The Raiders passing game was prolific this season. Derek Carr led an air attack featuring Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree -- 1,000-yard receivers who had some big days in big-time wins.
This group had a one tragic flaw. They struggled securing passes. The Raiders led the NFL in receiver drops, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus.
The typically sure handed Crabtree was the worst offender, with 13 drops from 102 catchable passes.
Raiders receivers had major drop issues in a playoff loss to Houston, unable to secure six passes that could have aided rookie quarterback Connor Cook.
That’s an issue the Raiders plan to address before next season.
“I haven’t looked at the final tally, but I would say that there are more than I’m comfortable with, more than we should have,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “You can add that to the list of things we’re talking about here, areas that are obvious areas that must improve.”
Cooper qualified for his second Pro Bowl in as many seasons after recording 1,153 yards and five touchdowns on 83 catches.
He fixed last year’s drop issues but faded down the stretch for the second straight season, exceeding 60 yards only once in his last nine games. Last year, Cooper was hindered by a foot injury. Del Rio said he’ll have to examine the reason for this season’s dropoff.
“Last year, I think it was clearly involved with his foot. Don’t believe he was dealing with a similar type of injury,” Del Rio said. “Whether it’s, as we evaluate ourselves and go back and look at it, whether it was what they were doing to us or what we weren’t doing to provide those opportunities for him.
"Which was it? Was the guy he was going against good enough to get him slowed down? Was it scheme? Was it design on our part? Those are all things we have to look at in detail after the season.”