The Raiders had an offense that was top 10 last season. Whether you agree with that statement or not, the stats don’t lie. In the first half of the season, the Raiders knocked off three playoff teams: Saints, Browns, and Chiefs. Not to mention they were a blown coverage away from sweeping the Chiefs. In those three won games, the Raiders scored an average of 25 points. Just imagine what the scores could be if they had at minimum a top 25 defense. Enough reminiscing. It’s time to meet the team.
Let’s get this out of the way. Derek Carr is going to be the starting quarterback for the Raiders. Much too numerous Raiders fans dismay he is the starter. He is entering his year eight season with the team and has been the head of the offense since he was a rookie. Not only that, but he is also the only starter remaining from Del Rio’s regime. Carr remains one of the most underrated QBs in the league even after coming off arguably his best season. In my eyes, he is already a top 10 quarterback, but this year he will solidify it to the rest of the league and its fans.
Again, this is another gimme when it comes to starters, but the Raiders did pick up Kenyan Drake this offseason. Josh Jacobs has been a great asset for the last two seasons. Luckily for Jacobs, he fits the scheme of the offense: power run. Jacobs is coming off his second 1,000 yard rushing season and continued showing how difficult it is to tackle him. While it’s not the most reliable stat, according to PFF he has 120 broken tackles and 1,612 yards after contact in these last two seasons all while averaging 18 rushes per game.
Drake, on the other hand, has shown the ability to catch and make defenders miss with his speed and elusiveness. Since being traded to Arizona from Miami, he totaled nearly 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns rushing while also reeling in 53 catches for 308 yards. Prior to this season, Jacobs’s most reliable backup was, well Devontae Booker. We as fans are in for a real treat as to what Gruden has planned this season.
The Raiders receiving core is going to be one of the youngest in the league. The oldest player I expect to start is Hunter Renfrow, and he is only 25. The two outside receivers we can expect to see a lot of are Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards, both 22. Both wideouts had flashes last year but have yet to break out. Edwards most notably against the Saints in week 2 and Ruggs for the game-winner against the Jets.
Hunter Renfrow has been the most reliable of the three earning the nicknames ‘Third and Renfrow’ and ‘The Slot Machine’. Renfrow doesn’t have the flashy stat lines a number one receiver would have, but stats don’t give what he does justice. Edwards and Ruggs totaled 500 yards and three touchdowns. Unlike the other two positions, this group has quite a bit to prove if they are to retain their top 10 status.
The most welcomed surprise of the 2019 season was the breakout of Darren Waller. Since then, he has been the starter and a universally agreed-upon top 3 player at his position. He has totaled nearly 2,300 yards and 12 touchdowns on 197 receptions.
Backing him up is third-year Foster Moreau. Foster’s second season on the team was cut short with a torn ACL. Before that, he flashed with a couple of big plays, most notably a touchdown catch vs the Colts. While the celebration was odd, the catch was beautiful and couldn’t have come at a better time.
This position group is the most shrouded in mystery of the offense. Kolton Miller is the only player I expect to start week 1 from last year’s group. Richie Incognito is the only other player that wasn’t shipped out, and he has a lingering leg injury that I expect to hold him out of week 1.
Starting at the left tackle spot is the aforementioned Kolton Miller. I’ve voiced my thoughts on Kolton before and I believe he is a top 15 tackle in the league. After this season I expect him, like his quarterback, to seal his standing for other fan bases and teams around the league.
On the other side of the line rookie, Alex Leatherwood, will be holding down the right tackle spot. As fans, we should be past the thought of him being a ‘reach’ and be more comfortable with calling him our starter. In the preseason he has shown that he has the ability to move defenders and make holes for the running backs. After watching numerous film breakdowns from people that know more than me, I can assure you he can keep Carr’s jersey clean.
At one of the guard positions will be second-year John Simpson. Simpson wasn’t supposed to start, but with Richie out he is the most reliable backup. Similar to Alex Leatherwood he has shown potential this preseason. Whether he lines up next to Kolton Miller or rookie Alex Leatherwood, we can expect to see him in the starting lineup quite often.
At the other guard spot will be Denzelle Good. Now Denzelle is just that: good. He isn’t the best player on the line, but he is also not the worst. Think of him as a role player in the NBA. He does his job well enough to start and not get fired. He did show improvement last season, so let’s hope that continues into the next.
The final starting spot, I believe, goes to Andre James. He’s looked good enough in his limited snaps in the preseason and has shown improvement in run blocking. He needs to improve in the pass. He has been pushed into the quarterback on a couple of occasions this preseason and will need to pick it up if he wants to stay the starter.
A majority of the offense is returning and got some help this offseason. Barring any injuries or catastrophes, we as fans should see our offense shine again this season.
Expect to see a defensive edition dropping later this week. I hope that this answers any questions you may have had as a fan and this gives you comfort heading into next season. Until then, don’t forget to check out the shop and use code RAIDERS15to save 15%.