NFL preview 2019: How Raiders' offense stacks up against AFC West rivals


NFL preview 2019: How Raiders' offense stacks up against AFC West rivals

After a season in which the Raiders' offense struggled -- ranking 23rd in yards per game (336.2) and 28th in points (18.1) -- the Silver and Black gave their unit a facelift by adding Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Josh Jacobs, Ryan Grant and Hunter Renfrow.

With a new arsenal of offensive weapons and a full year in head coach Jon Gruden's system under his belt, quarterback Derek Carr figures to have Oakland's offense firing on a different level in 2019. 

The revamped offense should help the Raiders navigate a difficult schedule and stay afloat in the AFC West ... at least for a little bit. 

But with stars like Patrick Mahomes, Philip Rivers, Tyreek Hill, Keenan Allen and Emmanuel Sanders occupying the division, how does the Raiders' offensive unit stack up against its counterparts within the division?

Let's take a look:

Raiders vs. Chiefs

Quarterback: This one doesn't require a whole lot of analysis. Mahomes is the reigning NFL MVP, fresh off a season in which he threw for 5,907 yards and 50 touchdowns while leading the Chiefs to the AFC Championship Game. While Carr has the talent to put up MVP-caliber numbers, it's been a few years since he showcased that level of ability. Edge: Chiefs

Running backs: Without Kareem Hunt, the Chiefs' explosiveness took a hit toward the end of the NFL season. While Damien Williams filled in admirably after Hunt was released, it's unclear if he can be that effective over the course of a 16-game season.

The Raiders' running game was atrocious in 2018. The Silver and Black ranked 25th in the NFL with 1,628 yards and averaged 4.2 yards per rush, good for 21st in the league. Drafting Jacobs should give the Raiders a dynamic threat out of the backfield, but the success of the running game will be determined by the improvement of the offensive line and whether or not the downfield passing game is a credible threat. Edge: Chiefs

Wide receivers/tight ends: Yes, the Chiefs have Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. But Hill still is waiting for the NFL to make its decision on a possible suspension after child abuse allegations were levied against him, so there's no telling how many games he'll play next season. 

The Raiders brought in the best receiver in the game by acquiring Brown, and added another deep threat in Williams and a sure-handed slot man in Renfrow who will have to work his way into the lineup. Don't sleep on tight end Darren Waller who had Raiders camp buzzing all spring. I'll get bold here, and give the nod to the team with the best player. Edge: Raiders

Offensive line:  The Raiders' offensive line went from one of the best in 2017 to one of the worst in 2018. A combination of coaching change, scheme change and injuries plagued the Raiders' line from the jump. The line struggled in zone blocking and Kolton Miller battled through a number of injuries all season.

Despite a number of injuries on the interior, the Chiefs boasted one of the best offensive lines in football last season, per Pro Football Focus. Mitchell Schwartz is one of the best tackles in the game. Cam Erving was OK at left guard but he's better in a swing role if the Chiefs can find someone to replace him. KC brings back all of its starters one way or another, so this one is easy. Edge: Chiefs

Overall: Advantage Chiefs

Raiders vs. Chargers

Quarterback: At age 37, Rivers remains at the top of his game and is one of the most lethal signal-callers in the NFL. A step or two above Carr at the moment. Edge: Chargers

Running backs: Melvin Gordon wants a new deal from the Chargers, but LA is a franchise that doesn't play that game (see: Antonio Gates' three-game suspension in 2005 for missing the report date to camp). Gordon will show up eventually and Austin Ekeler is a dangerous scatback. The Raiders' running game, while it should be improved with Jacobs, doesn't measure up. Edge: Chargers

Wide receivers/ tight ends: Keenan Allen is the second-best receiver in the division. The Chargers didn't want to pay Tyrell Williams, so he headed north to the Raiders. The Bolts hope Mike Williams can fill the No. 2 role. A healthy year from tight end Hunter Henry would help the Chargers maintain their offensive output from a season ago when they averaged 26.8 points per game. But if Mike Williams can't live up to his first-round billing, the Bolts' offense could see a drop-off. Edge: Raiders

Offensive line: For all the talk about the improvement to the Chargers' offensive line, their unit had a lot of warts last year. Aside from Russell Okung, who remains a top left tackle, the Chargers' O-line struggled. Right tackle Sam Tevi gave up eight sacks and 12 hits, while left guard Dan Feeney gave up eight sacks and eight hits. LA didn't make a move to replace any of its starters, hoping the return of 2017 second-round pick Forrest Lamp can give the group a bump. Edge: Push

Overall: Rivers over Carr gives the Chargers the nod

[RELATED: Raiders' 2019 success will be determined by these three players]

Raiders vs. Broncos

Quarterback: Carr had a subpar 2018, but the Broncos had real quarterback problems last season. John Elway whiffed on the decision to bring in Case Keenum, and opted to trade for the decidedly un-elite and almost certainly washed Joe Flacco in the offseason. Not sure there's another Mile High Miracle up the Super Bowl champions sleeve. Edge: Raiders

Running backs: Phillip Lindsay surprised last season, while Royce Freeman fell flat. Both return this season and likely will be asked to carry a big load, especially if Flacco is unable to perform at the level expected of him. While Lindsay was great in his rookie season, Jacobs was the first running back off the board for a reason. He was an electric do-it-all back at Alabama and has limited wear on his tires. I expect big things from Jacobs. Edge: Raiders

Running backs/tight ends: Emmanuel Sanders is trying to return from the torn Achilles that ended his 2018 season. He's 32 and it's unclear how good he'll be when he returns. Trying to fill his shoes is Courtland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton, Tim Patrick and rookie tight end Noah Fant. There's some potential but the group is unproven. Edge: Raiders

Offensive line: The Broncos made some changes to their offensive line this season. Last year's starting right guard now is the center. The guy who started at left guard in Week 1 now is at right guard. Denver drafted Dalton Risner, a right tackle out of Kansas State, and moved him to left guard. They signed Ja'Wuan James to play right tackle and Garrett Boles is back at left tackle. The reshuffled group could have some issues, but they also have a new offensive line coach in Mike Munchak. Edge: Push

Overall: Advantage Raiders

Anonymous Raider really wants Jaguars' Jalen Ramsey traded to Oakland


Anonymous Raider really wants Jaguars' Jalen Ramsey traded to Oakland

Jaguars star Jalen Ramsey wants out of Jacksonville, and (at least) one Raider wants the cornerback in Oakland. 

An anonymous member of the Silver and Black made the case for his team to bring in the talented, trash-talking 25 year old to ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. 

Ramsey would help just about any NFL team play the kind of defense they aspire to. In four NFL seasons, the Florida State product has grown into one of the NFL's best cornerbacks, if not the best. Pro Football Focus ranked Ramsey the second-best cornerback coming into the season, and early-season struggles in a situation he clearly wants no part of -- just ask Doug Marrone -- won't dissuade any interested suitors.

[RELATED: Davis trade gives Raiders speed in return game, on offense]

In theory, the Raiders should be one. As NBC Sports California's Josh Schrock noted earlier this week, acquiring Ramsey would allow the Raiders to slide their cornerbacks down the depth chart and into roles in which they could thrive. Ramsey won't come cheap when his contract is up after next season, either, but the Silver and Black is set up to have plenty of salary-cap space when the team moves to Las Vegas in 2021.

After orbiting around Antonio Brown's star for fewer than six months, the Raiders conceivably could no part in acquiring another disgruntled player forcing his way out of the team that drafted him. If the Raider who spoke up is to be believed, the locker room might think it's worth the risk. 

Raiders injury report: Trent Brown among list of ailing offensive stars

Raiders injury report: Trent Brown among list of ailing offensive stars

ALAMEDA – The Raiders offense is a bit banged up right now. Several expensive or highly-touted members of that unit are limited or worse at practice, including a large section of skill players working through pain.

Right tackle Trent Brown was the biggest omission on Wednesday’s participation report, sidelined with a right knee injury that kept him out the closing moments of Sunday’s loss to Kansas City.

“He’s a tough guy,” head coach Jon Gruden said. “Hopefully he’s ready to go. We sure need him.”

The Raiders need some good news from an ailing receiver corps. Dwayne Harris could be in bad shape dealing with an ankle injury, which is why the Raiders traded for Green Bay’s Trevor Davis. He can help in the return game and bring speed to the receiver corps.

Tyrell Williams and Josh Jacobs are dealing with hip injuries, the Raiders announced on Wednesday, that left both guys limited in a practice that was dialed back to preserve health.

Williams and Jacobs also missed portions of a Sunday second quarter when the Chiefs went on a 28-point run, during which the Raiders offense couldn’t get a first down.

“It’s tough on all of us. It’s tough to call plays when you’re calling a play for a guy and he’s not there,” Gruden said. “Then you’re calling a play for another guy and he’s not there, so the emotional part of it you got to get over and you got to adjust kind of like playing on the road, or playing in London, or playing in Winnipeg. You just got to adjust. I’m really proud of those guys for coming back and giving us all they had and finishing the game and practicing today. They’re tough guys.”

J.J. Nelson also remains limited with an ankle injury, putting a strain on the receiver corps.

Ryan Grant, Hunter Renfrow and Keelan Doss are the only healthy receivers at this point, though it seems likely Williams will be ready by Sunday. The same goes for Jacobs, as vital as anyone to the Raiders success.

Here’s the full participation report:

Raiders practice report

Did not practice
RT Trent Brown (knee)
WR Dwayne Harris (ankle)
RG Gabe Jackson (knee)

Limited practice
CB Gareon Conley (neck)
LB Vontaze Burfict (shoulder/knee)
RB Josh Jacobs (hip)
DT Corey Liuget (knee)
WR J.J. Nelson (ankle)
S Curtis Riley (hip)
WR Tyrell Williams (hip)