With Jon Gruden, Greg Olson, and Paul Guenther reeling in most of the media attention, many of the specialty coaches of the Las Vegas Raiders tend to go unnoticed. While recognizing the head coach and offensive and defensive coordinators is typical, that should be changed as there are many coaches with the team still deserving of recognition.
Frank Smith joined the Raiders as a tight ends coach in 2018, the same year Jared Cook made his first Pro Bowl. Under Smith, Cook would record 68 receptions and six touchdowns, in a year that the Raiders’ tight ends would score 10 of the team’s 19 receiving touchdowns. In 2019, Smith helped Darren Waller set the tight end position on fire and record 1145 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Now, with the addition of Jason Witten, the tight end corps has more experience and wisdom than ever before. Waller experienced his breakout season last year, and he is in great hands to improve and thrive.
David Lippincot might have had the least amount of say in the Raiders’ signings last season. Meanwhile, as his position of expertise, linebackers, rostered four players to start the season. However, Lippincot can take responsibility for Tahir Whitehead’s success with the team, as Lippincot did an impressive job keeping him on the field. Now, Lippincott has seen an influx of talent signed under his coaching authority: Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski. Lippincott molded Whitehead into an every-down linebacker. It will be incredibly interesting to see what he can do to improve Littleton and Kwiatkoski.
If there is a coach on the Raiders’ roster who may have more talent than he can handle, but will have no problem handling it, is Edgar Bennett, receivers coach. Bennett also joined the team in 2018, a season in which Jordy Nelson was one of the team’s leading receivers. In 2018, Carr set career highs in completions, completion percentage, and passing yards.
Since then, Carr’s passing yards and QB Rating have only seen improvements. Now, Bennett has a first-round pick at his disposal. Yet also gets to be incredibly picky with who he sends out on the field. Bennett has also displayed an eye for talent, as he sent Seth Roberts’ career highs in receptions and receiving yards skyrocketing.
To watch the expertise of Bennett at work, fans should watch the development of Nelson Agholor. The former Philadelphia Eagle suffered immense struggles in completing the one task he had been assigned: catching. Should Bennett be able to solve Agholor’s struggles, he should be able to conquer anything this season.