Raiders GM Dave Ziegler: Is Peter Skoronski

Did The Raiders’ TE Group Decline While QB And WR Units Flourish?

The Las Vegas Raiders, led by general manager Dave Ziegler, made several changes to the offense this offseason. Can we blame him after a disappointing 6-11 season? Still, said changes have stirred their share of debate among Raider Nation. That being said, what’s done is done. Onto training camp, folks.

As the 2023 campaign approaches, ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez examined position by position. Gutierrez notes whether the Silver and Black improved or worsened. Gutierrez’s article has three positions that stand out regarding whether the Raiders got better. The corps that saw significant changes this offseason were the quarterback, wide receiver, and tight end. Whether it’s enough time will be determined once the ball is snapped to start this season.

Did the Raiders’ tight end position get worse?

Let’s start with the bad news first. Gutierrez raises concerns over the tight end position after trading Darren Waller to the New York Giants this offseason. Waller had been a force for the Raiders even though his production dropped over the last two seasons. 

Injuries played a role in Waller’s production dropping, but the former Raiders tight end helped in other ways too. The 30-year-old’s mere roster presence made the tight end group a threat. Furthermore, Waller opened opportunities for others in the passing game.

Gutierrez discusses the potential replacements for Waller, starting with 2023 second-round pick Michael Mayer. While the Notre Dame product possesses impressive athleticism and receiving skills, he’s a rookie. Relying on Mayer to step in and immediately replicate Waller’s impact may be an ambitious expectation.

Austin Hooper will also help fill Waller’s shoes this season. However, the 28-year-old is more of a complementary piece. Hooper did receive a chance to be the No. 1 option at tight end when the Cleveland Browns gave him a lucrative contract in 2020. The Hooper experience only lasted two seasons, as the Browns released him after the 2021 season.

The other veteran tight end in the mix is O.J. Howard. While the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers star brings plenty of experience, there’s speculation about whether he’ll be cut. So all the pressure might be on Mayer to attempt to figure out life as a rookie.

Did Dave Ziegler improve the quarterback and wide receiver position?

While there’s cause for concern over the tight end, the wide receiver spot has improved in Gutierrez’s eyes. Multiple additions add quality depth behind Davante Adams.

Jakobi Meyers, who joined the Raiders as a free agent from the New England Patriots, can be that No. 2 receiver. Meyers can take advantage of the attention that Adams receives. If Hunter Renfrow can stay healthy, it gives the Raiders an excellent three-headed unit. Still, there’s more behind these three players, as Las Vegas signed Phillip Dorsett during the offseason. The Raiders also invested in their future by selecting Tre Tucker with a third-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

All these moves explain why Gutierrez states that the Silver and Black’s wide receiving unit has improved. Now, who will be getting them the ball? If healthy, that will be Jimmy Garoppolo.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback is replacing Derek Carr. While Garoppolo isn’t the most attractive name considering who the Raiders have in their AFC West division, he wins football games. Garoppolo has been to back-to-back NFC title games and led the 49ers to a Super Bowl LIV appearance. If Vegas can get that veteran quarterback, then perhaps that explains why Gutierrez sees this position as an improvement to some extent.

Behind Garoppolo is Brian Hoyer, a quality veteran backup for the Raiders. Hoyer comes to Las Vegas to replace Jarrett Stidham and give the team some calmness, knowing there’s a security blanket behind Garoppolo.

*Top Photo: Raiders Official YouTube Channel

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