Landing Antonio Brown, Trent Brown, and Tyrell Williams proved Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden mean business in 2019. The general manager and head coach of the Oakland Raiders appear intent on sparking an offense that struggled in 2018.
They’ve got a clear-cut No. 1 wideout, a big No. 2 wide receiver and a mammoth offensive tackle in the first week of free agency and the trio is the jolt of adrenaline the Raiders hope catapults them into a more apt swan song season in Oakland.
Yet, the major additions cut to the heart of a more important matter: Let us find out, beyond any doubt, if Derek Carr is indeed the Raiders franchise quarterback when the team finally calls Las Vegas home.
At the NFL scouting combine, Mayock stood up at the podium, faced a barrage of questions from press row, and when he mentioned surrounding Carr with weapons was the Raiders intention, the neophyte GM wasn’t fibbing. A month later, Mayock and Gruden engineered the theft of Brown from Pittsburgh and within a mere nine minutes into the free agency period, inked former Patriot Brown to the richest deal given to an offensive lineman in league history. Moreover, a few days later, the team nabbed No. 1 free agent target Williams.
Let’s put it bluntly: If Carr doesn’t throw for more than 35 touchdowns this season with that kind of arsenal at his disposal, 2019 will be an abject failure. (Carr’s career-high TD mark is 32 set in 2015). And it would be no surprise to see Gruden embark on a quest for a new signal caller.
Cause & Effect
The offense failed at times, mediocre in other instances. Gruden’s vain search for consistency in 2018 felt comical. Hence the free agent splash on offense. Gruden said he wanted more speed and he enjoys that in spades in Brown, Williams, and lesser-heralded free agent WR J.J. Nelson.
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The TV Twins (Mayock and Gruden) didn’t leave their defensive boss empty handed in the initial phase of free agency inking diminutive but effective defensive back Lamarcus Joyner and underrated run-plug defensive lineman Josh Mauro.
Still, while Gruden’s side of the ball felt like a rollercoaster, Guenther’s unit rarely flashed. One could say the defensive side of the ball fared much worse than the offensive portion.
So, where are the new ingredients for Paulie G’s kitchen?
Feeling A Draft
Defensive reinforcements appear loom on the horizon come draft time. With how lopsided the roster building is now, it’s the assumption Mayock and Gruden will nab defender after defender in late April.
If that is the case, expect the defense to be — once again — two to three steps behind the offense. It normally takes a young defense a year or two to gel and build crucial rapport with one another and with another platoon of neophyte NFLers, the Raiders defense is going to have the same hiccups and SMFH moments present in 2018 this coming season — if defense is the focus in the draft.
Mayock, explicitly asked if defense would dominate on draft day — based off all the offensive additions — and the GM stated “value is value, regardless of position”.
Find the Raiders adding more to the offense draft day poppycock? Did you also believe the team trading Khalil Mack — before it did — delusional, as well?