Week 1 matchup.
As the Week 1 clash inches closer, stay tuned for the latest Raiders news today.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images