How Jon Gruden followed the Chiefs’ lead to rebuild the Raiders offense | NFL News, Rankings & Stats
The Las Vegas Raiders were expected to face a row of murderous defenses in 2021, as they were ranked to face sixth (Baltimore Ravens), second (Pittsburgh Steelers) and seventh (Miami Dolphins) ranked EPA defenses per play. If the Raiders had stumbled on the offensive end of the ball, no one would have been terribly surprised.
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Over two games, however, it’s been the opposite, as they average 29.5 points per game while quarterback Derek Carr ranks sixth in the EPA by decline.
The Raiders are 2-0 and are at the top of AFC West. While we still have 15 games to go, the pre-season Vegas winning tally (7.5) for the Raiders seems anything but force majeure far from coming to an end. While the Kansas City Chiefs gave way on Sunday night to a team the Raiders beat last Monday, the AFC West could be tougher than previously thought.
With a head coach who was no stranger to criticism in three seasons without a playoff birth, how did we get here? To answer that, one should look no further than division rival Las Vegas has to face twice a year. As the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them”. And it has become very clear that the Raiders are executing the Chiefs’ offensive plan more closely than any other team in the NFL.
Related: WR Henry Ruggs III May Provide Spark For Las Vegas Raiders Offensive In Year 2 Via Sam Monson
Darren Waller = Travis Kelce
Waller’s emergence as a handyman stretch in 2019 was the very first piece of the puzzle. The 6-foot-6, 255-pounder has one of the rarest skill sets in the NFL: a tight waist with a road run worthy of a receiver. Outside of Waller, Kelce, and George Kittle, you’d be hard pressed to find him anywhere else in recent memory. This is why the Atlanta Falcons were willing to draft Kyle Pitts fourth overall compared to more accomplished true receivers such as Ja’Marr Chase and DeVonta Smith, as the Wallers and Kelces of the world are not treated like real receivers. They are guarded by linebackers and security. And in the NFL today, modern offenses are all about one thing: lags.
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