Hunter Renfrow thriving in the Oakland Raiders offense
After some early-season growing pains, HunterRenfrow is slowly but surely coming into his own. With this year’s Oakland Raiders draft class making an immediate impact, Renfrow is next up.
Hunter Renfrow caught four of five targets for 42 yards in the Oakland Raiders’ win against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night, but it felt like were he called upon, he surely would have answered the call. That in of itself is a huge statement, considering that early on in the season he was adjusting to an NFL scheme, just like any rookie would.
Now? Renfrow is slowly but surely coming into his own, and the last few weeks have shown how much more comfortable he’s been in Jon Gruden’s offense.
The Raiders, sitting at 5-4, just one behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the loss column, and firmly in the hunt for a wild card spot, attribute much of their positive momentum to their 2019 rookie class. Josh Jacobs has vaulted himself into the top-five, top-ten category of running backs. Maxx Crosby along with Clelin Ferrell against the Chargers looks like a pass-rushing duo on the rise.
It’s time to start including Renfrow in that group of young Raiders ready to exceed expectations in this second half of the season.
Renfrow, who works primarily out of the slot, has accumulated 184 yards in his last three games but hauled in 100 percent, 85.7 percent, and 80 percent of his passes respectively. His best game of the season came against the Houston Texans in Week 8, in which he had his first highlight-reel touchdown courtesy of breaking tackles.
You also can’t forget that Renfrow was the recipient of the game-sealing touchdown against the Detroit Lions in Week 9.
And while he didn’t find the endzone against Los Angeles on Thursday, Renfrow displayed his reliability and his willingness to be counted on in an old-fashioned AFC West battle. That’s three straight strong performances after a Week 5 outing across the pond that saw him catch just one of five targets.
Is he going to transform into the primary option in the passing attack? Likely not, but he doesn’t have to be. To stay in the NFL you have to prove you belong in the NFL, and Renfrow has heard the chatter, but he’s more than confident that he’s with the Raiders for a reason.
If his play on the field isn’t a sign of his confidence, then his words off it surely are.
"“I know I don’t look like I belong,” Renfrow said, “If I was in someone else’s shoes, I might make fun of me, too, with the hairline and the way I look. I think it’s funny, but you have to go out there and make plays. Between the lines, it doesn’t matter how you look. It’s about how you play.” (NBCSportsBayArea)"
That’s the key: at the end of the day, it matters how you play. These Raiders are not just playing for moral victories, they’re playing for victories that will lead to something greater. It should come as no surprise that Renfrow understands that, and that’s the reason he’s coming into his own these last few weeks.
At 5-4, with a favorable schedule on the horizon and with the sense of being on the verge of something great, fully expect Renfrow to impact the game more and more. He’s slowly but surely adjusting and being accustomed to this offense. The Raiders rookies have exceeded expectations, and it’s only a matter of time before Renfrow does as well.