In 2018, the Raiders’ receiving corps is likely to receive a makeover.
Wide receiver Michael Crabtree is rumored to be on the way out, and general manager Reggie McKenzie and new head coach Jon Gruden are sure to be looking for a wide receiver or two in free agency and the draft that can help make the passing game more dynamic.
Also new wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett – a former NFL running back – could be a big plus, says former Raiders wide receiver James Jones.
Jones, who played for Bennett when the two were in Green Bay, says Bennett could have a huge impact on the play of the wideouts in 2018. After 13 seasons on the Packers staff – as offensive coordinator, wide receivers coach and running backs coach – Bennett has come to Oakland with Gruden.
“He’s going to get the best out of his players, the absolute best,” Jones told Eddie Paskal of Raiders.com this week. “When we first had Edgar Bennett he was coming from the running backs room, and we’re like, ‘Man, we have a running back coaching wide receivers? We need a wide receiver coach coaching wide receivers.’
“Coach Bennett brought in a total different mindset, I’m talking about guys were playing hungrier, guys were making more plays, blocking better, and the mindset was just different.”
Jones, who retired after the 2015 season, had three strong seasons under Bennett as his position coach from 2011 to 2013. He had seasons of 38, 64 and 59 catches and led the NFL in touchdown receptions with 14 in 2012. One season he averaged 16.7 yards per reception. In 2014, Jones came to the Raiders and caught 73 passes, but averaged just 9.1 yards a catch. He played his final season with Green Bay. Bennett also was the receivers coach at Green Bay when players such as Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb had breakthrough seasons.
Jones said Bennett demanded the best, and got the best.
“With Edgar Bennett you’re expected to go out there and make every single play and you knew if you didn’t, Edgar was going to come get you out, because he felt like you weren’t ready to play.”