The Raiders’ season has been marred with controversy as head coach Jon Gruden resigned amid the unsavory e-mails uncovered as part of an NFL investigation. Gruden’s departure led to special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia being the head man for Las Vegas. Many speculated the hot start from the Raiders would wither away with the scandal, but Bisaccia is 2-0 as interim head coach.
Las Vegas is coming off their bye week ahead of the AFC West after the Chargers lost to the Patriots 27-24. Quarterback Derek Carr is playing unreal football at the moment. The offense is currently 10th in points per game (25), 10th in yards per game (393), and 2nd in passing yards per game (307). They have struggled to run the ball, ranking 28th with an average of 85 rushing yards per game.
The bye week came at an excellent time for the Raiders. Running back, Josh Jacobs is dealing with a chest ailment, and star tight end Darren Waller missed Week 7. It’s uncertain if either will be available for Week 9, but Kenyan Drake and Foster Moreau have done well in their stead.
Here are some more details about who's who on the Raiders offense.
Derek Carr is playing exceptional football at the moment. He has a 67 percent completion rate for 2,269 yards with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions through seven games.
Carr was always known as a check-down type of quarterback, but that has been far from the truth this season. Carr has been completing passes to Henry Ruggs III before his release and Bryan Edwards deep. He’s not scared to let his cannon work, and it’s been fun to watch.
The sturdy yet inefficient Josh Jacobs isn’t a certainty in this matchup. Jacobs struggles to generate explosive plays on the ground. His involvement in the passing game has grown since the beginning of the season, but Kenyan Drake has been more involved since Gruden left the team. Jacobs has 204 yards on 60 carries (3.4 YPC) with five touchdowns.
Drake was in Gruden’s doghouse but has played very well in the last two games. He has 18 carries for 93 yards and two touchdowns through the previous two games; his workload also expanded due to Jacobs's injury, but he was integrated more before Jacobs exited in Week 6. Drake is also a good receiving back; he has 18 catches on 21 targets for 187 yards and a touchdown.
Jalen Richard is a receiving back who just came off the I.R. He has only played in 34 total snaps since returning in week five, but he is explosive and often used as a receiver. The Raiders aren’t scared to align him in the slot or use a split-back formation with either Jacobs or Drake.
Henry Ruggs III was just released after a DUI that tragically resulted in the death of the driver whose vehicle he struck. Ruggs, according to ESPN, is facing two felony charges of driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in death and reckless driving, according to police records.
The Raiders selected Ruggs III over Justin Jefferson (Vikings), Jerry Jeudy (Denver), and CeeDee Lamb (Dallas). His selection was a direct complement to Tyreek Hill (Chiefs). The NFL is a copycat league, and the Raiders were attempting to find their own Hill.
Before his release, Ruggs had 35 targets with 24 catches for 469 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 19.5 yards per catch, which is ridiculous, but obviously, his career will take a back seat as he deals with the legal ramifications of his actions.
Bryan Edwards brings a combination of speed and power. Edwards hasn’t reached his potential quite yet. He doesn’t receive many looks, but when he does, he opens his eyes. He is 6’3" and 215 pounds and has 18 catches (on 29 targets) for 346 yards and a touchdown.
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Hunter Renfrow is the reliable weapon underneath who carves up zone coverage with his processing and route running. He has 48 targets and caught 38 of them for 399 yards and two touchdowns. Renfrow could be the most underrated asset out of the slot, and he is a favorite target of Carr's.
Zay Jones plays a solid amount of snaps for the Raiders. He has 98 snaps under his belt and has come up with huge plays for the Raiders this season. He had the game-winning touchdown catch against the Ravens in primetime in Week 1. Jones only has six catches for 115 yards and that touchdown on the season. He’s a solid fourth receiver for the Raiders.
The passing game of the Raiders goes through Darren Waller, yet the star tight end isn’t having a typical Darren Waller season. He may have been dealing with an ankle injury for a while, which held him out of Week 7, but he is still the primary receiving option for this team.
Waller has 33 catches on 52 targets for 378 yards and two touchdowns. He has only been north of one hundred yards once this season, and that was week one.
Waller is an incredible athlete. Backup Foster Moreau isn’t the athlete of Waller but is a great backup tight end who can block and is a solid route runner. He played very well with Waller out. In Week 7, he caught all six of his targets for 60 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles.
The Raiders had a strange offseason in terms of their offensive line. They traded Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson to the Cardinals for a seventh-round pick, which seems insane, especially after Hudson is having a great season, despite the recent injury. They also traded right tackle Trent Brownback to the Patriots. It was strange.
Overall, the offensive line is marginal; according to PFF, the offensive line ranks 23rd in pass blocking and dead last as a run-blocking unit. Kolton Miller has developed well as a left tackle. He was insanely raw coming out of UCLA, but he has athletic upside, and he now has the necessary technique and strength.
Miller plays next to John Simpson, who has struggled this season. He’s a 24-year-old, second-year player who is good in a phone booth but doesn’t have great lateral mobility.
Alex Leatherwood was drafted as the starting right tackle but was moved to right guard in Week 7. There was a lot of speculation that Leatherwood’s inability to play the tackle position may be a reality, and Brandon Parker on the right side replaced him.
Leatherwood hasn’t been great at tackle, but an injury to Richie Incognito also facilitated his transition to guard. Parker is stiff as a right tackle. The bend of Azeez Ojulari could certainly stress Parker if he continues to start on the right side. Parker is a replacement-level player for the Raiders.
Andre James is the center starting after Rodney Hudson’s departure. He hasn’t allowed a sack yet this season, but he has given up 11 pressures. He’s undersized but quick, and I think the Giants can exploit him with their defensive lineman.
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