When the Raiders limped to a 6-10 finish in 2017, many could assume the mantle of responsibility. Under Jack Del Rio, the team floundered in various areas. With Del Rio gone, the burden of almost immediate improvement falls upon the shoulders of Jon Gruden. In that case, anyone that followed Gruden’s career, knows that he will tinker with just about every part o the team. Not to mention, placing his handprints all over this team. While everyone can recite the basic stats and point to reasons why the team failed last year, the hidden lesser-known pieces of data could provide the answers.
This number represents Amari Cooper’s catch percentage. Granted, Cooper suffered injury throughout the season and his numbers reflect a down year. However, for him to demand number one receiver money there needs to be number one receiver production. With that said, 50/50 should not resemble a number that he remains familiar. In order for Cooper to succeed, play design needs to fit his strengths. In addition, using Cooper in the slot will benefit the offense. Lastly, Cooper must hold on the ball. Whether it is concentration or not, catching only half the targets thrown will kill a drive.
According to Football Outsiders, that percentage reflects the run stopping efficiency, at or near the line. In non-technical language, the Raiders could only stuff a run less than twenty percent of the time. This stat pertains to the defensive line. Frankly, other than Khalil Mack, the rest of the supporting cast failed to stop the run at all. Yet, room for optimism exists. First, in hindsight, extending Justin Ellis could prove smart. Paul Guenther’s defense needs a plugger in the middle. Second, adding Tank Carradine and Frostee Rucker could give the line much needed run stuffers. If Carradine works out, the Raiders will actually enjoy success in getting off the field by forcing punts.
In essence, these two stats do not draw eyes. On the other hand, improving your lead receiver’s production and stifling the run remain important to the Raiders. Amari Cooper came to Oakland as the fourth overall pick. That said, securing passes extends drives and scores points. Additionally, Melvin Gordon and Kareem Hunt see the Raiders twice. Stopping them will allow the defense to rest with longer offensive drive.