Jon Gruden has put Derek Carr in a much better position to succeed entering Carr's second year in Gruden's system.
Carr, a former league MVP candidate who struggled during his first season under Gruden, has several new weapons at his disposal in 2019. Carr's biggest new weapon is Antonio Brown, a player who will likely see his career one-day immortalized in Canton, Ohio if he can continue the success he had in Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger with Carr in Oakland. Brown and Carr enjoyed an immediate connection this offseason before Brown's frostbitten feet and helmet issues kept him away from the Raiders for most of training camp.
Carr used Brown's absence to strengthen his rapport with fellow newcomers Tyrell Williams and J.J. Nelson. Both players should help take the burden off Brown while helping Carr return to the NFL's upper echelon of quarterbacks. Rookie receiver Hunter Renfrow, who enjoyed a strong training camp, should also help open things up for Oakland's offense.
Gruden's defense should also be vastly improved in 2019. First round picks Clelin Ferrell and Jonathan Abram are expected to make an immediate impact, while free agent acquisition Vontaze Burfict will look to add bite to an Oakland defense that finished 26th in the NFL in total yards allowed and last in the league in passing yards allowed last season.
How good will the new-look Raiders be in 2019? We'll find out soon enough, as Oakland will head to Denver to face the longtime rival Broncos on Monday Night Football. Below is the Raiders' 2019 53-man roster along with their expected Week 1 depth chart.
|TE||Darren Waller||Foster Moreau||Derek Carrier|
The Raiders retooled their offense with three-offseason signings at the wide receiver position. Antonio Brown headlines the trio, as he comes to Oakland as the NFL's leader in catches, yards, and touchdowns since the start of the 2013 season. Joining him in Oakland are fellow wideouts Tyrell Williams and J.J. Nelson. A five-year veteran, Williams comes to the Raiders following a solid four year run with the Chargers. Nelson, who is also entering his fifth NFL season, gained a quick rapport with quarterback Derek Carr during offseason workouts.
for what went down during an interaction with general manager Mike Mayock, Carr will likely rely heavily on a committee at wide receiver. Although Williams is the big-ticket free agent acquisition, rookie Hunter Renfrom could see a lot of work as the underneath option out of the slot. The same can be said for Carr's running backs -- they drew a heavy share of the targets in 2018. This could make rookie Josh Jacobs a steal in fantasy football if he pulls a massive share of the offensive snaps overall. Lastly, don't sleep on Hard Knocks star Darren Waller -- Carr heavily targeted tight end Jared Cook in 2018 -- as a result of his tendency to throw underneath.
Shortly after news broke of Brown's potential suspension, Jared Dubin provided an in-depth analysis of how the Raiders passing game will look without No. 84.
Speaking of Carr, he will be looking to prove that he is Oakland's longterm answer at quarterback after a rocky 2018 campaign. Carr, who was in the running to be the NFL's MVP in 2016 before sustaining a late-season injury, should make considerable strides during his second season in Jon Gruden's offense.
Oakland made several upgrades on the defensive side of the ball this offseason, including selecting former Clemson standout Clelin Ferrell with the fourth overall pick in the drat.
Johnathan Abram, the 27th overall pick in the draft, should start ahead of Lamarcus Joyner on the depth chart, though he was behind Joyner throughout the first three weeks of the preseason. Abram's strong summer recently earned him the praise of linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who was also added to Oakland's defense this offseason.
"He has an extreme confidence," Burfict told the team's official website. "I love it though because he shows it. He shows it in film room and film study. Like today, we had a play and he opened his mouth up and obviously said something in front of the defense that kind of gave me the chills. I don't want to say it because it's kind of just in-house, but he's going to be a great player for us."
A.J. Cole, who averaged 43.5 yards per punt last week, was promoted to starter midway through the preseason after out-kicking Johnny Townsend. Trent Sieg won the job as the Raiders' long snapper after the team released Andrew DePaola earlier this week.