Raiders Super Bowl contenders? There is still work to be done
What needs to change on the field?
How long did you think it would take for me to bring up the offensive line when talking about the things that need to be fixed? If you guessed the very first sentence, then we have a winner.
The ’21 Las Vegas Raiders offensive line was nothing short of disastrous, Kolton Miller aside. Not only were they ranked 28th in the league, per PFF, but they were only that high, to begin with, due to Kolton Miller and Kolton Miller alone. Miller’s PFF grade was 84.2, which was higher than any individual player’s on any offensive line outside of the top-10.
Had Miller not played last year, this is likely the worst ranking line in the NFL. The then-rookie Alex Leatherwood allowed 8 sacks and committed 14 penalties. Right tackle Brandon Parker also allowed 8 sacks while committing 9 penalties. Although James and Simpson didn’t allow as many sacks, they didn’t help the penalty barrage, either. The center recorded 7 penalties while Simpson totaled 10.
I ended the last segment briefly going over the disgusting red-zone conversion and stoppage percentages. Needless to say, that has no choice but to change, and it looks like the front office is giving ample tools to make that happen.
The 2021 Raiders’ passing defense wasn’t bad, but they continuously failed to get offenses off the field. The good is, the defense was top-5 in at least 20+ yard passing plays. Due to them not being able to get off the field, they were 8th in the highest amount of drives giving up a score, despite not getting beat deep often.
This should change as Graham is extremely versatile in his play-calling. When you run the same set every play, teams learn how to beat you. On top of that, there was a certain linebacker who was often a liability against both the run and in coverage, but he no longer plays in Vegas.