89°F
weather icon Clear

NFL countdown: Raiders add speed to offense

The late Raiders owner Al Davis always had a need for speed, and his beloved Silver and Black are brimming with it entering their first season in Las Vegas.

“You look at their weapons on offense, you see a track team. There’s so much speed on that team,” Westgate vice president of risk Ed Salmons said. “There’s no reason to think they’re not going to make it work. You could be looking at one of the most dynamic offenses in the NFL. There’s that much speed and talent on the offensive side.”

The Raiders added the fastest receiver in the draft in Alabama’s Henry Ruggs to an offense that returns running back Josh Jacobs, who finished eighth in the league in rushing yards (1,150) during his rookie season, and Darren Waller, who was second to Kansas City’s Travis Kelce among tight ends in receptions (90) and receiving yards (1,145).

Also back for the Raiders are receivers Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow, and they added promising rookies Bryan Edwards and Lynn Bowden to help jump-start an attack that placed in the bottom 10 of the league in scoring (19.6 points average).

All the pieces are in place for quarterback Derek Carr to have a career year. Or hand the reins to backup Marcus Mariota.

“There’s more pressure on Carr than on any other quarterback in the league,” Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito said. “He could use the excuse before that he had no supporting cast. But he doesn’t have that excuse now. This is a big year for Carr. He needs to be the guy.”

Esposito likens Carr’s situation to the same one Mariota was in last season, when the Titans signed Ryan Tannehill and he ended up replacing Mariota and leading Tennessee to the AFC title game.

“It’s up to Carr to hold off Mariota,” Esposito said. “(Mariota) struggled in Tennessee, but sometimes guys need a second life, and (coach Jon) Gruden might be the guy to give him it.”

Based on player props at the Westgate, the book expects Mariota to cut into Carr’s playing time. Carr threw for 4,054 yards and 21 touchdowns last season, but his 2020 props are 3,199½ gross passing yards and 17½ TDs.

The Raiders, coming off a 7-9 season, have one winning record in the past 17 years (12-4, 2016) and are the -130 favorites to finish under 7½ wins this season.

Based on opponents’ win totals, the Raiders have the NFL’s third toughest schedule (136 wins). For starters, they face the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs (11½) twice, as well as New Orleans (10½), Tampa Bay (9½), Indianapolis (9), Buffal0 (9) and New England (9).

“If they could shore up their defensive line and cornerbacks a little bit, and Carr can get the ball downfield, they could surprise,” Salmons said. “The only concern is they have a really tough schedule. Their division is really good. You have Kansas City, Denver is a team on the come, and everything that could go wrong went wrong for the Chargers last season.

“I don’t know if the Raiders’ record will say they’re a better team. But my eyes say they’re a team on the come. They’re definitely headed in the right direction. They’ve come miles from two years ago.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
 
Las Vegas sports face coronavirus-related economic damage

The coronavirus pandemic has inflicted substantial financial damage on the Las Vegas sports scene. Fans may need patience before a full recovery takes place.

UNLV looking to raise $1.5M to recoup COVID-19 revenue losses

UNLV is looking for donations to help keep momentum going in its athletics department amid financial stress created by the coronavirus pandemic.

IRS says non-filers with dependents must act by May 5

The Internal Revenue Service on Friday, April 24 issued a special alert for Supplemental Security Income and Department of Veterans Affairs beneficiaries to act by May 5 if they didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and have dependents so they can quickly receive the full amount of their Economic Impact Payment.

Gov. Sisolak eases restrictions on some Nevada businesses

Beginning Friday, May 1, Nevadans will again be able to play golf, patronize all retail businesses and undergo medical procedures unrelated to the COVID-19 outbreak as Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that, while he is extending his Stay at Home order through May 15, some of the restrictions of his previous order that expires Friday, May 1 will be relaxed.

DETR announces successful update of unemployment site

The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation announced Monday a successful weekend update of its unemployment insurance website at ui.nv.gov. The agency also added and launched a performance feature on April 18 that affords filers another option to reset their online password 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Federal government approves disaster aid for state

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Monday that his request for a Major Disaster Declaration for Nevada in response to the COVID-19 outbreak has been approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Pahrump GriefShare going to online meetings in face of Coronavirus

With the novel coronavirus pandemic spreading all across the globe, the world is in a state of continual flux and change but one thing that does not change is the harsh reality that people pass away and those left behind must deal with the pain of losing a loved one.

 
Nevada town embraces environmental group who bought ranch

The Nature Conservancy closed on its latest acquisition Wednesday: a working, 900-acre cattle ranch at the headwaters of the Amargosa River that could one day become a living laboratory for the coexistence of conservation and commerce.