Raiders offense might only be scratching the surface

Updated September 11, 2017 - 7:05 pm

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Raiders were encouraged Sunday.

Their offense is what they hoped.

A fresh Marshawn Lynch pounded through the Tennessee Titans, forcing five missed tackles. An offensive line matched his toughness, together helping seal a 26-16 win on eight straight runs. Quarterback Derek Carr peppered the ball around the field. His communication was seamless with first-year coordinator Todd Downing.

But there was added reason for encouragement.

What the offense didn’t do.

The Raiders were as efficient as could be expected for a season opener. Imagine when they are fully clicking. Areas for improvement include one the team is confident will prove a 2017 strength, and that’s the connection between Carr and wide receiver Amari Cooper.

Carr completed five of 13 passes for 62 yards and one touchdown Sunday when targeting the fellow Pro Bowler. His passer rating was 79.6 on such throws. When targeting all other receivers, he completed 17 of 19 passes for 200 yards and a score, good for a 128.1 rating.

No one seems concerned.

Three incompletions to Cooper came on consecutive red-zone targets to conclude the first quarter. On the first two, Carr sought to capitalize on a man-coverage matchup with Adoree’ Jackson, a rookie first-round pick. Ball placement was too high on a couple throws throughout the day. A miscommunication occurred at least once.

According to Pro Football Focus, Cooper had three drops Sunday after four in all of 2016.

“I could have helped him more with some of those plays, and I’m sure he’d say the opposite,” Carr said. “It’s just how we are, and it’s how this organization is built, our culture. That’s how we grow. If we both take responsibility, we’ll work at it and get better. I’m completely fine saying I screwed up, and I did a couple times.

“He made a perfect conversion on a route, and I messed it up. There were so many little things in this game, which always happens in Week 1. But when you win, you can sit back and go, ‘Dang man. We could have had so much more.’ … There’s still so much room for growth for him, me and our offense.”

Cooper bulked up this offseason.

The added muscle was evident on an 8-yard touchdown on the Raiders’ first possession. Jackson wrangled him in a circle, but Cooper fought through the arm tackle and kept his balance. He sprinted ahead and, with help from his three interior linemen, moved a pile of Titans defenders into the end zone.

“Just to take advantage of my opportunities,” Cooper said of his offseason focus. “I really didn’t do that out there (Sunday), but it happens sometimes. I got to move forward.”

There were other plays the Raiders want back.

Right tackle Vadal Alexander struggled in limited action. He subbed in for Marshall Newhouse on the third series, a rotation the coaches planned entering the game. There was little desire to rotate further, as Alexander allowed two sacks on consecutive snaps. Running back Jalen Richard, in fairness, was at partial fault for the first; he was unable to adequately account for linebacker Wesley Woodyard on an inside blitz.

Carr missed Lynch on a quick-hit pass in the third quarter. Lynch was aligned out wide with no defender across from him. Carr volunteered fault for throwing too far ahead of him.

The Raiders finished their afternoon with a punishing, eight-run drive that made it a two-score game. Still, coach Jack Del Rio called the execution “good but not great” on the sequence. That evaluation applies to the offense’s day overall.

“That’s what you would expect in a first game,” Del Rio said. “A lot of good, solid things occurred. The operation, lining up, executing the plays, understanding where you belong, playing together, playing through adversity — all those things are very good. I think we’re looking to improve each and every week. There’s clearly a laundry list of things we need to do better, but a good place to start.”

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Raiders Videos
Vegas Nation: Raiders Minicamp
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken goes over the Raiders minicamp and questions surrounding the Raiders picking defensive lineman Maurice Hurst from Michigan.
P.J. Hall, Maurice Hurst and Jon Gruden Talk About Mini Camp
P.J. Hall, Maurice Hurst and Jon Gruden go over the Raiders Mini camp.
Reggie McKenzie On Final Day Of NFL Draft
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie talks about the Raiders final draft picks.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Final Draft Picks
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond, Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken and Review-Journal reporter Gilbert Manzano go over the last day of the draft pick for the Raiders.
Gruden On Day Two Of Nfl Draft Picks
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden discusses the teams second day draft picks.
Raiders trade again, draft DT P.J. Hall and OT Brandon Parker
Raiders trade again and draft DT P.J. Hall and OT Brandon Parker. The team moved back again Friday, this time exchanging the No. 41 overall pick for the No. 57 selection. It then selected former Sam Houston State defensive tackle P.J. Hall. The Raiders parted with No. 75, trading up 10 spots to select former North Carolina A&T offensive tackle Brandon Parker.
Gruden On Bryant Joining Raiders, Bryant On What He Has Left To Prove
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden talks about what Bryant will bring to the Raiders and Bryant talks about what he has left to prove.
Gruden, Miller On First Round Pick
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and first round pick Kolton Miller talk about the NFL draft first round pick for the Raiders.
Las Vegas Raiders Stadium can help economic boom, expert says
Study after study has concluded that stadiums aren’t effective economic development drivers. But a leading urban growth researcher says Orlando and Las Vegas are exceptions because of the strength of their regions’ tourism economies. The Raiders are building a 65,000-seat, $1.8 billion indoor stadium at Interstate 15 and Russell Road using $750 million of public money authorized by the Nevada Legislature. Las Vegas has a leg up on many cities, because it has an airport at which business people can catch a nonstop flight to virtually any domestic destination. Panelist Cathy Tull, chief marketing officer of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said the presence of out-of-town media for playoff games featuring the Vegas Golden Knights has given the city media mentions that money can’t buy. Another issue receiving the panel’s attention is the need for mass transit with all the teams, venues and anticipated visitation they will generate. Panelists also discussed the prospect of attracting big events like the Super Bowl, the NFL draft and NCAA tournaments.
Reggie Mckenzie On Raiders First Draft Pick
Raiders general manager Reggie Mckenzie on Raiders first draft pick.
Vegas Nation: First Round NFL Draft Pick
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond, Review-Journal writer Gilbert Manzano and Raiders beat writer Michael Gelhken go over the first round of the NFL draft picks and the Raiders choices.
Vegas Nation: NFL Draft preview
Bryan Salmond and Michael Gehlken breakdown the Raiders offseason moves as well as what they could be looking at in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Vegas Nation: Wide Receiver
Vegas Nation video host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken look at the wide receiver position for the upcoming NFL Draft.
Vegas Nation: Raiders secondary
Vegas Nation video host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken look at the Raiders secondary for the upcoming NFL Draft.
Vegas Nation: Running Back position
Vegas Nation video host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken look at the running back position for the upcoming NFL Draft.
Vegas Nation: Join Vegas Nation for NFL Draft updates
Vegas Nation video host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken will provide updates about everything surrounding this year's NFL Draft.
Vegas Nation: NFL Draft: Defensive Line
Vegas Nation video host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken discuss the defensive line and what can happen in the 2018 NFL Draft.
David Humm's life celebrated at South Point
Raiders owner Mark Davis, former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne were among those who paid tribute to David Humm during a ceremony at South Point Arena in Las Vegas on April 6, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review Journal)
Vegas Nation Stadium Show
Ed Graney, Rick Velotta and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken go over the progress on the Vegas Stadium and how it will affect some of the players and staff.
Vegas Nation: Gruden hoping free agents can establish culture
Michael Gehlken reports from the NFL Meetings in Orlando, including what the Raiders are doing there as well as what Jon Gruden meant by "throwing it back to 1998."
Vegas Nation: Raiders Cut Ties With Smith, Ellis Gets Contract
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken go over the Raiders cutting ties with Sean Smith and Justin Ellis' three-year contract.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Cut Ties With Aldon Smith
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken goes over the Raiders cutting ties with Aldon Smith due to allegations made against him.
Vegas Nation: Reggie Mckenzie's Son A Potential Candidate For Raiders
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken goes over how Reggie McKenzie's son Kahlil McKenzie is a potential draft pick for the Raiders.
Vegas Nation Stadium Show: Parking, other topics closer to resolution
Ed Graney and Rick Velotta are joined by Las Vegas Stadium Authority chairman Steve Hill to discuss the latest developments around the Las Vegas Stadium.
Vegas Nation: Raiders lose 9th pick to San Francisco 49ers
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken provides an update from the NFL scouting combine about the Raiders and 49ers coin toss to determine which team will get the 9th or 10th pick of this years NFL Draft.
Vegas Nation: Lynch, Crabtree future with Raiders pending
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken provides an update from the NFL scouting combine on the future for Marshawn Lynch and Michael Crabtree with the Raiders.
Vegas Nation: Several documents approved
Ed Graney and Rick Velotta discuss the latest developments from the Las Vegas Stadium Authority meeting, including news on parking and the total cost of the stadium.
Vegas Nation: Raiders looking to keep key veterans
Vegas Nation video host and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken discuss the Raiders plans this offseason with free agency approaching.
Vegas Nation: Raiders awarded four draft picks
Bryan Salmond goes over the news that of the Raiders being awarded four draft picks.
Vegas Nation: Vontae Davis Visiting Raiders
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken goes over Vontae Davis visiting the Raiders in Alameda California.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like