Raiders: Reasons Vegas Can And Can’t Win In 2023

Examining Reasons The Las Vegas Raiders Can And Can’t Win In 2023

In an offseason featuring considerable turnover, fans are having a difficult time forecasting the 2023 season for the Raiders. General manager Dave Ziegler parted ways with franchise stalwart Derek Carr soon after the regular season ended, bringing a nine-year reign as the starting quarterback to an end.

Not only did Vegas lose its quarterback of the offense, it also lost Pro Bowl linebacker Denzel Perryman to free agency. The Houston Texans inked the veteran to a two-year deal, leaving a massive hole in the defense for the Silver and Black.

Continuing the overhaul, Ziegler also sent oft-injured tight end Darren Waller to the Big Apple, fetching a late third-round selection in return from the Giants. Rock Ya-Sin started multiple games at cornerback for the Raiders last season, but he is another name that did not receive much interest from the new regime.

Reasons Vegas Can And Can’t Win In 2023

In place of Carr, head coach Josh McDaniels hitched his wagon to a former protege, Jimmy Garoppolo. The two spent time together in New England, learning behind Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. For most of the past six seasons, Garoppolo held the QB1 mantle in San Francisco, even leading the Niners to a Super Bowl appearance in 2019.

The Raiders signed another former Patriot, Brian Hoyer, to serve as the primary backup behind Garoppolo. On top of that, Jakobi Meyers made his way to Sin City after spending four years in New England.

A few veteran additions on defense did little to inspire faith in the fan base, as the likes of Marcus Epps and Robert Spillane are serviceable pieces, but certainly not the difference-makers that the unit so desperately needs. The 2023 NFL Draft class offers promise, but more on them later.

So, are the Raiders destined to finish with one of the worst records in the NFL? Or could the team surprise folks and string together enough wins to keep them afloat in the stacked AFC? Here are four reasons why Vegas can be surprisingly competitive in 2023 — and four reasons why it won’t be.

Why The Raiders CAN Win In 2023: Jimmy Garoppolo Is Not Bad

Truth typically falls between the two extreme sides of each argument. That is the case with veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. He is not the type of player to carry a roster through hardships, but the Eastern Illinois alum has proven to be serviceable since entering the league.

The Raiders lack talent in a few spots on the depth chart, but the offensive weaponry is top-notch. It’s not quite up to par with Garoppolo’s cast from San Francisco, so Super Bowl expectations should be tempered. However, if Jimmy G remains healthy, Vegas can win football games in 2023.

Why They CAN’T Win In 2023: Jimmy Garoppolo Is Not Good

Therein lies the rub. While Garoppolo is better than most fans care to admit, he is far from a needle-mover behind center. Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, and Co. provide an embarrassment of riches for the 31-year-old signal-caller to work with. Can he make the most of them?

Unfortunately, constant injuries have plagued Garoppolo in his career, as the recently-signed quarterback is dealing with rehab as I type these words. Simply put, the Raiders can keep themselves out of the cellar, but the ceiling is capped in terms of how far the team can go in 2023 — primarily because of uncertainty at the sport’s most important position.

Why The Raiders CAN Win In 2023: Maxx Crosby Is A Needle-Mover On Defense

Maxx Crosby is the straw that stirs the drink on defense. He is among the best in the league at rushing the passer and possesses a leadership quality that teams search far and wide for. The former fourth-round pick racked up 12.5 sacks in 2022, making good on the nearly $100 million extension Vegas sent his way last offseason.

Why The Raiders CAN’T Win In 2023: The Rest Of The Defense Is Putrid

Alas, Crosby can only do so much on his own. Even with the veteran presence of Chandler Jones on the opposite side of the field, the Raiders simply do not have the talent to stay afloat in a stacked AFC. Inexperience and general lack of production will set Patrick Graham’s unit back in 2023.

Why They CAN Win In 2023: Most Recent NFL Draft Class Offers Potential

That being said, the front office had a surprisingly strong NFL Draft cycle. Initially, the selections drew ire, but now that the smoke has settled, optimism is easy to see with this group.

First-round pick Tyree Wilson boasts superstar potential, while second-rounder Michael Mayer could be the unprecedented rookie tight end that actually performs well in year one. A few other players taken in the later rounds should contribute for the Silver and Black this coming season.

Why The Raiders CAN’T Win In 2023: Rookies Are Not Ready To Be Difference-Makers Yet

Although the potential is present, the ability to translate it into immediate success is not. Many of the rookies from this class will require time and patience while they develop. The leap from college to the NFL is never easy, even for a group as promising as this one.

Why They CAN Win In 2023: The Offensive Weaponry Is As Good As Any In The NFL

The Raiders are as good as any team when it comes to weapons on offense. Davante Adams is the best wide receiver in the NFL. Josh Jacobs has a case for the same claim at running back. Plus guys like Hunter Renfrow and Jakobi Meyers deserve more flowers than they get; this will allow Vegas to compete on any given Sunday.

Why The Raiders CAN’T Win In 2023: Josh McDaniels Still Has To Prove Himself

Even a fool could see a path toward winning football in Sin City. The team boasts a starting quarterback with droves of playoff experience, a loaded offense, and some ascending talent on defense. But none of it will matter if head coach Josh McDaniels cannot prove himself worthy of leading a franchise.

In his previous stop with Denver, albeit over a decade ago, McDaniels came off as disingenuous to players. He spoke about this after his hiring, claiming a newfound perspective would help make connections with the Raiders. The jury is still out in this regard, and ultimately the team will go as far as McDaniels takes them.

*Top Photo: Candice Ward/USA TODAY Sports

2022 Rewind: 3 Raiders That Dave Ziegler Will Regret Letting Go

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