Behind Enemy Lines: Oakland Raiders

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Dec 8, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) is sacked by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston (50) and defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches (99) during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs will be on the road again this week, as they travel to Oakland to face the Raiders. The Raiders were surrounded by plenty of offseason headlines and distractions. After acquiring Antonio Brown, the team went through plenty of trials and tribulations with the receiver. He ultimately never played a down for the Oakland Raiders. The team released him two days before their first regular season game.

They put all those distractions to bed in Week One. From the jump, the Raiders manhandled the Denver Broncos on both sides of the ball. The 2019 rookie class was on full display, and Derek Carr looked back to his 2016 self. Following a big win, it’s now time to get to know the Chiefs opponent for this week. From behind enemy lines, here is our look at the Oakland Raiders.

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Under Pressure?

Sometimes you can surprise yourself with what you can do under pressure. For Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, many thought this was going to be a crucial year for him. If he didn’t perform well, could Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock move on to a new QB in the move to Vegas? Whether that was true or not, Carr started this last season in Oakland off on the right foot. Most importantly, the Raiders significantly upgraded their skill positions around Carr.

Last week, Carr was cool, calm and collected. He was throwing bullets and slicing up a proven Denver defense. It was evident he wasn’t going to waste time or be indecisive. In fact, Carr often released the ball so quickly that the Broncos didn’t register a single sack. The Chiefs defense will have to be aware of his quick release on Sunday. Additionally, Carr’s better outings against the Chiefs have come in Oakland.

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Young Guns

If you watched Hard Knocks, you saw Gruden describing how the Raiders were building something great. That generally starts with how you do in the draft. This spring, the Raiders went defensive heavy. These picks also came from powerhouse college programs, like Clemson or Alabama for example.

The rookies speed and emotion showed immensely in their Week One win. Seeing the way in which Oakland was flying around the field, made it seem like they were two steps ahead of the Broncos. Kansas City will have to be ready for this quickness and havoc from all over the field. This includes rookie running back Josh Jacobs. Weak tackling won’t get the job done going against this hard nosed runner. Lastly, the Raiders did suffer a brutal blow to their defense. Rookie safety Johnathan Abram suffered a torn rotator cuff and labrum in the Week One win. He’s out indefinitely.

Playing Spoiler

The margin between winning and losing in the NFL is often slim. Even if the Raiders are unable to rise up in the AFC West, this is a much better team than last year. With the overall better depth and speed on the Raiders roster, this a sneaky team each week. Their early season schedule is a gauntlet. However, they are coming into this weekend feeling really good. The attitude and energy Oakland may possess on Sunday has to be matched by Kansas City. This means the Chiefs must start fast, as well as staying in their element.

– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.

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