Las Vegas Raiders Team Overview 2020

Las Vegas Raiders Team Overview 2020

Raiders Team Overview 2020

Las Vegas Raiders Team Preview 2020

Owner:

Mark Davis.  He is the son of Al Davis who became principal owner of the team in 1972.  Mark took over after his dad passed away in 2011.

  Al was very hands on in terms of the football operations.  Mark is very hands off and likes to focus on the business side of things. 

Mark is most known for his bowl haircut which I and many others think is hilarious looking.  He was also responsible for moving the team to Las Vegas but tried really hard to get a stadium built in Oakland. 

He is excited about Las Vegas and loves the idea of the Raiders in Vegas.  He is also an understanding owner and not as stubborn as his father.  He is definitely more of a players owner then a dictator.

General Manager

Mike Mayock.  I didn’t know much about Mayock except that I loved watching the scouting combine and hearing his take on the players. 

It was then that I knew that Mayock really knew football really well.  I then assumed that he had been a coach or a scout in the NFL. 

However,  I am finding out that he was never a scout or a player in the NFL.  He literally only played maybe 3 games in the NFL for 1 season. 

That’s it!  It’s pretty crazy that he became and NFL general manager off of his television commentary. 

He got into commercial real estate for awhile and then also into color commentating in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. 

Then, after many years doing those things, he got the GM job with the Raiders in 2019.  He has been pretty busy in making moves since he has been the Raiders GM. 

I am pretty sure that he and Jon Gruden have been working side by side on a lot of these moves. 

I think he has done a pretty good job so far and I would think that Mayock and Gruden can have a really good team here in the near future.

Head Coach: 

Jon Gruden.  Gruden is a longtime face of the NFL.  He got his coaching career started at college universities and then became assistant coaches in the NFL during the early 1990’s. 

He worked his way up to be the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles in the mid 1990’s.  It was shortly after his time in Philly that he got the offer to be the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 1998. 

In 2001 the Raiders traded Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in return for a slew of high draft picks.  It was a news breaking type of move. 

This came to fruition because Al Davis didn’t like Gruden’s Horizontal passing attack and also didn’t want to pay Gruden after his contract was up. 

So he got value in return for Gruden.  While at Tampa Bay, Gruden won a super bowl during the 2002 season and it was ironically over his former team, the Oakland Raiders. 

The irony is hilarious.  However, after a few more seasons, the buccaneers fired Gruden after the 2008 season and I believe his tires were taken off of his jeep in the process. 

He then took 10 years off to join the broadcasting booth.  Kind of like the Mike Mayock route.  Then Mark Davis, who was always fond of Jon Gruden, signed Gruden to a 10 year $100 million deal. 

For Gruden being such a face of the NFL, I thought that he had won more football games during the regular season then his record shows. 

He is only 106-102 as a head coach in the NFL.  Since he has taken over the Raiders in 2018, he finished with a record of 4-12 and 7-9. 

It’s year 3 and he has to win this year and make the playoffs in order to keep Raider Nation happy.  I like Gruden and hope he makes the playoffs in 2020. 

Fantasy Outlook for the Raiders

QB: Derek Carr

The talent has arrived for Carr to finally put up some decent stats.  However, he has only thrown over 28 touchdowns once in his career. 

He does have better receivers and for sure the best talent he has ever had as a Raider.  With that being said, Gruden has made it clear that he wants to run Josh Jacobs until the cows come home. 

So this really means that he doesn’t want to pass it a lot unless he has to or if he wants to run play action passes. 

Right now Carr isn’t being drafted in fantasy mock drafts because people don’t believe in Carr.  That is completely understandable.

  If you feel really good about your team then you could draft Carr as your last pick and stash him on your bench as trade bait. 

I think Carr gets back to the high 20’s in passing touchdowns and also stays under 10 interceptions. 

The Raiders defense will be a lot better in 2020 so Carr won’t be throwing the ball as much but he should be more efficient in doing so.  Keep an eye on Carr this season.  He should bounce back well.

RB: Josh Jacobs

This is the money guy right here.  He is currently being drafted 9th overall in most mock drafts.  Jacobs has some crazy stats that say he is one of the hardest running backs to tackle in the NFL. 

He is very talented and if healthy will have a lot of rushing yards.  He has a really good O-line and blocking tight ends and will have a great shot at putting up some big numbers. 

However, given his average draft position of 9th overall, I think that would be way too high in drafting him. 

Jacobs only had 20 catches last season in 13 games.  That is not worth drafting in the top 10 for me.  Even if he has 1,300 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns, other backs will make up those points in the receiving game. 

And 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns is really close to his 2020 ceiling.  I mean he could bust out a 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns but that is probably not going to happen. 

He has the potential but I’m not willing to take that risk with my top 10 pick. 

There are better options out there inside the top 10 then to have a predominately run happy running back.  The Raiders also drafted Lynn Bowden Jr. who is a jack of all trades and will surely become some type of 3rd down back for this team in 2020.

WR: Tyrell Williams

I anticipate that Carr will throw close to 30 passing touchdowns in 2020.  If that holds true then Tyrell has to get at least 8 of them. 

Even if he gets 8 touchdowns, he isn’t worth drafting because he has never recorded 70 catches in a season and probably won’t this season either. 

The Raiders drafted 3 receivers and Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow also have great chemistry with Carr.  I’m going to pass on Williams this season.

WR: Henry Ruggs III

Maybe I am overthinking this but after doing my research on this entire organization, I think I might actually pass on Ruggs III. 

I want to draft him because I know he is super special but I don’t think he will put up monster numbers.  The reason is two-fold.

The first reason is that the Raiders are looking to run the ball a lot in 2020.  Gruden loves to play smash mouth football and sprinkle in some play action passes.  The other reason is that the Raiders have a ton of weapons this season. 

Carr loves to throw Renfrow and the tight end Waller.  They also drafted Lynn Bowden Jr. who will definitely get a lot of touches.  So those are 3 guys and I didn’t even mention Tyrell Williams.  So I don’t know. 

Maybe the Raiders phase Williams out a little bit and then Ruggs III takes a lot of his snaps.  It’s not a great feeling.  Ruggs III will definitely flash big time in a couple games this season but you just don’t know which games those will be. 

He is being drafted in the 14th round of fantasy drafts and I think I am going to pass on him.  I would much rather have the rookie Justin Jefferson in Minnesota due to the lack of competition on the Vikings.

WR: Lynn Bowden Jr.

Jon Gruden is pretty gitty about this kid.  Bowden Jr. is a jack of all trades player.  I even think he has played a little bit of quarterback in his playing career. 

He will be featured everywhere in this offense and I would expect him to get around 12 touches a game by the middle of the season.  Right before the middle of the season is when you need to poach him off of the waiver wires.

TE: Darren Waller

So Waller got a lot of production the past 2 seasons and that is because he is really good but also because the Raiders didn’t have any talented receivers. 

Now the Raiders drafted 3 receivers and have decided that they want to run the ball a lot.  They also brought in Jason Witten. 

Now Witten didn’t look very good in the passing game last season and I can’t imagine he even looks like he did last year so that shouldn’t be a concern. 

However, that could still take away a target or 2 a week from Waller.  I still think Waller has the best rapport and trust of Derek Carr. 

But with all of that being said, Waller is being projected to be taken in the 5th round of fantasy drafts.  That is way too high to be taking a tight end that will only get you around 150 fantasy points in a season. 

There are far more valuable players then Darren Waller to take in your fantasy draft in the 5th round.  Pass on Waller in 2020.

Raiders Offensive Preview 2020

I’m kind of shocked that I couldn’t find out who the play caller is in Vegas.  I am almost certain that it is Jon Gruden. 

The offensive coordinator is Greg Olson and when Gruden hired him in 2018, Gruden was clear that he would still be calling the offensive plays. 

There also wasn’t a lot of information on the web or the fan forums as to what this offense will look like in 2020. 

The biggest hint was from Gruden when he spoke about the players he got in the draft.  He said he believes that he can change his game plan every week to be aggressive.  Something he felt like he couldn’t do the last 2 seasons. 

He said he definitely wants to play smash mouth football with his really good line, multiple talented tight ends and full back. 

So this will most certainly be the foundation of this offense and expect Josh Jacobs to profit from this scheme.  He also loves the 3 wide receivers they drafted.  He believes he can now go 5 wide if he wants to and still be aggressive in taking shots down the field. 

Gruden’s offenses are usually big on movement and personnel groupings that create mismatches in the passing game.  Sometimes in the running game too. 

However, all of the pre snap motions and personnel groupings are to help the quarterback get easy receptions.  This is something that Derek Carr needs to get off on the right foot in 2020.  I am sure this is what Gruden is thinking too.

  Carr has struggled the past couple of seasons and knows that this offense has the potential to be great in 2020.  So Carr has to know that the pressure is all on him to perform.  Gruden is pretty aware of others feelings and how player’s minds work. 

Totally expect Gruden to try and establish a dominant run game in 2020 that will set up play action passes for Derek Carr.  That is definitely going to be the base of this offense. 

Gruden doesn’t want Carr in situations that could get him in trouble.  Gruden hasn’t said any of this explicitly but trust me, I saw right through what Gruden was referencing in his post draft comments.  

Raiders Defensive Preview 2020: 

The Raiders defensive coordinator and play caller is Paul Guenther.  Guenther was a long time defensive assistant for the Cincinnati Bengals. 

He had been there since the early 2000’s until he joined Gruden in 2018 with the Raiders.  It’s hard to tell how good of a defensive play caller he is due to the fact that Marvin Lewis was the head coach of the Bengals during Guenther’s time in Cincinnati. 

Lewis was a very good defensive coordinator and I’m not sure if he called plays in Cincinnati but I am sure Lewis had a huge influence on what the Bengals defense did. 

Anyways, back to Guenther.  Guenther also coached under Mike Zimmer who is now the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.  Zimmer is a very good defensive coach and I am sure Guenther learned a lot from bothe Zimmer and Lewis. 

That means that Guenther is a big believer in the 4-3 base defense.  With coaching under both Zimmer and Lewis, you would expect Guenther to be a great teacher and simplify the defense.  This hasn’t happened in Oakland. 

Especially his passing defense.  There have been countless miscommunications and bad schemes that have left receivers running wild.

  Gruden isn’t happy with Guenther but has still given him a chance in Guenther’s upcoming 3rd season with the Raiders. 

To prepare for a mid season firing of Guenther, Gruden has hired former Cowboys DC, Rod Marinelli to be the defensive line coach.  Marinelli believes in attacking and penetrating on the defensive line. 

Marinelli was also an average to a little above average DC with the Cowboys the past few seasons.  However, others, including Guenther, believe that the reason this defense has struggled is more due to the lack of talent on the roster. 

In 2020, GM Mike Mayock is putting this whole thing to bed by adding defensive talent left and right on this defense. 

It is now solely in the hands of Guenther to get this thing right in 2020.  Let’s take a look at the roster. 

Defensive Line

The defensive line has potential but a lot of them are unproven.  In 2019 they drafted 3 defensive ends and noticeably are Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby. 

Crosby really shined last season by tallying 10 sacks.  Ferrell was drafted in the 1st round but only produced 4 sacks.  Ferrell has said that he has bulked up 15 more pounds to get to 275.  Ferrell wasn’t amazing in run defense last season but he wasn’t bad either. 

Hopefully this 275 frame can help him be better in the pass and rush defense.  We will see.  As for Crosby, he looks to be legit. 

He is an animal and has an extremely high motor.  The other defensive ends are Arden Key and Carl Nassib. 

Key was a 2018 3rd round pick for the Raiders but has barely done anything for this defense.  Nassib will enter his 5th season and has recorded 6 sacks in back to back seasons in a part time role. 

All and all, its a pass rush that doesn’t excite you on the edge.  It is definitely a average to below average edge rush. 

The defensive tackles are Maliek Collins and Maurice Hurst.  Collins played his 1st 4 seasons in Dallas with the Raiders new Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. 

Marinelli really likes Collins and Collins is a pretty good defensive tackle.  He also provides a solid pass rush in averaging around 4 sacks a season. 

Hurst was a 5th round selection from the 2018 draft.  He too has around 4 sacks in his first 2 seasons. 

The interior also has a big boy in Jonathan Hankins.  Hankins is a run stuffer and a big body that does really well in the run game. O

verall this defensive line isn’t amazing.  It definitely isn’t one of the worst in the league.  This defensive line finished 8th in the NFL in rushing yards per game and also only gave up 3.9 yards per carry. 

These are really good stats and they also get better adding Maliek Collins on the interior and Marinelli as the line coach. 

I think this group gets better but not by a huge margin in 2020, especially when it comes to the pass rush. 

Linebackers

The linebackers got a makeover this off season.  The Raiders were able to sign Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski. 

Littleton came from the Rams and I fell in love while watching him play last season.  He really is special and a game changer. 

I used to play linebacker in college and I think Littleton makes a case for being in the top 5 linebackers in the NFL.  The Raiders really got a steal with him. 

They also signed Kwiatkoski.  Kwiatkoski came from the Bears and he played really well while filling in for Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith last year.

He isn’t amazing but he is definitely a football guys guy.  He is tough nosed and always in the right spot.  The other linebacker in this 4-3 defense is either Nicholas Morrow, rookie Tanner

Muse or a bunch of unproven back ups.  Morrow started a little last season and this offseason the Raiders placed a 2nd round tender on him. 

Whenever a team places a 2nd round tender on a player then that means they think highly of that player and want them in the fold for the next season. 

Morrow’s numbers aren’t impressive so the Raiders must see something in Morrow.  The other likely candidate is Tanner Muse. 

Muse played safety at Clemson and Mike Mayock loves drafting Clemson players.  Muse has a big enough body to play the weak side linebacker. 

After these 2 players, there is little depth. 

Overall, this is a linebacking group to be excited about.  There isn’t much depth and that is definitely concerning. 

However, this front 7 as a whole should be very good against the run and aggressive also.  This is a much better front 7 than the one they had a year ago. 

Cornerbacks

The back end of this defense is what needs to be better. 

They have been the problem the past couple of seasons.  They have given up league leading passing touchdowns and ranked last in a lot of the metrics. 

They have tried to improve this unit by signing cornerback Prince Amukamara.  Amukamara isn’t the fastest guy but is an instinctive savvy veteran. 

However, Amukamara has said that one of the biggest reasons for him choosing the Raiders was because Guenther likes to play press man. 

Amukamara said boldly, that he is one of the best press corners in the NFL.  I don’t necessarily see that and think that Amukamara is more of a better zone 2 flat defender corner who reads the qb. 

Nonetheless, this is a really good pick up to lead a very young secondary.  The other player they added was through the draft in the 1st round by the name of Damon Arnette. 

The Raiders surprised a lot of people with this pick because Arnette wasn’t on a lot of people’s 1st round mock draft boards. 

Arnette comes from Ohio State and had good reviews from his senior season.  He didn’t have the best junior season but played much better in 2019.  His strength is press man to man coverage. 

So this is evident that the Raiders are looking to blitz and play man to man on the back end.  The other starting cornerback opposite of Amukamara will be Trayvon Mullen, unless Arnette wows in training camp. 

Mullen was a 2nd round draft pick in 2019.  Gruden is really high on Mullen and says that he is tough as nails and Mullen did have 1 interception and 10 PBU’s in 10 starts last season.

He only allowed 3 touchdowns in his 10 starts too with a QB rating of 87.  Not amazing numbers but definitely NFL starting caliber numbers. 

The other cornerbacks worth noting are Lamarcus Joyner and 4th round rookie Amik Robertson out of La Tech.  Joyner didn’t have a good season in 2019 but flashed potential in 2017 with 3 interceptions. 

Safety

As we transition to safety it’s worth noting that they added safety Damarious Randall.  Randall has played cornerback when he was with the Packers. 

So they Raiders have that option if they can’t find a reliable 3rd cornerback on passing downs. 

They also added Jeff Heath from Dallas too.  Heath is a really smart safety and is always in the right spot. 

Even if he can’t make the plays like he did when he was younger, the Raiders desperately need players to be in the right place and by adding Heath, Randall and Amukamara, this secondary is already light years better. 

The last 2 safeties worth noting are Johnathan Abram and Tanner Muse who I mentioned earlier.  Abram was a 1st round pick in the 2019 draft by the Raiders. 

Abram missed pretty much all of last season with a shoulder injury and I think I remember the play.  I think he injured it while hurting one of his own players. 

Abram is definitely a physical player and I remember hearing that coming out of the draft in 2019.  Ok, so that was a lot of information and if you read it all, I am very thankful. 

Defensive Conclusion

This is a defensive unit that has all of the right pieces in play.  It has a great balance of youth and veteran leadership as well as a great defensive line coach in Rod Marinelli. 

Guenther has some talent to play with this season and depth at most positions except linebacker.  The pass rush is definitely the most concerning aspect of this team. 

However, they will blitz and they feel with Mullen, Amukamara, Randall and the rookie Arnette, that the Raiders can play man to man really well in time for the blitz to work on the quarterback.  Adding a budding star in LB Littleton is a huge move as well. 

I am going to make a little bit of a bold claim and say that this defense becomes a top half of the NFL defense in terms of points allowed and most defensive categories.  Get excited Raider Nation.

Fun Facts About Coaches:

Rod Marinelli joins this staff as the defensive line coach.  He was the Cowboys long time defensive coordinator and could be the Raiders DC if Guenther doesn’t produce in the first few weeks.

Jon Gruden’s son Duece, is the assistant strength and conditioning coach.

This staff has a lot of experience overall.

Depth Chart:

Contract Year Players:

DL: Jonathan Hankins

CB: Prince Amukamara

FS: Damarious Randall

Raiders Offensive line Preview:

This O-line is around a top 10 O-line in the NFL for the 2020 season.  The Raiders have a lot of money tied into this offensive line and coach Gruden wants to lean on them big time in 2020. 

Gruden has expressed his wanting to run the ball in the style of smash mouth football.  Gruden has the line to do this so this should be a great strategy. 

The left tackle is Kolton Miller.  This will be his 3rd season and made a big improvement last year compared to his really bad rookie season. 

He is an average tackle who still has potential to be really good.  The right tackle is Trent Brown and the Raiders paid him big money last season and kind of under delivered. 

He was still a very good tackle but not what his money showed.  All and all, these are 2 for sure starting tackles in the NFL.  They both have a room to be better too. 

The line is anchored by the center Rodney Hudson.  Hudson is one of the best Centers in football.  Hudson only allowed 3 pressures last season. 

The guards are Gabe Jackson and Richie Incognito.  Incognito had a really great year last season and is looking to put another one in the books in 2020. 

Jackson took a step back last season but is usually reliable.  The Raiders also drafted a Guard in the 4th round out of, you guessed it, Clemson! Lol. 

Mike Mayock loves Clemson players!  The Raiders also have 2 backup tackles that have started a little bit in the NFL. 

So there is serviceable depth if one of the players goes down.  I really like this line coupled with some good tight ends to just pound the rock non stop in 2020. 

This group is also a good pass blocking group but with a dominant running game, they won’t have to worry about a pass rush for most of the 2020 season.

Eric

Thank you for reading my post. Dominique and I hope you find our website helpful. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or comments!

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