When Jon Gruden started filling out his coaching staff, people immediately flocked to catch the names of coordinators. While they remain important to the overall structure of a team, position coaches have a more direct effect on the units they lead. As a result, the most underrated hire is new receivers coach, Edgar Bennett. The Raiders brought on someone that could affect the offense in many ways.
Like Gruden, Bennett cut his teeth in the Green Bay organization. First, as a running back, helping the Packers win a Super Bowl. Next, as the director of player development. Finally, Bennett served in a coaching capacity for 13 seasons. In return, he remained familiar with the Walsh/Holmgren/Gruden implementation of the West Coast offense.
Yet, Bennett will influence the receivers by actually tinkering with their approach. During his stay in Oakland, former coach Rob Moore did not seem to change any aspect of how the receivers ply their trade. The Raiders offense relies on sure handed receivers, running crisper routes. If you saw the Eagles game, Seth Roberts rounded off routes that caused errant passes and clunky possessions. With Bennett, the Raiders employ someone with a deeper coaching background, which allows him to analyze film, frame by frame. Drops do not occur in bunches without reason. Coupled with sloppiness in cuts, Bennett can actually teach the wideouts precision.
Perhaps Bennett’s most intriguing quality is his ability to use receivers in multiple roles. For example, using Randall Cobb all over the field created mismatches. Cobb will line up in the slot, on the outside, and the backfield. As a result, Cobb’s speed and quickness would provide an instant mismatch for linebackers. Over the years, Cobb’s carries declined, but the threat of him swinging out for perimeter passes remained.
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Another aspect of Bennett’s potential Raiders influence could help Cordarrelle Patterson. Like Cobb, Patterson is a receiver by trade. More importantly, Patterson bears more of similarity to current Packer Ty Montgomery. Drafted as a wideout, Montgomery made the transition to running back. More importantly, Montgomery and Patterson possess similar size. Yet, Patterson’s breakaway speed sets him apart. While Todd Downing used sparingly over the final ten games of 2017, the potential exists for use. Patterson excels on draw and jet sweeps. With the ball in his hands, his explosion will present a headache. Pro Football Focus’ Austin Gayle pointed out that Patterson could effectively function as a running back. Looking at the backfield situation, adding a back that can win on wheel routs or jump into the slot expands the offense.
For example, the first video: Montgomery
The second: Patterson in the backfield.
Imagine a faster player behind a better interior offensive line.
As mentioned in many places, the Raiders need an infusion of accountability. While Derek Carr did miss open receivers, the drops fall on the receivers. As a result, the position coach needed to step forth. From the outside, Rob Moore failed to reach Amari Cooper. In reality, maybe Moore’s coaching failed Cooper entirely. How does a receiver with elite talent regress to that level? The fourth pick in the draft struggled through a brutal season. While there were flashes, Cooper’s drops stalled drives.
How did Rob Moore retain his job in 2017 after a drop filled 2016?
Similarly, Seth Roberts play hindered the Raiders. With Bennett, expect a teacher that will also analyze them. Whether Michael Crabtree stays or leaves is not a concern. The Raiders will replace him. Whoever that player is, will be taught the technical aspects of playing receiver.
In essence, Edgar Bennett will not excite fans. Nevertheless, with the green light from Gruden, the Raiders could rely on his expertise to correct the wrongs of previous coaches.
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