Raider nation knows we can really take advantage of our run game. The problem is the rest of the NFL does too. With weapons like Rashad Jennings, Terrelle Pryor, and Darren McFadden our ground game is strong. Other team’s defenses are going to load up the box and try force Pryor to pass. If those defenses can make that happen, our strongest weapon becomes a dud! The reason is we still don’t have a number one receiver. I know patience is key but I also want someone with some fire in their belly to stand up and take that title. I know Denarius Moore is a fan favorite but I just can’t see why right now. I think the way Pryor is developing as a passer we should realize there are other receivers he will throw to much more often. Let’s break this down in the hopes that one of these guys do shine.
Jacoby Ford- has been a favorite of mine since he became a Raider. The problem everyone talks about is his health. Let’s face it, he needs to stay healthy. When he is healthy he has flashes of brilliance. So far this season we haven’t seen any of those flashes but I’m still hopeful we will see some soon (maybe this Monday?). I’m still waiting for one of his great kickoff returns that puts us in the lead. As far as receptions this season he’s been targeted 4 times with 3 receptions. In game 1 against Indianapolis he was targeted twice and had 1 completion for a grand total of 2 yards. Impressive, I know. In game 2 against Jacksonville he was targeted twice and caught both passes totaling 6 YPR (yards per reception). He’s been around Pryor longer than other receivers on the team and will be able to create a strong chemistry as the season progresses.
Brice Butler- this 2013 round 7 draft pick has had some pretty impressive plays so far. He stood out to me from the first time I saw him play and I expect him to become a good receiver. In the past two games he’s been targeted 4 times and made 3 receptions. In game 1 he was only targeted once for an 8 yard gain. In game 2 he was targeted 3 times with 2 receptions and gave us 10 yards on those receptions. There was a play where Pyror passed just behind him that probably would have turned into a touchdown. Let’s hope they start to connect a lot more because I see Butler having a great season.
Mychal Rivera- this 2013 round 6 draft pick has been working hard. Yes, he’s a tight end but he puts himself in a position to get yards on receptions. In the past two games he’s been targeted 6 times with 5 receptions. In game 1 against Indianapolis he was targeted 3 times with 2 receptions and gave us 13 YPR. In game 2 he was targeted 3 times and caught every pass thrown his way giving him a 10.7 YPR average. He has a total of 11.6 YPR with these two games. This is impressive for a first year rookie and he seems to be building a healthy chemistry with Pryor. I expect more passes to come his way this season.
Rod Streater- these past two weeks Streater has been targeted 12 times and caught 8 of those passes for 112 yards. In game 1 against Indianapolis he was targeted 8 times and caught 5 of those passes with and average 14 YPR. In game 2 against Jacksonville he was targeted 5 times with 3 receptions and an average 14 YPR. He has a 64.3% success rate when the ball comes his way. In my opinion Streater is the most likely to become the number one receiver for our offense.
If these guys can continue to improve as the season moves forward we can expect our running game to improve as well. Their success will spread opponent’s defenses allowing our powerful running game to cut right through the middle. If there’s a play action but our receivers are covered too well Pryor can either run it, which we know he’s good at, or dump it off to McFadden. Let’s face it, McFadden should also be considered one of the top receiving candidates too but let’s just focus on this young group for now.