Josh Jacobs, Jimmy Garoppolo Highlight List Of Raiders To Watch vs. Denver

Josh Jacobs, Jimmy Garoppolo Highlight List Of Raiders To Watch vs. Denver

Rounds are officially live today. The Las Vegas Raiders open the season against the hated Denver Broncos in Mile High. The defense will be under its usual microscope, but the offense doesn’t trail far behind in the intrigue department. Jimmy Garoppolo makes his first start for the Silver and Black against a heated division rival, while Josh Jacobs aims for familiar results in a new jersey number. Josh McDaniels will be wearing a helmet on the sideline to deflect from the still-bitter Bronco faithful and maybe a few disgruntled Raider fans.

Here’s a handful of things to keep your eye on this Sunday on the offensive side of the ball.

Can Josh Jacobs Handle A Bell-Cow Workload?

Raider Nation collectively exhaled when the leading rusher of the 2022 season returned to Las Vegas. Jacobs is back and has said he doesn’t want any restrictions on his carries this Sunday despite missing almost all of training camp.

While there’s no reason to doubt Jacobs’ level of dedication and conditioning during his lengthy holdout, the risk could be high for both JJ8 and the Raiders. The Alabama alum was a workhorse last year, but injuries have played a part in his career. McDaniels and Co. will rely on a healthy Jacobs to be the catalyst for this offense as the star ball carrier looks to cash in after another very productive season.

Add the altitude in Mile High, and we could see more Zamir White carries than we anticipate or care to tolerate.

Watch My Shoes: How Will Jimmy Garoppolo Look? Will His Footwork Be Improved?

New Raider signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo spent most of the team’s training camp recovering from a foot procedure. No one expected Jimmy G to move like Lamar Jackson, but the rust was evident during his short yet successful preseason appearance.

Moving the ball against the Los Angeles Rams “starters” is different from facing one of the best defenses in football, like the one Denver deploys. Las Vegas should lean on the ground game in hopes of opening up play-action options to take advantage of an aggressive Broncos unit. That means Garoppolo will need to show a level of poise that can often elude him.

Otherwise, it may be Aidan O’Connell Time sooner than we thought.

Ruthless Aggression: Can Greg Van Roten Keep the Fire at Guard?

Not many had “Greg Van Roten will win the starting right guard spot” on their bingo card to start training camp, but here we are. The nine-year veteran hasn’t been a full-time starter since 2018 with the Carolina Panthers, yet Van Roten brought renewed toughness to the Raiders offensive line.

But that was camp and the preseason. How will that aggression go during real games on Sundays?

Las Vegas has craved continuity in the trenches for a few years now. If Van Roten can hold his own in the ground game, protect Jimmy G from rushers alike, and avoid careless penalties, he may turn into the steal of the year for GM Dave Ziegler.

Hots For The Slots: Who Will Man The Slot for the Raiders?

With the signing of Jakobi Meyers during the offseason to add to Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow, the Raiders have a very formidable trio of receivers at their disposal. That doesn’t even include third-round pick Tre Tucker, who should help stretch the field deep.

Everyone knows Adams will start on the boundary. But who will join him, and who will man the slot? Both Meyers and Renfrow are more than capable of being productive from either spot. Renfrow has arguably had more success on the outside than former Patriot Meyers has, but the Clemson alum’s route tree is nearly unstoppable with a free release.

The beauty of this offense and these weapons is we should see the pair rotate throughout the contest and season, but when push comes to shove, who will get the call?

Raiders Shot Caller: Can Josh McDaniels Improve His Game Management?

It is almost certain to be a close game this Sunday. We don’t have to relive those horrific stats, but we all know close games weren’t exactly the Raiders forte in 2022. The biggest scapegoat for those late-game follies now gets his Jesus-related jollies in the Big Easy

Now, all eyes will be firmly on the ever-evaporating chin of Josh McDaniels. After a full season at the helm, we should expect to see the returning Raiders execute the JMD vision more effectively. The red zone woes should be a thing of the past (allegedly), and McDaniels can celebrate midfield on the donkey for a second consecutive season.

Or we could once again end up with more questions than answers.

*Top Photo: Getty Images

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