In 2018, the Oakland Raiders ranked 23rd in total offensive yards. Moreover, they ranked 26th in total yards allowed and 25th in rushing yards. Not to mention, they struggled, falling to 30th in rushing yards allowed, and last in sacks. These disappointing numbers sit equal to or lower than the numbers from 2017.
Dark Days, Bright Hope
The disappointment and pessimism are certainly understandable reactions heading in to the 2019 season. After all, this is the team that went 12-4 one year to 6-10 the next, so there might not be many reasons to have faith. Au contraire, there are many reasons to be positive going in to the 2019 season. To start, the Raiders had three first-round draft picks this year and drafted based off skill and character, and Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs, and Jonathan Abram all fit this new mold. In just the first round, the Raiders addressed three of their biggest needs.
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One expectation many fans expected the Raiders to take care of in the draft was quarterback protection. The Raiders did quiet the concerns about the shaky offensive line, but did not draft a single offensive lineman in the draft.
Instead, the Raiders decided to handle their offensive line struggles with proven athletes instead of taking chances on rookies. The team signed Richie Incognito and Trent Brown with hopes of returning their offensive line to the remarkable level it reached in 2016.
The Raiders have bolstered essentially every position group this offseason. From signing safety Lamarcus Joyner, to signing Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, to signing Vontaze Burfict, the Raiders put themselves in a position to compete this year.
Time Is Now
Derek Carr is also in a perfect position to lead the team this year. Carr surpassed 4000 yards for the first time in his career while losing Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper. The starting quarterback appeared to build some confidence in his offensive line towards the end of the season despite suffering through the highest sack rate he had ever experienced with the team. The sky is the limit this year, and this rollercoaster team is poised to turn some heads.