The Raiders have plenty to prove in 2019 after going 4-12 in 2018.
But one thing that has Oakland fans excited is the potential of the offense. The upgrade of the wide receiver position (acquiring Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams) and the drafting of running back Josh Jacobs in the first round now gives head coach Jon Gruden plenty of talent and depth for his quarterback, Derek Carr.
In fact, NFL.com analyst Ali Bhanpuri ranks the Raiders as having among the best triplet sets (quarterback, running back, wide receiver) in the league heading into the opening of training camp later this month.
Though the Raiders aren’t in the same “triplets” category as teams such as the Saints, Chargers and Browns (whom he ranks first, second and third, respectively), Bhanpuri ranks the Raiders 13th.
He believes Carr is headed toward “a career season” with a better supporting cast. If Jacobs is as good as many believe he’ll be, the Raiders will be balanced offensively and the passing game will be more dangerous, with defenses forced to respect the running attack.
Writes Bhanpuri: “For both Carr and Brown to really take off, they’ll need help from the run game – something Oakland has received little of the past two seasons. Football minds much smarter than mine raved about Jacobs in the pre-draft process.”
If Jacobs can be a consistent producer on the ground, Carr will have his choice of targets downfield. The wide receiving corps is much upgraded, with the likes of Brown, Williams, Ryan Grant, rookie Hunter Renfrow, J.J. Nelson and Marcell Ateman. And, the running back corps also should be deep with Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, Doug Martin and Chris Warren III battling to back up Jacobs.
As Nick Ellis of Fansided wrote recently, this Raiders offense could turn out to be as good as the one in 2016, when the team went 12-4 and earned a playoff spot.
Wrote Ellis: “Compared to the 2016 offense, the Raiders are not as far off as one may think. The key to success for this team is the offensive line. If Derek Carr can get as comfortable behind this line as he was with his 2016 line, this offense has the potential to explode. With Josh Jacobs, Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, the Raiders have the best skill players they have had since 2002.”