The Las Vegas Raiders are just 1-4 heading out of the bye week. However, the Silver and Black face a stretch of winnable games, starting at home against the Houston Texans. Raiders fans know to be cautious with these so-called “easy” games, as this team is no stranger to disappointment. In lieu of sounding too optimistic, here are some notable concerns prior to Sunday’s showdown.
A Current Look At 4 Concerns For The Las Vegas Raiders
Concern No. 1: Nate Hobbs’ Injury Is A Big Concern
Raiders fans can never have nice things. Star cornerback Nate Hobbs suffered a broken hand in Monday night’s heartbreaker in Kansas City. It seemed as though Hobbs wanted to tough out the injury, but ultimately, surgery led him to an IR designation. It’s safe to say, Hobbs’ injury leaves a massive hole in a spotty Raiders secondary. Over the first five weeks, it seemed like Hobbs had been everywhere. Whether it was lining up in blitz packages to rush the quarterback, playing as a slot corner, or pushing outside, Hobbs was the team’s Swiss army knife.
The good news is, the Raiders shouldn’t need Hobbs against the Texans. Davis Mills and Co. are averaging just over 200 passing yards per game, paired with a lackluster five passing touchdowns to four interceptions. If the Raiders allow the Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins duo to have a day, there are deeper issues.
Concern No. 2: The Curious Disappearance Of Darren Waller
Darren Waller left the game early last Monday night due to an aggravation of his hamstring. Perhaps a re-aggravation of the same hamstring injury that hindered him for a good portion of this offseason. His presence, however, was not largely missed outside of being a decoy. In four full games, the Pro Bowler has accounted for just 175 yards and one touchdown. The $51 million man has also had two crucial drops and other missed opportunities to reach pay dirt.
It should be noted that Waller was not supposed to be the focal point of the Las Vegas offense after the acquisition of Davante Adams. He is, however, going to be crucial in the Raiders’ attempt to get back on track. If Waller is good to go against Houston, he will have to take advantage of a Texans defense that is allowing 249 pass yards per game.
Concern No. 3: Josh McDaniels Is Still Finding His Footing With The Raiders
For what it’s worth, Josh McDaniels called a good game against Kansas City. One could argue against the decision to go for two with over four minutes remaining, but you ultimately play to win. Since McDaniels learned that he had a running back, the Raiders have been in business offensively. The coaching has been better, but McDaniels continues to have lapses in play calling from time to time. Whether it’s the third-and-long screens to Brandon Bolden or the hideous trick plays, there are still things to clean up.
The Sunday matchup against the Texans is a must-win, and the coaching will have to be near excellent. If McDaniels continues to get Josh Jacobs and Adams involved, there is no reason that duo can’t piggyback you to a victory against a lesser team. The Raiders will go as far as their coaching will take them.
Concern No. 4: Hunter Renfrow’s Late-Game Blunders
Hunter Renfrow has built his reputation on being reliable, sure-handed, and generally mistake-free. This, however, has not been the case in 2022. The recently extended Renfrow has been almost invisible statistically, totaling just 105 yards in three games. On top of his empty stat sheet, the usually dependable slot receiver has fumbled the ball three times, losing one to close out a tough loss to the Cardinals.
In Week 5, against the Chiefs, Renfrow was responsible for colliding with Adams on a go route that could have sealed a Raider win in Arrowhead. It is OK to give the “slot machine” the benefit of the doubt, but the Raiders will need to be almost mistake free offensively moving forward. Once Renfrow clicks with this offense, it will be nearly impossible to stop the multifaceted Raiders’ air attack. Week 7 at home is a perfect time to turn things around.
*Top Photo: AP Photo/Rick Scuteri