Offensively, the Oakland Raiders are stacked for the upcoming season. They have a MVP candidate in quarterback Derek Carr. The offensive line, led by pro bowlers Rodney Hudson and Kelechi Osemele, will continue their dominance on opposing defenses. Not to mention, a multitude of playmakers at the skill positions. With that said, room for improvement always exists, even with a unit the Raiders have on offense. Understanding the work ethic both Carr and new Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing demonstrate, they will work to correct these issues they had last season.
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Last season, the Raiders were second in the league in drop passes with 29. Surprisingly, Michael Crabtree had the most in the NFL at nine. Nothing kills a drive and momentum more than a crucial drop on third down. Crabtree, Amari Cooper, Seth Roberts, and Cordarrelle Patterson are very talented WR’s, so the reps and extra work they will have with Carr during this month’s training camp should decrease that total.
Third Down Conversions:
Carr was phenomenal last year in the fourth quarter and red zone situations, but the offense finished in the middle of pack converting third downs. Ranked #17 last season, at 38.1%, the offense found themselves off the field more than it should have. Not only do you control the time of possession when you convert key third downs (Raiders were #27 in TOP), but you keep your defense off the field and theirs on. To help in that department, OC Downing will bring a fresh and energetic style of play calling to the team this year. Also, the former quarterbacks coach said early in the off season that he would give Carr more freedom at the line of scrimmage, ensuring the team will be in the best play possible in those circumstances.
It seems like every season, the Raiders rank towards the bottom in penalties. Last season was no exception. Leading the league with 93 offensive penalties, Oakland was the only team to average more than five per game. In the week 8 overtime victory against Tampa Bay, they recorded a record 23 penalties. Those mistakes need to stop, especially on the road. Hopefully, this is the year the Raiders move in the opposite direction on the penalties list.
Don’t get me wrong, Oakland’s offense is one of the best in the league. Yet, strengthening any area is vital to success. With championship hopes, the Raiders need to improve on these flaws.
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