Las Vegas Raiders Passing Game Review: Week 1

The Las Vegas Raiders finally unveiled their new-look offense yesterday to the world after many long months. With a new play caller in head coach Josh McDaniels to go along with an elite wide receiver in Davante Adams, there was plenty to watch for.

While the Raiders would fall short yesterday against the Los Angeles Chargers, it was the passing game that would take center stage. With many highs and lows throughout the game, this was the good, the bad, and, unfortunately, the ugly.

Raiders WR Davante Adams Simply Dominated

Any questions that fans may have had about Adams’ ability to produce without Aaron Rodgers were no doubt squashed today. With 10 receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown, he was simply unstoppable in this game.

From the first play, the Raiders did not hide their game plan: to get Adams the ball. With seventeen targets, they absolutely did not waiver from this philosophy. Adams, like in Green Bay, was able to win from a variety of alignments, regardless of who was covering him. Whether he was catching passes over the middle of the field, in short areas, out of the slot, or on the boundary, he was dominating.

Of course, Derek Carr and Adams played together in college at Fresno State. This connection was evident as the two were almost always on the same page. One of the NFL’s best players, he gives Carr another security blanket.

Finally, perhaps the most underrated part of Adam’s game, is how easily he makes things for others. With four receptions for 79 yards, tight end Darren Waller was able to beat up on some lighter coverage than he is otherwise used to.

Too Many Mistakes For Vegas

Overall, this was one of the worst games Carr has ever had. As he said after the game, he was simply too aggressive and routinely put the ball in harm’s way because of it. Of course, this is ironic given the narrative surrounding Carr’s lack of aggression. Even still, there is a time and place, and it is imperative that the ball is protected.

Furthermore, his lack of creativity outside of structure is maddening to watch. Many times, Carr plays the position like a robot. With incredibly clean throwing mechanics, he often hits the back foot of his drop and delivers the ball on time from the pocket. However, in instances when the play breaks down, his refusal to leave the pocket and make a play greatly limits the Las Vegas offense.

If you are looking for a silver lining, the first two interceptions were entirely preventable. In fact, they were nearly converted into huge plays as both Waller and Adams were open on their routes. Carr just did not put the ball in the correct spot. This popped up again on the first drive of the game when he just missed a wide-open Waller in the end zone.

Even though they may still have some preseason rust, the hope is that these long passes will lead to touchdowns sooner rather than later.

What Lies Ahead For The Raiders

All in all, the Raiders played pretty well in this game. In a game in which they had three turnovers and missed big plays, they only lost by five to a good team. While the three interceptions stick out, Vegas clearly has elite talent. If they can clean up the mistakes moving forward, there is a lot to be excited about.

Luckily, the Raiders’ next game will be at home against the Arizona Cardinals. In Week 1, Arizona allowed Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to throw for 360 yards and five touchdowns. Las Vegas has better weapons than Kansas City, so they should be looking for similar results in Week 2. As long as Carr doesn’t implode every week, the Raiders will win more often than not.

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*Top Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

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