The hype and joy of the offseason have faded away quicker than a one-hit wonder. The Las Vegas Raiders, fresh off a playoff appearance, were supposed to compete for a division title and be a force in the AFC. Instead, they have the worst record in the league and are looking up at everyone. This week they play the much-hated Denver Broncos (at least in the eyes of Raider Nation) and look to avoid an insurmountable 0-4 start. Here are three players who will go a long way toward making sure that doesn’t happen.
All eyes are on Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr
It seems he’ll be here every week the way his play goes. In reality, last week, Carr did not play badly at all. Honestly speaking, he had the team in a position to tie late in the game. The issue here is that with all the talent the team has on offense, their highest output has been 23 points. So, should everyone’s fingers be pointing to the quarterback at that point? He has the best receiver in football, and he targeted Davante Adams 17 times in Week 1. Adams came down with ten of those targets, totaling 141 yards and a touchdown.
Since then, Adams has combined for seven receptions in the last two games. Week 3’s film has been exposed by the media as having Carr staring down one receiver and just ignoring others, it seems. Twitter and the media have run with this, especially after the debacle with Dan Orlovsky’s analysis of the situation. Whatever the case may be, Carr is due for a big game. But more importantly, the Raiders badly need to rebound from this underwhelming start.
Darren Waller needs to work on those drops
A Pro Bowl tight end in 2020 and a renowned fan favorite, Darren Waller had his worst game in a Raider uniform against the Tennessee Titans. He ended with three receptions for 22 yards and had as many drops as receptions with three. Each one seemed like a sure touchdown and, in all honesty, had a direct effect on the outcome. This play is not something we’re used to seeing and a bounce back is much needed. He has had big plays and games against the Broncos before, so why not restore confidence and erase last week all at once? He’ll certainly have a tough matchup against the Broncos defense but being one of the best tight ends in the league requires great play, and following last week, it may need to be phenomenal.
Can Johnathan Abram deliver a quality performance?
I mean, at this point, what else can be said? Abram’s strong suit isn’t and never will be coverage. In Week 3, he was targeted five times and gave up five catches for 81 yards, per Pro Football Focus. That is not a statistic you want to base your decision on. He also missed and was juked on a third and long when the Raiders had the Titans inside their own three-yard line. The play ended up in a 30-yard reception and gave the Titans breathing room and flipped field position. Abram has been near Carr’s level of social media ire with his mishaps. With the possibility of Trevon Moehrig not playing again, the Raiders need their former first-round pick to step up and bounce back. Let’s face it, right now he has no choice and neither does the team.
*Top Photo: Danny Karnik/Associated Press