A pair of rookie wide receivers went through a learning curve this past season.
We should take note that although these men are professionals, it takes a transitional phase for young players to learn the speed and technique of the game at the NFL-level.
As we began to deal with the pandemic, these young players did not have the opportunity to have spring workouts and were limited to workouts with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr due to COVID-19 restrictions.
These rookies did flash some excitement and impressed the coaching staff with the little practice that they had.
But as we know, Raider Nation can be tough on players.
Raider Maven's Editor and Publisher Hondo Carpenter cohosts Silver and Black Radio on Monday and Wednesday on Raider Nation Radio (LINK TO LISTEN LIVE). He recently interviewed Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow and asked him if we are putting excuses on them or are we being fair to say that they did have an impressive season without having huge numbers on the stat sheet.
"One, It's tough to play receiver for Coach Gruden, young as a rookie. Two, there was no offseason, no introductory phase for them to the offense-- You don't have to be All-Pro to be an effective and good player," said Renfrow on how players do not need to be on the stat sheet to be effective players on the field.
First-rounder Henry Ruggs III finished his rookie campaign with 26 receptions for 452 yards and two touchdowns.
While third-rounder and partner in crime, Bryan Edwards finished his rookie season with 11 receptions for 193 yards and a touchdown.
"You don't have to have all the stats, I think some of those things we asked Henry[Ruggs] to do, they don't show up on the stat sheet, they open the door for guys like me and Darren Waller to kind of get some stuff underneath, Nelson Agholor and so I think people, just your average football fan doesn't really see what's going on behind the scenes and how he affects defenses, and so he's gonna make a big leap this next year coming up because he's had a whole offseason, but same with Bryan as well."
As the offense progresses, both players will be integrated into the offense, Ruggs as a speedster and Edwards as a big body receiver. Ruggs may not have seen many targets this past season but was highly involved in the offense to help stretch the field.
"He likes to stretch the field, that's what he was brought in for, to stretch the field, make the catches over the top. He's certainly going to do that, he's done that, and he's done that this year, but he's going to get better at that and he's really good underneath too," said Renfrow on what Ruggs purpose on the field was and how effective he was doing his job.
"If it was easy, then everyone would be a Pro Bowler their first year coming out of college, but all the information thrown at them and knowing where to lineup and that sort of deal, that's what kind of makes you think for a second, you can't play as fast and so now that Henry's got a full season under his belt, he can learn how to set people up and so instead of processing just where to lineup, and what play to run, now he's going to be focused on the fundamental and how he's going to go beat that guy, and so it's going to a good offseason for him, added Renfrow on how these two receivers can now focus on beating out their defenders other than focusing on where to lineup and what play their running.
In the end, it's about putting your team in the best chance to win.
The Raiders are integrating their young receivers to an already explosive offense, and it's only going to get better with time.
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