It’s preseason guys, relax.
That’s something that’s had to be repeated multiple times in the last couple weeks. But, when is it time to panic? The Raiders haven’t exactly looked like a powerhouse, or even a fluid entity over the course of the preseason. Their defense has been out of wack and the offense, especially the back-ups have been unproductive.
But, last season wasn’t much different when the Raiders went 1-3. So, when you’re judging Oakland’s preseason accolades, inspect them with a grain of salt and understand this team just went 12-4 last year.
Derek Carr is still behind the wheel and the offensive line is back where they belong now that Donald Penn returned to action after a brief holdout. The Raiders also added Marshawn Lynch in the off-season to be the leader of the tree-headed rushing attack and Lynch hasn’t skipped a beat, it seems.
Overreacting is something this fan base does. It’s almost like breathing. But, have a little faith.
The Raiders have one more week, in which the starters will all but surely kick their feet up on the bench, to prove what they’re capable of before heading to Tennessee for a meaningful game.
So what’s to expect out of the offense?
Carr is looking to build off a career-best season. While he had less touchdowns (4) and less yards (50) than in his previous season, he also missed a game and a half due to injury. His TD:INT ratio of 4.66:1 was almost twice as good as it was in 2015 (2.46:1) and his passer rating of 96.7 was more than five points higher than the previous year (91.1).
The receiving tandem of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are locked and loaded and ready to produce. Both had over 1000 yards last season and for Oakland, it was the first time that had happened for a pair of Raiders’ since 2001 when Jerry Rice and Tim Brown accomplished the feat.
As mentioned before, Lynch will be looking to prove to critics that he’s still got it at the ripe old age of 31. Lynch was out of the league last year and missed half of the 2015 season due to injuries, so it’ll be his first time on a field in a regular season game in quite a while.
The defense is where the questions linger as they return some of the same question marks as last season. Sean Smith hasn’t been worth the money since joining the team and David Amerson went down with a head injury during preseason. At linebacker, the Raiders are leaning on Bruce Irvin, Khalil Mack and rookie Marquel Lee. Lee has been a surprise at middle linebacker and is on the precipice of starting for the silver and black.
Mack and Irvin obviously bring their edge rushing to the line of scrimmage and will look to torment the quarterbacks of the NFL.
While some fans may be calling for Ken Norton Jr’s head, others understand that coaches don’t win or lose jobs during the preseason. Just let the regular season get underway and once a few weeks have gone by, grab your torches and revolt if you still want to.
The Raiders have a lot to prove even coming off of an amazing 2016 season and if the team can follow up that year with a solid 2017, they’ll find themselves in contention for the AFC West title.
Give it time, people. Give it time.