The offseason for the Oakland Raiders is nearing its end as training camp is almost underway. By most accounts, the team looks excited to strap on the pads and start building chemistry. With as many new additions the Raiders have made, it’s going to be very important for the team to learn how to work well together during training camp and preseason. It’ll be interesting to see how head coach Jon Gruden can make this new-look offense fit into his scheme. Plus, the world will be getting a front-row seat with the Hard Knocks crew in town.
Despite adding some serious talent on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, the Raiders have withstood a good amount of hate from the media. ESPN thinks that the Raiders’ offensive arsenal somehow got worse and that they have the 28th best roster in the NFL. The team has gotten some love this offseason, but it seems few and far between. There are going to be plenty of media pundits that will be ready to strike if the Raiders fail to perform well in 2019.
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Analyst Rips Raiders Just Before Training Camp
Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk decided to jump on the Raider hate bandwagon and bash the Raiders’ offseason moves:
“The organization has collected pieces and parts that may or may not fit together, starting with the rush trade for (they got a great deal) and pay (they possibly didn’t get a great deal) receiver Antonio Brown.
But the potentially strange brew and combustible stew goes beyond Antonio Brown, who talked and tweeted his way out of a franchise that had one of the best quarterbacks in the league under center. The Raiders also paid a gigantic premium to Trent Brown, a failed right tackle who turned a right-place, right-time, right-team stint as a left tackle in New England into a major free-agent deal. So the Raiders forked over record money, and then flipped Brown back to the position at which he previously struggled.”
Pretty strong assessment from Florio, but he seems to exaggerate certain details. It’s hard to imagine Antonio Brown not fitting in with this team. Starting QB Derek Carr and Brown have already become great friends and he seems to love coach Gruden. Brown didn’t work in Pittsburgh because he felt that Ben Roethlisberger was getting too much special treatment. That’s likely not going to happen because, as of right now, Antonio Brown is the biggest star and best player on the team. Also, Derek Carr is a pretty ego-free player so it’s highly unlikely that they have a falling out similar to the one that Brown had with Big Ben.
Now, Florio’s assessment of the Trent Brown deal isn’t completely wrong. The Raiders overpaid him because he hasn’t shown consistent production. That being said, Brown improved greatly last season and he’s been working like crazy this offseason. He has a very good chance to blossom into an elite right tackle for the Raiders in 2019. He’s not there yet, but don’t be surprised if shows the consistency that he hasn’t in the past.
Florio Bashes Derek Carr
Florio didn’t stop with the bashing of some of the Raiders’ offseason moves, he also took aim at Derek Carr:
“At the core of all of it continues to be quarterback Derek Carr,” said Florio.” A fringe MVP candidate in 2016 and for a month or so in 2017 the highest-paid player in league history, Carr has had a couple of so-so seasons — prompting the team to kick tires on rookies Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins.”
To say Carr was a fringe MVP candidate in 2016 is a gross understatement. Carr finished third in MVP voting that year and very well could’ve won if he hadn’t gotten hurt. Also, the Raiders’ interest in Dwayne Haskins was obviously not very strong because they could’ve drafted him. It’s unlikely that we’ll ever know if they actually had strong interest in Kyler Murray, but the Raiders had every opportunity to draft a QB in the 2019 NFL Draft and they didn’t. It’s true that Derek Carr has a lot to do to prove the doubters wrong in 2019. He’ll have the most talented supporting cast he’s ever had surrounding him, so we’ll have a better idea of where he stands after the season. It’s definitely premature to say that Carr is already washed up.