By: Kevin Le
The Las Vegas Raiders season ended last week with a win, but the team fell short of making the postseason. Ending the season 8-8 is a disappointment in many of the player’s eyes because of the potential they showed. Head Coach Jon Gruden, in his second stint for the Raiders, has yet to make the playoffs this time around. There were so many growing pains to take away from this season that can propel the Raiders next season. The Raiders are a team not far from the glory days they once saw. It’ll take a big offseason from general manager Mike Mayock to bring the right pieces in to contribute. 2020 for the Raiders was filled with hope and being hopeless, but now get a clean slate. This season’s review will be going over the good, bad, and ugly of the Raiders while looking ahead to 2021.
Derek Carr was scrutinized during the offseason and many thought he would not be the starting quarterback under Jon Gruden. He threw for 4,103 yards, 27 touchdowns, nine interceptions, and ran for three touchdowns with a completion percentage of 67.3. He looked very comfortable in year three of this offense. Carr proved why he deserved to be the starter for the Raiders for many years to come. A big piece to his success was tight end Darren Waller, who broke multiple records this season. Waller led the team in receiving yards and touchdown receptions with 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns. A newcomer who burst onto the scene was wideout Nelson Agholor. Agholor was the deep threat the Raiders needed, he ended with 896 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. He put himself in a position to receive a big contract from the Raiders for his performance.
Needs More Time?
With the selection of Henry Ruggs III in the draft, the Raiders took care of their home run, deep ball catcher. Ruggs would struggle during this season and not live up to the hype many people put on him. He would end the season with 452 receiving yards and only two receiving touchdowns. A couple of big free-agent acquisitions were brought to revamp this struggling defense. Maliek Collins and Cory Littleton were going to play key roles to help this defense get formidable. Collins struggled to get to the quarterback which was his calling a year ago in Dallas. Collins would only get one tackle for loss and did not register a single sack this season. Littleton had a hard time in coverage with zero passes defended and only had four tackles for losses. All three players will need to improve or it can be a quick Raiders career for them.
The Raiders once sat at 6-4 heading into the easiest stretch of their schedule with the playoffs on their minds. Since that point, they ended the season 2-4 and missed out on the postseason with a record of 8-8. This season showed the Raider’s major strengths and biggest weaknesses in all facets of the game. The offense will have to play more consistently in the red zone and the defense will need a full reset. Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock got another year under their belt together and now head into an important offseason. The offseason has kicked off already and big moves will need to be made for the Raiders. Expect some moves to be surprising, expected, and unusual from the front office. This 2020 season was filled with ups and downs, but one that can prove to be vital for the future.