In 2019, Raiders RT Trent Brown just completed his fifth year in the NFL. The lifespan of linemen in the NFL is, on average, one of the shortest career paths. Yet, Brown still appears to be improving. In 2017, his second season as a starter, Brown allowed one sack the entire season. However, in his fifth season, Brown allowed 1.5 sacks.
While Brown’s season was cut short due to injury, he was still able to start 11 games and was still on pace to allow fewer sacks in 2019 than he did in his one-year stint with the Patriots. Brown has filled his right tackle role with the Raiders impeccably and statistically has earned every dollar of his gargantuan paycheck.
When he gets sacked, Derek Carr has a tendency to become antsy and timid. Carr can find comfort in familiarity with his protective figures, which in this case, is his offensive line. Brown is one of the most reliable offensive linemen the Raiders have, and keeping him healthy keeps Derek Carr not only healthy, but confident as well.
Like most great offensive linemen, durability is the biggest threat to their career. Following a pectoral tear, Jon Gruden and the Raiders decided to place Brown on the Injured Reserve, effectively ending his season.
The move to sideline Brown in 2019 was the right call. The Raiders were not at full strength and still had sporadic question marks on the roster. By no means were the Raiders ready to compete with the AFC’s best; while earning a playoff spot last season could have boosted team morale and experience, getting exposed in the playoffs by a team with much more of their questions answered could have had a negative effect on future outlooks.
Not only is Brown an impressively strong athlete, but he is also the heaviest player in the NFL. While his size benefits the team, it could also hurt him in the short term. Offensive linemen, on average, account for the most injuries in the NFL by position. While the hope is incredibly high for Brown’s first season in Las Vegas, keeping him healthy remains the team’s highest priority. The problem is, it is quite difficult to keep an offensive linemen on a snapcount. Removing him in the middle of drives (or for an entire drive) can severely mess up the chemistry and trust the offensive line has established with Derek Carr.
Brown can be a massive contributing factor to the Raiders continuing their dominance in the offensive line category. Throughout the season, Josh Jacobs consistently showed success running behind Brown. Plus, with his lone sack allowed, Derek Carr also reaped the benefits of Brown’s talent.
Expectations for Brown in the 2020 season are tentatively hopeful. In addition, keeping him healthy and on the field is one of the Raiders’ most important keys to success.