The Las Vegas Raiders offense, led by Derek Carr, has been up and down all season, but there have been flashes of greatness. They just have to be able to put it all together for a full game. Especially against a division rival like the Denver Broncos. The offense will have to be consistent throughout 60 minutes to have a chance to win this game.
Raiders’ X-Factor No. 1 – Derek Carr
It all starts with the Raiders’ quarterback, No. 4 himself. Carr hasn’t been as bad as the critics have said, but it is time for him to take full control of this offense.
Carr has always been a coach-pleasing type of quarterback, and that appears to be the case again three weeks into the season. He has played within the offense and has taken more conservative throws than usual. Well, it is time to get uncomfortable and make those tight window throws.
The Broncos, like every other team so far, will give star wide receiver Davante Adams extra coverage. Carr has to be able to trust Adams and get the ball to his star receiver. Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory are coming off the edge, so Carr will have to use his legs to extend plays. He has the talent and speed to do so, he just needs to change his mind set to execute.
Raiders’ X-Factor No. 2 – Thayer Munford
At first, the rookie tackle was behind several offensive tackles on the Raiders’ depth chart, but he has done well for the team. According to The Athletic’s Tashan Reed, the Raiders’ run game has been much better with Munford on the field. They are averaging 5.6 yards a carry with him on and it goes down to 3.5 with him off the field. Reed also says that of all the Raiders’ offensive tackles, Munford has the best rate of pass rushes against him at 3.8 percent.
He also played every snap as the Raiders’ starting right tackle. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the highest-ranked offensive lineman for the Raiders in Week 3. Hopefully, his encouraging play has earned him another start for Week 4. The Raiders will need him as the Broncos have two good edge rushers in Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory. Whoever is in the lineup against Munford will try to do everything in their power to rattle the rookie.
Munford just has to keep playing with confidence and trust in his game. His ability to win one-on-one battles will determine whether or not this offense can get things rolling against the Broncos.
Raiders’ X-Factor No. 3 – Josh Jacobs
Recently, running back Josh Jacobs caught a stray from ex-Raider quarterback Rich Gannon. When he spoke on video on the 33rdTeam’s Twitter page, heÂ criticized the running backs for their lack of production.
Jacobs has been productive for the Raiders, but his numbers have suffered as a result of Coach Josh McDaniels’ inconsistent play calling during game situations. He is averaging nearly five yards per carry. The Raiders have to feed him early and often. They have no other runner that is as dynamic as Jacobs is. Against a good Broncos defense, being able to both run and pass the ball will be crucial for the team’s success.
A way the Raiders can get Jacobs going is by getting him chances against the Broncos’ linebackers. This happens through the screen game and inside runs. Use Jacobs correctly and often, and you will see the results. Getting him going will also help neutralize the Broncos’ pass rush. No more taking him out for Brandon Bolden during crucial situations. Stop playing games and feed Jacobs.