With roughly eight weeks until the start of the 2017 regular season, the Raiders look to build upon 2016. While the team descends upon Napa for the preseason grind, fans speculate about how the stats make shake out. In 2016, Oakland shocked outsiders and the league in general, with a 12-4 record and AFC playoff berth. Now, let’s look at what statistical milestone could be in play.
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Q: Will Derek Carr throw for 4,500 yards in 2017?
A: For the last two years, the Raiders signal caller fell less than a hundred yards shy of a four-thousand year season. In 2017, the Raiders added a pass catching tight end in Jared Cook and a possible third wideout in Cordarrelle Patterson. While they may not curtail the number of drops, the yardage, based on pure speed will increase. Under those conditions, 4,500 yards looks achievable for Carr.
Q: Will Marshawn Lynch run for more than 1,200 yards?
A: First, Lynch appears in fantastic shape. Before his retirement, injuries took their toll. However, his healthy plays little role into this question. If you look at the top ten rushers from a year ago, only one carried less than 250 times. Granted, Lynch fits the workhorse back role, but would Del Rio allow him to pound the ball. Probably not. In reality, the running back by committee will keep Lynch fresh later in the season. Imagine a well-rested Lynch breaking free in January. Fewer September carries means stronger carries in winter.
Q: Any way Amari Cooper tops 100 catches?
A: In essence, Cooper is the Raiders future. Barely 23, Cooper’s ceiling is nowhere in reach. Yet, the Raiders offense spread the ball around. During Cooper’s first two seasons he averaged 131 targets. Therefore, his catches increased by 11. It stands to reason that a hundred catch season means Cooper sees more targets. I am not sure if that happens this year. With all the weapons at Carr’s disposal, does he focus on just one?
Q: Can Khalil Mack net 15+ sacks?
A: Last year, with limited help, Mack tallied eleven. In that case, any improved rush from his fellow defenders should see an increase in stats. Teams frequently doubled Mack, leaving singles on other rushers. Be that as it may, only Bruce Irvin stepped up. That cannot continue this year. By all means, Mack is a generational type player, a rarity in the league. For him to succeed, the days of him doing the lion’s share must end.
In essence, the only stat the Raiders and their fans care about should remain wins. Yet, there’s a realistic though that stats and victories go hand in hand. Time will tell.