The Oakland Raiders, like their fans, had to wait one additional day to kick off the regular season. While it may be inconvenient for many, the Raiders kick off the season at 10:20 EST Monday night. While the fans prepare to combat a late night, the Raiders are preparing to combat the Broncos’ defensive onslaught. Like a first impression, the first game of the season sets a tone for the rest of the year. Following a down year with a rough first game can be detrimental to the confidence of the team.
A Game of Protect Four
The Raiders have had the most success when Derek Carr stays off the grass (or dirt). Expect the number one priority to be protecting Carr. The Raiders have done their best to assure Carr’s safety by adding big-name players like Trent Brown and Richie Incognito. The team’s offensive line has been upgraded significantly enough from last season’s line for there to be a noticeable difference between the two.
The Denver Broncos will be a perfect test of this new offensive line. Led by Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, the Broncos’ defense will put the offensive line to task.
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In addition to the team’s offensive line additions, the Raiders have also improved their receiving corps from last season. A corps formerly led by Marcell Ateman now features Tyrell Williams, camp favorite Hunter Renfrow, and JJ Nelson. With the new and improved receivers, expect the Raiders to move the ball through the air more than usual. Quick passes to Renfrow could quickly become Carr’s go-to, at least for this game.
The situation is primed for Renfrow to show the league what he is capable of. Most of his yards gained on Monday will come after the catch.
Ground and Pound
While the passing game will be on display, many eyes will shift to the backfield to get a glimpse of rookie Josh Jacobs. This game should not set Jacobs’ expectations for the season due to Denver’s tough run-stopping committee. However, Jacobs’ skillset will be revealed as every yard gained will be a challenge.
Jacobs is a powerful athlete with the ability to run through defenders. Although his progress did not garner coverage, the Raiders should prefer it that way because Jacobs’ talent will show itself immediately.
The Oakland Raiders come into the 2019 regular season amidst a cloud of confusion. This offseason, there have been countless distractions. Well, one major distraction. While this could drive away the productivity of the team, it is very beneficial that the team wait until Monday to play.