After a promising start to the season, the Las Vegas Raiders have their first losing streak of the year. The mistakes piled up against both the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills. What’s gotta be most frustrating for the team is that they could’ve won both games but sloppy defense and turnovers killed them.
The slew of injuries hasn’t helped the Raiders either. The offense looked elite in the first two weeks and while they’re moving the ball pretty well still, they just don’t look as dynamic. A big part of that is the fact that first-round pick Henry Ruggs has missed the last two games with injuries. Las Vegas clearly needs their deep threat back and that could be happening soon. After the Raiders’ loss to the Bills on Sunday, Ruggs tweeted out an emoji of an hourglass.
That tweet could mean a lot of things. It could mean that he believes that when he gets back, the Raiders offense will blow up again. It could also mean that he’s nearing his return. With a trip to Kansas City on the horizon, the team will be hoping he’s back soon.
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Why the Raiders Need Ruggs Back
Out of the top three wide receivers taken in the 2020 NFL Draft, Ruggs has been the most disappointing this far. Outside of one big play in Week 1, he hasn’t done much at all, statistically. Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb have put up some decent number but they’re also not injured.
There’s a reason Ruggs was the first wide receiver taken but the Raiders haven’t been able to take advantage of his skills yet. When he was on the field, both Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller were way more productive. That’s not just a coincidence. Ruggs’ threat as a deep target is something that defenses can’t ignore. He’s not only one of the fastest players in the NFL, but he’s also got great hands and is a strong route runner.
It’s a lot harder for defenses to stack the box for Jacobs or double team Waller when Ruggs is a touchdown threat on every play. He only had one catch in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints but it was clear that he helped open stuff up for others to make plays. Though the returns have been disappointing this far, Ruggs is due for a big game once he gets healthy.
Nelson Agholor Stepping Up
Between Ruggs, Bryan Edwards and Tyrell Williams all missing time, the Raiders have been brutalized at wide receiver. Fortunately, free-agent signee Nelson Agholor has stepped up. The former Philadelphia Eagles first-round pick didn’t have great success with his original team but it looks like he’s turned things around in Las Vegas.
If it wasn’t for a boneheaded penalty from Foster Moreau, Agholor would’ve scored a 49-yard touchdown against the Bills. Even with that wiped out, the wide receiver finished with 44 receiving yards and a touchdown. If the Raiders can get their wide receiver corps healthy, it’s a really solid group.