The Las Vegas Raiders might have been a dark horse as sneaky playoff contenders last year, but are now considered to be on the outside looking in the playoff picture in the 2023-2024 season. Things will be different this time around. This year brings new challenges with newly signed quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, Josh McDaniels looking to stay off the hot seat in his second year and Josh Jacobs signing a one-year deal. Expectations for Las Vegas have changed significantly since they made playoffs in 2021. The goal is to get back in the postseason and perhaps win their first playoff game in almost two decades. That’s easier said than done.
After coming off a surprising playoff berth the year prior, the Raiders are hungry for more playoff action. Acquiring Davante Adams in a blockbuster trade and signing Chandler Jones in free agency, this was the team’s best shot at winning the title since 2016. Unfortunately, the team fell short of expectations. Through 10 games, they had a 2-7 record. They finished the season at 6-11. Most of those losses came off of several blown leads. Nine of their 11 defeats were all within one possession. They became the first team in NFL history to lose five or more times in a season while leading by double-digits in the second half.
The receiving corps of Adams, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow barely played together and only played 62 snaps together. Waller missed eight games with a bad hamstring and Renfrow missed seven games with an oblique injury. The highly-paid trio, the Raiders signed them to over $223.3 million in contract extensions. McDaniels proves he’s a terrible head coach with a 17-28 career record. This marks the end of the Derek Carr era as he was cut in the offseason.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo
Speaking of Carr, the Las Vegas Raiders 2023-2024 season will be the first season without him in over a decade. With big shoes to fill, they look to the open market to find his replacement. Besides the Aaron Rodgers trade, the Garoppolo signing is the most high-profile quarterback move this offseason. Coming off a season-ending foot surgery, Garoppolo is looking for a fresh start in Las Vegas. In his sixth season as the Niners quarterback, he had 16 touchdowns, four picks, and a 103 passer rating in 11 games. He reunites with McDaniels after spending 2014-2016 seasons together as New England’s offensive coordinator. Garoppolo should adjust better in McDaniels’ system than Carr since he is familiar with the playbook.
Wide Receiver Jakobi Meyers
McDaniels brings in another former Pats player into the fold. After the infamous debacle at the end of the Patriots vs. Raiders game last season, it’s only fitting Meyers would sign with the silver and black. Meyers led the Pats in every receiving category with 67 catches, 804 yards, and six touchdowns in 2022. As an undrafted rookie, McDaniels saw his talent and took advantage by developing into the player he is today. He credits him for his success by saying McDaniels “gives the answers to the test” and it’s all about putting it together on the field. Meyers will compete with Renfrow for the number two receiver spot.
Cornerback Marcus Peters
The Raiders had the 29th-ranked passing defense and tied with the least amount of interceptions in 2022. In a league where more teams are throwing the ball more than ever, that isn’t going to cut it. Adding a veteran corner like Peters should aid those issues. Peters throughout his career is known for being an aggressive corner. He had an interception, one sack, and a forced fumble. This is the same player who once was among the interception leaders every year he was in Kansas City. The downside, he is 33 years old on a one-year deal, so it’s not the long-term option the team is looking for. He will bring experience and leadership to a young secondary.
Projected Depth Chart
QB: Jimmy Garoppolo, Brian Hoyer, Aidan O’Connell
RB: Josh Jacobs, Zamir White, Ameer Abdullah, Brandon Bolden
FB: Jakob Johnson
WR: Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, Hunter Renfrow, Kristian Wilkerson, DeAndre Carter, Tre Tucker
TE: Austin Hooper, Michael Mayer, Jesper Horsted
LT: Kolton Miller, Justin Herron
LG: Dylan Parham
C: Andre James, Hroniss Grasu
RG: Greg Van Roten, Jordan Meredith
RT: Jermaine Eluemunor, Thayer Munford Jr.
Edge: Maxx Crosby, Chandler Jones, Tyree Wilson, Malcolm Koonce
DT: Jerry Tillery, Bilal Nichols, Adam Butler, John Jenkins, Byron Young
LOLB: Robert Spillane, Curtis Bolton
MLB: Divine Deablo
ROLB: Luke Masterson, Amari Burney
CB: Marcus Peters, Nate Hobbs, Amik Robertson, David Long Jr, Brandon Facyson, Jakorian Bennett
S: Marcus Epps, Tre’von Moehrig, Isaiah Pola-Mao, Roderic Teamer, Chris Smith II
K: Daniel Carlson
P: AJ Cole
PR/KR: DeAndre Carter
The Las Vegas Raiders in 2023-2024 season will be mediocre at best. Offensively they have enough weapons to score a decent amount of points. Defensively, they can be a top pass rush unit if Maxx Crosby plays at an All-Pro level again and Chandler Jones can perform like he did with the Cardinals. Their secondary still needs some work and will probably produce the same results as last season.
Overall, it’s going to come down to Garoppolo and McDaniels. Garoppolo isn’t much of an upgrade from Carr, their stats are similar over the past couple of years. McDaniels already has lots to prove. Can this duo replicate the success from their New England days? Will see soon enough.
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