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Raiders excited about start under new OC: ‘It’s easier than last year’

Updated May 28, 2024 - 6:37 pm

Michael Mayer was diplomatic when asked about new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy.

The Raiders second-year tight end was asked to explain the differences between Getsy’s scheme and the one taught by former coach Josh McDaniels last season.

“It’s easier than last year,” Mayer said Tuesday after the Raiders finished an organized team activity.

How so?

“I’d say it’s a little bit more simple,” Mayer said. “A little bit more simple, a little bit easier to understand.”

What that means for a Raiders offense that finished 27th in yards per game (289.5) and 23rd in points per game (19.5) last season remains to be seen. But a scheme that’s easier to digest could lead to a more confident, cohesive and efficient attack.

There were times last year where the Raiders seemed bogged down by the complexities of McDaniels’ offense. That makes it all the more important that they pick up Getsy’s ideas as fast as possible with OTAs continuing this week.

A new look

Getsy joined the Raiders after spending two years as the Bears offensive coordinator. He was fired by Chicago in January after failing to maximize the team’s attack under young quarterback Justin Fields.

The Raiders believe Fields was more of the problem than Getsy, who was a highly regarded offensive assistant in Green Bay before joining the Bears. Chicago also showed Fields the door as well soon after Getsy’s departure. The Bears traded him to Pittsburgh for a sixth-round pick, setting the franchise up to take Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams first overall in April’s draft.

Getsy doesn’t have a settled quarterback situation with the Raiders, either. Second-year passer Aidan O’Connell and veteran Gardner Minshew are competing for the starting role this offseason.

Neither is the runner Fields is, but both might be better fits for the West Coast offense Getsy is bringing to Las Vegas. The scheme is centered around quick, intermediate throws expected to be delivered with precise timing.

Getsy also has a set of intriguing weapons to work with. The Raiders’ skill-position group includes wide receivers Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, Tre Tucker and Michael Gallup, tight ends Mayer and Brock Bowers and running back Zamir White, who should fit well with Getsy’s outside zone running scheme. Adams should be familiar with the system as well after being coached by Getsy in Green Bay.

The offense has a few key components.

Getsy wants to run the ball effectively. He wants to make play-action passes a staple. He wants to attack the middle of the field and take shots when available.

“Yeah, I think there’s certain things that are kind of non-negotiable in your play style, right, and the mindset that you want to bring,” Getsy said. “And fortunately, I’ve been around a lot of really good football coaches that have kind of exposed me to a lot of different styles of play and different ways of approaching teams and finding different ways to attack the different styles of defense that we face each week.”

Being adaptable

Getsy will also be flexible depending on the situation.

He showed an ability to adjust when the Raiders played the Bears on Oct. 22 last season. Fields was hurt, so backup Tyson Bagent got the start. Bagent, an undrafted free agent, led Chicago to a 30-12 victory running an offense that looked far different than the one built for Fields.

Raiders coach Antonio Pierce, who was in charge of the team’s linebackers at the time, said after hiring Getsy that game built up his admiration for his new offensive coordinator.

Getsy believes that kind of adaptability is just part of the job.

“I mean, you could go into Week 3 thinking you have one style of roster and in Week 4, it can be completely different, right?” Getsy said. “I mean, just using that example, we had completely two different styles of QBs in Chicago. … I think the most important thing is finding a way to maximize the type of guy that you have, figuring out what they do well and that’s the phase that we’re in right now. We’re all trying to figure each other out and figure out what we do best.”

It sounds simple. So far for the Raiders, it feels that way, too. That’s why Mayer sees promise in what the team is building.

“I’m very happy with the way this offense is going so far and what we’re going to be able to do on the offensive side,” Mayer said.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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