Top Ten Offense and a Top Ten Defense
In 2015, the Raiders finished 24th in total offense and 22nd in total defense, so they will need to make huge strides in order to achieve this feat.
With the continued development of the young talent and the new additions in the offseason, as well as it being the second year with the coaching staff, they certainly have the personnel to get this done.
For the offense, this hinges on the run game. The blocking will be there, but will Latavius Murray be able to deliver? He finished second in the AFC in rushing yards — a nice feat — but his YPC was average at best and this was achieved largely thanks to a high volume of carries.
So if Murray sputters at any point of the season, the hope will fall on DeAndre Washington, who impressed during the preseason. Carr to Cooper and Crabtree should be as prolific as it was last year, and most likely better.
For the defense, the preseason didn’t exactly provide optimism of being a top ten defense, but the talent is there.
Mario Edwards Jr. only being placed on injured reserve with the designation to return will have a big impact, so the team will definitely need to embrace a “next man up” mentality and move forward. Autry and a few others are plenty capable of contributing quality play.
The renewed secondary — Smith, Amerson, Nelson, Joseph — is much improved from last year’s group. If they can play up to their talent level, the pass defense should hold up their end of the bargain.
Right now, the run defense seems to be the concern. The defensive line underwhelmed in the preseason, but no reason to worry too much until the games actually count.
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