When you look at the 2020 schedule for the Las Vegas Raiders, something inevitably stands out. The defense, under Paul Guenther will face more than their share of elite quarterbacks. With that, the Raiders need to pay close attention to these players. The defense, with Guenther on the hottest of seats needs to find success during this season.
Despite the rantings of some, Tom Brady remains a Top 10 quarterback in the NFL. In fact, you can absolve him for 2019, when he lost receivers to injury and suspensions. What makes Brady special into his forties remains his ability to read the moment. Brady wins before the snap of the ball. Also, the rumors of diminished arm strength won’t hold up. Why? Bruce Arians prefers his quarterbacks to challenge defenses vertically. Additionally, Brady will enjoy the talents of Mike Evans nd Chris Godwin. Brady easily spots where the pressure begins. If the Raiders can home and hit Brady, that could be their only chance. In Bruce Arians’ offense, where he preaches verticality Brady will take chances.
While Tom Brady possesses the uncanny ability to make plays, Drew Brees will give the Raiders straight precision. How else do you explain a quarterback that maintains a completion percentage of 68? The last time Brees completes under that number was 2012. At age 40, with retirement on the horizon, Brees doesn’t appear to hit the wall. He still fits passes into tight windows and will threaten defenses down the same. More importantly, he will target Michael Thomas roughly a dozen times. Under those circumstances, Trayvon Mullen needs to play his best football. Brees will sense a momentary weakness and exploit it. Plus, he shows the utmost faith in his wideouts.
The Perennial Pain
We’ve documented the problems Patrick Mahomes will present. His arm, the touch, and willingness to expand the field continue to plage the Raiders. Now, how do they combat him? Basically, sound technique and gap integrity are the basic goals. The Chiefs wide receivers can all run. Travis Kelce shreds the seam. As a result, the Raiders need to play near-flawless defense.
The Bright Spot
While his stats may astound, and the term elite seems rather flimsy, Matt Ryan wanders around that category. Like it or not, many regard him as a top-level passer. Ryan’s touch on intermediate and deep throws will keep the Falcons into games. However, he presents a fatal flaw. Somewhere, during the course of a big moment, Ryan will give the Raiders a chance to take over the game. In all honesty, the Raiders need patience and must keep the game close.
Paul Guenther is in trouble. Rod Marinelli did not halt retirement to move to Vegas and simply coach the defensive line. In reality, he will serve as a link between Gruden and Guenther. In that case, if the Raiders struggle, Paul Guenther will not survive the season.