Building Continuity will be Key for Raiders offense
There may not be a more polarizing figure in all the National Football League than Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr. To sum up Carr’s career thus far it's a mixed bag. On one hand, his win versus loss record is much to be desired. On the other hand, Carr’s play has elevated each year just as the Raiders offense has. The key to many of Carr’s successes and failures is his ability to adapt to so much change.
Going into year eight, Carr has to look forward with building chemistry with several of his big play weapons. Returning players Darren Waller who has developed into one of the best tight ends in all of football. Josh Jacobs continues to show flashes of how great he can be on the ground along with slot receiver Hunter Renfrow.
“One thing, it’s been nice because we’ve had some carry over in the last couple years to where not only is it a new guy and running new routes when you’re adding people like ‘Smoke’ [John Brown.]” Carr told media members on Wednesday. Not only is he coming in and he’s a new guy, I got to learn how he cuts on certain routes. They all cut differently, and they all want to run a route.” Brown is one of the two new added weapons to the Raiders receiving corp. Which is positive news for Carr because it seems like the Raiders receiving room is always such a revolving door so it’s good that Carr can be on the same wavelength as some of his key targets. “It’s certainly different, but you’re teaching them a system too. Well, we don’t have a whole lot of guys like that. It’s really him, Willie [Snead IV], some of the young guys. But Hunter [Renfrow] has played, Zay [Jones] has played. Bryan [Edwards] has played in this offense. Henry [Ruggs III] has played in this offense. And it helps the relationship part going forward.” Speaking of Henry Ruggs, the Raiders expect their first round pick from a year ago to rebound from his rookie season. Ruggs told reporters in his Wednesday press conference that he gained about 13 pounds over the offseason. He said he took the initiative to do it, feeling like it should help him become a better overall player. We all know Ruggs has blazing speed but in order to be effective in Jon Gruden’s offense there are other elements to it. Some more changes in this year's Raiders offense is the younger offensive line. Carr has spent much of his career receiving snaps from Rodney Hudson, arguably the best center in all of football. This year Andre James will be the center. Much criticism was brought upon this sudden change; it's a challenge that Carr welcomes.
"Yes, he's a new starting center but I felt like I got a couple thousand reps with him," Carr said Wednesday morning to the media. "He started the Detroit game for us awhile back and did a great job. Showed flashes of someone with great understanding and things like that. Toughness, all those kinds of traits you need at that spot.
"Obviously we had Rodney [Hudson], who everyone would say is -- he's one of, if not the best center in the whole league. And it's hard for a guy like Andre to play in front of that guy. So now that Rodney is gone, Andre can step in and fill that spot and I feel super confident that he's going to do a great job. I'm not going to compare him to anybody. ... I don't want to put any expectations out there for him but I'm excited for him because he's super smart and I believe he's a good football player."
There are many storylines the Raiders face going into the 2021 season and a lot of them shall be answered soon.