The Las Vegas Raiders have one of the highest levels of continuity from 2019 and that will be a huge factor in the team’s success in 2020
We here at Just Blog Baby have written at length this summer about what a strange offseason the Las Vegas Raiders are enduring and how it will affect them in 2020. One thing we have consistently pointed out is that the Raiders have a great deal of continuity from the 2019 season and how that should be a major factor in the team’s success in 2020.
Now, thanks to Sheil Kapadia at The Athletic, we have an idea of exactly how much continuity the Raiders will have in 2020 and how it compares to the rest of the league. They used a simple formula based on returning coaches, starter at quarterback as it’s the most important position in the game, and “expected returning snaps” to “determine the percentage of expected returning snaps — both on offense and defense — from last season”.
Raiders graded out as No. 9 overall in team continuity
With this formula in place, the Raiders grade out to have the 9th most continuity in the NFL with “a league-high 88.8 percent of their offensive snaps” and “just 51 percent of their defensive snaps from last year”. The offensive continuity is obvious as the only new projected starter is receiver Henry Ruggs III, and quarterback Derek Carr is firmly entrenched as the team’s starter despite the arrival of Marcus Mariota from Tennessee.
Bringing back all five starters from the offensive line is a major factor in the team’s offensive continuity score, and it is a unit that features a potential Pro Bowler at four of the five positions. Trent Brown and Rodney Hudson are the clear standouts but Richie Incognito is still going strong at his advanced age and Kolton Miller is coming in to his own as a potential franchise left tackle.
As the article points out, the Raiders returning just 51 percent of the snaps on defense is likely a positive for the team after the disastrous performance in 2019. Perhaps if the defense that was on the field in Week 1 was the same unit that finished out the season, the score would have been different, but it was always obvious that major improvements would be needed.
Head coach returning as well
The other factor to the Raiders’ high continuity score is the return of head coach/play caller Jon Gruden and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther who will be going into year three at their respective positions. Guenther is a hot seat candidate if the unit struggles out of the gate but he has better players to work with at every position than he has had in his first two years.
For some of the bad teams on the list, as The Athletic points out, having continuity is not necessarily a good thing because teams will just be bringing back coaches and players who under performed. They point out two key examples of that in the Detroit Lions and New York Jets who rank 11th and 13th on the list, respectively.
In the case of the Raiders however, this continuity will be a huge factor in the team’s offensive and defensive success. The Raiders were solid on offense in 2019, and were missing a game-breaking number one receiver, which they went out and got in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Defensively, the team has cut loose some of the under performers like Tahir Whitehead and PJ Hall and replaced them with players who should be far more productive, but have kept the same scheme and coaching in place so there will be less of an adjustment period.
It can be easily argued that the Raiders were on the brink of being a playoff team in 2019 before the Antonio Brown situation, and the injuries piled up so bringing back many of the same pieces, along with a bevy of new and improved additions, should make them a playoff team in 2020. Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results is the definition of insanity but the Jon Gruden and the Raiders have made just enough changes to see some very different, and much improved, results in 2020.