Friday, January 22, 2021

Oakland Raiders Season Preview

One of the NFL’s most storied franchises, The Oakland Raiders has fallen on hard times over the last decade or so. The re-appointment of Jon Gruden to a 10-year contract in 2018 seemed to be the start of the road back to the big-time. But his first year back in the NFL really didn’t go as well as he’d hoped.

Trading away some key cornerstones of previous regimes, notably Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, the Raiders showed that last season was solely about finding out what they had in-house and building through the draft.

It took Oakland until the fourth week to produce their first win, a bizarre overtime triumph over the Browns. By all rights that game should’ve been lost and could’ve been a turning point for the new-look Raiders. Unfortunately, they would go on to lose their next 5 games, including a humbling 34-3 reverse against San Francisco.

Finishing the year at 4-12, the Raiders didn’t find many answers to questions on their current roster. Derek Carr continued to be solid, if unspectacular, posting 4,049 yards 19 TD and 10 INT. Doug Martin led the backs with 723 yards and a measly 4 TD. 

The receiving corp was led by old-timer Jordy Nelson, who could only register 739 yards and 3 TD, and tight end Jared Cook with 896 yards and 6 TD.

Derek Carr is the only one of those players to be returning in 2019.

The Raiders ranked 28th for points scoring offense and 32nd in defense. This is still a team in major rebuild mode.

Coaching Changes

With a largely unchanged staff, the Raiders brought in some fresh faces as positional coaches at the beginning of 2019.

John Morton – Senior Offensive Assistant

Entering his 17th season as a coach in the NFL, Morton returns for his 9th season with the Raiders after working in 2017 as the NY Jets OC. He has coached in many places during his long career including San Francisco, San Diego as well as the Jets and spells in College football.

Kirby Wilson – Running Backs

Wilson previously served under Gruden in 2002 and 2003 as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers running backs coach. He is a 26-year coaching veteran and will bring a tonne of experience and stability.

Brenston Buckner – Defensive linemen

Buckner, a former 2nd round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers, joins from Tampa Bay where he served the same role. Before that, he was with the Cardinals, also as DL coach so he should bring some much-needed stability and experience to the role.

AJ Neibel – Head Strength And Conditioning

Neibel has spent the last two seasons as an athletic performance specialist with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Prior to that, he spent 6 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, including three years as their head strength and conditioning coach.

Off-season Acquisitions

With one of the thinnest rosters in the NFL, the Raiders had a lot of work to do in the offseason, and they made some of the most headline-worthy moves.

Antonio Brown – WR

Arguably the most dominant WR of his generation, Brown was acquired via trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Giving up just a 3rd and a 5th, the Raiders got an absolute steal. AB will give the Raiders the deep threat they lacked last season and is as dynamic as they come. There have been several off-field personality issues this offseason, but expect those to clear up once the season gets underway.

Vontaze Burfict – LB

Burfict fills a massive need for the defensively-weak Raiders. An incredible player at his peak, Burfict is also incredibly inconsistent and prone to suspensions and fines for late hits, and hit’s to the helmet. This is a high risk, high reward, kind of signing, but once again is a definite upgrade on a weak unit.

Trent Brown – OL

Former Patriots LT Trent Brown was brought in to solidify the 28th ranked OL according to PFF. If Brown continues to perform at the level he played in New England this will be a huge upgrade.

Richie Incognito – OG

Incognito was out of the league last year, and has suffered mental health issues, and has been in the middle of racism, and bullying incidents. This was a strange pickup given all that, but he is a solid upgrade on the line if he keeps his head down.

Luke Wilson – TE

Tyrell Williams – WR

Lamarcus Joyner – S

Josh Mauro – DE

JJ Nelson – WR

Mike Glennon – QB

Landry Jones – QB

Ryan Grant – WR

Curtis Riley – S

Nevin Lawson – CB

Jordan Devey – OG

NFL Draft

14Clelin FerrellDEClemson
124Josh JacobsRBAlabama
127Johnathan AbramSMississippi State
240Trayvon MullenCBClemson
4106Maxx CrosbyDEEastern Michigan
4129Isaiah JohnsonCBHouston
4137Foster MoreauTELSU
5149Hunter RenfrowWRClemson
7230Quinton BellDEPrairie View A&M

Undrafted Free Agents

Alec IngoldFBWisconsin
Keelan DossWR UC Davis
Andre JamesOTUCLA
Tyler RoemerOTSan Diego
Lester Cotton Sr.OGAlabama
Lukayus McNeilOGLouisville
Te’Von ConeyLBNotre Dame
Koa FarmerLBPenn State
Dylan MabinCBFordham
Keisean NixonCBSouth Georgia

One of our editors believes the Raiders are the worst team in the NFL, read his take here.

For more like this, you can visit our NFL section here. Also, follow us on Facebook for coverage of the NFL and much more.

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