How can the acquisition of Antonio Brown help the Raiders offense?
Antonio Brown is a man that surely needs no introduction. Spending the first 9 years of his career in Pittsburgh, Brown takes his talent out west to join the Silver and Black. During his time in the Steel City, he established himself as one of the league’s best receivers, putting up 1,200+ yards and close to 10 TD’s in 6 straight seasons. After hostility from quarterback, Ben Rothlisberger and fellow receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster finally spilled over, the Steelers sent him to the Raiders for a pair of picks in the 2019 draft.
With the Raiders, Brown brings a clear #1 target for Derek Carr after the departure of Amari Cooper to Dallas. He’ll immediately become the focal point of offense as Oakland deploys a rookie running back and solid, but not always reliable group of receivers. The loss of Jared Cook at tight end, one of Carr’s favorites, will hurt though Brown is certainly capable of getting more targets. It’ll be interesting to see whether Brown will get the same amount of targets or used as a decoy to open up the field for other receivers.
Will a revamped offensive line be enough for Derek Carr?
For Derek Carr, the last thing he wants is another career year in sakcs allowed. To fix this troubling issue from last season, the Raiders brought in tackle Trent Brown and guard Richie Incognito. Leaving the New England Patriots, Brown should easily solidify either the left or right side of the line. Former Pro Bowler Incognito will likely take the spot of left guard and provide great interior protection for Carr and the running game.
Center Rodney Hudson continues to be one of the best centers in the league and can now benefit from having help from either side of the line. Taking in the line as a whole, incoming players Brown and Incognito along with returners Hudson, Colton Miller, and Gabe Jackson have a chance to be the best offensive line in the conference. The line certainly needs to rank in the upper half of the league in order for Oakland to find success on the offensive side of the ball.
Will the Raiders defense improve in 2019?
To shore up a league worst defense, Oakland went out and signed defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins, defensive end Josh Mauro, and safety Lamarcus Joyner. After playing in every game in his rookie season, Hankins will look to develop his game and will seek to finally record his first career sack. Mauro, a six year veteran, will join the Raiders after spending 2018 with the New York Giants. He’s an experienced defensive end that should help improve the Raiders defense that ranked 30th in rushing yards allowed.
In the secondary, the addition of Lamarcus Joyner gives Oakland a versatile safety who can move around the entire defense. Whether it be at safety or nickel cornerback, Joyner provides a great building block for a defensive that allowed the most passing touchdowns in 2018. He’ll look to help the Raiders defense after they allowed an average 29.2 points to opposing offenses last year. That’ll certainly be easier said than done as Oakland projects to have the 5th toughest schedule including matchups against the Vikings, Colts, and Bears all before their Week 6 Bye.